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Harvard University’s CS50x Educators Conference Hosted at Jakarta Intercultural School

Harvard University's CS50x Educators Conference Hosted at JIS
Harvard University's CS50x Educators Conference Hosted at JIS

Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) hosted a series of workshops based on Harvard University’s CS50x computer science and programming course in the light of a collaborative initiative to enhance the digital skills of educators across Indonesia.

Held at JIS’s Cilandak campus in South Jakarta from 9-11th March 2023, this instigated the culmination of an online pilot program offered by Indonesia’s Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Ministry and Harvard University. According to JIS Head of School Maya Nelson, the initiative’s joint overarching goal is to empower local teachers with the tools and expertise needed to integrate CS50x course materials into their classrooms or curricula.

“As a school that recognises the instrumental role of STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] plays in education, JIS was honoured to support this very important program,” stated Nelson. “We hope this will be the first of many more partnerships dedicated to promoting computer science education in Indonesia and improving the digital competency of both students and teachers.”

JIS Head of School Maya Nelson greeted Minister Nadiem Makarim and Professor David J. Malan
JIS Head of School Maya Nelson greeted Minister Nadiem Makarim and Professor David J. Malan

The entry-level course CS50, taught at Harvard University and led by David J. Malan, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science, provides an introduction to “the intellectual enterprises of computer science and the art of programming”. CS50x Indonesia is adapted from CS50 and taught participants how to think algorithmically and solve problems — with and without code — as they cover abstractions, data structures, security software engineering, web development, and more. Programming languages used throughout the course include C, Python, SQL, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. 

The three-day conference represented the final phase of the six-month course and was attended by up to 150 participants representing both state and public middle schools and high schools throughout the archipelago. Their experience kicked off with a cybersecurity lecture and exclusive access to a fireside chat with Professor Malan and Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Minister Nadiem Makarim.

Commenting on CS50x during their conversation, the Minister said the program “couldn’t have come at a better time”.

This program came at such a fortuitous time because right now, we are in the process of rolling out Kurikulum Merdeka [Emancipated Curriculum], which carves out big chunks of time that the teachers are now empowered to fill in classrooms. So, that time — which used to be filled up with all subjects — is now available for project-based learning […] The teachers and principals can decide to pick from a variety of themes and CS50x could very well be part of this project-based learning,” he explained.

Kurikulum Merdeka really puts the power back with the teachers. The curriculum has enabled teachers’ creativity to be maximised and allows them to customise the learning to what their students really need.”

Day two of CS50x at JIS
Day two of CS50x at JIS

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