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Cutting-Edge Classes | Emma Chan

In 2023, our society is progressively moving toward the world of artificial intelligence and biotechnology, and CCA is not one to fall behind. From artificially intelligent ChatGPT that can mimic human dialogue to smart robots that restock the aisles of grocery stores, computer-generated artificial intelligence is taking over many jobs worldwide. As a result of the technological creative destruction that is just on the horizon, innovators are moving toward jobs that make use of machine learning and bioengineering.

In the last industrial revolution, machines replaced much of the repetitive manual labor, making it more efficient and productive in factories and beyond. The handmade labor that was the standard of that time was replaced by the revolutionary machines that could work all day and all night without fatigue or need for food. Now we are on the brink of the second industrial revolution when machines can not only do manual labor but tasks that require intelligence and problem-solving skills. In the near future, machines can do many jobs that require intelligence and problem-solving capability with comparable efficiency and precision to humans.

With the advent of the second industrial revolution, CCA is at the forefront of equipping students for the new world. In the 2022-2023 school year, two brand new and unique classes have been added to the course selection. The new classes of Machine Learning and Biotech I & II have been very popular this year with students of all ages working together to gain more knowledge of what the future holds in technology.

Machine Learning

Machine Learning has been growing in capabilities for the past two decades. However, it is now becoming one of the most sought-after technologies from multinational corporations like Google to local supermarkets with smart shopping carts. As a result, the new Machine Learning class is a chance for CCA students to learn more about artificial intelligence and computational thinking. The Machine Learning class gives students the opportunity to use techniques applied to Artificial Intelligence, Data Mining/Analysis, and Social Computing. By developing computer algorithms and programs, students are exposed to many real-world challenges that involve the combination of math, science, and engineering to develop interdisciplinary skills in information science and technology. The class unites specific approaches in Cognitive Systems, Machine Learning, and Robotics, for the understanding of creative applications of algorithms.

Biotech I & II

To meet the growing needs of biotechnology and bioengineering, CCA has created a brand new two-class pathway for biotechnology. This class cultivates an understanding of biotechnology by studying the structure, function, and processes of living things as well as the fundamental concepts, principles, and practices of biological science. Through the combination of lab investigations and problem-solving solutions, students have the opportunity to develop their skills in critical thinking and investigative methods.

Students in Biotech I & II will plan and carry out experimental protocols, develop conjectures, and design solutions to explain the observed outcomes. One interesting aspect of this class offering is that there are two parts to the pathway, Biotech I, and II. This two-part structure gives students the opportunity to complete the Career Technical Education (CTE) pathway for the development of their vocational skills that can be used in their future careers. Biotech II is a continuation of the general concepts of Biotech I but with an emphasis on assay development, spectrophotometry, recombinant DNA technology, and bacterial transformation. These techniques provide a fundamental toolkit for CCA students to build a foundation for the pursuit of advanced studies in biology and biotechnology.

Thoughts on Machine Learning from a current student:

“The class can be quite stressful and frustrating when you can't solve the problem

but once you do understand and find the solution, you feel like a champion!

The class is also fun because it is mostly self-paced work time and you get to collaborate with many different people in the class.”

Thoughts about Biotech I & II from a current student:

“I like learning about the biotech industry and being able to use lab equipment in class. We do labs focused on different aspects of biotechnology, such as DNA sequencing and bioinformatics. Taking this class helps me develop my skills because it gives me valuable hands-on experience. “

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