Computing in UK Schools
Prof. Stephen Furber, FRS, Royal Society
Following the turn of the century, the UK national curriculum included ICT. ICT was predominantly concerned with using computers, making pupils familiar with office applications, and such like. It was not considered particularly challenging or motivating. As a result of concerns about the ICT curriculum, the Royal Society engaged in a study that led to the publication in 2012 of the report “Shut Down or Restart?”, which recommended that the ICT curriculum be replaced by a Computing curriculum that included three aspects: Computer Science, Information Technology, and Digital Literacy. The UK government was receptive to these recommendations and the new Computing curriculum was introduced in 2014. Over the last year a subsequent study by the Royal Society reviewed progress with the new curriculum, resulting in the report “After the Reboot”. The report views progress in Computing in UK schools as “fragile” and ”patchy”, as a result of insufficient support being given to train teachers in the new curriculum, and calls on government to address this urgently with a ten-fold increase in funding for computing teacher support.
The state of computer science education in Slovenia
mag. Radovan Krajnc, NEI
Computer science content is not included in the compulsory part in curriculum in elementary school (primary and secondary) in Slovenia. Students can learn about computer science content at optional subjects. In the school year 2016-17, approximately 17% of pupils in elementary school selected computer science subjects. The only mandatory subject with partial computer content is in the first year of general and classical gymnasiums and in the second year of professional
gymnasium. It is called Informatika. Development of digital competences and meaningful use of ICT is involved In the curricula of elementary schools and gymnasiums, but these skills are not assess externally. Recent findings indicate that if we want students to be integrate into the information society, they need to develop digital competences and at the same time get acquainted with computer science content. Unfortunately, Slovenia is lagging behind in this area.
Computational thinking a s (meta-) cognitive strategy
dr. Sonja Čotar Konrad, UP PEF in dr. Katja Košir, UM PeF
In the presentation, arising from some common myths about the computer use and the importance of developing computing competencies in students, some positive possible effects of learning computing will be indicated. More specially, computational thinking as one of the most important skills that should be fostered by teaching computing will be presented. Three key theses that support the systematic development of computational thinking in children and adolescents will be presented: (1) the ability of the effective management of the digital world is crucial for effective coping with contemporary (professional) challenges; (2) systematic development of the computational thinking skills is training in problem solving skills and (3) developing computational thinking can potentially lead to the long-term empowerment of students in developing perseverance in coping with failure and, consequently, increasing students' resilience.
Informatics to people
Tone Stanovnik, Chamber of commerce and industry of Slovenia - ZITex and Špica International
Our final goal is a prosperity of Slovenians in a global world. Slovene language, social sciences and humanities are definitely the basis from which the future of Slovenianship grows, but without globally successful companies we can die in an early childhood having the most beautiful words promoting freedom on our lips. Slovenia and the whole Europe are in problems, because the most profitable internet companies are so far growing their roots in America and Asia. Therefore it is our primary duty to create conditions for our children that they can find their prosperity in Slovenia. Furthermore, that they can go abroad learn the trends of the future, and then come back to make their families on the most beautiful piece of the World, and then send their children to the best schools with the most advanced study programmes. Moreover, we have to make conditions such that they will keep their bank accounts in Slovenia. To conclude, it is our duty to find a proper balance between two so antagonistic terms which interleaving can bring us the break through: Digital but Human.
Status and trends of computer science education in the world
dr. Matjaž Kljun, UP FAMNIT in dr. Matej Črepinšek, UM FERI
The integration of computer science education in primary and secondary schools is by far a marginal topic in the world. Quite the contrary, in many countries, it is one of the main themes in political and educational circles. The needs of teaching computer science skills as one of the basic skills of the 21st century have been also reported and expressed by the European Commission, corporate sector, studies of individual countries and researchers, and non-governmental organizations such as the United Nations and the ACM. The debate involves hundreds of teachers and experts around the world. The aforementioned reports and studies form the basis for introducing computer science into primary and secondary education and provide good practices that countries around the world use to adapt their curricula tailored to local needs. We are going to present activities of introducing computer science by looking at three examples: England, which introduced compulsory course named Computing in 2012, Poland, which has introduced compulsory course named Informatyka in 2017, and New Zealand, where the updated curriculum of the Digital Technologies course will come into effect in 2018.
Dejavnosti MIZŠ na področju vključevanja in promocije RIN v izobraževanju
mag. Borut Čampelj, MIZŠ
The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport is proactive in integration and promotion of Computer Science in education. In the Strategic Guidelines for the further ICT Implementation in the Slovenian VIZ by 2020 is stated that we will spread internationally comparable digital competences of the learners (independent problem solving in the information learning environment) and encourage the development of learners’ higher cognitive competences (development of algorithms and programming). In 2016, MESS also appointed an interdisciplinary team of experts to prepare the document of upgrading existing situation of integration Computer Science in lessons and other school activities. MESS is up to date of activities at the EU and international level, and actively contributes to the upgrading of strategies, reports and recommendations in EU. Especially, computational thinking has been one of the main drivers recently. However, it is important that this content is very concrete in school lessons through new development running projects. For example, in the project NA-MA POTI (NAravoslovno MAtematična Pismenost, Opolnomočenje, Tehnologija in Interaktivnost/Science and Math Literacy, Empowerment, Technology and Interactivity) participate 90 basic, upper secondary and VET schools, as well as the National Education Institute (as a project coordinator), Faculties from 3 Slovenian Universities and also Public Research Institutes, which will establish conditions for sustainability of those activities in the next 5 years. MESS also promotes activities of integration of Computer Science in education, for example: Code Week or Hour of Code, the Cisco and Oracle Academy, the online community of teachers under Microsoft platforms, and collaborates with faculties in running projects (e.g. project Napoj funded by Google).
dr. Jože Rugelj, UL PeF, dr. Irena Nančovska, UL PeF and dr. Janez Demšar, UL FRI
Formal frameworks within which the education of computer science and informatics teachers in Slovenian primary and secondary schools takes place will be presented in our presentation. We will analyze the competences that teachers acquire in the various forms of their education and present our experiences in this field and recent developments in the field of didactics that should be included in study programs for teacher education in the process of their modernization.
We will continue with a discussion about professional development for computer science teachers, which deepens their knowledge and introduces them to new technologies and approaches, as well as teachers of other subjects and primary level teacher that wish to include elements of computer science to other, non-CS related courses.
Example of activity fostering computational thinking in a primary school
Nataša Kermc, Primary school Brežice
Students enrolled into a primary school are able to get involved with activities connected to CS through which they can develop computational thinking only if they take part in an optional elective subject in the second triad or if they participate in an interest activity. Activities and tools how to teach students starting in the first grade are going to be presented as well as their products: CS Unplugged, examples connected with a competition called Beaver, examples taken from code.org, various tools (Scratch, LEGO WeDo and LEGO Mindstorms, Microsoft Touch Develop, micro:bit). Concerns and challenges experienced by teachers when teaching CS as an optional elective subject are going to be highlighted.
Computer science as a way of communication
Gregor Anželj, Gimnazija Bežigrad
The computer is a tool that enables us to solve various problems. Procedures for solving these problems are called algorithms and we use programming languages to describe them. We can look at programming languages as "foreign" languages, which we must learn in order to "command" a computer how to solve given problems. When learning programming languages, we encounter the problem of learning the syntax and semantics of the programming language at the same time. The syntax are the grammatical rules of the programming language, and the semantics is the correctness of the meaning of the unambiguously expressed steps of the algorithm. With the help of visual programming languages or visual programming, one can commit only to semantic correctness and sanity of algorithms. The visual programming language enviroments removes initial errors associated with the syntax, by allowing only syntactically correct assembly of algorithms. This article will show, how to get students without prior programming experience accustomed to algorithmic thinking by means of visual programming.
Temeljna znanja računalništva in informatike in kdo je za njih odgovoren
mag. Alenka Krapež, Gimnazija Vič
Enabling the students to develop into responsible and sensitive people is a wish of every headmaster and headmistress. At the same time, they are obliged to comply with every regulation from Organization and Financing of Education Act to Employment Relationship Act and the valid curriculum. Sadly the latter is of a different time and put together without insight into the inevitable urgency of the basic knowledge required to work and live in a digital society. The basic knowledge that cannot be presented by any other subject but the subject currently known as informatics, which takes up only one sixteenth of the lessons in the first year. Even though the headmaster or headmistress is permitted to arrange the surplus of lessons (3 in the second and third year, and 11 in the fourth year, but those are taken up by the preparations for the Matura exam), those lessons are arranged very differently in various grammar schools … Due to the mandatory curriculum, many Headmasters and Headmistresses find themselves facing a real problem, even though they are aware that we are educating and raising the makers of the future (and not just intelligent consumers) ...
Overview of the NGOs offering Computer Science courses and other initiatives aimed at digital literacy
Katja Koren Ošljak, Slovenian CodeWeek Ambassador
Overview of non-governmental organizations and other initiatives offering classes in programming, computer science and other related education in Slovenia, aimed at raising digital literacy. The speaker will highlight the examples of good practice and the challenges that computer training organizers encounter in their work.