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Towards a Unified Model for Digital Education

Torsten Brinda, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

Abstract: The ongoing process of digitization has led to the development of various strategy papers both on an international as well as on a national level focusing on the question which competences young people should develop during their school education concerning digitalization to be best prepared for what is called the "digital world". The computing education community has developed a number of recommendations for computing curricula (such as K12CS) and has argued, why it is important for everybody to build a basic understanding of the technical principles underlying digitalization. On the other hand, recommendations for "digital competence" (such as DigCom) focus more on developing digital literacy and on adequately selecting and using digital media and this focus is currently preferred by educational politicians in the process of implementation in schools. However, both approaches are just different perspectives on digitalization and should be considered individually during school education for everybody. Since the different concepts do overlap to some extent, we analyzed a choice of them using the method of qualitative content analysis with the aim to detect overlaps and differences in addressed concepts and competencies. The results of this process will be used as the foundation of a "unified model for digital education". First results of this process are shown and the implications for teacher education are discussed.

Further information: Torsten´s homepage

Torsten Brinda studied Computer Science at the University of Dortmund (Diploma 1998). He started his scientific career in the Computing Education Research Groups at the universities of Dortmund (until 2002) and Siegen (until 2005), where he 2004 received his doctoral degree. From 2005 to 2012 he worked as a full professor for computing education research at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, since then in the same position at the University of Duisburg-Essen. His current research interests are learner conceptions and learner interest in the computing field, competency modelling in object-oriented programming, and digital education. He is an active member of ACM SIGCSE, IFIP TC3 and the German Informatics association (GI), where he is the current chairman of the technical committee for “Computing Education Research/Computing and Education”.

Computer Science in Irish Post Primary: Specification Design and Key Skills Integration

Cornelia Connolly, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

Abstract: The society our children are growing up in is one which has been fundamentally transformed by new technology, consequently the curriculum in our education system must prepare them to flourish and equip them with skills for the future. The introduction of Computer Science as a Leaving Certificate subject is part of the Irish Government’s overall commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education to support innovation for the future prosperity of the country. It is envisaged that Computer Science will be an examinable subject made available to all schools in Ireland from September 2020.
Computer Science (CS) has been introduced to post-primary schools for the first time ever in Ireland with forty schools teaching the subject in the initial phased rollout of the subject. In addition, this will be the first time Irish students will have a computerized final State examination. The high-stakes state examination at the end of post-primary level education in Ireland is known as the Leaving Certificate and the results are used to apply to third-level education institutions.
This presentation will describe the development of the Computer Science specification and provide an overview of the subject, with particular attention to the integration of traditional Computer Science concepts and key skills development as part of national post primary education reforms in Ireland.

Further information: Cornelia´s homepage

Cornelia Connolly is a lecturer at the School of Education, National University of Ireland, Galway.
Having graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Engineering and a Masters in Engineering, her PhD studies were in Education where she developed an intervention strategy for students learning computer programming. Cornelia continues her research in innovative pedagogical approaches to STEM education, numerical competency and initial teacher education.
Cornelia was a member of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) Development Group responsible for writing the Computer Science post-primary specification and was elected Fellow of the International Society for Design and Development in Education (ISDDE) in 2018.

Cheerful confusion and a thirst for knowledge: tales from the primary school computing classrooms

Judy Robertson, Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh

Abstract: I have spent many years designing projects and software which I, as a computer scientist, thought would help school children learn about computing. Last year, with an experienced and imaginative teacher educator as my guide, I went on a journey to learn what children and teachers already know about computing and discover what they would like to learn more about. Over the course of ten months, we worked with fourteen primary school teachers who wanted to develop computational thinking in their classrooms. The teachers learned about basic ideas in computational thinking, and developed and adapted interdisciplinary activities to teach these to their learners. Through professional dialogue with their peers, they reflected on, and shared the challenges of using these activities in their classrooms. We visited the classrooms of these teachers to explore the children’s views about the activities and to gauge the children’s knowledge and interest in computing. This was a humbling experience for me as I learned how skilled the teachers were in teaching computational concepts in a way which all their learners could understand, by integrating computational thinking with other curricular activities. I was heartened by the children’s interest and curiosity about computing in their everyday lives, even as I noted their confusion and puzzlement about the interface between hardware and software. As a result of these experiences, I believe that CS educators and researchers should increase our efforts to understand the existing computing knowledge base of children and teachers.

Further information: Judy´s homepage

Judy Robertson is Professor of Digital Learning in the Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh. She taught undergraduate computer science courses for fifteen years, and has led computer science education research projects in primary and secondary schools. Her current role in initial teacher education enables her to focus on strategies for increasing teachers’ competence and confidence in teaching computing to young people. She is particularly interested in improving gender equality in Computer Science.

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