Computing as a discipline has common roots with mathematics and written languages, and computing as a way of thinking and handling has been integral to human culture since ever. This is not only a reasonable argument for convincing society to consider informatics as one of the very fundamental pillars of education, but it also puts the potential contributions of teaching informatics in schools into the correct perspective in the context of science and humanities. Many European countries are switching from teaching information technologies to informatics education during the current second decade of this century. Informatics curriculum is becoming a central part of school education. We explain and design a way of developing informatics curriculum that offer the critical competences new generations need to survive and thrive in todays’ knowledge society and will allow them to contribute to the future development of society. These competences also strongly support the development of their intellectual potential and creativity. Our design of informatics curriculum takes into account the interaction with other scientific disciplines as well with the subject didactics, pedagogy and psychology. The starting point is merging constructionism and critical thinking. Constructionism with its “learning by doing” and “learning by getting things to work” enables designing a teaching process in which students acquire knowledge by creating products, analysing the properties and the functionality of their own products, and finally derive motivation to improve these products. Critical thinking asks us not to teach products of science and technology and their application, but to teach the creative process of their development. To implement this approach, we use the historical method allowing the students to learn by productive failures in the process of searching for a solution. To organize the process of learning and make the different steps available to the appropriate age groups we take into account the cognitive dimensions of the revised taxonomy of Bloom. To illustrate how the combination of all these concepts works we present a detailed curriculum for algorithm design, programming, robotics, and communication in networks.
The paper discusses a certain type of competitions based on distance interaction of a participant with simulation models of concepts from discrete mathematics and computer science. One of them is the “Construct, Test, Explore” (CTE) competition, developed by the authors, the other is the Olympiad in Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Informatics (DM&TI). The tasks presented in this paper are generally devoted to the concept of a graph isomorphism. Most of the tasks are verified automatically.
Computer science concepts have an important part in other subjects and thinking computationally is being recognized as an important skill for everyone, which leads to the increasing interest in developing computational thinking (CT) as early as at the comprehensive school level. Therefore, research is needed to have a common understanding of CT skills and develop a model to describe the dimensions of CT. Through a systematic literature review, using the EBSCO Discovery Service and the ACM Digital Library search, this paper presents an overview of the dimensions of CT defined in scientific papers. A model for developing CT skills in three stages is proposed: i) defining the problem, ii) solving the problem, and iii) analyzing the solution. Those three stages consist of ten CT skills: problem formulation, abstraction, problem reformulation, decomposition, data collection and analysis, algorithmic design, parallelization and iteration, automation, generalization, and evaluation.
Context: concept Maps (CMs) enable the creation of a schematic representation of a domain knowledge. For this reason, CMs have been applied in different research areas, including Computer Science. Objective: the objective of this paper is to present the results of a systematic mapping study conducted to collect and evaluate existing research on CMs initiatives in Computer Science. Method: the mapping study was performed by searching five electronic databases. We also performed backward snowballing and manual search to find publications of researchers and research groups that accomplished these studies. Results: from the mapping study, we identified 108 studies addressing CMs initiatives in different subareas of Computer Science that were reviewed to extract relevant information to answer a set of research questions. The mapping shows an increasing interest in the topic in recent years and it has been extensively investigated due to support in teaching and learning. Conclusions: based on our results we conclude that the use of CMs as an educational tool has been widely accepted in Computer Science.
Research on the effectiveness of introductory programming environments often relies on post-test measures and attitudinal surveys to support its claims; but such instruments lack the ability to identify any explanatory mechanisms that can account for the results. This paper reports on a study designed to address this issue. Using Noss and Hoyles' constructs of webbing and situated abstractions, we analyze programming novices playing a program-to-play constructionist video game to identify how features of introductory programming languages, the environments in which they are situated, and the challenges learners work to accomplish, collectively affect novices' emerging understanding of programming concepts. Our analysis shows that novices develop the ability to use programming concepts by building on the suite of resources provided as they interact with the computational context of the learning environment. In taking this approach, we contribute to computer science education design literature by advancing our understanding of the relationship between rich, complex introductory programming environments and the learning experiences they promote.
We present an overview of the nature of academic dishonesty with respect to computer science coursework. We discuss the efficacy of various policies for collaboration with regard to student education, and we consider a number of strategies for mitigating dishonest behaviour on computer science coursework by addressing some common causes. Computer science coursework is somewhat unique, in that there often exist ideal solutions for problems, and work may be shared and copied with very little effort. We discuss the idiosyncratic nature of how collaboration, collusion and plagiarism are defined and perceived by students, instructors and administration. After considering some of the common reasons for dishonest behaviour among students, we look at some methods that have been suggested for mitigating them. Finally, we propose several ideas for improving computer science courses in this context. We suggest emphasizing the intended learning outcomes of each assignment, providing tutorial sessions to facilitate acceptable collaboration, delivering quizzes related to assignment content after each assignment is submitted, and clarifying the boundary between collaboration and collusion in the context of each course. While this discussion is directed at the computer science community, much may apply to other disciplines as well, particularly those with a similar nature such as engineering, other sciences, or mathematics.
The International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) aspires to be a science olympiad alongside such international olympiads in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. Informatics as a discipline is well suited to a scientific approach and it offers numerous possibilities for competitions with a high scientific standing. We argue that, in its current form, the IOI fails to be scientific in the way it evaluates the work of the contestants.
In this paper, we describe the major ingredients of the IOI to guide further discussions. By presenting the results of an extensive analysis of two IOI competition tasks, we hope to create an awareness of the urgency to address the shortcomings. We offer some suggestions to raise the scientific quality of the IOI.
Computers, information and communication technology (ICT) are more and more involved in the education process. Students should learn to use information technologies (IT) in a suitable, effective way, and when learning any subject they should be capable to implement computer facilities and thus develop their learning methods. Competitions are an excellent tool to achieve these goals. Competitions play an important role as a source of inspiration and innovation - youngsters are attracted by competitions, they get easier involved in such an activity, more willingly discuss and become more active. IT contests may be a key to the potential of new knowledge and an attractive way of binding up technology and education.
Interest in competitions essentially depends on problems. Really, choosing and developing interesting tasks (problems) is one of the most important issues bringing students into competitions. Attraction, invention, tricks, surprise should be desirable features of each problem presented to competitors. The problems have to be carefully selected, taking into account the different aspects of each problem. IT competitions should encourage students to think about computer science and to understand what it can be.
Introduction to computers, learning by using ICT are the actions aimed at solution and analysis of particular problems. Before starting IT competitions, tasks must be planned very carefully and based on some theoretical analysis. The main attention is paid to develop some criteria for creating as well as selecting tasks.
The history of the Lithuanian IT competition named ''Beaver'' started on October 21, 2004. Approximately 3500 students from about 150 comprehensive schools were involved in it. Afterwards, the workshop of participants from several foreign countries was held and building of a framework of the international ``Beaver'' competition was started. The paper deals with theoretical and practical issues of developing new kinds of competition in IT in Lithuania, called ``Beaver''.