International experience in informatics curriculum development


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International experience in informatics curriculum development

  1. 1. International experience in informatics curriculum development Mart Laanpere, PhD, senior researcher in the Institute of Informatics, Tallinn University Moldova CEED II project on Informatics curriculum development :: Chisinau, July 23-24 2014
  2. 2. Estonia: facts & figures  Population: 1,29 million  NATO (2003), EU (2004), Schengen zone (2007), EURO currency (2011)  520 K-12 schools, 14 000 teachers  Strong ICT sector:  13% of yearly national export  4% of employees  Highest average salary across sectors  Skype, Playtech, Nortal, Regio, TransferWise
  3. 3. IT in schools: Estonian Juku computers PCs for schools, Informatics = programming 1986 Tiger Leap Foundation, 1st strategy 1993 Internet arrives Estonia 1st national curriculum 19971989 Graduated teachers’ college, teacher of maths School principal, informatics curriculum team MSc in Holland, teaching in university Personal timeline National strategies Back- ground
  4. 4. Teachers portal 2nd strategy: TigerLeap + Intel TTF 1998 E-university, IT Foundation 2002 2nd national curriculum, no informatics Boom in Estonian IT industry 20042001 Teaching IT in teacher ed, MA Educ. multimedia Chairman of informatics curriculum team Researcher, international projects ECDL arrives Estonia
  5. 5. 3rd strategy: Learning Tiger TLF strategy, SITES, PISA 2006 Strategy of lifelong learning 2020 2010 EstWin project 3rd national curriculum 20132008 International research projects Koolielu portal, MA EdTech, OER, Dippler PhD, informatics projects in Serbia ITL, ICT cluster
  6. 6. Curriculum: key concepts  Bobbitt (1918): curriculum is the range of experiences (directed and undirected), concerned with unfolding of the abilities of learners  Curriculum: plans made for guiding the learning (in the form of documents), together with their actualisation in classrooms, as experienced by learners and seen by observers  Not everything that is written in curriculum document is supported by resources (time, teachers, textbooks), taught, assessed and, eventually, learned
  7. 7. The types of curriculum Written curriculum Supported curriculum Taught curriculum Tested curriculum Intended curriculum Recommended curriculum Learned curriculum Hidden curriculum
  8. 8. Curriculum rationales  Rational-linear rationale (Tyler, Taba 1949): experts are setting goals, selecting and sequencing learning experiences, planning assessment  Naturalistic-deliberative rationale (Schwab, Walker): dialogical and iterative process of moving towards consensus involving various stakeholders and alternative proposals  Artistic rationale (Eisner): curriculum is never finalised, the best curriculum is born after teaching, teacher is a creative professional ArtistPoliticianEngineer
  9. 9. Discussion  Define curriculum in the context of current CEED II project  Should we try to achieve the perfect match between written and taught curriculum? Why?  What is the ultimate impact of the changes in the informatics curriculum in case of the most optimistic scenario?
  10. 10. Becoming a school subject  Goodson describes traditional view: dominant (economic or academic) groups exercise control over presumably subordinate groups in the definition of school knowledge  Examples from Estonia: mathematics exam, driving schools  Some school subjects reflect academic disciplines, some have preceded their parent disciplines (Layton: the case of science as a subject in UK, Goodson: the case of geography)  The most powerful academic and professional communities are medical and juridical: no such school subjects  Informatics is not a separate school subject in many countries
  11. 11. Informatics as a separate subject ICT is integrated into other subjects Both Curriculum does not target any computing/ICT competencies Data is missing Source: Eurydice 2004 Informatics in K-9 school curricula Informatics in upper-secondary curricula
  12. 12. Discussion  What could be the reasoning behind excluding informatics subject form school curricula in so many countries?  How could it affect the economy and higher education in these countries?
  13. 13. Body of knowledge in school informatics  Three alternative sources/communities/vocabularies:  Computer science: academic discipline in university (programming, algorithms, data structures, networks, architectures, and computational thinking skills)  ICT skills/Digital Literacy: universal ICT application skills at the future workplace (ECDL: office software, internet)  E-learning: ICT as a pedagogical tool for teaching and learning different subjects (presentations, Web publishing, digital creativity, online collaboration)  Each of these have both advantages and disadvantages – could you name some?
  14. 14. Computing in UK schools  Until 2012: ICT as an optional subject and cross-curricular theme, programming only extra-curricular (600 Coding Clubs)  Computing at School initiative (2013) with central thesis: Computer science is a proper, rigorous school subject discipline, on a par with mathematics or chemistry, that every child should learn from primary school onwards.  GCSE in computing piloted 2010-2012, now available for all  2013: CS included in English Baccalaureate  2014: CS included in the new national curriculum, see
  15. 15. School informatics in France  Until 2001, most of the schools taught ICT skills as integrated into other subjects; the Ministry introduced B2i (Informatics & Internet Certificate) that states required competences for each grade level  2012: the new course for Grade 12, “Informatique et Sciences du Numerique” (ISN), which is one of the four choices in the Science strand (students in Technology strand can also take it)  ISN concept in 4 thematic areas: data representation, algorithms, languages and programming, and computer architecture  Programming: no specific language requirements (has to be free), most schools use Python or Java (through Java’s Cool)  Project-based learning, projects are assessed as a part of national exam
  16. 16. School informatics in Italy  Most of the schools teach only ICT application skills (ECDL), as there is shortage of qualified teachers and no interest among students & parents towards computer science  Informatics is a compulsory course only in the Scientific Lyceum, focused on Applied Sciences (32000 pupils learn it 2 hours per week for 5 years).  In addition, Mathematics course in all the Lyceum schools in the first two years should also include “Elements of informatics”: concept of algorithm and algorithmic strategies to solve simple problems, concepts of computable function, decidability.
  17. 17. Germany  Informatics is an optional subject in upper-secondary schools, which can be taken in addition (not as substitution) of other Science subject; 20% of students in Grade10 and 10% in Grades 11-12 take this course  Contents: Object Oriented Modelling (including programming), Entity-Relationship-Modelling, Automata, Algorithmic Modelling, Functional Modelling (optional), Rule-Based Modelling (optional), Formal Languages, Computer-Human- Interaction, Privacy, Security, Computer Architecture, Computability, (Practical) Efficiency, and Societal Issues.  Recent initiative: GI computer science standards for Grades 5-9
  18. 18. Computer Science in schools of USA  High level of heterogeneity, most schools teach digital literacy integrated to other subjects, instead of CS as a separate subject  CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards (2011), based on ACM Model  AP course “Computer Science” focuses narrowly on Java programming (until 1999: Pascal, 1999-2003: C++), 31 000 students passed this course in 2013  New AP course “Computer Science: Principles” (launches in 2016) has a broader focus on computational thinking rather than merely on programming (see; built on 6 Computational Thinking Practices: Analyzing the Effects of Computation, Creating Computational Artifacts, Using Abstractions & Models, Analyzing Problems & Artifacts, Communicating Processes and Results, Working Effectively In Teams
  19. 19. School informatics in Russia Federal Education Standard:
  20. 20. Computing in Swedish schools  Grades 1 – 9 curriculum includes digital literacy topics such as “the flow of information”, how to use digital technology, and to develop critical thinking about the information available on the Internet  In upper secondary school computing courses (incl courses on programming) are elective for all students.  IT-related courses are mandatory in few of the 18 programmes offered by upper secondary schools:  the Technology Programme has one orientation “Information and media technology”, which offers courses in computer communication, programming, digital media, web development, and computers and ICT;  the Electricity and Energy Programme has one orientation “Computers and ICT”, with no requirements of programming
  21. 21. Conclusions  Computer science is confused with media literacy and ICT  Too much change: pendulum moved from computer science to ICT, now it is heading back – schools are resisting change  Insufficient quantity and quality of teachers  Many constraints from national curriculum framework, which makes good examples hard to transfer to other country  Students do not like traditional/theoretical approach  Next: how school informatics in three Baltic countries went completely different directions after 1991
  22. 22. Some Rights Reserved  This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit  The photo on the title slide comes from user Michael Surran