Training Workshop on Computer Science Education | 23-37 October 2017, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Training Workshop on Computer Science Education
23-27 October 2017, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Science occupies a unique position as a major driver and enabler and in the actions to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Science for example contributes to health and well-being and provides ways to improve livelihood in order to eradicate poverty. Science provides access to new technologies which can improve incomes and therefore increase the level of living conditions and promote socio-economic development. Science also promotes the understanding of natural processes, provides solutions in combating climate change, halts the loss of biodiversity, conserves resources for sustainable development and fosters innovations.
The basis for the critical thinking, creativity and innovativeness that comes with science begins in school. Science education is vital in training the mind, understanding science ideas and the world, making choices, and solving problems. Science teaching must therefore be such that it promotes the development of critical thinking, innovative ideas, positive attitudes and curiosity towards science, enhances interest and motivation and engaging. Investigation, experimentation and raising relevant questions by the pupils’ become the main characteristics of a science lesson.
Computer science is now considered as a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subject in the broad sense and is being introduced in many countries as a stand-alone subject in the curriculum. The impetus to introduce this subject in the curriculum mainly arises from the technological development as we move into the digital age, in which our lives and just about everything is associated with software. While the future will certainly be a world with interactive screens, the number of people writing the software required by these ever growing screens is not increasing. Computer Science is designed to train the mind towards thinking logically and creatively to solve a problem. Coding teaches logic skills and problem solving and this will assist children to succeed in the digital world. Programming algorithm describes the exact steps that tells the computer to take to solve problems. It is reported that more and more jobs in the future require coding skills and that programming jobs are growing at a rapid rate. Hence there is the need to include learning to write and read code and programming in the school syllabus.
Inquiry-based Science Education (IBSE) has been internationally recognised as an effective teaching strategy in developing the minds. Students learn how to ask questions and use evidence to answer them. In the process of learning the strategies of scientific inquiry, students learn to conduct an investigation and collect evidence from a variety of sources, develop an explanation from the data, and communicate and defend their conclusions. In view of the positive findings on IBSE, the International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation under the auspices of UNESCO (ISTIC) in collaboration with Foundation La main à la pate will be organising a Training Workshop on Computer Science Education.
Thematic Programme “1, 2, 3 Codez”
The current interpretation of ‘computer science’ includes both the ‘un-plugged’ component in which the computer is not used at all and the ‘plugged’ activities which use the computer. This is different from the usual understanding of ‘computer science’ which refers to the use of computer to enhance learning, and the knowledge and skills in using software such as word, power-point etc.
The Foundation La main à la pate is currently implementing project “1,2,3…Codez” which is on “Computer Science” in French classes using the thematic approach covering different themes including history of science and techniques, algorithms, languages, programming etc. and emphasizing project work and pedagogy based on inquiry.
In order to help teachers, the Foundation La main à la pate has developed a guide book which includes resources which have been tested in the classroom on ‘unplugged’ and ‘plugged’
activities that allow teachers to focus on algorithm, robotics and programming. The project also has a training plan for teachers and a dedicated website which both teachers and pupils can use for algorithm, programming and information representation. It is the first in France that offers a complete pedagogical sequence on computer science. The preparation of the book took three years to complete involving fifty experts.
The basic software used is “Scratch” which can be used by children as young as in kindergarten and can be downloaded for free. The project has received tremendous support from the schools and within two months, it has reached more than 13,000 classes surpassing the original target of reaching 10,000 classes in two years.
The main objective of the training workshop is to provide the necessary knowledge and skills to participants on computer science through ‘unplugged’ and ‘plugged' activities and apply these into pedagogical activities.
The outcomes of the training workshop are that:
i) Participants will gain the necessary knowledge and hands-on experience on ‘unplugged’ and ‘plugged’ activities in computer science using IBSE Approach
ii) Participants will gain experience in advanced programming
iii) Participants will be able to develop their own pedagogical projects / activities on computer science