Informatics education at primary: Systematic, sustainable, for all

dr. Ivan Kalaš, Comenius University Bratislava

Even though teaching informatics as a compulsory subject is a hot topic everywhere today, we are still looking for what it should actually be, what content to choose, what pedagogical methods to use, who should teach it and how to prepare teachers for it. We started with informatics at upper secondary level a long time ago. Then we realised that we needed to start earlier – at the lower secondary school. But even that was too late to get all pupils interested in programming, for example. And too late to use the potential of informatics for the holistic development of pupils. So, once again, a major restoration! We moved down even lower to start at the primary.

When we completed the ScratchMaths project at UCL Institute of Education in 2016 (for Year 5 and 6 pupils), I made a big decision: If we wanted the building to be solid, we needed to start from the ground up. Together with a team of colleagues, we moved our efforts full steam ahead to the primary school.

We started a long-term project of development and research named Informatics with Emil, which created a comprehensive method, educational content and teacher materials for the first level and is already used by more than 400 schools in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. In my talk I will present our background, the structure of the educational content, the pedagogical method and the support we provide to teachers. The amazing opportunity to build modern informatics as a systematic, useful and sustainable subject for all pupils is simply not to be missed.

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