Cool Informatics: A New Approach to Computer Science and Cross-Curricular Learning

Abstract

Children grow up as “digital natives“, but nevertheless, they don’t know the concepts behind technology and they don’t choose technical careers because of different reasons. In many countries there is a lack of experts, particularly females, in technology and computer science. Reasons for this situation may be missing interest or the belief that technology is (too) difficult and complex. Hence, it is necessary to arouse the interest in children, especially girls, and to reduce or avoid fears of technology. These are the main aims of COOL Informatics, a teaching approach developed at our university and introduced on different levels of education. This initiative shows that Informatics is “cool” in the sense of interesting, motivating, fun and “easy” by exploring computer science topics in a playful way and integrating them in other subjects. It is partially based on approaches like CS unplugged or Informatik erLeben, but it goes further: It uses informatics concepts like algorithms, coding, modeling, Boolean algebra etc. to support learning in other subjects from elementary education up to university level. The paper gives some examples for different school levels, in part developed in a new Master course for teacher education: “COOL Informatics – Cross-curricular Concepts. They all are developed following neurodidactical principles in order support the brain functioning and the memory process. Furthermore, the paper reports on experiences of students and teachers as well as on empirical results of some pilot projects. Summarizing them, the following core messages can be made: we could enhance the understanding of complex



Author Information
Barbara Sabitzer, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Austria
Stefan Paster, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Austria

Paper Information
Conference: ECTC2014
Stream: New Technologies

This paper is part of the ECTC2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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