TeaEdu4CT – Computational thinking for the teachers of the future

Monday 25 January 2021

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Computational thinking involves taking a complex problem and breaking it down into a series of smaller, more manageable problems (decomposition). Each of these smaller problems can then be examined individually, considering how similar problems have been solved before (pattern recognition) and focusing only on the important details, ignoring irrelevant information (abstraction). Next, simple steps or rules can be designed to solve each of the smaller problems (algorithms). Finally, these simple steps or rules are used to solve the complex problem as efficiently as possible by telling a person or computer what to do.

Being able to turn a complex problem into one that we can easily understand is a skill that is extremely useful in everyday life, and is the cornerstone of the digital world: computers and machines do not think for themselves, but need detailed instructions from humans to function. Computational thinking allows you to know exactly what to tell the person or computer to do to solve the problem. Producing step-by-step directions to solve a problem is computational thinking, while following directions is programming.

Computational thinking skills will become more and more in demand in the future, and it is essential that they are an integral part of teaching. The ability of future teachers to understand and transfer these skills becomes crucial. A review of teacher education programmes is therefore necessary.

The project Future Teachers Education: Computational Thinking and STEAM (TeaEdu4CT) is designed to promote the teaching of Computational Thinking at different levels of education and across disciplines, paying attention to pedagogical and didactical aspects but not forgetting the technical aspects. The project’s target group is future teachers of all disciplines in pre-school, primary and secondary schools.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions applied in the TeaEdu4CT partner countries certainly had an impact on the project, leading to changes in the management and the course of the project, but our work did not stop.

Over the past months, we have continued to develop training materials for future teachers on different aspects of computational thinking and learning in STEAM disciplines, to foster their understanding of concepts related to computing and digital technologies. The materials developed can be integrated into university curricula and lifelong education activities. The following 10 training modules have been completed:

  • M1 – Framework for the development of the modules: CT&STEAM for future teacher education;
  • M2 – General introduction of CT: a basic module suitable for all teachers;
  • M3 – CT for pre-school (kindergarten) prospective teachers: specific features, approaches and practical solutions;
  • M4 – CT for primary education prospective teachers: specific features, approaches and practical solutions;
  • M5 – CT for STEM prospective teachers: specific features, approaches and practical solutions;
  • M6 – CT for informatics (computing) prospective teachers: specific features, approaches and practical solutions;
  • M7 – CT for language arts and humanities prospective teachers: specific features, approaches and practical solutions;
  • M8 – Educational environments for CT: design and aspects of integration;
  • M9 – Using Constructivism, and Project and Challenge Driven Pedagogy for learning CT;
  • M10 – Technological, pedagogical and instructional design aspects of teaching CT for STEAM.

The modules are currently being evaluated by a group of external experts. The TeaEdu4CT project pays special attention to the quality control and improvement process. CESIE and Vilnius University, who are responsible for Quality Assurance in the project, have developed a Quality Assurance Plan with specific criteria and tools for evaluating the project management and results. The review process includes internal and external evaluation of the project modules and use of the evaluation results for quality improvement of the training modules.

In the next phase, the training modules will be piloted in the partner countries.

Are you a prospective teacher or are you a university teacher or teacher trainer interested in offering this training to a group of students?

Contact Alessia Valenti: alessia.valenti@cesie.org.

Read more about TeaEdu4CT.

Contact Alessia Valenti: alessia.valenti@cesie.org.

CESIE