pSkills: Programming Skills Development in Secondary Education by means of Modern Educational Programming Languages

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pSkills aims at making programming courses in secondary education viable, attractive and effective by leveraging recent advances in education programming languages.

The primary target group of pSkills is secondary education computer science teachers: the project organised two Summer Schools for teachers and established an Affiliate Network to further support teachers' professional development.

The specific objectives of the projects were:

  • To document the current state of the art in computer science teaching in secondary education and the opportunities that arise from using modern technologies and pedagogical approaches
  • To identify teacher training needs
  • To provide a common European curriculum for computer science teachers and computer science courses harmonised with EU policies and objectives
  • To create national curricula for the participating countries that will conform to the common European curriculum and will take into account the specific national needs and conditions
  • To set up a training network that will connect computer science teachers from the European Countries to exploit the results of the pSkills project and exchange experiences and best practices in computer-science teaching
  • To build a resources repository of teaching tools and training material developed by the project
  • To establish training communities and design and implement appropriate training scenarios in the context of an assessment framework
  • To organise an intensive Summer School for teacher training.

Basic information

Country: Austria, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy

Coordinator: Technical University of Crete, Greece, en.tuc.gr

Programme: LLP

Project Acronym:

Target groups: secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, university lecturers

Topic: Computer science, Information technology

Start year: 2010

End year: 2011

Url: http://pskills.ced.tuc.gr

Contact person: Nektarios Moumoutzis, Technical University of Crete, Greece, nektar (at) ced.tuc.gr

The aim of the research work of pSkills is to document the state of the art in computer-science teaching in secondary schools and identify the necessary conditions for exploiting modern pedagogical approaches and educational programming languages. 

The project research activities include:

  • survey on the current status and curricula of teacher training and student training in the countries involved and the EU
  • survey on educational programming languages and pedagogical approaches
  • tools selection and identification of the new curricula requirements
     

The main outcomes of the research work:

  • Survey on Current Curricula
  • Survey on Pedagogical Models
  • Survey on Educational Programming Languages
  • Curricula Recommendations

All the teacher training materials developed by pSkills are available on the Multimedia Open Learning Environment (MOLE), which integrates advanced course management services, rich communication spaces and a repository of learning resources. The resources form the basis for the pSkills teacher summer schools and teacher workshops.

Other teacher materials include guidelines for the use of the pSkills methodology and tools:

  • First steps with Scratch, a collection of five learning activities to start working with Scratch.
  • Guides and Manuals
  • Learning Scenarios
  • Material for selected learning scenarios
  • Scripts for training material development
     

The pSkills pedagogical approach relies on the specification of learning scenarios as a design tool that helps teachers prepare better courses and reflect on them after their implementation. The project developed four scenarios; others were developed by the participants of the pSkills Summer Schools.

Another important element of pSkills teacher training is scripts to facilitate creation of lesson activities by teachers. A specific script is available for each subject of the Common European Curriculum, containing the steps that can be followed to teach the corresponding topics. These steps can be also used for preparing the corresponding classroom activities or through services offered by a learning environment, such as the MOLE platform.

pSkills organised two Summer Schools in 2011 and 2012 in Crete; the third pSkills Summer School is planned to take place in 2013. Information about the programme and registration will be provided on the pSkills website.

 

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