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Methods and Applications of Informatics and Information Technology

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Volume 60, Issue 2


Tensions in specifying computing curricula for K-12: Towards a principled approach for objectives

Mary E. Webb / Tim Bell / Niki Davis / Yaacov J. Katz / Andrew Fluck / Maciej M. Sysło / Ivan Kalaš / Margaret Cox / Charoula Angeli / Joyce Malyn-Smith / Torsten Brinda / Peter Micheuz / Andrej Brodnik
Published Online: 2018-03-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/itit-2017-0017


In this article we examine key issues and tensions for developing and specifying Computing-related elements of curricula design, particularly the role of Computer Science in the curriculum. The article is based on a series of discussions and analyses of curriculum design across various countries with different approaches and traditions of Computing in the curriculum.

Keywords: School curriculum; Computer Science; Curriculum objectives; Digital Citizenship


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About the article

Mary E. Webb

Dr Mary Webb is Reader in Information Technology in Education at King’s College London. As Subject Director for the Computer Science PGCE, Mary has trained secondary teachers of Computing for many years and before that she taught Science and Computing in primary and secondary schools. Mary’s research has examined computer science education, pedagogy and formative assessment and uses of IT for learning and has resulted in over 150 publications. Mary is on the Executive of the International Federation of Information processing (IFIP) Education Committee and leads the Task Force on Computer Science in the curriculum.

Tim Bell

Prof Tim Bell is in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. His main current research interest is computer science education; in the past he has been also worked on computers and music, and data compression. His “Computer Science Unplugged” project is widely used internationally, and its books and videos have been translated into over 20 languages. In 2018 he received the ACM SIGCSE Outstanding Contribution to Computer Science Education award. Recently he has been actively involved in the design and deployment of new computer science curriculum in New Zealand schools.

Niki Davis

Niki Davis is Distinguished Professor of e-Learning and Director of the e-Learning Lab in the University of Canterbury, New Zealand where she also coordinates UC’s postgraduate programmes in ‘e-Learning and Digital Technologies’ in education. This includes ongoing collaboration with Tim Bell and his team in Computer Science. She has an international reputation for technology in teacher education recognised with awards from IFIP and SITE. Current research includes a leading role for the digital world in NZ National Science Challenge ‘A Better Start, e tipu e rea’. Her most recent book is Digital technologies and change in education (Routledge, 2018).

Yaacov J. Katz

Prof Yaacov J Katz is Professor Emeritus at the School of Education, Bar-Ilan University in Israel and now serves as President of Michlalah – Jerusalem Academic College. He specializes in religious education & values, affective education, ICT use in education and social attitudes in education. Prof Katz served as Head of the School of Education at Bar-Ilan University and as Chief Pedagogic Officer of the Israel Ministry of Education where he was responsible for all subject matter taught in Israeli state schools.

Andrew Fluck

Dr. Fluck has taught science, mathematics and computing in Nigeria, England and Australia. He works as a senior lecturer in information technology education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Tasmania. Dr. Fluck’s funded research investigates the transformative use of computers to teach integral calculus and quantum mechanics in primary schools; and eExams, where students take their own computers into the exam hall. He is the chair of Working Group 3.3 (research into educational applications of information technologies) for IFIP/UNESCO. Andrew is also an avid longbow archer and continental archery judge. See more details at http://Andrew.Fluck.id.au.

Maciej M. Sysło

Maciej M. Syslo, mathematician (over 150 publications) and computer scientist – academic and school teacher, instructor at in-service courses for teachers, author of informatics and ICT curricula, educational software, school textbooks and guidebooks for teachers; member of several national committees on education, Polish representative to IFIP TC3; recipient of national and international awards: Steinhaus (Poland, 1986), Car (Poland, 2010), Best Practices in Education Award (Informatics Europe, 2013), IFIP Outstanding Service Award (2014), and grants: Mombusho (Japan, 1974–1976), Humboldt (Germany, 1982–1984), Fulbright (USA, 1996–1997).

Ivan Kalaš

Ivan Kalaš is a professor of Informatics education (Computing) at Comenius University, Bratislava. His professional interests include development of constructionist educational interfaces for learning programming, and research in the field of the impact of digital technologies on learning. Ivan is a co-author of several programming environments for children, including Comenius Logo, Imagine Logo, Thomas the Clown and RNA (Revelation Natural Arts) adopted by thousands of schools, home and abroad. Between 2014 and 2016 he was a lead developer of the UCL ScratchMaths programming interventions for English primary school pupils aged 9 to 11. Currently he leads a development of a novel approach to learning programming as a tool for exploring the concepts around us for pupils aged 8 to 9.

Margaret Cox

Margaret Cox is Professor of IT in Education at King’s College London, and Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne. She has been researching and developing IT in education since 1969, also pioneering the use of haptics in Health care education, which includes directing the award winning hapTEL project. She is the current President of the National Conference of University Professors; joint Editor of the Section (1st and 2nd Edition) Researching IT in Education in the International Handbook entitled the use of IT in primary and Secondary Education which formed the foundation of the Edusummits. As a founder member of the Edusummits she has been a Programme Committee member on since 2009.

Charoula Angeli

Dr. Charoula Angeli is Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Cyprus. She has undergraduate and graduate studies at Indiana University-Bloomington, USA (BS in Computer Science, MS in Computer Science, and Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Technology). She also pursued post-doctoral studies at Learning Research and Development Center (LRCDC), University of Pittsburgh, USA. Her research interests include the utilization of educational technologies in K-12, the design of computer-enhanced curricula, joint cognitive systems, computational thinking, technological pedagogical content knowledge, educational software design, teacher training, teaching methodology, online learning, and the design of learning environments for the development of thinking skills.

Joyce Malyn-Smith

Joyce Malyn-Smith (Ed.D.) leads a body of work at EDC, Inc. (USA) that focuses on how people develop technology skills and knowledge in and out of school, then translate those into a productive and rewarding career. She works with industry to define new/emerging skill sets and dispositions needed to work successfully at the human-technology frontier; and works with educators to integrate those skills and dispositions into curricula K-20. Currently she leads several large-scale, innovative projects focused on the future of work, STEM education, computer science, computational thinking and data/big data.

Torsten Brinda

Prof. Dr. Torsten Brinda studied Computer Science at the University of Dortmund (Diploma 1998). He started his scientific career in the Computing Education Research Groups at the universities of Dortmund (until 2002) and Siegen (until 2005), where he 2004 received his doctoral degree. From 2005 to 2012 he worked as a full professor for computing education research at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, since then in the same position at the University of Duisburg-Essen. He is an active member of ACM SIGCSE, IFIP TC3 and the German Informatics association (GI), where he is the current chairman of the technical committee for “Computing Education Research/Computing and Education”.

Peter Micheuz

Peter Micheuz, born in 1955, is since 1979 an Austrian teacher at the Alpen-Adria-Gymnasium Völkermarkt and since 2000 in charge of teachers’ education for Informatics at the Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt. He is author of textbooks and (inter)national papers, editor of conference proceedings and engaged in regional and national IT projects. He is member of the ECDL board in Austria and since 2015 vice-chair of the IFIP TC3 Working Group 3.1.

Andrej Brodnik

Andrej Brodnik is affiliated with the University of Primorska and the University of Ljubljana. His main research interests include succinct data structures, Computer Science education, and ubiquitous systems. Prof. Brodnik is a member of IEEE and ACM. He is also a winner of the National award for exceptional achievements in higher education and of a number of other national and international rewards. He is author of over 150 scientific papers and conference contributions, and 6 international patents. Google Scholar list over 1,500 citations of his work.

Received: 2017-08-24

Revised: 2018-02-07

Accepted: 2018-02-07

Published Online: 2018-03-22

Published in Print: 2018-04-25

Citation Information: it - Information Technology, Volume 60, Issue 2, Pages 59–68, ISSN (Online) 2196-7032, ISSN (Print) 1611-2776, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/itit-2017-0017.

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