Based on the shared concern about the lack of a common strategy for teaching and learning Computational Thinking across Europe, 3 teachers (Ts) from Belgium, Italy and Spain started thinking of a transnational experience of introducing Coding and Robotics into the curriculum.
The initial team included a teacher training association, a primary school and a secondary school, but we wanted to extend it to more countries to have the maximum of difference in the strategies in National curricula. To do so, we looked for more partners across Europe and beyond to start an ERASMUS+ project, with Estonian, Polish and Turkish Ts: a total of 1 teacher training association, 2 secondary schools and 3 primary schools.
The main goal of CaRoMtE project is to improve digital literacy in our students (Ss), on abstract coding of relevant information related with their environment, its transmission to other student or device and its use to build significant knowledge and solving real life problems. These requirements will be achieved by a collaborative environment defined with teams of Ss, grouped by ages, in which the older ones will train, support, challenge and assess the youngers while the younger ones will give the conditions for work to the olders, ask them for challenges, test their artifacts (give feedback for improvement) and assess their job.
The process is scaffolded as follows:
- Initial training of a small group of Ts to be forwarded in their schools: to create a cohort of trained Ts to support the project on the ground;
- Ss are trained on the basics of coding and robotics so that they can share a common language to interact and collaborate;
- Secondary Ss design and create some challenging labyrinths (in a videogame fashion), including Math problems to be solved, adapted to the level of the primary Ss from different countries;
- Primary Ss set the conditions to be matched by the artifacts designed by their secondary mates;
- Feedback is shared bidirectionally in a Participatory Design Workshop fashion, for improvement: primary Ss test artifacts and assess the final work of their secondary mates, while secondary Ss assess their primary mates work both from the point of view of establishing clear, realistic and affordable conditions and from the point of view of giving relevant and motivational feedback.
We are interested in putting together collaborative problem solving, mentoring, peer-to-peer assessment and asynchronous collaboration as strategies for teaching and learning with ICT support in order to build significant knowledge shared with the community in a common foreign language: English.
After the project we expect to:
- Change the mind of our school administrators/faculty/community with respect to teaching & learning of coding and robotics (from theoretical & applied points of view);
- Improve our Ss’ digital literacy, changing them from content consumers into creators of significant knowledge;
- Improve our Ss’ digital citizenship through the interaction with Ss and Ts from other countries, knowing their differences and commonalities;
- Define new strategies for collaborative learning and teaching by sharing different activities and evaluating their impact in the common context of our schools and in the different contexts of our countries;
- Start and consolidate a space of collaboration related with ICT tools in education, hoping that many other schools may join to make this experience more and more relevant for our Ss as future citizens.
Keywords: Computational thinking, Coding, Robotics, Integration with curricula, English, Math, Collaborative work, Peer2peer, Peer-to-peer, Teacher training.
Article written by: Giovanna Bicego, Istituto Comprensivo Valdagno 2 (Italy).