This might sound a bit like a conference, but it was far from it.
In mid-March, we offered a free opportunity for Hungarian, Polish, Serbian, and Slovak IT teachers to participate in an online, interactive, solution-focused process for two days.
We believe in creating a better future by transforming education or the basic culture of pedagogy.
“Coding teaches you how to think.”
Although computer programming was once seen as a skill reserved for geeks and computer nerds, it’s now regarded as an essential ability for 21st-century learners. Steve Jobs remarked that “coding teaches you how to think”. But coding education can also be beneficial for students who aren’t necessarily interested in pursuing computer programming but would like to gain a better understanding of technology and how it’s shaping our world.
In each of the project countries, there are teachers following the CS education trends, who make learning fun, enjoyable and engaging for students. Yet, those teachers mostly work in isolation, they hardly ever share their best practices and rarely work together on projects, especially not with colleagues from outside their immediate environment.
We all experience similar challenges regarding teachers’ motivation and the isolation of innovative solutions. With the support of the grant, we aim to overcome this in order to fuel teachers’ motivation, inner drive and widen their horizons and plant the seed of an engaged regional CS teacher community. On the other hand, there is an overlap in challenges:
lack of new methodologies, how to teach CS in an effective way.
lack of real-life examples in schools, why worth learning CS.
The Regional Computer Science Teacher Weekend look for solutions for these issues.
Why is it necessary to address the issue on a regional level?
Our countries experience similar challenges in terms of computer science education.
Cooperation can be an effective tool to strengthen and spread existing best practices in CS education across regions. Sharing experiences enables us to make the most of existing resources and capacities. Advancing CS education in the region is likely to have the long term effect on helping to succeed in the international competition for jobs, capital, and talent in a growing tech economy. Besides the long term and larger-scale effects, the project will help to build personal connections between teachers from the partner countries which can be the base for future cooperation and knowledge sharing between teachers and schools.
The weekend program consisted of 3 zones:
In the Learning Tech Zone, we bring you two super inspirational speakers who will talk about highly useful ideas for online teaching, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions during the live Q&A session. This Zone also offers you a selection of hands-on workshops, where you can get acquainted with new tools useful for your CS classes. The Best Practice Zone is your chance to show the world what you’ve got! Selected participants will share their real-life experiences and practices that are classroom-ready in five-minute-long pre-recorded videos. Each presentation is followed by a live Q&A session. The Challenge and Learning Zone is designed to solve some of the most pressing challenges of teaching CS. From the bottom up: with people who have real experience in what it takes to be a CS teacher in 2020 and 2021.
Noted foreign and Hungarian speakers led the workshops. In addition to theoretical knowledge, teachers were given the opportunity to learn about different technological tools, as well as ideas and tips on which device is most exciting to use for youngsters: robotics, programming languages, data visualization, and their opportunities and benefits. Beyond many exciting topics, the teachers also began to work diligently during the conference. They took the time to address their day-to-day challenges. They had to consider what they have an impact on and what they don’t have, what they need to be proactive about to get the results. They looked for possible solutions to a particular issue. Experienced teachers showed in pre-recorded videos what best practices they use in a given topic and told their peers what inspired them, their purpose, and why it can be helpful for other IT teachers.
We recorded what was told during the conference, as our plan is not to keep secret the valuable knowledge that has accumulated here, but to make it available to anyone. That’s why we created a platform where all the useful content can be found. In this way, many teachers can receive support, new inputs in these difficult times.
The goal is also to create a professional community where dialogues can begin between teacher and teacher even if they are not sitting next to each other in the teacher’s rooms or in some online conference call. Certain content is beneficial not only for educators but for everyone who is stuck in the digital world and feels that they are starting to lose momentum, patience, good mood.
Check out all the workshops and if you are inspired, submit a video in which you tell us about the best practice that you would like to share with the others! To share your video, please drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The International Visegrad Fund provided the implementation of the program.