The Erasmus+ TACCLE3 coding project is organising an in-service training course in 2018 on how to start with teaching coding at primary school. All costs are covered by an Erasmus+ KA1 grant. But your school should apply for a grant with your own national agency for Erasmus+ before February 2nd.
Contact jens.vermeersch atnospam g-o. be, if you have any questions.
Join us on the Taccle3 coding training course in Dillingen in March 2018.
Please find here the Zenodo Community of “TACCLE3 coding” track on “computational thinking in pre-university education” of the TEEM 2016 conference including all TEEM 2016 papers and presentations related to it, curated by Prof. Dr. Francisco José García Peñalvo, Director del Grupo GRIA, University of Salamanca
During the recent years I have been blogging mostly on our ongoing EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project. This time I leave it at the background. And normally I am not making comments on politics – not of my country of origin (Finland) or of my host country (Germany) nor of any other country. BUT today I cannot help picking up the topic “Brexit” due to various reasons. Let me give three reasons for this:
I think this is enough to clarify, why I cannot leave the topic ‘Brexit’ aside like an old newspaper with news of yesterday and days before. This new period of uncertainty – on both sides of the Channel – is not a matter of some rapid negotiations and then back to ‘normal business’. Now it is time to rethink and reshape the mutual relations on a new basis – and that need time. Let us hope that this time will be used well. I leave my remarks here and try to get back to my usual themes.
More blogs to come …
In my previous blog I started a series on the new phase of our EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project. Currently, in the Construction pilot we have been able to start closer cooperation with a spin-off project. The German-funded DigiProB has started its work and the training centre Bau-ABC and the research institute ITB have a central role to play. The DigiProB project focuses on the training of certified construction site managers (Geprüfte Polier) – see more on this training and on the background of the project in my previous post. In this post I will have a look at the initial interviews and what we may learn from the dialogue with gust trainers/lecturers who are engaged in this training programme.
The reform of the training concept and tensions in the implementation
As I indicated in the previous post, the new training of the certified construction site managers had introduced a new examination model that put an emphasis on integrative tasks and on a concluding project report. In the conceptual preparation for the project proposal we had emphasised the following tensions:
Now that the DigiProB project was started, the initial interviews provided an opportunity to test, whether the above outlined picture was correct and what new features could be learned from the guest trainers/lecturers involved in the programme.
Messages picked from the initial interviews
Currently I am not actively involved in the initial activities of the DigiProB project. At best I have been nearby when my ITB colleagues have carried out interviews. Therefore, I leave it to my colleagues to report on the activities and on the findings in greater detail and in time. Yet, already at this stage it is possible to pick as ‘first impressions’ some messages that come through and have been reflected by my colleagues. Although these are only preliminary signals, not thoroughly analysed findings, it is worthwhile to pay attention to them:
– – –
I leave these first impressions and ‘messages picked from discussions’ here and let my colleagues work with further interviews and the group pictures that we get as a result. Altogether, I believe that the DigiProB project is well-timed and that the trainers/lecturers as well as the learners will be interested to work with the project. However, the project will also pose new challenges for the tool developers and to the project partners who introduce the tools.
More blogs to come …
TACCLE 3 Coding is a new research project which looks at Teachers’ Aids on Creating Content for Learning Environments in the field of coding. It is funded (from 9/2015 to 8/2017) under the European Commission’s Erasmus+ program, key action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices.
The project’s aims are:
• To encourage and support teachers to introduce coding, programming and / or computational thinking as part of the curriculum in the 4 – 14 classroom to better equip pupils to develop the skills needed by the European labor market.
• To broaden teachers’ digital skills base and enhance their professional competence
• To show how entrepreneurial skills can be developed and integrated with programming skills The project objectives are:
• To produce an on-line support package of ideas, activities, materials and downloadable resources for teachers who are teaching coding or programming or who want to.
• To provide CPD courses in a variety of formats and a template and materials for local delivery.
• To establish a dialogue between teachers and programmers, teachers and resource producers, teachers and organizations involved in teaching coding and to act as an agency for exchanges of curricula, ideas and practice.
The demand for ICT professionals continues to grow. The European Commission estimates there will be 700, 000 unfilled vacancies for ICT practitioners in the EU by the year 2016. Of all job vacancies in ICT, computer programmers are the most in demand outnumbering the demand for other IT professionals by a factor of 5 to 1. The greatest demand is in UK, Germany, Estonia and other Northern European countries, which reflects the make up of the project partnership.
Despite this skills shortage, there has been limited response from the European education system. Estonia has already introduced computer programming for all ages across the school curriculum, Denmark partially so. Others are about to introduce it (such as England in 2014) and others are considering it (e.g. Finland, Ireland). Some German Länder such as Bavaria are well advanced; others are not. In other countries, whilst not part of the compulsory curriculum, there are agencies and individual teachers who are trying to introduce programming into the classroom. What seems inevitable is that all member states must surely move in this direction if they are to meet the skills demands of the European economy. The biggest problem we face is a desperate shortage of teachers. Mathematics and computer-science graduates generally choose more lucrative trades; the humanities and social-science graduates who will find themselves teaching coding will need plenty of support as will the primary teachers. In addition the OECD reports that more and more computer programmers prefer to be self-employed or working in micro-SME partnerships and not committed to one particular long-term employer and the vacancy market is beginning to reflect the increase in a new form of employment in the ICT sector. For this reason the project is looking to produce resources for developing entrepreneurship skills alongside programming skills.
The project will:
· Develop a website of activities and ideas that teachers can use in the classroom to teach children about coding and programming. These will support diverse curricula across member states and, where there is no formal curriculum, support individual schools and teachers who want to introduce computing / informatics / programming etc. in their own practice
· Develop some affordable resource kits that can be downloaded or for which instructions for making them can be provided on-line. This could result in selling the resource kits after the project as part of the exploitation and sustainability.
· Design and pilot some staff development opportunities and learning resources for teachers who are total newcomers to programming.
· Stimulate a positive attitude towards STEM with young children
· Test and evaluate existing resources such as the range of software currently available to help children develop programming skills.
· Explore and follow up existing research and projects addressing this issue (e.g. work on Tangible User Interface for children.)
· Enter into policy dialogue and inform policy in countries around issues concerning the teaching and learning of programming in schools” (source: project proposal).
Co-ordinator: Jens Vermeersch, adjunct van de directeur, GO! Onderwijs van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap, afdeling Beleid & Strategie, Internationalisation, Brussels
Pontydysgu, Wales, U.K.,
SGR Antigon Schoöengroep 1, Antwerpen, Belgium
HITSA HariDUE INFOTHHNOLOGIA SIHTASUTUS, Research centre, Tallinn, Estonia
TALLINN University, Tallinn, Estonia
UNIVERSiDAD DE SALAMANCA, Spain
AALTO UNIVERSITY, Helsinki, Finland
University of Eastern Finland, School of Computing, KUOPIO, Finland
We just managed to tranfer the idea of enabling young unemployed people to visualize their vocational experience and biography using digital media to the European level. The research project “Show Your Own Gold (Acronym) develops, tests and evaluates „a European Concept to Visualize and Reflect One’s Vocational Biography Using Digital Media”. It is funded under the ERASMUS+ Key Action 2, Strategic Partnerships programm for 3 years (2014-2017), co-ordinated by IBP/KIT
Aims and objectives
The project aims to develop a European concept for consultancy, including course design, to enable young, unemployed people to display their vocational biography. This is realized by producing media available on a multimedia-based online environment to visualise informally and formally acquired skills. The letter is realized by introducing media-based competence portfolios. Within the framework of the project, both the Internet-based competence portfolio as well as consultancy offered for the participants of vocational preparation courses will be developed in the form of an scientifically accompanied course. The course will be developed, realized with young people in the 6 countries and evaluated.
• Instituto Politécnico de Beja, Art and Multimedia Laboratory, Education Faculty, Beja, Portugal (Prof. Dr. Aldo Passarinho, Prof. Ana Sofia Velhinhu Sousa), Website
• PONTYDYSGU LTD, The Bridge To Learning, Wales, U.K. (director: Graham Attwell) Website
• SC AxA Consulting 99 SRL, a consultancy and training company providing high quality skills training programmes for corporate and industrial clients. (Liliana Voicu), Bucarest, Romania, Website
• UNIVERSITAT DE BARCELONA, Cultural Pedagogies, Faculty of Fine Arts, Esbrina Research Group – Subjectivitats i Entorns Educatius Contemporan“, dedicated to the study of the conditions and current changes in education in a world mediated by digital technologies and visual culture. (Prof. Dr. Fenando Hernandez, Prof. Dr. Juana Sancho-Gill, Rachel Fendler), Website
• Zavod NEFIKS Institut za promocijo in belezenje neformalno pridobljenega znanja/ aims to educate young people in different fields, persuading employers to consider non-formal education as a reference when getting a job.
Ljubljana, Slovenia (Alenka Blazinšek) Website
• Co-ordinator: Institute of Vocational and General Education at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT (Dr. Daniela Reimann, Prof. Dr. Martin Fischer, M.A. Kerstin Huber, M.A. Kristina Stoewe, Nadine Görg)
The project intends to make young unemployed people set up, reflect and visualize their individual vocational and educational biography, actively producing media available on a Web-based multimedia environment. Formally and informally acquired skills and competencies are visualized using a particular type of online portfolio developed in the project (by the partner PONTYDYSGU LTD). Within the framework of the project, both the Web-based multimedia environment as well as the consultancy of young people will be developed in the form of an accompanying course offered in each of the participating countries.
In the project, a consultancy concept with a specific scope of courses offered for the generation and reflection of appropriate media formats, such as video clips showing the young participants at the workplace, in work processes, at the company, during internships. Further interviews with the trainees and skilled workers of a branch, including images of their own work pieces and projects are to be provided.
The research design is based on several distinct research strategies:
1. A desk study (analysis, literature review) of the situation of vocational preparation organised and embedded in the VET system and the employment situation of young people in the partner countries. This is necessary in that no studies are at present available on the analysis of the integration of the concept of vocational biography design in vocational preparation in the participating countries;
2. The development of the course (curriculum design) and
3. Its’ application in vocational preparation, followed by
4. a set of in-depth group interviews and surveys with the social actors involved, such as trainees and trainers, accompanied by a series of transnational work meetings.
The results of the project will be clearly spelled out to be easily circulated and disseminated via an International Youth Panel, including the BIBB the German Federal Institute of Vocational Education and Training, as well as social media in order to enhance their usability within the policy making process. The project aims to support EU and national policy makers for what concerns the development & implementation of new VET related policies towards a European concept of successful vocational biography design.
The interim project Web site can be accessed here
I seem to have spent most of the last month in project meetings. Besides the ongoing Learning Layers project, Pontydysgu are partners in a new European Research Framework project, Employ-ID. I will write more on this in another post but in brief Employ-ID is looking to support online professional development, including e-coaching, for workers in European Public Employment Services. As with Learning Layers, Employ-ID is a relatively large scale project, with some twelve or so partners drawn from countries throughout Europe. The project will run over four years.
Pontydysgu have participated in a number of such projects. And it seems to me that despite the hard work of most partners, the problems of project organisation and management are almost insuperable. Its not the lack of communication – far from it. Some days the volume of group emails and the sheer number of online meetings seems overwealming. A big problem is the complexity of the projects. There are huge difficulties in achieving a common understanding of what we are doing, particularly as the projects involve specialists from many different disciplines. Even more problematic is the form of plans the EU insists on. The work programme is outlined in something called a Description of Work or DOW. This tends to be written in EU project speak and can run as long as 150 or so pages. And the work is divided up into work packages, most of which run over the full four years of the project. In truth the division of work is often somewhat arbitrary. But given the number of people working on the projects, the work packages tend to form semi autonomous mini projects themselves with their own methods of working, momentum and practices. Communication between work packages then becomes an issue.
Employ0ID has adopted a different structure. Despite being compelled to have separate work packages for the point of administration, the project is being organised through a sort of SCRUM process. Thus at three or six monthly intervals the project will form work reams, drawn from across the work packages with aims and milestones set out for the next work period. The members will organise sprints to achieve those goals, reporting back to the next face to face meeting where the outcomes will be reviewed and new goals and teams set up. This process seems to me a much better way of working, so much so that I think it deserves some research in itself. Anyway I will report back on this blog how the process evolves.
Jobs in cyber security
In a new fact sheet the Tech Partnership reveals that UK cyber workforce has grown by 160% in the five years to 2016. 58,000 people now work in cyber security, up from 22,000 in 2011, and they command an average salary of over £57,000 a year – 15% higher than tech specialists as a whole, and up 7% on last year. Just under half of the cyber workforce is employed in the digital industries, while banking accounts for one in five, and the public sector for 12%.
Number students outside EU falls in UK
Times Higher Education reports the number of first-year students from outside the European Union enrolling at UK universities fell by 1 per cent from 2014-15 to 2015-16, according to data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.
Data from the past five years show which countries are sending fewer students to study in the UK.
Despite a large increase in the number of students enrolling from China, a cohort that has grown by 12,500 since 2011-12, enrolments by students from India fell by 13,150 over the same period.
Other notable changes include an increase in students from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia and a fall in students from Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.
According to the Guardian, research conducted with more than 6,300 authors of journal articles, peer reviewers and journal editors revealed that over two-thirds of researchers who have never peer reviewed a paper would like to. Of that group (drawn from the full range of subject areas) more than 60% said they would like the option to attend a workshop or formal training on peer reviewing. At the same time, over two-thirds of journal editors told the researchers that it is difficult to find reviewers
Teachers and overtime
According to the TES teachers in the UK “are more likely to work unpaid overtime than staff in any other industry, with some working almost 13 extra hours per week, according to research.
A study of official figures from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) found that 61.4 per cent of primary school teachers worked unpaid overtime in 2014, equating to 12.9 additional hours a week.
Among secondary teachers, 57.5 per cent worked unpaid overtime, with an average of 12.5 extra hours.
Across all education staff, including teachers, teaching assistants, playground staff, cleaners and caretakers, 37.6 per cent worked unpaid overtime – a figure higher than that for any other sector.”