1 Code4all Lda. (PORTUGAL)
2 Inova+ S.A. (PORTUGAL)
3 Agrupamento de Escolas de Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
4 Inncrease Sp. Z.O.O. (POLAND)
5 Regional Directorate P.S. Education of Crete (GREECE)
6 Istituto D’istruzione Superiore Secondaria (ITALY)
7 Dante Alighieri Madugno (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 5517-5525
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.1437
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
Digital literacy is a crucial issue in the development of the global economy, demanding the attention of all technological sectors. The fast-technological evolution we are witnessing today requires informed consumers and a good digital task force to ensure development and sustainability of our society.

Several related concerns were already identified, namely that by 2020 there will be around one million Information and Communications Technology (ICT) job positions unfilled in European Union (EU) and about 90% of all jobs will require digital skills. These concerns alert to the need of preparing educational settings and actors to successfully address upcoming challenges and implement innovative learning strategies in line with the demands and evolving pace of the 21st century.

Teaching and learning to code plays a key role in what regards to unleashing the students’ potential and preparing them for a digital society and upcoming digital jobs. It is also the core priority of the European initiative “Junior Code Academy” which, promoted by seven organizations from four different countries (Greece, Italy, Poland and Portugal) and supported by the Erasmus+ programme, has the ambition to enhancing coding skills through the co-development and testing of a new coding curriculum guide for students between 10 and 15 years old.

The project methodology was built-on a collaborative approach that, involving the main stakeholders, comprises several steps, including desk research and literature review, gathering relevant resources into a database, co-designing the curriculum guide, testing the implementation in one school (pilot) and implementing the tool in three additional schools (replication programme). These steps ensured the high-quality of the curriculum and its alignment with the needs, interests and expectations of the target-groups, as the innovative curriculum and set of resources were developed by the partners and validated by students from the 5th to the 9th grade and ICT teachers from different schools.

Four schools from three countries (Portugal – in the pilot phase; Greece and Italy – in the replication stage) implemented a comprehensive set of ten lessons during a scholar term. These lessons were organised in three main components:
1) “Learning the basics” (analysing key concepts and finding more about computer systems),
2) “Guided exploration” (enhancing computational thinking and mastering specific tools) and
3) “Do it yourself” (solving different challenges and developing coding projects).

This paper presents the main results and key findings collected during the different steps of the methodological approach, lists lessons learnt relevant for similar initiatives and underlines some recommendations related to exploitation and sustainability of the project results.
Code, ICT, Digital skills, School education, European project.