About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5814-5823
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.2315

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain

APP CREATION IN SCHOOLS FOR DIFFERENT CURRICULA SUBJECTS - LESSONS LEARNED

B. Spieler, C. Schindler, W. Slany, O. Mashkina

Graz University of Technology (AUSTRIA)
Computational thinking, programming, and game creation are neither mandatory taught in Austrian schools, nor do teachers necessarily have time or expertise to teach such skills. A curriculum description for computer science only exists for the fifth grade (unless a school is focused on computer science) and it covers only the basic competencies. Furthermore, teachers are insufficiently trained for applied computer science education; thus they often feel overwhelmed with different types of media, available learning software, and there is a lack of useful teaching material.

Within the ongoing European project No One Left Behind (NOLB), one goal was to integrate mobile programming into different subject. By setting up three European experimental pilots, in Austria, Spain and the UK, the project team worked on secondary level in three phases (feasibility study; 1st and 2nd cycle). The project started in January 2015 and will end with June 2017. Programming was introduced via Pocket Code a mobile app that allows to create own games, and many types of apps directly on mobile devices. Pocket Code uses the visual “lego”-style-programming language Catrobat which is very similar to Scratch. It supports teachers with an interesting approach to introduce novice users to programming within the context of Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEAM) related subjects.

Thus the goals for this paper are 1) to investigate the different needs of both types of teachers (technical and non-technical), and 2) to help teachers using Pocket Code for projects in different subjects. As part of the NOLB project, Pocket Code was introduced in Austrian schools in following curricula subjects: physics, music, arts, language learning, and computer science. Eleven teachers took part in the Austrian study (technical and non-technical).

The outcome of the feasibility study showed diverse results and points of improvement for the use of Pocket Code at schools. Not only were Pocket Code subject to improvement suggestions but also the style of teacher training, support, preparation of tutorials, lesson content, and backing of the courses. As a consequence, only six teachers decided to continue with the project. These teachers were highly motivated to work with the app and conducted one or more courses.

Based on these results, the first project cycle was mainly dedicated to make Pocket Code more compatible with Scratch and improve the usability which resulted in a specialized version of Pocket Code for schools with the name Create@School (published in September 2016 for the 2nd cycle). Further, the team improved teacher guidelines, created predefined game templates, and resources for trainings. These measures reassured the teachers to be able to conduct their lessons without assistance from experts, regardless of their technical background. To evaluate the effectiveness of these efforts, a final survey will be conducted to see if Create@School is now better suited for schools. Preliminary analysis of already submitted games shows that many important concepts necessary for game development are now easier to explain for teachers, e.g., collision detection between objects. In addition, the predefined templates were adapted to different subjects, e.g., a quiz template used in physics as well as in arts. All six teachers intend to continue working with Pocket Code after the NOLB project and plan to integrate it permanently in their lessons.
@InProceedings{SPIELER2017APP,
author = {Spieler, B. and Schindler, C. and Slany, W. and Mashkina, O.},
title = {APP CREATION IN SCHOOLS FOR DIFFERENT CURRICULA SUBJECTS - LESSONS LEARNED},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.2315},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.2315},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {5814-5823}}
TY - CONF
AU - B. Spieler AU - C. Schindler AU - W. Slany AU - O. Mashkina
TI - APP CREATION IN SCHOOLS FOR DIFFERENT CURRICULA SUBJECTS - LESSONS LEARNED
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.2315
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 5814
EP - 5823
ER -
B. Spieler, C. Schindler, W. Slany, O. Mashkina (2017) APP CREATION IN SCHOOLS FOR DIFFERENT CURRICULA SUBJECTS - LESSONS LEARNED, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 5814-5823.
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