In focus: computing in education across Europe


ICDL has long understood the importance of computational skills in education. ICDL believes that computing skills and digital literacy skills are essential elements of digital competence.

Coding, computing, and computational thinking are terms that currently dominate the debate on digital skills development in Europe and worldwide. This is influenced by the rising demand of ICT specialists in the labour market and countries looking for ways to provide the demanded skills for the younger generation. It is recognised that we all need computational skills as part of the new digital literacy.

Computational thinking is the skillset required to apply logic and problem solving. Whereas programming is the process of developing a computer programme. Coding is a term that is used interchangeably with programming, but coding is broader and incorporates writing code in different computer languages and creating inputs that a computer programme can understand.

One of the key arguments of the ICDL position paper published in 2015 was that coding/programming is only one element of computing. When computing is introduced to children in school, teaching should begin with the basics of computational thinking and problem solving, followed by the practical implementation, such as coding or programming.

Computing is now being integrated into compulsory education in a number of countries in Europe and worldwide. These activities are sometimes complemented by volunteer-led after-school activities such as Code Clubs.

ICDL Computing and Robotics modules and ICDL Insights

The ICDL Computing module was developed to rigorously high standards to provide a quality solution to computing skills development.

Read more about the background and development of the ICDL Computing module here.

The ICDL Robotics module was also developed to provide an opportunity for early exposure to hands-on robotic technology. The module is designed to help explain the wide-ranging effective uses of robotics in society as well as open paths to future learning and more specialised skills development.

ICDL Insights have been designed to develop an understanding of trending and emerging technology. ICDL Insights offers overview modules that are contextualised in a practical way. ICDL Computing fulfils the DigComp competence areas for digital content creation and problem solving.

ICDL Computing and Robotics modules rolling out across Europe

At the recent ICDL Europe and MENA CEO Forum, National Operators from across the region shared their plans to introduce computational thinking modules such as Robotics and Computing. We highlight these stories here to inspire you in thinking about how you want to do it.

Czech Republic

ECDL Czech Republic has already implemented the new ICDL Robotics module. Students, teachers and the public in the Czech Republic can now take the practical ICDL Robotics certification. They can choose from a selection of robotics kits while working towards certification: LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3, Makeblock Education mBot2 with controlling unit CyberPi, Cutebot with micro:bit V2 , VEX Robotics IQ 1st and 2nd generation and have a choice of a range of software: EV3 Classroom, EV3 Lab, Makeblock Education mBlock , Microsoft MakeCode, VEXcode IQ.

ECDL Czech Republic has organised 10 training courses for teachers who want to gain the basic skills in Robotics because they are interested in the subject or are going to teach it as part of their school’s programme. ECDL Czech Republic has spearheaded this campaign to raise awareness and encourage the use of robotics among teachers in primary and secondary schools across the country. Find out more on ECDL Czech Republic’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ECDLCZ

United Kingdom

British Computer Society (BCS) aims to increase engagement with computing so that more students, especially girls, take the subject at GCSE, A Level, T Level, apprenticeships and beyond.

BCS has integrated the ICDL Robotics module into their new BCS Level 1 ICDL Robotics Award. This consists of two parts, an offline robotics skills demonstration test and the online ICDL Robotics certification exam.

BCS offers a Micro:bit version of the module as many schools in the UK already have Micro:bits.

BCS will offer the course to schools in the Cardiff area in spring 2023 as an after school or lunchtime club delivered by a teacher from within the school. Teachers receive training and support along with the teaching material and use of robotic equipment for the duration of the course, funded by Cardiff City Council through the Cardiff Commitment programme.

Romania

ECDL Romania offer the ICDL Computing module using Python to secondary and high schools across the country. The offering includes free learning resources including video tutorials for teachers, free train the trainer and professional credits for teachers who complete the training. Robotics is also available in Romania, using mBlock 5 and mBot Ranger. The module is on offer to secondary and high schools and is included in the 3DUTECH project on 3D printing for high schools.

ECDL Romania is also piloting the ICDL Insights modules, including an Artificial Intelligence pilot leadership project for elite high schools in Romania and Moldova. During the pilot, 12 teachers and 80 students successfully studied the module and passed the certification test in English.

Poland

The Polish national operator, PTI, conducted an interest survey amongst their partners regarding ICDL Insights before launching the modules nationwide. They are focusing on secondary schools and will offer ICDL Insights to around 200 schools across the country, primarily focusing on ICDL Internet of Things.

ICDL Poland also sees the ICDL Insights modules as an opportunity to enter bilingual schools in the country.

Interested in ICDL modules for education?

Find out more about the modules discussed in this piece on our programmes page here.

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