App Creation in Schools for different Curricula Subjects – Lessons Learned

Bernadette Spieler, Christian Schindler, Wolfgang Slany, Olena Mashkina

Abstract

The next generation of jobs will be characterized by an increased demand for people with computational and problem solving skills. In Austria, computer science topics are underrepresented in school curricula hence teaching time for these topics is limited.

From primary  through secondary school, only a few opportunities exist for young students to explore programming. Furthermore, today’s teachers are rarely trained in computer science, which impairs their potential to motivate students in these courses. Within the “No One Left Behind” (NOLB) project, teachers were supported to guide and assist their students in their learning processes by constructing ideas through game making. Thus, students created games that referred to different subject areas by using the programming tool Pocket Code, an app developed at Graz University of Technology (TU-Graz). This tool helps students to take control of their own education, becoming more engaged, interested, and empowered as a result. To ensure an optimal integration of the app in diverse subjects the different backgrounds (technical and non-technical) of teachers must be considered as well. First, teachers were supported to use Pocket Code in the different subjects in school within the feasibility study of the project. Observed challenges and difficulties using the app have been gathered. Second, we conducted interviews with teachers and students to underpin our onsite observations. As a result, it was possible to validate Pocket Codes’ potential to be used in a diverse range of subjects. Third, we focused especially on those teachers who were not technically trained to provide them with a framework for Pocket Code units, e.g., with the help of structured lesson plans and predefined templates.

Bernadette Spieler, Christian Schindler, Wolfgang Slany, Olena Mashkina

Graz University of Technology, Austria

Keywords

Pocket Code, game design, programming, mobile learning, curricula, computational skills.

Reference format

SPIELER; B.; SCHINDLER, C., SLANY, W., AND MASHINSKA. 2017. App Creation in Schools for different Curricula Subjects – Lessons Learned. In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies. July 3-5, 2017. Barcelona, Spain, p. 5814-5824. DOI: 10.21125/edulearn.2017

Link: https://arxiv.org/abs/1805.04465