Informatics – A child's play?!

Informatics – A child's play?!

The increasing demand for qualified staff in technology and computer science makes it necessary to stimulate and raise the interest in these fields at an early age. This is one aim of the project “Informatics – A Child’s Play?!”, which allows young children a playful and exciting introduction to computer science. It is intended to show what computer science actually means (more than simply using computers), which core concepts are already well established and practiced unconsciously in various subjects in primary schools. Topics such as “giving directions” or “secret language”, which are explicitly mentioned in the primary school curriculum, lead directly to important computer science concepts, such as algorithmisation, coding and encryption.

Similar projects in elementary education show that interest in technology and computer science could be increased by an early introduction and fears of difficult issues or gender differences could be compensated or respectively avoided. The lessons and teaching materials of the project “Informatics – A Child’s Play” are based on the latest findings in educational neuroscience and brain research and should be, in part, developed together with the participating teachers and students. This could possibly be the beginning of a long-term cooperation between the Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt and schools, of a new focus or an optional subject. In addition, the children should also attend some regular courses (i.e. not ones specially adapted for children) at the Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt and conduct their own small research projects together with the participating researchers.