Lifelong Learning Programme

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Relevant initiatives

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Title of Initiative / Project
Name of Organiser
University of Thessaly
Start and ending date of the Initiative
Was the initiative carried out in the framework of a funded project?
Funding Programme
LLP, Comenius
Title of the project
Teaching Programming towards the Early Development of Analytical Structural and Critical Thinking
University of Thessaly
Project number
Type of deliverables
Online course, Teaching Methodology, Video, Didactical resource
Thematic area
Maths, ICT, Science
Language of the deliverable
Other EU, Romanian, English
Target Group
Teachers, Students
Description of the initiative
cMinds aims to use programming teaching as a tool for developing analytical, structural, and critical thinking among young children.Information technology provides a new medium for developing analytical thinking through programming concepts: it is precise, structured, step-wise, and requires the setting of goals, exploration of alternatives, and evaluation of implementation approaches in a typical problem solving, project-based methodological structure. Learning activities that explore programming concepts may serve as complementary tools for developing critical thinking in the context of science education curricula.
More Information
The concept of the cMinds project is very interesting, attractive and innovative: using programming as a tool for development of analytical thinking. The project offers a number of resources:
- cMinds Pilot: this resource helps children to better understand, manipulate and solve logic problems and puzzles, hence helping them developing their analytical, structural and critical thinking.
- Learning Activities: this resource teaches basics of programming. The programming constructs to which learners are exposed include: Conditionals; Loops and Switches. The learning activities selected for helping children build analytical thinking skills are based on classic algorithmic solving approaches including divice-and-conquer, reduce-and-conquer, and brute force.
- Problem Modeling: this resource is focused on learning activities that promote problem deconstruction, modelling, and reconstruction.
- Active Exploration: This is the part of the resources which introduces the "hands-on" area in which learners develop intuition on a potential solution to a problem.
- Tell the Robot How: once learners have developed a basic intuition on solving a problem through "hands-on" exploration, they are encouraged to write a program that will accurately solve the given problem.
- Compare and Discuss: Learners can compare their solutions in a collaborative learning session for the exchange of ideas and for brainstorming. In addition, they can compare their solution to an "optimal" one that is hard-coded into the cMinds learning suite for each problem given to the children.
• Explain your Thinking!: this is the memo zone, where the teachers has to “scaffold” the knowledge.
Teachers’ Opinion
This project is very interesting – not only in terms of resources but also in terms of concept how to use the pedagogical methods of teaching programming in order to develop creativity and analytical thinking in kids. It looks hard however for this to be applied in any science subject teaching practice (as in chemistry, biology, physics) since it refers more to key personal competences of children instead to learning science.
Students’ Opinion
The resources in this website are very attractive. Students would gladly use them. They are made with different levels of difficulty so the website is suitable for children of different age. Studying ICT in this way could be much more helpful in building knowledge and understanding about how ICT really work and what they are helpful for.

Comments on this Relevant initiatives

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Date: 2015.04.02

Posted by Ivan Velinov (Bulgaria)

The website is very well developed and contains a lot of information. I like there are games to play through which one can learn new things. It is a much better approach than the standard approach of just the teacher trying to explain us something.

Date: 2015.02.27

Posted by Jose Castillo (Spain)

It remembers me the large amount of software developed for teaching programing, like Logo, Scratch, App inventor and other web tools. All of them have a similar approach and are a useful tool to learn how to think algorithmically.
Congratulations, because the program seems a good job. I have tried to play and in the beginning some controls are difficult to understand, but after some time I got user to it.

Date: 2015.02.16

Posted by Sandis (Latvia)

This project consist a lot of information. Everyone can easy to start use it. Gaming method of education is fast and interesting.


Dissemination Seminar in Florence

31 October 2015 The seminar has been held in ITIS “A. Meucci” one of the schools involved within Goerudio project activities. Its main aim was to promote the results of the project toward a broad sample of stakeholders even overcrossing the number of people directly involved in the production of project outcomes. This purpose has been totally achieved especially thanks to the participation of students and teachers coming from different schools or from other classes instead of those ones directly involved within the project activities.