A team of INESC TEC researchers participates in the initiative ENSICO, Association for the Teaching of Computing, which aims to invest in the teaching of Computer Sciences in Portuguese schools, supporting the creation of innovative practices in the digital age, through new teaching tools, materials and learning software.
José Nuno Oliveira, senior researcher at INESC TEC’s High-assurance Software Laboratory (HASLab), and Pedro Guedes de Oliveira, Consultant to INESC TEC’s President, are two of the creators of this initiative, which aims to introduce this field of science to younger individuals, before they enrol in higher education institutions. “Teaching computing only in college is significantly overdue”, stated José Nuno Oliveira. Ademar Aguiar, from INESC TEC’s Centre for Information Systems and Computer Graphics (CSIG), is also part of this project.
With a vast experience in activities targeting elementary and high school students, namely related to Computer Science, José Nuno Oliveira, together with the rest of the team, relies on an “unplugged” approach, in which paper and pencil are the only resources. “In order to start teaching computer science to younger people, it is not necessary to use the computer. This will only distract you from the fundamentals”, added José Nuno Oliveira.
The main role of INESC TEC’s team in this initiative is the production of learning content for classes, lectured by students from FEUP and UMinho, as well as by the Portuguese YouTuber Inês Guimarães, who created a channel on that platform and published a book to demystify mathematics.
In October, ENSICO started teaching the subject of Computing at three schools in the city, in partnership with the Porto City Council: Garcia de Orta, Cerco do Porto and Colégio Nossa Senhora de Lourdes. This initiative targeted students from the 2nd and 3rd cycles.
With a three-year time horizon, ENSICO aims to reach new schools in Portugal, Azores and Madeira, as well as to promote computational thinking as a learning practice for all elementary and high school, thus promoting digital literacy and ethics, based on the field of Computer Science.
The INESC TEC researchers mentioned in this news piece are associated with UMinho and UP-FEUP.