Computational thinking, i.e. creative problem solving and programming, is a fundamental competence in digitalisation. The Computational Thinking Initiative CTI, launched on the second Swiss Digital Day 2018, aims to strengthen digital education and develop basic know-how in primary and secondary schools in all parts of the country. The general objective of the CTI is that in the future, every Swiss primary and secondary school is able to offer teaching in computational thinking. With the help of tangible projects and the synergies among them, the CTI community is working towards that goal. As a public-private partnership, the initiative is jointly supported by various public educational institutions, associations from the Swiss education landscape (e.g. teachers associations) and industry.
Within the «Alps Project» a total of five primary schools in the cantons Lucerne, Schwyz, Uri, Ticino and Valais are closely supported. «The Alps Project will be a valuable source of experience, especially for motivated teachers,» says project manager Dr. Alberto Piatti from the Scuola universitaria professionale della Svizzera italiana (SUPSI). The project is supported by four teacher training colleges in the respective language regions and takes into account the federal character of Switzerland’s education system as well as Switzerland’s multilingualism.
«Thymio» is an easily accessible educational robot developed by several partners under the leadership of EPFL and Prof. Francesco Mondada. «Thymio» introduces children in schools to computational thinking and gets them acquainted with the use of technology and robotics. Young children interact with the robot to understand the basics of what an algorithm is, how to deal with a digital machine, and develop problem solving approaches.
This project entails a toolkit for educators which approaches computational thinking in an «unplugged» and analog fashion without the need for computers, laptops etc. As such, this project is a great entry point for those teachers who are not tech savvy. The pilot phase started in September 2019 with 124 classes. The project is headed by Cristina Riesen from the foundation We Are Play Lab and the toolkit was designed We Are Play Lab and SUPSI.
This project headed by Olivier Lévêque at EPFL is setting up a training program in computer science (CS) targeted at high school teachers willing to teach this new discipline in high school, but lacking a Master in CS. For that, a specialized education track for the master students in CS at EPFL is set up in collaboration with the pedagogical school of Vaud (HEP-VD). In the process, this project contributes to the creation of pedagogical material for the new CS discipline in high schools. In addition, the project coordinates actions among the various cantons of Romandie. The project is conducted in collaboration with multiple partners of Swiss universities.