Why is CS called Informatik
The main aim of the Unplugged project is to introduce young people to computer science (and computing in general) as an interesting, fascinating and intellectually stimulating field of knowledge. We want to stimulate people's imagination and respond to common misconceptions about what it means to be a computer scientist. We want to convey the basics that do not depend on a specific software or specific system; Ideas that will still be fresh in my mind ten years from now. We want to reach children in elementary schools and provide additional material for university courses. We want to embark on paths on which high-tech educational concepts are impractical in order to bridge the gap between people who are rich in information and those who are poor in information and between industrialized and developing countries.
There are many valuable projects promoting computer science. The main principles that make Unplugged activities stand out are:
No computers required
The activities are not dependent on computers. This prevents computer science from being confused with programming or learning application software, makes the activities accessible to all those who cannot or do not want to work with computers, and bypasses the hurdle of learning to program without being able to explore your own ideas beforehand. In addition, as part of the learning of computing, physical and kinesthetic experiences are provided that can offer a welcome change from sitting in front of a screen. For example, the parity magic trick is a card game that happens to apply the same principles as computer memory error correction. Unplugged is not a complete demonization of technology - we do take advantage of the Internet and other IT facilities to develop and deliver the activities. And we hope that students will have an opportunity to learn to code so that they can implement the ideas they explore.
Real computer science
Unplugged illustrates basic computer science concepts such as algorithms, artificial intelligence, information theory, human computer interfaces, programming languages, etc. We want to emphasize that programming is just a means to achieve the end purpose. A definition of computer science can be found on Wikipedia and Peter Denning's book "Great Principles of Computing" offers an even more detailed analysis of the topics it deals with.
Practice creates masters
The activities are kinesthetic, often large-scale, and require teamwork. For example, the sorting network activity leads to teams of six running through a network drawn on the floor. These activities give students the ability to figure out answers for themselves rather than simply being presented with solutions or algorithms to follow. That is, a constructivist approach is encouraged (in which teachers use the study materials provided by Unplugged to ask questions that guide students on how to gain this knowledge for themselves) because we want students to know that they can do so are able to find solutions to problems themselves instead of receiving a solution to apply to the problem. For example, students do not necessarily need to be able to convert normal numbers to binary numbers, but it is valuable for them to understand the underlying patterns, such as the doubling value of bits, patterns given in binary counting, and how the range changes as they are added of bits increased exponentially.
Joy in learning
The activities are fun and interesting, not just occupational therapy for the sake of occupation. The explanations are generally relatively brief - the teacher interprets the materials and gives a few rules, and then the students get to work on the task. There are puzzles, challenges, competitions, problem solving and humor. Unplugged activities are designed to give students a real sense of achievement. The activities often have the feel of a story; Assignments are presented as part of a story rather than an abstract math problem. Children are more interested in pirates than in data protection and invented absurd stories are often more memorable than head-racking specialist applications.
No special equipment
The activities are inexpensive and use items commonly found in classrooms and stationery stores. Most of them only need paper and pencil, maybe cards, string, chalk, whiteboard pens, balls or similar items as well.
Unplugged is published under a Creative Commons license, which allows the granting of usage rights (stating the author and the license). Modifications, adaptations and extensions are advocated. In this way, even with local usage arrangements, the type of compilation can be taken into account, in which the material can be tailored to local teaching staff.
Two specific situations that we are asked about:
- Self-serving lessons (e.g. clubs with subscription fees): It is perfectly fine to charge a fee to attendees in classes you hold that use this material.
- Sale of educational material sets (such as preprinted cards): That's fine too. We hope you are paying a reasonable price for this, and it would be even better if you found a sponsor so that you can give the material to teachers for free, but the license allows you to set your own price.
The program is explicitly international - we encourage modifications that are relevant to local conditions (for example, activities that require a large playground can be converted into a board game for schools with limited outdoor space; other activities, on the other hand, may have contexts that pupils are familiar with may not be familiar in another culture). Translators should try out the activities with the help of teachers in their country. It is better to adapt activities than verbatim as something that makes little sense in the local culture. The activities should be integrative.
We encourage cooperation, communication and problem solving. Competition can also be effective when used appropriately, especially between teams rather than individuals. When students work in partnership, they have an excellent opportunity to learn how to solve problems.
As far as possible, the activities were designed as independent modules that can be used independently of one another so that they can each be used to enrich teaching or development programs and do not have to be used as a series. Some of the activities outlined in a lesson plan may require a series of lessons, but we will advise you when special preparation is required.
The activities are not affected by mistakes made by students. You shouldn't depend on doing many difficult steps just right, and minor mistakes shouldn't prevent students from understanding the principles. The instructions usually consist of just one or two rules and a goal and can be expressed in one sentence (e.g., "Each card is either completely visible or not; how can we exactly represent eleven points?" Or "We have to go by one house to another house; what is the smallest number of paving stones with which this can be made possible? ”).
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