SUSTAINING INFORMATICS EDUCATION BY CONTESTS Valentina Dagienė Institute of Mathematics and Informatics Vilnius, Lithuania Content Informatics Education: What? Why? How? Contests on Programming for Secondary Education International Olympiads in Informatics (IOI) IOI Conference and Journal Regional and National Olympiads Bebras (Beaver) – Contest on Informatics and Computer Fluency Learning by Contest Ground on Tasks (Attractive) What is Informatics? Informatics Education? ... as Programming – the second literacy? ... as Information Technology – the powerful tool? Programming as part of problem solving Problem comprehension Choosing algorithms Encoding Debugging Optimizing Testing How we should teach Informatics? •Bringing informatics to schools through curriculum in a formal track? •Supporting the informal ways of introducing pupils to informatics? •... to introduce informatics through contests When I was at school... I liked solving Crosswords Rebuses Brain-teasers Riddles Logical quizzes Puzzles Later I liked creating and publishing puzzles in the journals My kids and pupils like... Playing games with computer games with mobile devices table games pencil and paper games Competing individually and by groups Competing on collective intellectual level Why contest? For pupils, playful activities are more interesting and attractive than consistent learning Contest and competition attract learners raise motivation stimulate the learning process ... and more forster planning and self-discipline ... and very important - give the possibility to meet peers from all over the region, country, continent, world How to develop a contest? Two types of strategies top-down bottom-up 1) Top-down strategy is a challenge to find a suitable international contest, train students, and join it after intensive work 2) Bottom-up strategy stresses an opportunity to establish the original local contest Olympiads in Informatics International Olympiads in Informatics (IOI) Regional Olympiads in Informatics National Olympiads in Informatics Contests in Informatics IOI Regional Olympiads National Olympiads Other Contests in Informatics International Olympiad in Informatics IOI is annual international informatics competition for individual contestants from 70-80 countries IOI is managed by the General Assembly and International Committee International Olympiad in Informatics IOI is organized in and by one of the participating countries IOI competitions focuses of informatics problems of an algorithmic nature -programming Country delegation consists of 4 students and 2 team leaders Two competitions days, 5 hours, 3 (+1) tasks Evaluation is based on automated testing Additional credits of the IOI Introduction to Informatics education in countries Influence on developing regional and national contests Social network for students and team leaders IOI Conference Two-half days conference during Olympiad Short and long presentations Publications Richard Forster, UK Valentina Dagienė, Lithuania Troy Vasiga, Canada International Journal 2007: 17 papers, 174 p. 2008: 16 papers, 207 p. 2009: 14 papers, 174 p. 47 publications from 30 countries during 3 year http://www.mii.lt/olympiads_in_informatics Regional and National Olympiads in Informatics National olympiads represent informatics teaching traditions of each country Regional olympiad is a mini model of IOI allows the participants to experience what they will come through in the IOI assists team leaders in selecting participants for the IOI Baltic Olympiads in Informatics - BOI Main objectives To provide students experience of an international competition To bring together national representatives and create commonly contest tasks To assist team leaders in selecting participants for the IOI Important features Based on mutual trust of the participating countries Form of learning for its participants Create neighborly atmosphere, which is highly important when motivating students for self-help The BOI contests Year Location Countries Contestants 2009 Stockholm, SWEDEN 8 48 2008 Gdynia, POLAND 10 59 2007 Güstrow, GERMANY 9 55 2006 Heinola, FINLAND 9 53 2005 Pasvalys, LITHUANIA 8 46 2004 Ventspils, LATVIA 8 48 2003 Tartu, ESTONIA 7 48 2002 Vilnius, LITHUANIA 8 52 2001 Sopot, POLAND 8 49 2000 Haninge, SWEDEN 7 38 1999 Rīga, LATVIA 7 44 1998 Tartu, ESTONIA 5 40 1997 Vilnius, LITHUANIA 4 36 1996 Rīga, LATVIA 3 20 1995 Tartu, ESTONIA 3 28 Baltic Olympiad in Informatics in Poland in 2001 Baltic Olympiad in Informatics in Lithuania in 2002 BOI task classification 1995–2009 Categories Number of tasks Combinatorial search 14 Dynamic programming 19 Graph theory 22 Mathematics 10 Ad hoc 23 Lithuanian Olympiads in Informatics Main objectives To bring the discipline of Informatics to the attention of young people To discover, encourage, bring together, challenge, train for IOI’s and give recognition to the exceptionally gifted in the field of informatics To develop student creativity, programming style, algorithmic thinking To stimulate work of teachers of informatics and information technology Lithuanian Olympiads in Informatics Structure Two divisions: juniors and seniors 1st round – school round 2nd round – regional round 3rd round, 1st part – national round (by the internet) 3th round, 2nd part – national round (face-to-face) Lithuanian Olympiads in Informatics Number of participants Year Round 1st 1990 1998 2001 2002 2003 2008 2009 2nd 3.1 3.2 858 984 1124 1001 1000 1000 57 216 292 257 292 219 290 25 46 47 46 47 47 48 Not available Not available 2990 3857 3754 3307 3000 Evaluation in Lithuanian Olympiads Programs – the black-box testing Evaluation of design (algorithm) ideas Evaluation of programming style Participation in Olympiad is stimulated by attractive tasks Interest and engagement are very important in problem solving Tasks should be presented in an attractive way Two types of tasks: 1) developing algorithms (writing) 2) analyzing algorithms (reading) Contests in Informatics Contests are a source of inspiration and innovation Test-and attractive-tasks-based contests may be the key to the potential of new knowledge and attractive way to bind up technology and education Bebras (Beaver) – International Contest on Informatics and Computer Fluency The main principles of the Bebras contest are borrowed from the international mathematical contest Kangaroo Bebras – International Contest on Informatics and Computer Fluency Idea came in 2003, in Lithuania 2004, Sept 25, experimental trial, 779 students 2004, Oct 21, first Lithuanian Beaver contest, 3470 students from 146 schools .... 2008: 10 countries have run the contest with all together more than 90 000 students 2009: 11 countries Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, The Netherlands, Ukraine http://www.bebras.org International Bebras Contest Adresses all secondary school students Is usually performed at school Pupils have to solve 18 - 24 problems within 45 - 60 minutes Easy, medium and hard problems Interactive and multiple choice answers Different tasks for several age groups, e.g. Benjamins Cadetts Juniors Seniors 10-12 years (grade 5-6) 13-14 years (grade 7-8) 15-16 years (grade 9-10) 17-19 years (grade 11-13) Research Question How to convey Informatics concepts by a contest? What kind of concepts? What are good tasks in an international contest? How to involve concepts in good tasks? Attractive tasks – keystone of contests Very important to choose interesting tasks, powerful, attractive, surprise... Powerful: what educational power they contains, whether they stimulate the motivation of learning Different types of tasks: starting from common questions of computer science application to specific integrated problems related to algorithms, computer history, programming languages, logics, discrete mathematics, etc. Important to choose the problems so that the participants could have as equal positions as possible irrespective of hardware or software Attractive Tasks are interesting, powerful, surprising, inspiring, ... stimulate and motivate to use ICT in an intelligent way offer equal chance for all pupils coming from different countries and different school types offer possibility to learn something interesting 35 Task Categories INF - Information comprehension representation (symbolic, numeric, visual) coding, encryption ALG - Algorithmic thinking including programming aspects USE - Using computer systems eg. search engines, email, spread sheet, etc. general principles, but no specific systems STRUC - Structures, patterns and arrangements combinatory discrete structures (graphs, etc) PUZ - Puzzles logic games (mastermind, minesweeper, etc.) SOC - ICT and Society social, ethical, cultural, international, legal issues Learning Concepts Students may learn concepts by appropriate tasks Concepts of Information Comprehension Algorithmic Thinking Modeling Basic Logic Discrete Structures Functionality of Computer Systems Use of Computer Systems etc. Fastest Way Beaver wants to go home as fast as possible. In the drawing you see minutes needed to come from one point to another. What is the best possible time? A) 17 minutes B) 14 minutes C) 15 minutes D) 16 minutes Benjamin, hard Paperchase Peter writes on a paper the letters he finds on his way following the arrows. Some of the arrows have no letter Which one of the following sequences of letters cannot be written by Peter on his way from START to FINISH? A. B. C. D. abaabba ba abaaab aab Bebras Workshops for develping tasks The Bebras Community has worshops for developing tasks in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 in Balsiai, Lithuania; and 2008 in Torun, Poland Balsiai Lithuania 2009 May, 2009, Balsiai, Lithuania Conclusion Informatics Education is a fascinating research with a big impact on the real world, full of spectacular ideas and great challenges Contests play an important role as a tool of motivation and inspiration Olympiad in Informatics is a globally recognized way to involve pupils into informatics and strong motive to improve their programming skills Bebras contest on informatics and computer fluency is established to introduce Informatics concepts to pupils regardless of whether she or he is taught informatics at school or not THANKS!