Designing offline computer science activities for the korean elementary school curriculum

Sookkyoung Choi, Tim Bell, Soojin Jun, Wongyu Lee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Citations (Scopus)


The rapid rate of the development of computer technology raises the issue of how to reform Computer Science education in elementary and middle schools. In Korea the government has taken this issue seriously, and the Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development has announced substantial revisions to its computing curricula, leading to a new curriculum in Informatics to be introduced for middle schools in 2010, and for high schools in 2011. There is a proposal that the elementary school curriculum will be linked to these, and with a stronger focus on not just learning how to operate computers and software, but understanding the methods and algorithms behind Computer Science. Research on identifying effective teaching methods for CS topics at the elementary level is critical at the moment, as the content of the developing curriculum will be influenced by information about which topics are able to be taught effectively at this level. We are particularly interested to establish how these topics can be covered effectively without having to reduce them to a comfortable re-working of the status quo driven by a lack of background on teaching these new topics. Hence it is important to have experience with teaching such topics so that they can be considered for widespread use in the curriculum. As in most countries, Korean elementary school teachers are generalists, and therefore the Informatics curriculum needs to be presented in a way that a generalist can engage with it, as well as engage their students. One approach that avoids the difficulties and distraction of computers in the elementary school classroom is the use of offline activities: activities that work with Computer Science concepts, but are not done at the computer. These aim to educate students about abstract and challenging concepts behind algorithms, but without using a computer. It is our belief that computer science fundamentals can be taught without the help of computers; many key concepts predate the modern computer, and many demonstrations are available for a wide range of concepts. Currently the existing work on offline activities is not directly aimed at teaching CS to elementary-age children. Much of the published work is aimed primarily at tertiary level students, and is generally intended for motivated students in a university classroom. Most of the kinesthetic material developed for elementary school material is aimed at enthusing students about CS; they explicitly do not presume to teach ideas, but simply inform students about the kind of thinking and problem solving that is required for CS, and therefore make students better informed about choosing a career in the field. In particular, assessment is an important component of teaching, and current resources are not strong in this area. With the opportunity for CS topics to be taught to students, we have experimented with using kinesthetic approaches in the classroom. In addition to needing to provide assessment, we have identified that a particular issue is that elementary level teachers are usually non-specialists, and we report on work to enable such teachers to adopt CS teaching material effectively. An important component of this is providing background information about how the topic is used in practice. The poster summarises our experiences and feedback from teachers in making this material accessible for elementary school students.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationITiCSE'08
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 13th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventITiCSE 2008: 13th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education - Madrid, Spain
Duration: 2008 Jun 302008 Jul 2

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Conference on Integrating Technology into Computer Science Education, ITiCSE


OtherITiCSE 2008: 13th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education


  • Curriculum
  • Elementary school education
  • Kinesthetic activities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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