This project will increase the knowledge of IT and the IT profession for preuniversity students in particular, and help them consider an IT career on a more informed basis. Some choose IT studies for the wrong reasons (e.g., love to play computer games), some disregard IT in spite of having talent, e.g., for lack of role models, prejudice about the studies and profession, or fear that they will not master it – the latter most prevalent in girls.
A new elective programming course in middle school to start 2016/2017 is a promising follow-up on the increased interest for programming and will give the young insight in exciting technology. Helping teachers make courses like this successful can reduce prejudice against IT, but it is also important that courses and other activities where kids learn IT provide role models of both genders and a view of the breadth of jobs that an IT education can qualify for.
NTNU has a teacher education in Natural Sciences that includes a specialization in mathematics and informatics. NORD University has 4 courses relevant for IT teachers. IDI offers a MOOC in ICT for teachers. NTNU´s resource centre for STEM-education (Skolelaboratoriet), offers continuing education for teachers and support for science education in schools including programming workshops organized by IDI (Kodeløypa). Internationally, we are involved in the recently started EU project UMI-Sci-Ed to promote IT education in schools.
Establishing a network that will promote and support IT education in schools (cf. the UK Computing At School − CAS network, Georgia Computes network) as well as support other IT initiatives for the young. The network will bring together different stakeholders, including our industry network, to create synergy and new forms of collaboration that will influence and strengthen our IT education for teachers and the practice of teaching IT in schools. To provide role models we will include an ambassadors program, where our IT students, faculty and alumni of both genders will visit schools to tell about their work and lives, as well as produce video narratives with similar content.
By the end of our project, IT shall be a more popular study choice among Norway’s young – and for girls in particular – than it is today, and high school students shall consider IT career on a more informed basis than today.