Prof. Dr. Karola Merkel

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Karola Merkel

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A Didactic Method in Computer Science for Learning Professional Team Work in School and University (July 2013)

Assignments in information technology classes often consist of isolated tasks with low complexity, although in professional education, in university and in working life, problems with higher difficulty, which can only be faced by a team and not by a single person, have to be solved.

This thesis describes a didactic method in information technology to prepare and support professional teamwork on extensive challenges in computer science in context of educational projects. The intention is to initiate a didactic for projects which is theoretically substantiated, due to a formative analysis of the state of research developed to become a practice-focused tuitional model, and exemplarily approved in class to give an contribution to the subject didactic research, the gratification of educational standards described in GI, Grundsätze und Standards für die Informatik in der Schule, 2008, and the key competences listed by DeSeCo in OECD Minister of Education, 2005.

Primarily, the educational recommendations of the GI concerning educational standards for the informatics in school with regard to working on projects are analysed to deduce the demand of formation. For the subsumption of the subject matter of the research assignment into the special branch of science, the theoretical principles for learning, especially the didactical models for self-directed learning, working on projects, the significance of project management and teamwork are specified. Accounts of approaches on learning in projects, teambuilding and estimation of learning efficiencies in projects follow. Based on functional aspects concerning project management and learning in projects documented in literature, specifications of academic learning projects are analysed and in a rough concept professional project management is transferred into scholar context considering curricular requirements.

In the dignified concept, appropriate materials for teaching and learning are developed according to the principles of Mastery Learning and the master program method. A didactical method in information technology which combines aspects of self-directed learning with medial support, that is an e-earning master program, with mandatory workshops about teamtraining and evaluation of learning efficiencies to so-called Blended Learning is generated, to on the one hand qualify the teaching staff as learning project managers and on the other hand prepare the learners for working in projects. As a contribution to the researching apprenticeship in the magisterium formation at the university, the didactical method in information technology is sampled in a row of courses in subject didactics and pilot projects for academic field tests are developed. With the aim to include the theoretically based concept in the concrete practice, three pilot projects are chosen and practised in seven field studies in school.

For the evaluation, theoretical considerations are combined with empirical appendages; after supervision in school and universities of applied sciences the first qualitative evaluation occurs. It gives perception on the feasibility of the tutional model and its acceptance by teaching staff and students and leads to a further development of the material for teaching and learning as well as the evaluation scenarios and the didactical method in terms of the intervening subject didactic.

Qualitative-formative research results of this assignment are the managed, multiple-evaluated learning projects, so-called ProfI-projects, which relieve the access in the project education for the teaching staff, because the subject-didactical and subject-specific lesson elaborations as well as the complete project plans are available. The specified didactical method in information technology provides chances for horizontal transfer into other tutional subjects in the range of nature sciences and vertical transfer into training in IT-professions, students as learning project managers, advanced training for teachers, or exertion in academic studies of informatics. As a forecast, impulses for didactical enhancements, evaluation of learning efficiencies and continuative quantitative researches are given.