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Informatics meets foreign languages COOL ideas for a cross-curricular cooperation

Barbara Sabitzer


Informatics or computer science (the terms informatics and computer science are used as synonyms in this paper) in Austrian secondary schools is often considered ‘‘difficult’’ and ‘‘not interesting’’ because of mainly mathematical and economical contents. But informatics is much more; it is used in almost every part of the working life and can also cooperate with every subject at school. It offers a wide range of possibilities for COOL (COoperative Open Learning), an Austrian teaching model based on the Dalton Plan that provides also cooperation between different subject matters. Besides the COOL concept this paper describes some ideas for cooperation between informatics and foreign languages at secondary schools and at University level besides just ICT (Information and Communication Technology) or computer-assisted language learning. The presented tasks are part of the project ‘‘COOL Informatics’’ (according to COoperative Open Learning) that aims at developing COOL teaching material based on neurodidactical (Neurodidactics is a relatively young research field that combines the findings of brain research, pedagogy, cognitive psychology and other related fields.) principles for informatics and crosscurricular cooperation from primary school up to University. On the basis of the developed material the following main research questions of the project shall be examined in the course of the next school year: (1) Can COoperative Open Learning methods help to enhance learning? (2) Can learning be enhanced by considering neurodidactical principles in the design of teaching material and in the classroom? As the first test phase of the developed material is still in progress the evaluation is not available at the moment. But the first informal feedback of a vocational school and a programming course at the University shows that it is worth fostering COoperative Open Learning and cross-curricular cooperation. Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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