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Emil is a unique method for teaching and learning computing at primary school – for every learner, letting them experience the joy of discovery.

We are developing Computing with Emil for schools and in schools.

With Emil’s help, we strive to support the development of:

  • modern programming and thinking skills,
  • critical and analytical thinking,
  • computing as a new instrument for discovering, learning, and creating.
Teacher materials
Robot EMIL Logo
Computing with Emil
Logo Indicia
Emil is not a game. Emil is educational, unique, and entertaining

Emil is fun. However, it’s not meant to offer just a fleeting fun for a couple of moments. It’s school-oriented and based on scientific research and many years of working with teachers and pupils.

It’s rooted in international experiences gained in teaching programming and computing, as well as in modern learning theories, while at the same time it fully meets the requirements of the current national curriculum . For the first time ever, Emil implements educational programming as a well thought-out and systematic cognitive process intended for every pupil. Emil transforms school informatics from a subject 'teaching computer use' to a new form of exploration, problem solving, and collaborative partnership between subjects. Computing with Emil teaches students how to live and learn in the digital environment, and how to explore and change the world.

principal investigator of the project professor Ivan Kalaš, PhD., head of the Department of Education, Faculty of Mathematics, Physics, and Informatics, Comenius University in Bratislava

Who is Ivan Kalaš
It encourages cooperation and exploration

Emil respects pupils at the primary stage of their education and their cognitive development and needs. Emil respects and exploits everything that’s unique and valuable in primary education. Thanks to its constructivist method, it creates opportunities for cooperation and creativity.

It develops various abilities

Emil develops computational thinking together with logical and mathematical thinking, critical and analytical approaches to problems, creativity, communication, and self-expression.

It is rooted in the research realized in schools

Our team has developed Emil for Year 3 in three design schools (public, private and Church school) in close collaboration with 90 students and five teachers. Currently, more than 130 primary schools have joined the trialling process - in Slovakia, Switzerland, Norway, England and Czech Republic.

Timeline Background
Timeline

As part of the Computing with Emil project, we are creating comprehensive support for the informatics education for the entire primary and secondary school, with some introductory activities starting as early as in preschool. Our method introduces new programming environments with innovative constructivist teaching, and innovative workbooks for pupils, as well as complex and comprehensive teacher materials. We are also organizing professional development sessions for teachers and other complementary activities. We consider programming to be a 'language' of computing and a tool for exploring various areas, which also includes data handling and data structures, elements of robotics and AI, and also being sage in the digital world.

Robot EMIL Logo
Computing with Emil
2017
The initial phase of the project

We joined the strengths of a university, a non-profit educational organization and a top-level technology studio specializing in the development of educational software, and launched an ambitious project with the goal to transform Computing education from a collection of isolated bits of experience to a modern systematic learning process implemented in all primary and secondary school.

TODAY
Programming for pupils of the lower primary years

We completed the development and trialling of a software environment and educational content for learning introductory programming in Year 3 of the primary school. Emil consists of three “worlds”, interconnected with a workbook for the pupils, and supported by teachers’ professional development content. Pupils are never isolated, they always explore are solve problems in pairs, using one computer and two workbooks, always discussing in pairs and often with the whole group. The teacher becomes a companion on their exciting journey.

2019
Computing in Primary School

We will complete our Computing with Emil method to encompass all years of the primary school. We will finalise the development of our own curriculum for modern Computing education.

2020
Computing in Secondary School

We will focus on developing educational content for secondary school computing. We will support schools in computing with Scratch and other programming languages with modern constructivist teaching/learning materials appropriate for pupils aged 10 to 14 years.

2021
What’s next?

We are preparing a big surprise for educational computing in higher secondary school, a unique programming environment (IDE) which will exploit Python and will allow secondary pupils and their teachers to explore and develop applications reaching for collaboration with other subjects and interesting areas.

Testimonials Emil

PaedDr. Zlatica Lišková

head of the Ľ. Štúr Primary School in Modra

”Among other things, pupils will learn that if they make mistakes, they are learning and exploring. A mistake is not a wrong solution – it only means: ‘I am interested, I am trying, I am exploring, I am learning’.”

A Year 3 pupil

”It’s OK to make mistakes. It makes us think what the correct solution could be.“

PaedrDr. Milan Moravčík
PaedDr. Milan Moravčík, PhD.

lead developer

”Often, a teacher would tell us about the kids that they didn’t like maths, or they weren’t excellent pupils. And we were surprised that said those kids managed to solve the most challenging tasks just as well as their classmates did.“

Mgr. Bibiána Vitková

Year 3 teacher

”In some cases, they need to learn that there is no solution. Not everything can always be solved. In a sense, it’s true about our life as well.“

Who are Emil’s parents
Team of the authors
Ivan Kalaš
Prof Ivan Kalaš
PaedrDr. Milan Moravčík
Dr Milan Moravčík
Andrej Blaho
Dr Andrej Blaho

The author trio consisting of Dr Andrej Blaho, Prof Ivan Kalaš, and Dr Milan Moravčík has ample international experience in developing and researching in the area of constructivist programming environments focused on programming and algorithmic thinking of pupils in pre-school, primary, and secondary education.

Project team
Ing. Peter Halák
Mgr. Naďa Urbanová

Peter Halák is a director of the non-profit organization Indícia, which takes patronage over this project. Through his work, he supports the development of the constructivist teaching in schools and connects innovative teachers and school head teachers. Naďa Urbanová is the project manager of the Computing with Emil project. She is responsible for the organizational, legal, financial, and communication activities of the project.

Development partners
Indicia, NPO

The project is being realized under the auspices of Indicia, a non-profit organization which have been focused on education in Slovakia for more than ten years. They organize conferences for in-service teachers, publish textbooks, provide professional development for teachers and struggle to improve the education system in place through various projects.

Comenius University

A team of the researchers and educators with ample experience in the area of educational research and the development of the environments for learning programming led by Prof Kalaš is developing, trialling and deploying the educational content and teacher materials for the new Computing with Emil intervention.

Technology Studio

Highly experienced team of developers, they focus on designing and developing software solutions meeting research requirements and needs for various platforms in frequent and short interactive cycles.

Design schools involved in the trialling process

Pupils and their teachers involved in our development process play key role in obtaining first experience and feedback from our new software environments and the teaching method itself.

Partners abroad

Since the first year of the development, we’ve been approached by several researchers and educators from abroad, with whom we’re now partnering in preparing different localizations of Emil for primary schools, as of now, in French, Czech, English, Polish, Hungarian, and Norwegian. With some of the partners, we plan to launch joint research activities in the near future as well. We have established the first of such scientific forms of collaboration with the HEP Vaud, Lausanne, a leading university in research into educational sciences in Switzerland.

Principal investigator and project guarantor

The PI and professional guarantor of the project is Prof Ivan Kalaš, head of the Department of Education, Comenius University, Bratislava. He leads the development of the new method of teaching computing with Emil together with Dr Andrej Blaho and Dr Milan Moravčík. For five years Ivan was a member of the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute IITE. He was also an international adviser for Microsoft, Redmond, in their global initiative Partners in Learning, in which he acted as an evaluator of the primary and secondary teachers’ projects. From 2013 until 2018 he was a Visiting Professor at the UCL Institute of Education in London. He dedicated his entire professional career to the development of the constructivist software interfaces for teaching and learning computing, as well as writing textbooks and modern teacher materials. Imagine Logo, which has been adopted in 15 countries around the world, serves as an example testifying to the success of said environments.

Teacher materials

Teacher material - Emil for Year 3, world 1

Date of the latest upload: Sep 2, 2019

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Teacher material - Emil for Year 3, world 2

Date of the latest upload: Sep 2, 2019

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Teacher material - Emil for Year 3, world 3

Date of the latest upload: Sep 2, 2019

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Birth of Emil
How is Emil being developed

Through a continual cooperation with pupils and their teachers, we try to understand the learners’ cognitive processes in the area of informatics and computing. Thanks to this approach, we’re able to design and develop better software environments for learning the basics of programming. Our environments then serve not only teachers, but also our colleagues in several countries around the world as excellent research instruments. In this way, in our work, design and research intertwine in the most natural way. This modern strategy is called design research. Therefore, in our efforts, working in the classroom with pupils and their teachers, observing, verifying, interviewing and analysing collected data, as well as developing the software environment in numerous small loops intermingle continuously.

Scheme of development
  1. Solution proposal—Identifying computational concepts and skills being developed, setting the learning objectives; designing corresponding activities and gradation of tasks; formulating pedagogical principles
  2. Consultations with the teacher—explaining learning objectives; learning about teacher’s experience; obtaining the feedback
  3. Development—programming, designing tasks; designing activities and pupils’ worksheets
  4. Observing and interviewing pupils—teaching or observing a lesson, assessment of understanding, verification of fulfilment of the learning objectives, and of the suitability and appropriateness of the activities
  5. Consultations with the teacher—after the lesson, we once again talk with the teachers. We discuss strong and weak points of our approach, tasks and materials, their suitability and appropriateness, their potential for cross-curricular interactions, etc.
  6. Analysis and preparation of the next iteration—thus concluding one cycle and preparing for the next one.
How to get Emil

Fill out the form and our team will be happy to answer your questions and advise you on how you can have Emil at your school too.

1. Will Emil work on our school computers?

Emil is an educational method and software intended for primary schools and fully functional on tablets, laptops and computers. We support Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac OS platforms.


2. Who is Emil intended for?

Emil has been developed for primary schools and institutes of education specializing in professional development of pre-service or in-service teachers. If necessary, we are able to tailor it to your needs, e.g. translate it into another language.

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