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

We are building computing with Emil for schools and in schools.

With Emil’s help, we are developing:

  • modern programming and thinking skills,
  • critical and analytical thinking,
  • computing as a new instrument for discovering, learning, and creating.
Get Emil
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 work with teachers and students.

It’s rooted in international experiences gained in teaching computer science as well as in modern learning theories, while at the same time it fully meets the requirements of the current innovated State educational programme . For the first time ever, Emil creates computer science as a well thought-out and systematic cognitive process intended for every student. Emil changes computer science from a subject simply teaching computer use to a new form of exploration, problem solving, and collaborative partnership between subjects. Computer Science with Emil teaches students how to live and work responsibly in the digital environment, and how to explore and change the world.

professional guarantor of the project: prof. RNDr. Ivan Kalaš, PhD., head of the Department of Basics of IT and IT Education of the Comenius University Faculty of Mathematics, Physics, and Informatics

Who is Ivan Kalaš
It encourages cooperation and exploration

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

It cultivates various abilities

Emil cultivates programming thinking skills coupled with logical and mathematical thinking abilities, critical and analytical approaches to information and problems, creativity, communication, and self-expression.

It’s born out of research realized in schools

Our team is working on developing Emil in three partnering schools (a public, private, and a Church-affiliated one) in cooperation with 90 students and 5 educators. In this school year, other elementary schools in Slovakia, Switzerland, Czechia, and Poland are joining the pilot.

Timeline Background
Timeline

As part of the Computing with Emil project, we are creating comprehensive support for the IT education during the entire elementary, middle, and high school schooling course, with introductory activities starting as early as in preschool. Our method introduces new programming environments with innovative constructivist teaching, and brings workbooks for students, as well as methodology materials for teachers. We are also in the process of preparing teacher education courses and other support activities and complementary tools. We view programming as a language of informatics and a tool for exploring various software development and application areas, which also include working with data and structures, basics of robotics, or responsible and productive conduct in the digital world.

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

We joined the forces of a university, a non-profit educational organization, and a top-class technology studio specializing in educational software development, and launched an ambitious project with the goal of changing computing from a collage of isolated experiences to a modern systematic education embedded within the entire school education process.

TODAY
Programming for children aged 8–9 years

We finalised the development and testing of a software and educational content for learning basics of programming intended for third grade elementary school students. Emil the robot offers to third-graders three task “areas”, complemented by workbooks and teacher education courses. Students are never alone when working on the computer, they work on solving all the problems either in pairs or in large groups. The teacher becomes a companion on their exciting journey.

2019
Computing for Elementary Schools

We will expand the Computing with Emil method to encompass all the grades in elementary school. We will conclude the development of a strategic international curriculum of a modern IT education.

2020
Computing for Middle Schools

We will focus on developing educational content for middle school computing. We will equip school computing and the popular Scratch and Python programming languages with a modern constructivist teaching, appropriate for students aged 10–15 years.

2021
What’s next?

We are preparing a big surprise for school computing and computing on the high school level: a unique programming environment, which, using the well-known Python language, will allow the high school students and their teachers to explore and create applications overlapping into other subjects and scientific areas.

Testimonials Emil

PaedDr. Zlatica Lišková

director of the Ľ. Štúr elementary school in Modra

”Among other things, they will learn that if they make a mistake, they still have a chance to correct it. An error is not a bad solution – an error means that “yes, I can try again and there’s no punishment”.

A third-grade elementary school student

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

PaedrDr. Milan Moravčík
PaedDr. Milan Moravčík, PhD.

guarantor of the development

”Often, a teacher would tell us about a child that they didn’t like math or they weren’t an excellent student. And we were surprised that said child managed to solve even the most difficult assignments just as well as their classmates did.“

Mgr. Bibiána Vitková

teacher

”In some cases, they need to learn that there is no solution. Not everything can always be solved. In a sense, it’s a training for a real life.“

Who are Emil’s parents
Team of authors
Ivan Kalaš
prof. RNDr. Ivan Kalaš, PhD.
PaedrDr. Milan Moravčík
PaedDr. Milan Moravčík, PhD.
Andrej Blaho
RNDr. Andrej Blaho, PhD.

The author trio consisting of dr. Andrej Blaho, prof. Ivan Kalaš, and dr. Milan Moravčík has ample international experience in development and research in the area of constructivist programming environments focused on development of the programming and algorithmic thinking abilities of students involved 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 directors. Naďa Urbanová is the project manager of the Informatics with Indícia project. She’s responsible for all the organizational, legal, financial, and communication activities related to the project.

Development partners
Indícia, NPO

The project is being realized under the auspices of Indícia, a non-profit organization which has been focusing on education in Slovakia for more than ten years. It organizes professional conferences, publishes textbooks, trains teachers, and seeks to change the education system in place through a dozen various projects.

The Comenius University Faculty of Mathematics, Physics, and Informatics

A team of professionals with ample experience in the area of educational research and programming environment development led by prof. Kalaš is developing and testing the educational content and methodology materials for the new Computing with Emil programme.

Technology Studio

A highly-experienced team of developers and designers is working on developing a software solution fitting research requirements and needs for various platforms in short interactive cycles.

Schools participating in the pilot

Classes involved in our development process play crucial role in gaining first experiences and feedback in testing software environments and the teaching method itself.

Foreign partners

During the first year of the development process, we’ve already been approached by several experts from abroad, with whom we’re now partnering in preparing a couple of localizations of the Emil programme for elementary school students, as of now, being created in French, Czech, English, Polish, and German. With some of the partners, we plan to launch joint research activities in the near future as well. We established the first of such scientific forms of cooperation with the Pedagogic University in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

Project guarantor

The professional guarantor of the project is prof. Ivan Kalaš, PhD., head of the Department of Basics of IT and IT Education of the Comenius University Faculty of Mathematics, Physics, and Informatics in Bratislava. The development of the new method of teaching computing with Emil is being realized in partnership with dr. Andrej Blaho and other department experts. For five years, I. Kalaš had been a member of the Council of Directors of the UNESCO Institute for Informational Technologies in Education, as well as a member of the international consultative body of the Microsoft corporation, where he acted as a juror in its international competitions for elementary, middle, and high school teachers. He is the main author of the educational content for computing classes in English elementary schools. He continues to act as a guest professor at the University College in London (UCL). He dedicated his entire professional career to the development of the constructivist software environments supporting computing, as well as creation of textbooks and methodology materials for teachers. Imagine Logo, which has expanded into 15 countries around the world, serves as an example testifying to the success of said environments.

Birth of Emil
How is Emil being created

Through a continual cooperation with students and their teachers, we try to understand the children’s cognitive process in the area of informatics and computing. Thanks to this approach, we’re able to design and develop better software environments for teaching computing. Our environments then serve us as well as our colleagues doing research in several countries around the world as an excellent research tool. This way, research and development intertwine seamlessly in our work. This modern strategy is called design research. Therefore, in our efforts, work with students and teachers in classrooms, observation, verification, dialogues, observation analyses, as well as the development process itself intermingle continuously.

Scheme of development
  1. Solution proposal—Setting of the concepts and abilities being developed, as well as the educational goals; proposal of corresponding activities and successive task order; proposal of pedagogical principles
  2. Consultation with a teacher—goal explanation; taking into consideration experiences of said teacher; obtaining their feedback
  3. Development—programming, proposal of activities and student worksheet preparation
  4. Testing and dialogues with the students—conducting a teaching lesson or an observation of such lesson, verification of comprehension, verification of fulfillment of educational goals, and of the suitability and appropriateness of the activities
  5. Consultations with the teacher—following our work with the students during the lesson, we once again talk with the teachers. We ask about both the strong and weak points of our approach and materials, about their suitability and appropriateness, their applicability in inter-subject activities, etc.
  6. Analysis and preparation of the following 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 computers too?

Emil is an educational method and software intended for elementary schools and used primarily on tablets or computers. We support Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac OS platforms.


2. For whom is Emil intended?

Emil the robot is intended for elementary schools and faculties of education specializing in professional training of future teachers. If necessary, we are able to tailor it to your needs, e.g. translate it into another language.

Emil waving