Teaching the Future (RO: Predau Viitor) is the most complex and intensive professional development program for pre-university computer science teachers in Romania, created by Asociatia Techsoup with the support of the Romanian-American Foundation.
The first bootcamp of the 3 total bootcamps planned for the 2018 Teaching the Future Accelerator took place during June 20 – 21s. It was designed for 25 selected teachers and consisted of 2 days of intensive meetings, workshops and study visits created by Asociatia Techsoup along with partners from the IT industry. The entire program is intended to help teachers incorporate as much project learning as possible and to teach more practice in computer science at gymnasium and high school.
The selected teachers coming from 16 counties and 20 different localities across Romania were guests of the Fitbit office in Bucharest and together with Daniel Rizea, Director of Fitbit’s software engineering, they followed the product development process: from Vector Watch to Fitbit. (Fitbit acquired the successful Romanian start-up Vector Watch in 2017.)
“The biggest gain for me in being in the Teaching the Future Accelerator is the new and concrete perception of the IT industry. So far I just had a conceptual view of it, but now I am impressed by the direct contact with the IT world. I think I will be able to respond more concretely and not only theoretically to the students’ questions regarding the IT industry.” told us Cornelia Maier, from the Mediaș National Technological High School of Gas, after these first meetings.
The meeting with 3 of the most famous and award-winning Romanian indie games developers: KillHouse Games, Kappsule Games and Sand Sailor Studio was also a stimulating one. Coordinated by Andrei Istrate, co-founder of GameDev Academy, the meeting was the first of the scheduled activities with and about the gaming industry to be held in Predau Viitor, where teachers discover ways to use their students’ passion for gaming in an educational way.
The discussion with the game developers helped the teachers to better understand, from the inside, both the motivation and passion, especially self-discipline and work that people from indie gaming companies put into their games. Except for GameDev Academy, there is no other form of education for game creators in Romania, despite the development potential of this art industry.
“The meeting with the game developers was an experience from which I learned to see inside a person, beyond appearances. Their life stories, with a great emotional charge, opened my eyes and my soul to my students. I will certainly look at my students in a different manner, and I will try to help them open their wings and reach whatever they want.” confessed Violeta Debren, teacher at the Bucovina Forestry College in Câmpulung-Moldovenesc.
The 25 teachers also had the opportunity to meet with 5 teams from the Innovation Labs 2018 edition. Tag4IT, PIdrone, ClarK, Emun and CrowdLens who presented their projects and discussed with the teachers about their product development process and what they learned from the Innovation Labs experience.
The two workshops from the June bootcamp were held by Tudor Juravlea from the Design Thinking Society, which gave an introduction to design thinking, and Vasile Braşovanu, which challenged the teachers to another approach of emotions in the learning process.
“Predau Viitor is anchored in the reality and it is oriented towards us, teachers.” Mariana Dindelegan, computer science teacher at T. Popoviciu Computer Science High School in Cluj-Napoca told us at the end of the bootcamp activities.
In the Predau Viitor Accelerator, teachers discover the Romanian IT industry from inside, through meetings and activities with professionals and companies in the local and international IT industry.
The next Predau Viitor meetings will take place at the end of July and September 2018, and are designed to equip teachers with ideas, knowledge and motivation for a project based classroom in the coming new school year.