Lviv IT Cluster Launches a New Education Project – IT Expert: School Edition

26 Oct, 2020

Lviv IT Cluster, jointly with the Digital learning training center, has launched an experimental informatics program in Lviv schools. IT Expert: School edition aims to promote computer science among students of 7-9 years of study and improve schools’ informatics teaching quality. Students of four educational institutions, namely Secondary school №98, Prosvita Lyceum, Lviv Lyceum, and Ivan Puluj Lyceum, have an opportunity to attend new informatics classes starting this month.

The project is organized with the support of the Lviv IT Cluster companies, which want to improve computer science teaching for students. It is expected that the new informatics program will be implemented in at least five public schools annually.

The project organizers believe IT is one of the most essential disciplines necessary to acquire the professions of the future, and teaching of informatics in schools should take into account the latest advances in the IT industry and modern trends in education. “The world is constantly changing with computerization being the major trend of recent years. The ability to work with information is a key skill a modern-day person should possess, irrespective of what you do, even if you bake croissants or do farming. Every successful business has a website, a Facebook page or an Instagram account, a mobile app and an online ordering system, etc. The Informatics subject taught at schools should develop our children’s potential and guide them in the right direction. It should provide relevant, practical knowledge while remaining exciting and challenging. It will open the door to web programming for some of them and marketing or design for others – IT offers numerous pathways. Unfortunately, the current situation we have at schools pushes children away from the subject. Textbooks they are using are boring and outdated, filled with theoretical definitions and unnecessary information, and tech trends become outdated faster than those textbooks are printed. Besides, schools lack qualified teachers who can teach up-to-date practical skills”, says CEO and co-founder of Abto Software and project initiator Oleksandr Muzychuk.

The initiative was presented at the Lviv IT Cluster strategic session in March this year. The main project initiator was Abto Software, and the idea was also supported by GlobalLogic, IT Step University, and Softserve. During the preparatory phase, a working group composed of the Lviv IT Cluster companies and Lviv City Council’s City Institute representatives analyzed the Ministry of education and sciences curriculum and invited the Digital Learning training center representatives to collaborate. The digital Learning training center’s founders have many years of experience working with private schools. The new curriculum incorporated the one used at specialized courses, but the organizers aim to make such training accessible to every student.

The primary goal set by the organizers is to enhance the “Informatics” subject in Lviv schools. The project partners updated the Ministry of education curriculum with practical tasks and new information for students of 7-9 years of study.

Another objective was to improve the quality of teaching. IT specialists who gained practical experience in the largest IT companies will teach the students in Lviv secondary schools. “One of the most important and at the same time, the most challenging tasks is the training of young teachers who also want to keep up with the trends and teach children modern technologies. Currently, schools lack highly qualified staff to provide students with a good foundation in tech expertise. We train new teachers, select and retrain those who are already working, which allows us to make sweeping changes in school education,” explains Ivan Shulba, CEO of Digital learning.

The study process will focus on practical tasks, and kids will learn new programs, editors, and programming languages, which will help them immerse in tech and acquire the skills needed in the modern world. Students will work on their projects, implementing their ideas, since this is the best way to learn new skills. Each student will be able not only to use the acquired knowledge when applying for the university but also to create projects useful for society and participate in freelance projects to earn their first money.

The new Informatics course has already started at Prosvita Lyceum, next week it will begin in Secondary school №98, Lviv Lyceum, and Ivan Puluj Lyceum. More schools are expected to join the initiative in the second semester.