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Programming in school kicks off media week

Published: 1 February 2018

This year Norrbotten Media Week starts with a theme day, arranged by Luleå University of Technology, on learning, programming and digitization. – It is a matter of democracy, says Peter Parnes, professor of Pervasive and Mobile Computing and one of the day's many lecturers.

The purpose of the day is to highlight programming in primary and secondary school, not least because of the revised curriculum coming this summer. In the curriculum, the school's mission to strengthen students' digital skills is clarified. To inspire how and why programming can be used in school, people with different competence will lecture during the day. But there will also be practical applications in the form of a session with actual programming.

Democracy and gender equality

As the world is increasingly digitized, programming skills are becoming more and more valuable. Today, algorithms control everything from our social media to our banking services, and knowledge about how it works can increase your understanding of the world.

– Programming is important because so much around us is governed by algorithms and computer systems. It's not necessarily about turning everyone inte programers, but everyone should have the same opportunity to get an understanding of programming. It's simply a matter of democracy, says Peter Parnes.

According to Peter Parnes, knowledge of programming is also an important issue of gender equality.

– Significantly more men than women work in the IT industry. If we can get girls more interested in technology in general and programming specifically, we can hopefully change that, says Peter Parnes.

Competence development for schools

Luleå University of Technology will be organizing an annual competence development day focusing on learning during the Norrbotten Media Week (NMW). Vice-Chancellor Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn finds NMW an important forum for Luleå University of Technology to participate in.

– In just a couple of years, NMW has successfully created national visibility for the region within a number of industries. With speakers like Tarana Burke, Alan Rosenblatt and Jack Werner, we attract participants from all over Sweden. I hope that NMW developed into an annual competence development day for both companies and the public sector. In this context, it is important for Luleå University of Technology to be a part of the arrangement.

Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn think that region's schools want easily accessed competence development, something that the university can deliver.

– The idea is to launch Monday as an educational day for the region's schools since principals and teachers often have limited financial opportunities for skills development. Last year, we focused on how new technology and new pedagogy can strengthen students' learning. This year we focus on programming because many schools struggle with the new curriculum.