EUROPEAN TALENT SUPPORT ACTIVITY MAP
Invited speaker presentation at 14 th International ECHA Conference
Jasna Cvetković-Lay, psychologist
Centre for Gifted Child Development "Bistrić"
Extra-curricular enriched program for gifted students -
Individual projects in Informatics and Robotics
This presentation consists of three parts. The first part gives a short overview of a general context of social values which enable or disable gifted individuals to progress and focus towards a socially positive direction, as well as those that support the development of important personality characteristics. There are two sides to the digital era, and there is no country, including Croatia, which has been spared of the so called cybercrime or dangerous games of non-focused computer geniuses (so called hacking). Then follows the part with an example of the absurdity in the formal education system in Croatia that does not give (too) young gifted informaticians the opportunity to participate in competitions, and that does not add the points achieved in competition participation to the points necessary for entering a secondary or higher education despite the incredible results that the young informaticians have been achieving for years on all national competitions and international IT Olympics.
In the second part of the presentation a few most important advantages of the interaction between a gifted child and a computer, the incredible device with unlimited possibilities, will be provided from the development psychology viewpoint. The indicators of professionally applied research carried out on the population of young informaticians are presented, implying that formal education system is not supportive enough for their special educational and pedagogical needs, which has induced us to initiate an extra-curricular enriched programme for gifted students.
The third part shows the goals of this extra-curricular enriched programme for gifted students that is being carried out at the "Bistrić" centre, together with an overview of workshop activities with gifted students in informatics and robotics. Tutors particularly encourage the creativity in constructing individual programming projects. This will be presented through a power-point presentation of gifted children individual projects on constructing and programming objects in virtual 3D space of virtual reality of a world net. Individual children projects on the programming of Lego educational sets - Lego WeDo and Lego Mindstorms - will be presented in the second enclosed presentation. With high-quality tutors, gifted children can already in their first and second primary school grades (age 6-8) acquire complex concepts and create programmes at a considerably higher level than the expected one through programming with Lego Mindstorms EV3 system.
Key words: gifted students, extra-curricular enriched program, computer education, creativity, independent individual projects, programming, robotics, constructing objects in virtual reality, Lego education.