Bebras is an international initiative whose goal is to promote Informatics and Computational Thinking among teachers and pupils of all ages. Bebras does this through easily accessible and highly motivating online contests. In Australia, Bebras is run by NICTA under the Digital Careers program; and it is aligned with, and supports, the new Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum.
The challenges are made of a set of short questions called Bebras tasks and are delivered via the cloud. The tasks can be answered without prior knowledge about computational thinking, but are clearly related to computational thinking concepts.These tasks can be answered without prior knowledge about Informatics, but are clearly related to Informatics concepts. Working alone or in teams, students need to solve those tasks, pupils are required to think in and about information, discrete structures, computation, data processing, but they also must use algorithmic concepts. Each Bebras task can both demonstrate an aspect of computational thinking and test the talent of the participant, regarding Informatics.
Bebras seems to be a very engaging and approachable way to address the requirements of the Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum. While it looks useful for everyone, the problem-solving nature of the tasks might make it especially attractive for teachers who don’t have a depth of computing or programming background or who have limited access to computers: there’s no prior computing or ICT knowledge required.
Bebras is free and is designed around a school period of 45-60 minutes. There are five categories covering year 3-12.
Teachers wishing to run a Bebras program in Term 4, or any other time, can get more information from the Bebras website.