iBobor competition: How to Teach Students That Computers Are Not Just For Surfing on the Web

Bratislava, 30 November 2021: In November the iBobor IT competition for children took place on its 15th anniversary. More than 100,000 contestants from 1,406 schools participated. The aim of the competition is to promote computer science and information technologies among primary and secondary school students. In Slovakia, the competition is organized by the Department of Didactics in Mathematics, Physics and Informatics of Comenius University Bratislava.

30. 11. 2021 14.58 hod.
By: CU External Relations Office

The iBobor competition is the Slovak version of the Bebras  computer science competition (“Beaver” in Lithuanian). Slovakia is one of about 60 European and non-European countries where the competition is held. Last year, more than 2.4 million students from 56 countries took part in it. In Slovakia, the competition took place on 8-12 November this year for the 15th time. A total of 102,833 contestants from 1,406 schools participated in 8 categories. They represent 1.88% of the total population of Slovakia. The Department of Didactics in Mathematics, Physics and Informatics of the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics of Comenius University cooperated in the organisation of the event with aSc - Applied Software Consultants, and other partners, including Soitron, Freed and the Slovak Informatics Society.

“iBobor is not a competition solely for precocious computer geniuses. It is meant to awaken the curiosity of any student from the second grade in the elementary school to high school seniors. It is for anyone who likes to use a computer, likes to think and wants to measure their strengths in modern computer science, logical thinking and digital technology skills,” said the project leader Monika Tomcsányiová from Comenius University. “In the competition, we do not focus on testing the participants’ memory or factual knowledge. Instead we analyse whether girls and boys have a desire to think, rack their brain and see for themselves that computers are not just tools for finding information on the Internet or communicating with friends. The incredible attention which this competition attracts every year tells us that there are many students like that in Slovakia,” she continued.

The competition takes place in the EduPage platform, which was developed by the competition’s partner, aSc - Applied Software Consultants. Students can participate online from their web browsers. The new platform improves the way in which the tasks are displayed on different digital devices and enables contestants to use their smartphones. Like in previous years, the students receive a code which enable them to log in on the day of the competition. Depending on the category, the competition consists of 9, 12 or 15 assignments, which need to be solved in 30 or 40 minutes. Some of the tasks are simple and require a clear and concise answer, to be chosen from four options. Others are small interactive assignments where a problem requires a programming or algorithmic solution.

“There is a lot of talk about the need to motivate young people to study computer science. I am pleased that colleagues from the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics of Comenius University are actively helping to increase the profile of information technology in schools. I believe that many clever young people will go on to study at this faculty and that they will eventually become IT specialists,” concluded the Rector of Comenius University Marek Števček.