Tasks are very important both for competitors (students) and task developers (teachers): students are being “pushed” to think on informatics, whereas educators should think about harmonization of syllabus of computer science. Creative, interesting tasks are the main drive for the Bebras challenge.
The Bebras tasks’ developers seek to choose interesting tasks in order to motivate students to deal with informatics and to think deeper about technology. Also, they would like to cover as many as possible topics on informatics and computer literacy. In informatics, there is also the problem of syllabus. Even if there is an education standard for informatics at school in some countries, till now there is no common agreement what should be included in an integrated syllabus using information technologies.
Short Bebras tasks should involve concepts of informatics like algorithms and programs: sequential and concurrent; data structures like heaps, stacks and queues; modelling of states, control flow and data flow; human-computer interaction; graphics; etc. If a proper problem statement is used, then nearly all aspects of computer science and information technology can be topic of a Bebras task. A set of new tasks and questions is developed in the annual international Bebras workshop.
A good Bebras task should be
- representing informatics concepts
- easily understandable
- solved within 3 minutes
- short, e.g. presentable at a single screen page
- solvable at computer without use of other software or paper and pencil
- independent from specific systems
- interesting and/or funny
Practical tasks in informatics are usually not solvable within 3 minutes. Thus, the tasks for the Bebras challenge have to concentrate on smaller learning items. The focus of the tasks should be the understanding of principles, ideas and concepts that are involved in informatics systems.
The interactivity is very typical for computers, thus it is clear that a computer oriented contest should apply interactive elements to explain or solve tasks. These interactive tasks are often “funny” and easy to understand. The interactive elements require a lot of programmer’s effort to implement them.
It is very important to choose interesting and learning driven tasks in challenges. Therefore, one should try to present tasks from various fields of science and life, with real data and engaging situation. The selection of tasks for a contest is very important: they must cover as many sub-areas of informatics as possible.