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CRESTEM Keynote Lecture 2023: Astronomy or telescopes? Seeking a research agenda for computing education for young people

Stamford Street Apartments, Waterloo Campus, London

30 Mar Room of old computers - by alex motoc - 780x440 Part of CRESTEM seminar series

The introduction of computer science into school curricula around the world is one of the most significant curriculum changes that has taken place in the last decade, and also the most hotly debated. How important is computing as a core subject and what should young people be learning? At what stage should children start to learn computing? Is it about technology or ideas? The Dutch computer scientist Edsger Dijkstra is reported to have commented: “Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes". This sentiment has inspired educationalists and policymakers to focus the content of the curriculum on the longstanding principles underlying computer science rather than more transient technological developments.

Research in the field of computing education has a much shorter history than we’ve seen in mathematics and science education, although we have much to learn from these fields. While England has been leading the way in defining and implementing computing as a curriculum subject in schools, other countries such as the USA and Germany lead the way in terms of research: considering questions around curriculum content, pedagogy and assessment, attitudes towards computer science, equity and inclusion, and teacher professional learning. There is much to do, and research is needed that is inclusive of educators and has a focus on impacting classroom practice. In this talk, Sue Sentance will outline why she thinks computing education is a global concern and discuss areas where she thinks we need more research in order to make progress in implementing it.

Speaker: Dr Sue Sentance

Dr Sue Sentance is Director of the Raspberry Pi Computing Education Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, established in 2021 to increase our understanding of the teaching and learning of computing. She’s also been the Chief Learning Officer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation since 2018, where she acts as a senior advisor on teaching and learning activities and leads on research.

Sue’s research interests span the teaching of programming in school using the PRIMM approach, teacher professional development, curriculum change, and culturally responsive computing teaching. She led the DfE-funded Gender Balance in Computing project from 2019-2022 and has played a leading role in the National Centre for Computing Education.

In 2020 Sue was awarded a Suffrage Science award for Maths and Computing and in 2017 the BERA Public Engagement and Impact Award for her services to computing education.

SueSentance

At this event

Richard Brock

Richard Brock

Lecturer in Science Education


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