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14 May 2018

Interdisciplinary Research Powers New Computing Education Centre

Researchers at King's College London launched CERC, the Computing Education Research Centre, to support vital programming teaching in schools.

Computer chip
Computer chip

On Wednesday 2 May academics at King’s College London launched CERC, the Computing Education Research Centre, which through new research will underpin vital programming teaching in schools.

Over 80 researchers, members of the computing and education industries, teachers and students, attended the opening of this interdisciplinary collaboration between King’s researchers from Informatics, Education, Robotics and Digital Humanities.

The collaboration of such a diverse set of disciplines will mean CERC is fully equipped to support UK computing education,” said Professor Michael Kölling, Director of CERC, who gave a keynote at the event. ‘’Research into computer science education is urgently needed, particularly at school level where Computing has become a part of the national curriculum in England. CERC, with the right resourcing, can plug this gap.”

Also speaking were Professor Beatrice Szczepek Reed, Head of the School of Education, Communication, & Society, who emphasised the importance of bringing together different departments for computing education research, and Professor Kerensa Jennings, who described the Duke of York’s iDEA initiative to people of all ages with digital skills, with a video presentation.

Attendees got to experience first-hand a number of teaching techniques and technologies. Professor Paul Curzon from Queen Mary University of London demonstrated CS4FN 'magic tricks' used to teach computer science and computational thinking. These are predominantly 'unplugged' - teaching computing without a computer.

Other EdTech products on show included Beebots, Lego Wedo, Roamer, Ozbots, Edison, Microbits and Codebugs. Programmable toys have been used for many years to teach computing and teachers now have a wide choice of EdTech products. Their challenge is to understand what can be taught using such products and how best to use them to enhance learning. Research projects were also displayed including PRIMM, Greenfoot, Stride and Torino.

CERC will undertake research in three inter-connected fields: Programming and Robotics, Digital Equity, Data and Education. The centre is looking to establish funding to advance its research. Members of the team are interested in working with universities, schools, industry and other partners on inter-disciplinary projects.

The centre’s upcoming project is the London Computing Education Research Symposium (LCERS). The theme of this year’s symposium is Computing for All. The conference will take place on the 11th June 2018 at King’s College London. Register here.

CERC website: Alternatively, drop us an e-mail at or follow us on Twitter (@cerc_kcl).