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25 October 2017

Sue Sentance Wins Major Impact Award for Computing Education Work

Dr Sue Sentance of King's College London has been awarded the 2017 BERA SAGE Public Engagement and Impact award for her work on removing the barriers to effective computing education.

Computer board
Computer board

Dr Sue Sentance of King's College London has been awarded the 2017 BERA SAGE Public Engagement and Impact award for her work on removing the barriers to effective computing education.  

Dr Sentance, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science Education at the School of Education, Communication & Society, was selected for her 'sustained and wide-ranging contribution to the advancement of computing education'. BERA (the British Educational Research Association) received a record number of UK and international applications for the 2017 award. She reacted to the award:

I’m very surprised but delighted to receive this award - on behalf of all the people I know who work tirelessly to promote computing education in school, both at King’s and nationally through the Computing At School network. The last few years have been a period of transition for all teachers of Computing and for many it has not been easy.

"Computing is an important subject in school and prepares young people for an increasingly technology-driven society; as such we urgently need more funding for research that can have a direct and significant impact on teachers and students.

Dr Sentance's contribution includes developing and disseminating a new framework for programming teaching built around collaborative working with teachers, promoted through a growing network of practitioners, and worked with key industry players, including Microsoft, to evaluate the potential of physical computing devices to develop motivated, creative learners. 

Working with Computing At School, Dr Sentance also developed a holistic model for professional learning in Computing that promotes teacher autonomy, peer-to-peer support and classroom-based research.  The model places emphasis on engaging teachers in research and in decision making and is built around peer-to-peer, face-to-face, and local community based learning.  As well as informing a national programme for the professional development of computer science teachers, the model has directly fed into the development of a nationwide research group in computer science education (CAS Research), the design and implementation of the BCS Certificate for Computer Science Teaching, and the project Teaching Inquiry in Computing Education through which teachers are supported to carry out small action research projects.

Working with Valentina Dagiene, founder of Bebras (an international computational thinking challenge running annually in 50 countries), Dr Sentance also developed a two-dimensional categorisation for Bebras tasks which will be implemented by several countries this year. Google are supporting further development of this work. She wasrecently awarded an EPSRC/Industrial CASE Studentship with Microsoft to work on the pedagogic potential of physical computing for the visually disabled.

Read more about the BERA award.

Read more about the Computing at School London initiative.