Further to some of our recent work in computer science education (and policy), we presented two papers at the 10th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education (WiPSCE 2015) in London last week, entitled: Technocamps: Advancing Computer Science Education in Wales and Using Interface Design to Develop Computational Thinking Skills.
Technocamps: Advancing Computer Science Education in Wales
Tom Crick and Faron Moller
Computer science education in the UK has undergone substantial scrutiny over the past five years. In particular, from September 2014, we have seen the implementation and delivery of a new computing curriculum in England. However, in Wales — one of the four devolved nation in the UK — numerous political, geographical and socio-technical issues have hindered any substantive educational policy or curriculum reform for computer science. This is despite the widespread efforts to address the failings of computer science education in schools since at least 2003 through Technocamps, a pan-Wales university-based schools outreach programme.
In this paper we outline the history (and pre-history) of Technocamps, contextualised by the devolved nature of education in the UK, positioning Wales with its specific issues and challenges. Furthermore, we present evidence both in support of this university engagement and intervention model as well as its wider positive effect on promoting and supporting computer science education in Wales, a nation about to take its first steps on the path of a large-scale national curriculum review and significant educational reform.
Using Interface Design to Develop Computational Thinking Skills
Ana C. Calderon and Tom Crick
Human-computer interaction is a long established sub-discipline of computer science. While there has been significant focus on the importance of developing computational thinking skills, there appears to be a gap in the literature in using HCI principles, analysis and design as a framework for doing so. We present the first step to identify methodologies for systematically introducing HCI to pupils from an early age, presenting a commentary for their prospective future application, comparing to similar approach as other foundational aspects of computer science in developing computational thinking skills that have been considered for the past decade.
(also see: Publications)