Spotlight on Elementary Computer Science Education in our 2023 Seminar Series

Spotlight on Elementary Computer Science Education in our 2023 Seminar Series

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We are excited to announce our upcoming free webinars, which will run monthly from January 2023 and focus on primary school (K–5) computer teaching and learning.

Two children code on laptops while an adult supports them.

Our seminars, having covered various topics in computer science education over the past three years, will now offer you a close look at current issues and research in primary computer science education. Through this series, we want to connect research and teaching practice, and continue primary education in computer science around the world.

Are these seminars for me?

Our upcoming seminars are aimed at anyone interested in computer science education, not just primary school teachers – you are all warmly invited to join us. Previous seminars have been attended by a valuable mix of teachers, volunteers, technology industry professionals and researchers, all eager to explore how research in computer education can be put into practice.

Learner using Scratch on laptop.

Whether you’re teaching in a classroom or supporting learners in a coding club, you’ll find out how our youngest learners develop their computer skills. You will also explore with us what this means for your learning context in practical terms.

What you can expect from webinars

Each seminar begins with a presenter explaining, in easy-to-understand terms, some recent research they have done. The presentation is followed by a discussion in small groups. We then regroup for a Q&A session with the presenter.

Participants at our previous seminars have said:

“The seminar will be useful in my practice when our coding club starts.”

“I love this initiative, your choice of speakers was fantastic. You are creating a very valuable CPD resource for teachers and computer educators around the world. Thanks. 🙏”

“I just wanted to say a big thank you for organizing this. It was great to hear the presentation but also the input from other educators in the breakout room. I currently teach in a department of one, which can be quite lonely, so joining other educators has been awesome and a real encouragement.

Learn from specialists for the benefit of your own learners

Computing has been taught in universities for many years, and only more recently has the subject been introduced into schools. This means that there is not yet a lot of research on teaching computer science to school-aged learners, and even less research on how young, school-aged children primary school learn computer science.

Young learners in front of computers in a classroom.

That’s why we’re excited to invite you to learn with us as we hear from international primary computer science research teams who share their insights in our webinars:

  • Tuesday, January 10, 2023: Kicking off our series is Dr. Katie Rich and Carla Strickland from Chicago with a seminar on how they developed new teaching materials for teaching variables at primary school. They will focus specifically on how they combined research with classroom realities and share their experiences using their new materials in the classroom.
  • Tuesday, February 7, 2023: Dr. Jean Salac of the University of Washington is particularly interested identify and correct inequalities in the computing class, and will talk about a new learning strategy that has been found to improve students’ understanding of computing concepts and to increase equal access to computing.
  • Tuesday, March 7, 2023: Our very own Dr. Bobby Whyte from the Raspberry Pi Foundation will share practical examples of how primary computing can be integrated into literacy. It will look specifically at storytelling elements in computer science education and discuss the benefits of combining skill areas.
  • May 2023: Information to come
  • Tuesday, June 6, 2023: In a collaborative seminar, Aim Unahalekhaka of Tufts University in Massachusetts will first present his research on how children learn coding through ScratchJr. Participants are encouraged to bring a tablet or device with ScratchJr to then review hands-on project assessments and teaching strategies that can help young learners create purposefully.
  • Tuesday, September 12, 2023: Joining us from the University of Passau in Germany, Luisa Greifenstein will talk about how to give children appropriate feedback that encourages positive attitudes towards computer science education. In particular, she will examine the effects of different feedback strategies and introduce a new Scratch tool that offers automated feedback.
  • October 2023: Information to come
  • Tuesday, November 7, 2023: We are delighted to be joined by Dr. Aman Yadav from Michigan State University who will focus on computational thinking and its value for primary education. In his seminar, he will not only discuss the unique opportunities of computational thinking in elementary school, but also the results of a recent project focusing on teachers’ perspectives.

Register now to attend the seminars

All our seminars start at 5.00pm UK time (6:00 p.m. CET / 12:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 a.m. PT) and take place in an online format. Register now to receive a calendar invitation and the link to register on the day of each seminar.

We look forward to seeing you soon and discussing with you how we can apply research findings to better support all of our learners.

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