computer science education · Computing At School · pedagogy · research

Teacher inquiry in computing education

The CAS Teaching Inquiry in Computing Education (TICE) project is a pilot study investigating how to support teachers in setting up action research projects in Computing. The underlying motivation for this is a belief that teachers can carry out valid investigations in school but need support from academics in the design and analysis of their study. These investigations will support their professional development in Computing and impact in the classroom as well as possibly highlighting interesting areas of research. The funding for the project was given to Computing At School by Google and has been used to release teachers from school for 2 all-day meetings in London.

TICE meeting 1 cropped

22 teachers and 7 academics have been involved since October 2015 (the academics on a completely voluntary basis) and this month (March) we met for our second meeting. Whereas the focus of the first meeting was to introduce the basics of designing a research intervention, and to establish and focus on specific research questions, the second meeting was designed to find out how to analyse data that had been gathered and how to write this up.  We are also keen to provide teachers with easy ways of sharing and disseminating their research projects, however small, and have created a template “poster” which will be used to create posters, presentation and a team booklet summarising the research. This will also be fed back to the teachers’ schools, who have released them to participate in the project.

Some example research questions are:

  • Can a child’s understanding of debugging be deepened by the use of unplugged CS?
  • Does embedding a pupil democratic enterprise culture into the KS4 Computing curriculum aid in raising attainment?
  • Does computational thinking improve achievement in reading comprehension?
  • Does child-led teaching improve teachers’ computing knowledge and understanding?
  • How do attitudes to computing and gender change from KS1 – 5?

We have been incredibly impressed by the enthusiasm and energy of the teachers engaging in this project, despite their lack of time to work on their projects during the normal school week.

Teachers will present their research at the national CAS Conference on 18th June 2016.

Project Team:

Sue Sentance, King’s College London
Carl Simmons, Edge Hill University
Jane Sinclair, University of Warwick
Andrew Csizmadia, Newman University
Ellie Overland, Manchester Metropoitan University
Neil Brown, University of Kent,
David Hill, University of Portsmouth