Coding and STEM 4 Schools
Since 2013, I have collaborated with academics from the School of Education and the School of Electrical Engineering and Computing to organise and run professional learning programs for teachers, titled Coding & STEM 4 Schools. The purpose of these programs, which are developed in partnership with Google, is to help prepare teachers for the recently endorsed Digital Technologies Curriculum. Now that the Digital Technologies Curriculum has been endorsed, many teachers that have never taught (or even learned) computer coding before now have to teach computer coding. Consequently, there has been a need for professional learning programs that can help teachers learn computer coding and give them strategies for teaching this to students. During these programs, I have prepared and presented tutorials, organised scheduling and catering, and assisted with the design and administration of surveys and running of focus groups.
My PhD supervisor and I have conducted various research studies within these programs. This research has helped us understand how we can improve the design and implementation of the programs and we have published peer-reviewed articles about our experiences in the program and what we have learned running them. This journal article, which was published in the Informatics in Education journal, involves an analysis of data that we collected over the first six years that we ran the programs and a reflection on the 'tensions' we have negotiated with when planning and running the programs. The work in this project was so important to me that I decided to begin a PhD that involves investigating the impact of professional learning programs on teachers' understanding of coding, their confidence about teaching coding and their plans for teaching coding in different subjects. I commenced this PhD in August 2016 am planning to complete it by the end of 2019.
Most of the activities that I have developed for these workshops are licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence. For example, this activity introduces fundamental Coding concepts in Scratch. You can access all of the resources I have created for the recent workshops from the Newcastle CS4S website's Resource page.