Computing education research seminars

Join us at our free online research seminars

Our summer series is now over! You can watch all our summer seminars and download materials on the previous seminars page, and join us from September 2020 for our new series of monthly seminars.

Following the first Cambridge Computing Education Research Symposium on 1 April 2020, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is hosting regular online seminars focusing on current computing education research topics. 

Featuring presentations from researchers from around the world, the seminars provide the opportunity to hear about some of the latest work in the field of computing education research, make connections with fellow researchers, and take part in discussions. 

All researchers, academics, teachers and students with an interest in computing education research are invited!

Sign up to our seminars mailing list and we’ll be in touch with details of how to take part.

Dates and format

From September 2020, the seminars are taking place on the first Tuesday each month at 17:00-18:15 BST / 12:00-13:15 EDT / 9:00-10:15 PDT / 18:00-19:15 CEST

Each seminar consists of a presentation from a researcher in the field, followed by discussion and Q&A on the topic.


Date Topic Presenter/s
8 Sept 2020
METRECC Instrument: sharing and contributing to international K-12 computing curricula and experiences Monica McGill (, Keith Quille (Technological University Dublin), Rebecca Vivian (University of Adelaide), Elizabeth Cole (University of Glasgow)
6 Oct 2020
Assessments to improve student learning in introductory CS classrooms Shuchi Grover (Stanford University)
3 Nov 2020
PRIMM: encouraging talk in programming lessons Sue Sentance (Raspberry Pi Foundation)
1 Dec 2020
The Role of Block-based Programming in Computer Science Education David Weintrop (University of Maryland)
More dates coming soon!

METRECC Instrument: sharing and contributing to international K-12 computing curricula and experiences (8 September 2020)

Dr. Monica McGill (, Dr. Keith Quille (Technological University Dublin), Dr. Rebecca Vivian (University of Adelaide) and Elizabeth Cole (University of Glasgow)

This seminar aims to tell the story of the development of METRECC, international collaboration, ongoing outcomes and how it relates and can help you, the teacher. As the discipline of K-12 computer science (CS) education evolves, international comparisons of curriculum and teaching provide valuable information for policymakers and educators.

The MEasuring TeacheR Enacted Computing Curriculum (METRECC) instrument surveys teachers in K-12 schools about their implementation of CS curriculum to understand pedagogy, practice, curricula, resources and experiences in classrooms around the world. The open-source published data represents 244 teachers across seven countries (Australia, England, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Scotland and the United States) and the instrument has evidence of validity and reliability. The resulting METRECC protocol combines a country report template and a teacher survey that will provide K-12 teachers with a means to communicate their experiences.

Further, to extend the METRECC work, METRECC South Asia has been piloted in Nepal and Pakistan. This instrument underwent a thorough review and could also be used within other countries in South Asia to offer a snapshot of enacted curriculum in middle and low income countries.


Monica McGill, EdD, is currently the CEO & President of the non-profit Monica has been conducting computing education research for over a decade, with her research work now focusing on supporting K-12 computing education researchers and evaluators. She is also a CS Professor at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, USA.


Keith Quille, PhD. Keith is a Lecturer at the Technological University Dublin, Ireland. Keith is a project lead a where the research group specialises in CS education research (at primary, second and third-level), K-12 outreach and K-12 teacher professional development. Keith was also a second-level teacher for several years.


Dr Rebecca Vivian is a Research Fellow in the Computer Science Education Research Group (CSER) at The University of Adelaide. She is Lead designer for CSER’s national K-12 Digital Technologies Education teacher training  program and conducts research into STEM engagement, K-12 and tertiary CS education and teacher professional learning.


Elizabeth Cole is a PhD student at the University of Glasgow and an active member of the Centre for Computing Science Education. She brings a wealth of experience working in schools to her research. Elizabeth is currently working on computing science pedagogy in the early years of formal education. 


Assessments to improve student learning in introductory CS classrooms (6 October 2020)

Dr. Shuchi Grover (Stanford University)

One can only improve what one measures. Formative assessments & feedback serve the important purpose of assessment for learning (as opposed to summative assessments, which are assessments OF learning). They provide feedback to both teachers and students on students’ learning and understanding (or the lack thereof).

School classrooms teaching introductory CS need to work better to integrate of assessment and instruction—on combining teaching with an ongoing measurement of student progress toward instructional goals. Formative assessments serve as probes into students’ understanding, and this in turn, helps teachers’ identify student misconceptions as they are teaching.

Formative assessments could take various forms—quick exercises such as multiple choice questions, small directed/coding projects (with rubrics), Parson’s problems, fixing buggy code, or reflection questions. Many teachers use formative assessment at the beginning or end of class as brief “entry tickets” or “exit tickets”. This seminar will feature several examples of various forms of formative assessment that teachers at various grade levels can use.


Dr. Shuchi Grover is a senior research scientist at Looking Glass Ventures and visiting scholar at Stanford University. A computer scientist and learning scientist by training, her work in computer science (CS) and STEM education since 2000 has spanned both formal and informal settings in the US, Europe, and Asia. Her current research centers on computational thinking (CT), CS education, and STEM+CT integration mainly in formal K-12 settings.

Dr. Grover is a recipient of several grants from the National Science Foundation to conduct research on curriculum and assessments in STEM learning and CT in varied PK-12 contexts. She also works at the intersection of learning, assessment, and big data analytics to shape future environments for deeper learning.

She has authored over 100 well-cited scholarly and mainstream articles. She has advised the K-12 CS Framework as well as several K-12 school districts on CS implementation/integration. She serves as a member of the ACM Education Advisory Committee and on the editorial board of ACM Transactions on Computing Education.

She earned a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences & Technology Design from Stanford University (with a focus on Computer Science Education), Masters degrees in Education (Harvard University) and Computer Science (Case Western Reserve University), and Bachelors degrees in Computer Science and Physics from BITS Pilani (India).

PRIMM: encouraging talk in programming lessons (3 November 2020)

Dr. Sue Sentance (Raspberry Pi Foundation)

PRIMM is an approach to structuring programming lessons that counters the known problem of novices writing programs before they are yet able to read them, and focuses on students talking about how and why programs work before they tackle editing and writing their own programs. PRIMM stands for Predict, Run, Investigate, Modify and Make.

In this talk Sue will describe how language and talk are emphasised in this socioculturally inspired approach to structuring programming lessons. She will describe a mixed-methods study which evaluated the effectiveness of PRIMM with around 500 students over a period of about ten weeks, and showed a positive impact on learning. She will also consider how questioning in programming can be developed via a combination of the Block Model and the PRIMM approach. This talk will be of interest to you if you are interested in how beginners learn computer programming or have struggled with programming yourself.


Sue Sentance is Chief Learning Officer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Visiting Fellow at King’s College London, UK. She researches the teaching of programming in school, teacher professional development, and physical computing. Her academic background is in computer science, artificial intelligence and education, and she is a qualified teacher and teacher educator. She currently has a leading role in a nationwide government-funded programme to bring high-quality computing education to all schools in England.


The Role of Block-based Programming in Computer Science Education (1 December 2020)

Dr. David Weintrop (University of Maryland)

Block-based programming is increasingly becoming the way that young learners are being introduced to the practice of programming and the field of computer science more broadly. In this talk, David will present results from his research into the strengths and drawbacks of block-based programming. This includes sharing learner-reported perceptions on block-based programming, results from studies comparing block-based and text-based programming, and findings looking at if and how block-based instruction prepares learners for future text-based programming. He will also present results looking at the role of block-based tools in creating accessible and equitable computer science learning experiences. The goal for this talk is to help educators make informed decisions about if, how, and in what ways to incorporate block-based programming into their instruction.


David Weintrop head shotDavid Weintrop is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching & Learning, Policy & Leadership in the College of Education with a joint appointment in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of accessible, engaging, and equitable computational learning experiences. He is also interested in the use of technological tools in supporting exploration and expression across diverse contexts including STEM classrooms and informal spaces.

His work lies at the intersection of design, computational thinking education, and the learning sciences. David has a Ph.D. in the Learning Sciences from Northwestern University and a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan. He spent one year as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago studying computer science learning in elementary classrooms prior to joining the faculty at the University of Maryland. Before starting his academic career, he spent five years working as a software developer at a pair of start-ups in Chicago.