Research projects

Computing for all

Child looking at a laptop

We aim to understand and work to remove the barriers to computing education, including the factors obstructing young people’s engagement and progression in computing as a subject and career.

Gender Balance in Computing programme

We have recently conducted the largest ever set of trials on interventions that aim to overcome barriers for girls engaging with computing in school. For example, we have investigated how the use of storytelling and pair programming helps improve engagement and interest in computing for girls. Read more about gender in computing in our series of blog posts on the Teach Computing blog and in our paper on the factors impacting gender balance in computing.

Culturally responsive computing teaching

We are currently working on a Google-funded project to understand culturally responsive teaching in computing. Making computing culturally relevant means that learners with a range of cultural identities are able to identify with the examples chosen to illustrate computing concepts, to engage effectively with the teaching methods, and to feel empowered to use computing to address problems that are meaningful to them and their communities. This work builds on our work in 2021 to develop guidelines for educators to support them with culturally relevant pedagogy and culturally responsive teaching. You can find more information on our culturally relevant pedagogy for computing education page.

Culturally adapted resources for primary schools

In England, there has been limited research to investigate the engagement of primary-aged students from different backgrounds in computing lessons. We are grateful to the Cognizant Foundation for supporting us to investigate how to create culturally adapted computing resources for primary classroom use and to study the impact such resources might have. If you’d like to know more, read our blog post about the initial recruitment phase of the project.

G-VERSITY

As part of a multi-institutional EU-funded project, we are working with the University of Surrey on a study to understand how parents may influence girls’ decisions about computing.

Teaching and learning computing

Two girls working on a Scratch project

We research computing education in formal and non-formal settings, investigating processes of learning and teaching, as well as teacher professional development.

Computer science for learners aged 14 to 18

Aligned with our work on the Isaac Computer Science platform, we are collaborating with the Department of Computer Science and Technology at the University of Cambridge to research ways in which young people aged 14 to 18 learn computer science. You can read more about this topic in our collaborative report on the platform’s development and impact.

AI and data science education

We have embarked on a new research project to investigate how best to learn and teach the fundamentals of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science. In 2021/2022, we hosted online seminars in partnership with The Alan Turing Institute. You can read up on some of our seminars in these affiliated publications. We have also presented a poster at ITiCSE conference that summarises our pilot study on teachers’ motivations to teach AI and machine learning.

Non-formal computing education

The informal learning team and research team worked together throughout 2021 to write a review of research literature relating to non-formal learning. As we work extensively to support young people in clubs and extracurricular activities we felt that being able to understand the state of current research was really important as a baseline to support any future research projects in this area. Read up on our results in this paper we presented at the 2022 ICER conference.

Computing education worldwide

We have recently published a study that investigated the capacity for delivering computing education in Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda. More research is needed to investigate the dependencies between policy and vision, infrastructure, curriculum implementation, and teacher professional development, and thus support and facilitate the development of global computing education.

UK & Ireland computing teacher survey

In March 2022, we conducted a large survey of computing teachers across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. We are still in the early stages of analysing the impact that different educational systems, curricula and policy priorities have on the experiences of teachers. Read about our first insights in this blog article

Classroom talk in programming

Following on from previous research on Predict-Run-Investigate-Modify-Make (PRIMM), we have investigated the role of language in the programming classroom and published a paper about teachers’ perspectives on classroom talk.