Culturally adapted computing resources for primary schools

With this research study, we built on our previous work in culturally relevant pedagogy, specifically our guidelines for teachers, to support UK teachers in adapting Computing lessons to the cultural context of their learners.

Learners at keyboards in a primary school computing classroom.

About this research study

In this study, UK-based primary school teachers worked together with us to investigate how to adapt Computing resources to make them culturally relevant for their learners. The ultimate goal was to improve the engagement and outcomes of learners from groups that are underrepresented in Computing, such as girls, learners from UK minority ethnic groups, and learners from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Two learners in a computing lesson at a laptop.

Study design and resources

Between October 2022 and July 2023, 13 teachers from 12 schools in England participated in this research study. Participants were a mixture of generalist primary school teachers and specialist primary Computing teachers, and the majority were working in urban areas.

Study design

Teachers participated in a collaborative adaptation of resources for Year 4 and 5 (ages 8–10) to make them culturally relevant for their classrooms. They attended a full-day workshop introducing culturally relevant pedagogy, contributed their ideas, and then delivered six adapted lessons during the spring term of 2023. We provided support through online drop-in sessions and observation, we asked teachers to complete a reflective diary, pre- and post-surveys, and post-intervention interviews.

Read about the workshop

Study resources

All of our research instruments are freely available to use by other researchers and interested teachers. In our open folder, you can access the workshop booklets used to adapt the Year 4 and Year 5 units, the slides from the workshop, and our pre- and post-surveys.

View the research instrumentsopen_in_new

Academic outputs

Our research team included Katharine Childs, Lynda Chinaka, Hayley Leonard, Jane Waite, and Bobby Whyte.

Engaging primary (K-5) computing teachers in culturally relevant pedagogy through professional development

This paper explores adapting computing resources for cultural relevance, enhancing teachers' confidence and awareness. The study suggests that after a professional development workshop, teachers demonstrated increased confidence in creating culturally relevant resources and a greater understanding of the application of culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) in computing education. The study's findings and resource model can guide future investigations of CRP's impact on teachers and learning outcomes in various contexts.

Leonard, H., Childs, K., Waite, J. & Sentance, S. (2023). Engaging primary (K-5) computing teachers in culturally relevant pedagogy through Professional Development. In Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on United Kingdom & Ireland Computing Education Research. (to be published in September)

Thank you

This study was funded by Cognizant and we are grateful for their generous support. Since 2018, Cognizant has worked to ensure that all individuals have equitable opportunities to thrive in the jobs driving the future. Their work aligns with our mission to enable young people to realise their full potential through the power of computing and digital technologies.

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