Computing is an enormous part of modern life. Its profound reach and impact on everyday life are precisely why the Raspberry Pi Foundation has teamed up with the University of Cambridge to help young people from all walks of life learn how computers work and how to create with them.
Together, the two have created the Raspberry Pi Computing Education Research Centre. The center is based within the University of Cambridge’s Department of Computer Science and Technology. The institutions believe that compared to other subjects, such as mathematics, computing is newer, and less is known about it. Therefore, computing education is also newer and has received less of an investment in research and pedagogic implementation.
In a blog post, the Research Centre said it wants to “work with educators to translate its research into practice and effect positive changes in learners’ lives.” This will allow researchers and educators to better learn the scope of what needs to be taught—taking into consideration the subject’s ever-expanding abilities and applications—and how best to teach it to kids and teenagers of all ages and backgrounds.
The Centre will thoroughly evaluate its current programs and run structured tests to see what works best in specific areas, like gender balance in computing or providing a unified platform where computing education researchers can share their findings. It is hoping that future research from tens of thousands of educators will help positively shape the future of computing education for millions of learners.
The partnership isn’t new and actually extends back to 2008, to the beginning of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Together, the two have collaborated on projects like Isaac Computer Science, an online education platform currently being used by 36,000 students in England. With this initiative, the two hope to establish connections with researchers and university programs internationally, especially in the United States and India.
While the Centre hopes to educate youth at large, it is especially hoping to impact “young people who come from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in the field of computing or who experience educational disadvantage.”
The Research Centre is beginning its expedition with three broad themes, which smartly focus on the educators. First, there are course curricula, pedagogy, and assessment. This includes educator development and training in the learning and teaching process. Second to be addressed is the role of non-formal learning, which includes self-directed learning, after-school programs, and other efforts to make learning more organic and approachable. Lastly is the understanding and removal of the barriers currently blocking computing education. By identifying the things that commonly block children from accessing and understanding computing education, we can remove them and help accelerate their success.
Yes, the goal is to make computing education more accessible and taught in a high-quality manner. But the goal is also to consider computing at large before we start teaching kids, including anything from digital making to computer science, and ensuring we properly understand it and properly teach it to learners of all ages in all settings.
Anything that improves education and makes it more accessible to all people everywhere is okay in our book!
Source: Raspberry Pi