My research interests are based around Education, Computational Thinking and Programming. I am particularly interested in understanding what 'abstraction' means, how we already teach it, how this might change to improve young children's skills in this area and what progression looks like.
I am also very interested in how we teach pupils to program and the role of tinkering to support understanding of programming constructs and how this then tips into purposeful programming. Also how pupils create their design/algorithm and how they abstract to create that design/algorithm. This then leads to debugging and what the difference might be between strategies for debugging projects with a design and those without, i.e that evolved from tinkering.
Girls and computing is another area I am particularly keen to look at. In 2015, only 456 girls in the UK took A level computing, with 5000 boys taking the subject. We have had a huge rise in pupils taking GCSE with 33,000 sitting the exam in 2015, but the % of girls is around 15%. There are similar problems across the STEM subjects. What can we do to address this imbalance? Real current role models, less gaming projects, collaborative and 'female friendly' environments.... ideas welcome.
Waite, J. et al., 2016.
Abstraction and common classroom activities. In Proceedings of the 11th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing
Education. ACM, pp. 112–113.
The poster for the paper is linked here