Every Child a Coder? Research Challenges for a 5-18 Programming Curriculum

An IDC 2015 Workshop

Call for Participation

The current drive in many countries to teach computing to all from an early age has potential to empower and support children in creative and problem-solving tasks. However, there are a number of challenges in ensuring that computing curricula, tools and environments embody appropriate progression and engender motivation for the topic across the school years. This workshop will consider the key research challenges in learning coding throughout childhood.

We seek position papers from designers of programming environments for children, developmental psychologists, educational researchers and practitioners, and others with interests in this area, which address key questions such as:

  • What, if any, are the precursors to computer science skills and understanding and how can we foster them?
  • Can we draw on knowledge from other subject areas (such as mathematics) where conceptual pathways seem more clearly understood?
  • How can we ensure that foundational concepts are refined and deepened over time (e.g. similar to Bruner’s spiral curriculum [2]).
  • What is the relationship between programming and computational thinking, and are there any trade-offs regarding which should be the primary educational focus?
  • How can we design programming tools and curricula that are developmentally appropriate and foster motivation throughout childhood?

Submission instructions

Position papers should be a maximum of 4 pages in SIGCHI Extended Abstract Format, and should be emailed as a PDF file to: everychildacoderIDC15@gmail.com

Deadline: 30th March   Extended to 7th April

We are happy to accommodate school teachers and industry professionals who wish to attend the workshop, but do not want to submit a position paper. Anyone in this position should send an email to the above address explaining why you would like to attend, what you hope to get from the workshop, and what you hope to contribute.

Workshop schedule

  • Position papers and discussion
  • Hands on overview of current tools (during breaks)
  • Road map activity: participants work in groups to draw a road map of the developmental stages in computational thinking, based on developmental theory from psychology, mathematics education and empirical work in computer science education.
  • Whole group plenary: discussion and identification of gaps in knowledge and research in the field.

Expected outcomes

After the workshop, the organisers will work with participants to develop the road map, and key areas for further research, into a paper for the International Journal of Child Computer Interaction.