Tag Archives: education

Evolving our online courses to help more people be computing educators

Post Syndicated from Sway Grantham original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/free-online-courses-computing-education-updates-2023/

Since launching our free online courses about computing on the edX platform back in August, we’ve been training course facilitators and analysing the needs of educators around the world. We want every course participant to have a great experience learning with us — read on to find out what we’re doing right now and into 2024 to ensure this.

Workshop attendees at a table.

Online courses for all adults who support young people

Educators of all kinds are key for supporting children and young people to engage with computing technology and develop digital skills. You might be a professional teacher, or a parent, volunteer, youth worker, librarian… there are so many roles in which people share knowledge with young learners.

Young people and an adult mentor at a computer at Coolest Projects Ireland 2023.

That’s why our online courses are designed to support any kind of educator to:

  • Understand the full breadth of topics within computing
  • Discover how to introduce computing to young people in clear and exciting ways that are grounded in the latest research

We are constantly improving our online courses based on your feedback, the latest education research, and the insights our team members gain through supporting you on your course learning journeys. Three principles guide these improvements: accessibility, scalability, and sustainability. 

Making our courses more relevant and accessible

Our online courses are used by people who live around the world and bring various knowledge and experiences. Some participants are classroom teachers, others have computing experience from their job and want to volunteer at a kids’ coding club, and some may be parents who want to support their children. It’s important to us that our courses are relevant and accessible to all kinds of adult learners. 

A parent and child work together at a Raspberry Pi computer.

We’re currently working to: 

  • Simplify the English in the courses for participants who speak it as a second language
  • Adapt the course activities for specific settings where participants help young people learn so that e.g. teachers see how the activities work in the classroom, and volunteers who run coding clubs see how they work in club sessions
  • Ensure our course facilitators have experience in a range of different settings including coding clubs, and in a variety of different contexts around the world

Making our courses useful for more groups of people

When we think about the scalability of our courses, we think about how to best support as many educators around the world as possible. If we can make the jobs of all educators easier, whatever their setting is like, then we are making the right choices.

An educator helps two young people at a computer.

We’re currently working to: 

  • Talk with the global network of educators we’re a part of to better understand what works for them so we can reflect that in the courses
  • Include a wider range of examples for settings beyond the classroom in the courses
  • Adapt our courses so they are relevant to participants with various needs while sustaining the high quality of the overall learning experience

Making the learning from our courses sustainable

The educators who take our courses work to achieve amazing things, and this means they are often busy. That they take the time to complete one of our courses to learn new things is a commitment we want to make sure is rewarded. The learning you get from participating in our online courses should continue to benefit you far beyond the time you spend completing it. This is what we mean by sustainability.

Kenyan educators work on a physical computing project.

We’re currently working to: 

  • Lay out clear learning pathways so you can build on the knowledge you gain in one course in the next course
  • Offer course resources that are easy to access after you’ve completed the course
  • Explore ways to build communities around our courses where you can share successes and learning outcomes with your fellow participants

Learn with us, and help us design better courses for you

Our work to improve the accessibility, scalability, and sustainability of our courses will continue into 2024, and these three principles will likely be part of our online training strategy for the following year too. 

If you’d like to support young people in your life to learn about computing and digital technologies, take one of our free courses now and learn something new. We have twenty courses available right now and they are totally free.

We are also looking for adult testers for new course content. So if you’re any kind of educator and would like to test upcoming online course content and share your feedback and experiences, please send us a message with the subject ‘Educator training’. 

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Coding futures: Celebrating our educational partnership in Telangana

Post Syndicated from Mamta Manaktala original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/tswreis-coding-academy-computing-education-partnership-telangana/

On September 29 2023, amidst much excitement and enthusiasm, a significant event took place at a unique school in Moinabad, Telangana: the teams of the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS) gathered to celebrate our partnership on the esteemed Coding Academy of TSWREIS.

This event marked a special project for us where we are piloting a distinctive, progression-based computing curriculum in a government school and a degree college in India.

A group of female students at the Coding Academy in Telangana.

Partnering with TSWREIS to bring computing education to Telangana

At the Foundation, our goal is to work closely with schools, tailoring our offerings to their contexts. Our objective is to design and evaluate unique learning experiences by integrating content from our diverse range of high-quality educational products. Through these efforts, we aim to drive significant advancements in education and technology, benefiting both students and education systems across the world.

TSWREIS manages 268 residential educational institutions in Telangana, with a primary focus on delivering quality education to under-resourced young people, particularly children from scheduled castes and tribes in rural areas. Among these institutions is the Coding Academy school, located in Moinabad, which operates as a fully residential co-ed school for grades 6 to 12, accommodating around 800 students. Additionally, TSWREIS oversees another centre of excellence, the Coding Academy degree college in Shamirpet catering to 600 undergraduate female students.

We joined forces with TSWREIS to form a collaborative partnership with their Coding Academy units at both high school and college. We’re committed to sharing our expertise in computing and coding curriculum for students from Grade 6 to intermediate at the school, and across all courses at the college.

Our computing curriculum encompasses computer science, information technology, and digital literacy, and all its materials have been thoroughly researched and tested in the UK. Based on our 12 pedagogical principles, our curriculum ensures a project-based and holistic approach to learning. We also plan to provide national and international avenues for the Coding Academy students to showcase their learnings, for example through Coolest Projects, the world-leading, global technology showcase for young creators that we host every year. 

The exciting model for our partnership with TSWREIS

We took on the challenge of directly delivering a comprehensive curriculum at the Coding Academy school and college through our own educators, exclusively hired and trained for this project. This is an exciting new approach for us, because up to this point, we have never directly delivered a curriculum anywhere in the world. However, we know we have created a world-class computing curriculum for educators in formal (and non-formal) settings, and we have many years’ experience of training teachers, so we are well-prepared to face this project and its potential challenges head-on and make it a success.

A group of people from the Raspberry Pi Foundation at the Coding Academy in Telangana.

To begin the project, our team members based in India conducted a thorough study of the Coding Academy students’ interests and learning levels. Based on this, our Curriculum team in the UK and India customised and localised the content in our curriculum. We will be observing the curriculum’s delivery in classrooms and collecting students’ responses, and based on this data we’ll further refine the localised curriculum. 

Throughout the project’s lifespan, we’ll measure the effectiveness of our curriculum and the impact of learning on the students. To do this, we’ll collect data from classroom observations, periodic assessments, and focused group discussions with students and educators.

A group of male students at the Coding Academy in Telangana.

Starting from the second year of the project, we will build capacity within the system. In collaboration with TSWREIS, we’ll select teachers from within the organisation based on their interest and competence, and initiate their training. Our objective is that by the project’s fifth year, TSWREIS will have achieved self-sufficiency in delivering computing education to students at the Coding Academy as well as other institutions in its purview.

The promise of this project for our work in India

We began delivering lessons at the Coding Academy college and school in July, and it’s worth mentioning that it’s been a rollercoaster ride so far. We’ve been working closely with the TSWREIS team to equip both the academic units with the resources needed for seamless implementation of the project. Our India-based team has been able to ensure continuity in the project’s momentum and plug every gap, and is working tirelessly to make this big, challenging, and exciting project blossom and succeed. When it comes to the students’ energy, enthusiasm, and the sparkle in their eyes for their learning, it’s unmatched, and everyone feels proud of their achievements so far.

Three female students at the Coding Academy in Telangana.

This work with TSWREIS holds immense importance for us, representing our dedication to shaping a brighter educational landscape especially for young people from under-resourced communities. We hope to replicate similar initiatives across various regions in India, enabling widespread access to quality education. We also aspire to take forward our initiatives in much larger dimensions for the entirety of India. 

Students welcome Rachel Bennett at the Coding Academy in Telangana.

In addition to our partnership with TSWREIS, we are actively engaged in several other impactful projects in India, such as our partnership with Mo School Abhiyan in Odisha to serve the government’s schools across Odisha state, and our collaboration with Pratham Foundation, which is helping us reach under-resourced communities and furthering our commitment to enhancing educational experiences.

We look towards the future

In reflection, the voices at the launch event on September 29 echoed the anticipation and optimism that filled the air on that memorable day. Chief guests who graciously attended the event were Shri. E Naveen Nicholas, IAS, Secretary at TSWREIS & TTWREIS, and Rachel Bennett, our Managing Director at the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Heartfelt gratitude to them for their presence and blessings. We also extend our thanks to our funding partner in this work, Ezrah Charitable Trust, and our delivery partners for their invaluable support.

The group of people from the Raspberry Pi Foundation and TSWREIS at the Coding Academy in Telangana.

The energy felt on the event day continues to drive our determination to do the work that lies ahead. As we look forward to the future, our hope and the hope of both the Coding Academy team and students are aligned: hope for a brighter, technologically empowered future, where education becomes a beacon of opportunity for all.

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What does AI mean for computing education?

Post Syndicated from Philip Colligan original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/what-does-ai-mean-for-computing-education/

It’s been less than a year since ChatGPT catapulted generative artificial intelligence (AI) into mainstream public consciousness, reigniting the debate about the role that these powerful new technologies will play in all of our futures.

A person in front of a cloudy sky, seen through a refractive glass grid. Parts of the image are overlaid with a diagram of a neural network.
Image: Alan Warburton / © BBC / Better Images of AI / Quantified Human / CC-BY 4.0

‘Will AI save or destroy humanity?’ might seem like an extreme title for a podcast, particularly if you’ve played with these products and enjoyed some of their obvious limitations. The reality is that we are still at the foothills of what AI technology can achieve (think World Wide Web in the 1990s), and lots of credible people are predicting an astonishing pace of progress over the next few years, promising the radical transformation of almost every aspect of our lives. Comparisons with the Industrial Revolution abound.

At the same time, there are those saying it’s all moving too fast; that regulation isn’t keeping pace with innovation. One of the UK’s leading AI entrepreneurs, Mustafa Suleyman, said recently: “If you don’t start from a position of fear, you probably aren’t paying attention.”

In a computing classroom, a girl looks at a computer screen.
What is AI literacy for young people?

What does all this mean for education, and particularly for computing education? Is there any point trying to teach children about AI when it is all changing so fast? Does anyone need to learn to code anymore? Will teachers be replaced by chatbots? Is assessment as we know it broken?

If we’re going to seriously engage with these questions, we need to understand that we’re talking about three different things:

  1. AI literacy: What it is and how we teach it
  2. Rethinking computer science (and possibly some other subjects)
  3. Enhancing teaching and learning through AI-powered technologies

AI literacy: What it is and how we teach it

For young people to thrive in a world that is being transformed by AI systems, they need to understand these technologies and the role they could play in their lives.

In a computing classroom, a smiling girl raises her hand.
Our SEAME model articulates the concepts, knowledge, and skills that are essential ingredients of any AI literacy curriculum.

The first problem is defining what AI literacy actually means. What are the concepts, knowledge, and skills that it would be useful for a young person to learn?

The reality is that — with a few notable exceptions — the vast majority of AI literacy resources available today are probably doing more harm than good.

In the past couple of years there has been a huge explosion in resources that claim to help young people develop AI literacy. Our research team mapped and categorised over 500 resources, and undertaken a systematic literature review to understand what research has been done on K–12 AI classroom interventions (spoiler: not much). 

The reality is that — with a few notable exceptions — the vast majority of AI literacy resources available today are probably doing more harm than good. For example, in an attempt to be accessible and fun, many materials anthropomorphise AI systems, using human terms to describe them and their functions and thereby perpetuating misconceptions about what AI systems are and how they work.

A real banana and an image of a banana shown on the screen of a laptop are both labelled "Banana".
Image: Max Gruber / Better Images of AI / Ceci n’est pas une banane / CC-BY 4.0

What emerged from this work at the Raspberry Pi Foundation is the SEAME model, which articulates the concepts, knowledge, and skills that are essential ingredients of any AI literacy curriculum. It separates out the social and ethical, application, model, and engine levels of AI systems — all of which are important — and gets specific about age-appropriate learning outcomes for each. 

This research has formed the basis of Experience AI (experience-ai.org), a suite of resources, lessons plans, videos, and interactive learning experiences created by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in partnership with Google DeepMind, which is already being used in thousands of classrooms.

If we’re serious about AI literacy for young people, we have to get serious about AI literacy for teachers.

Defining AI literacy and developing resources is part of the challenge, but that doesn’t solve the problem of how we get them into the hands and minds of every young person. This will require policy change. We need governments and education system leaders to grasp that a foundational understanding of AI technologies is essential for creating economic opportunity, ensuring that young people have the mindsets to engage positively with technological change, and avoiding a widening of the digital divide. We’ve messed this up before with digital skills. Let’s not do it again.

Two smiling adults learn about computing at desktop computers.
Teacher professional development is key to AI literacy for young people.

More than anything, we need to invest in teachers and their professional development. While there are some fantastic computing teachers with computer science qualifications, the reality is that most of the computing lessons taught anywhere on the planet are taught by a non-specialist teacher. That is even more so the case for anything related to AI. If we’re serious about AI literacy for young people, we have to get serious about AI literacy for teachers. 

Rethinking computer science 

Alongside introducing AI literacy, we also need to take a hard look at computer science. At the very least, we need to make sure that computer science curricula include machine learning models, explaining how they constitute a new paradigm for computing, and give more emphasis to the role that data will play in the future of computing. Adding anything new to an already packed computer science curriculum means tough choices about what to deprioritise to make space.

Elephants in the Serengeti.
One of our Experience AI Lessons revolves around the us of AI technology to study the Serengeti ecosystem.

And, while we’re reviewing curricula, what about biology, geography, or any of the other subjects that are just as likely to be revolutionised by big data and AI? As part of Experience AI, we are launching some of the first lessons focusing on ecosystems and AI, which we think should be at the heart of any modern biology curriculum. 

Some are saying young people don’t need to learn how to code. It’s an easy political soundbite, but it just doesn’t stand up to serious scrutiny.

There is already a lively debate about the extent to which the new generation of AI technologies will make programming as we know it obsolete. In January, the prestigious ACM journal ran an opinion piece from Matt Welsh, founder of an AI-powered programming start-up, in which he said: “I believe the conventional idea of ‘writing a program’ is headed for extinction, and indeed, for all but very specialised applications, most software, as we know it, will be replaced by AI systems that are trained rather than programmed.”

Computer science students at a desktop computer in a classroom.
Writing computer programs is an essential part of learning how to analyse problems in computational terms.

With GitHub (now part of Microsoft) claiming that their pair programming technology, Copilot, is now writing 46 percent of developers’ code, it’s perhaps not surprising that some are saying young people don’t need to learn how to code. It’s an easy political soundbite, but it just doesn’t stand up to serious scrutiny. 

Even if AI systems can improve to the point where they generate consistently reliable code, it seems to me that it is just as likely that this will increase the demand for more complex software, leading to greater demand for more programmers. There is historical precedent for this: the invention of abstract programming languages such as Python dramatically simplified the act of humans providing instructions to computers, leading to more complex software and a much greater demand for developers. 

A child codes a Spiderman project at a laptop during a Code Club session.
Learning to program will help young people understand how the world around them is being transformed by AI systems.

However these AI-powered tools develop, it will still be essential for young people to learn the fundamentals of programming and to get hands-on experience of writing code as part of any credible computer science course. Practical experience of writing computer programs is an essential part of learning how to analyse problems in computational terms; it brings the subject to life; it will help young people understand how the world around them is being transformed by AI systems; and it will ensure that they are able to shape that future, rather than it being something that is done to them.

Enhancing teaching and learning through AI-powered technologies

Technology has already transformed learning. YouTube is probably the most important educational innovation of the past 20 years, democratising both the creation and consumption of learning resources. Khan Academy, meanwhile, integrated video instruction into a learning experience that gamified formative assessment. Our own edtech platform, Ada Computer Science, combines comprehensive instructional materials, a huge bank of questions designed to help learning, and automated marking and feedback to make computer science easier to teach and learn. Brilliant though these are, none of them have even begun to harness the potential of AI systems like large language models (LLMs).

The challenge for all of us working in education is how we ensure that ethics and privacy are at the centre of the development of [AI-powered edtech].

One area where I think we’ll see huge progress is feedback. It’s well-established that good-quality feedback makes a huge difference to learning, but a teacher’s ability to provide feedback is limited by their time. No one is seriously claiming that chatbots will replace teachers, but — if we can get the quality right — LLM applications could provide every child with unlimited, on-demand feedback. AI-powered feedback — not giving students the answers, but coaching, suggesting, and encouraging in the way that great teachers already do — could be transformational.

Two adults learn about computing at desktop computers.
The challenge for all of us working in education is how we ensure that ethics and privacy are at the centre of the development of AI-powered edtech.

We are already seeing edtech companies racing to bring new products and features to market that leverage LLMs, and my prediction is that the pace of that innovation is going to increase exponentially over the coming years. The challenge for all of us working in education is how we ensure that ethics and privacy are at the centre of the development of these technologies. That’s important for all applications of AI, but especially so in education, where these systems will be unleashed directly on young people. How much data from students will an AI system need to access? Can that data — aggregated from millions of students — be used to train new models? How can we communicate transparently the limitations of the information provided back to students?

Ultimately, we need to think about how parents, teachers, and education systems (the purchasers of edtech products) will be able to make informed choices about what to put in front of students. Standards will have an important role to play here, and I think we should be exploring ideas such as an AI kitemark for edtech products that communicate whether they meet a set of standards around bias, transparency, and privacy. 

Realising potential in a brave new world

We may very well be entering an era in which AI systems dramatically enhance the creativity and productivity of humanity as a species. Whether the reality lives up to the hype or not, AI systems are undoubtedly going to be a big part of all of our futures, and we urgently need to figure out what that means for education, and what skills, knowledge, and mindsets young people need to develop in order to realise their full potential in that brave new world. 

That’s the work we’re engaged in at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, working in partnership with individuals and organisations from across industry, government, education, and civil society.

If you have ideas and want to get involved in shaping the future of computing education, we’d love to hear from you.

This article will also appear in issue 22 of Hello World magazine, which focuses on teaching and AI. We are publishing this new issue on Monday 23 October. Sign up for a free digital subscription to get the PDF straight to your inbox on the day.

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Young children’s ScratchJr coding projects: Assessment and support

Post Syndicated from Diana Kirby original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/childrens-scratchjr-projects-assessment-support/

Block-based programming applications like Scratch and ScratchJr provide millions of children with an introduction to programming; they are a fun and accessible way for beginners to explore programming concepts and start making with code. ScratchJr, in particular, is designed specifically for children between the ages of 5 and 7, enabling them to create their own interactive stories and games. So it’s no surprise that they are popular tools for primary-level (K–5) computing teachers and learners. But how can teachers assess coding projects built in ScratchJr, where the possibilities are many and children are invited to follow their imagination?

Aim Unahalekhala
Aim Unahalekhala

In the latest seminar of our series on computing education for primary-aged children, attendees heard about two research studies that explore the use of ScratchJr in K–2 education. The speaker, Apittha (Aim) Unahalekhala, is a graduate researcher at the DevTech Research Group at Tufts University. The two studies looked at assessing young children’s ScratchJr coding projects and understanding how they create projects. Both of the studies were part of the Coding as Another Language project, which sees computer science as a new literacy for the 21st century, and is developing a literacy-based coding curriculum for K–2.

How to evaluate children’s ScratchJr projects

ScratchJr offers children 28 blocks to choose from when creating a coding project. Some of these are simple, such as blocks that determine the look of a character or setting, while others are more complex, such as messaging blocks and loops. Children can combine the blocks in many different ways to create projects of different levels of complexity.

A child select blocks for a ScratchJr project on a tablet.
Selecting blocks for a ScratchJr project

At the start of her presentation, Aim described a rubric that she and her colleagues at DevTech have developed to assess three key aspects of a ScratchJr coding project. These aspects are coding concepts, project design, and purposefulness.

  • Coding concepts in ScratchJr are sequencing, repeats, events, parallelism, coordination, and the number parameter
  • Project design includes elaboration (number of settings and characters, use of speech bubbles) and originality (character and background customisation, animated looks, sounds)

The rubric lets educators or researchers:

  • Assess learners’ ability to use their coding knowledge to create purposeful and creative ScratchJr projects
  • Identify the level of mastery of each of the three key aspects demonstrated within the project
  • Identify where learners might need more guidance and support
The elements covered by the ScratchJr project evaluation rubric.
The elements covered by the ScratchJr project evaluation rubric. Click to enlarge.

As part of the study, Aim and her colleagues collected coding projects from two schools at the start, middle, and end of a curriculum unit. They used the rubric to evaluate the coding projects and found that project scores increased over the course of the unit.

They also found that, overall, the scores for the project design elements were higher than those for coding concepts: many learners enjoyed spending lots of time designing their characters and settings, but made less use of other features. However, the two scores were correlated, meaning that learners who devoted a lot of time to the design of their project also got higher scores on coding concepts.

The rubric is a useful tool for any teachers using ScratchJr with their students. If you want to try it in your classroom, the validated rubric is free to download from the DevTech research group’s website.

How do young children create a project?

The rubric assesses the output created by a learner using ScratchJr. But learning is a process, not just an end outcome, and the final project might not always be an accurate reflection of a child’s understanding.

By understanding more about how young children create coding projects, we can improve teaching and curriculum design for early childhood computing education.

In the second study Aim presented, she set out to explore this question. She conducted a qualitative observation of children as they created coding projects at different stages of a curriculum unit, and used Google Analytics data to conduct a quantitative analysis of the steps the children took.

A Scratch project creation process involving iteration.
A project creation process involving iteration

Her findings highlighted the importance of encouraging young learners to explore the full variety of blocks available, both by guiding them in how to find and use different blocks, and by giving them the time and tools they need to explore on their own.

She also found that different teaching strategies are needed at different stages of the curriculum unit to support learners. This helps them to develop their understanding of both basic and advanced blocks, and to explore, customise, and iterate their projects.

Early-unit strategy:

  • Encourage free play to self-discover different functions, especially basic blocks

Mid-unit strategy:

  • Set plans on how long children will need on customising vs coding
  • More guidance on the advanced blocks, then let children explore

End-of-unit strategy:

  • Provide multiple sessions to work
  • Promote iteration by encouraging children to keep improving code and adding details
Teaching strategies for different stages of a ScratchJr curriculum.
Teaching strategies for different stages of the curriculum

You can watch Aim’s full presentation here:

You can also access the seminar slides here.

Join our next seminar on primary computing education

At our next seminar, we welcome Aman Yadav (Michigan State University), who will present research on computational thinking in primary school. The session will take place online on Tuesday 7 November at 17:00 UK time. Don’t miss out and sign up now:

To find out more about connecting research to practice for primary computing education, you can find the rest of our upcoming monthly seminars on primary (K–5) teaching and learning and watch the recordings of previous seminars in this series.

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Digital making with Raspberry Pis in primary schools in Sarawak, Malaysia

Post Syndicated from Jenni Fletcher-McGrady original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/computing-education-primary-schools-sarawak-malaysia/

Dr Sue Sentance, Director of our Raspberry Pi Computing Education Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, shares what she learned on a recent visit in Malaysia to understand more about the approach taken to computing education in the state of Sarawak.

Dr Sue Sentance

Computing education is a challenge around the world, and it is fascinating to see how different countries and education systems approach it. I recently had the opportunity to attend an event organised by the government of Sarawak, Malaysia, to see first-hand what learners and teachers are achieving thanks to the state’s recent policies.

Raspberry Pis and training for Sarawak’s primary schools

In Sarawak, the largest state of Malaysia, the local Ministry of Education, Innovation and Talent Development is funding an ambitious project through which all of Sarawak’s primary schools are receiving sets of Raspberry Pis. Learners use these as desktop computers and to develop computer science skills and knowledge, including the skills to create digital making projects.

The state of Sarawak, Malaysia circled on a map.
Sarawak is the largest state of Malaysia, situated on the island of Borneo

Crucially, the ministry is combining this hardware distribution initiative with a three-year programme of professional development for primary school teachers. They receive training known as the Raspberry Pi Training Programme, which starts with Scratch programming and incorporates elements of physical computing with the Raspberry Pis and sensors.

To date the project has provided 9436 kits (including Raspberry Pi computer, case, monitor, mouse, and keyboard) to schools, and training for over 1200 teachers.

The STEM Trailblazers event

In order to showcase what has been achieved through the project so far, students and teachers were invited to use their schools’ Raspberry Pis to create projects to prototype solutions to real problems faced by their communities, and to showcase these projects at a special STEM Trailblazers event.

Geographically, Sarawak is Malaysia’s largest state, but it has a much smaller population than the west of the country. This means that towns and villages are very spread out and teachers and students had large distances to travel to attend the STEM Trailblazers event. To partially address this, the event was held in two locations simultaneously, Kuching and Miri, and talks were live-streamed between both venues.

STEM Trailblazers featured a host of talks from people involved in the initiative. I was very honoured to be invited as a guest speaker, representing both the University of Cambridge and the Raspberry Pi Foundation as the Director of the Raspberry Pi Computing Education Research Centre.

Solving real-world problems

The Raspberry Pi projects at STEM Trailblazers were entered into a competition, with prizes for students and teachers. Most projects had been created using Scratch to control the Raspberry Pi as well as a range of sensors.

The children and teachers who participated came from both rural and urban areas, and it was clear that the issues they had chosen to address were genuine problems in their communities.

Many of the projects I saw related to issues that schools faced around heat and hydration: a Smart Bottle project reminded children to drink regularly, a shade creator project created shade when the temperature got too high, a teachers’ project told students that they could no longer play outside when the temperature exceeded 35 degrees, and a water cooling system project set off sprinklers when the temperature rose. Other themes of the projects were keeping toilets clean, reminding children to eat healthily, and helping children to learn the alphabet. One project that especially intrigued me was an alert system for large and troublesome birds that were a problem for rural schools.

Participants showcasing their project at the STEM Trailblazers event.

The creativity and quality of the projects on show was impressive given that all the students (and many of their teachers) had learned to program very recently, and also had to be quite innovative where they hadn’t been able to access all the hardware they needed to build their creations.

What we can learn from this initiative

Everyone involved in this project in Sarawak — including teachers, government representatives, university academics, and industry partners — is really committed to giving children the best opportunities to grow up with an understanding of digital technology. They know this is essential for their professional futures, and also fosters their creativity, independence, and problem-solving skills.

Young people showcasing their project at the STEM Trailblazers event.

Over the last ten years, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel widely in my capacity as a computing education researcher, and I’ve seen first-hand a number of the approaches countries are taking to help their young people gain the skills and understanding of computing technologies that they need for their futures.

It’s good for us to look beyond our own context to understand how countries across the world are preparing their young people to engage with digital technology. No matter how many similarities there are between two places, we can all learn from each other’s initiatives and ideas. In 2021 the Brookings Institution published a global review of how countries are progressing with this endeavour. Organisations such as UNESCO and WEF regularly publish reports that emphasise the importance for countries to develop their citizens’ digital skills, and also advanced technological skills. 

Young people showcasing their project at the STEM Trailblazers event.

The Sarawak government’s initiative is grounded in the use of Raspberry Pis as desktop computers for schools, which run offline where schools have no access to the internet. That teachers are also trained to use the Raspberry Pis to support learners to develop hands-on digital making skills is a really important aspect of the project.

Our commercial subsidiary Raspberry Pi Limited works with a company network of Approved Resellers around the globe; in this case the Malaysian reseller Cytron has been an enormous support in supplying Sarawak’s primary schools with Raspberry Pis and other hardware.

Schools anywhere in the world can also access the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s free learning and teaching resources, such as curriculum materials, online training courses for teachers, and our magazine for educators, Hello World. We are very proud to support the work being done in Sarawak.

As for what the future holds for Sarawak’s computing education, at the opening ceremony of the STEM Trailblazers event, the Deputy Minister announced that the event will be an annual occasion. That means every year more students and teachers will be able to come together, share their learning, and get excited about using digital making to solve the problems that matter to them.

The post Digital making with Raspberry Pis in primary schools in Sarawak, Malaysia appeared first on Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Project Cybersafe Schools: Bringing security tools for free to small K-12 school districts in the US

Post Syndicated from Zaid Zaid original http://blog.cloudflare.com/project-cybersafe-schools/

Project Cybersafe Schools: Bringing security tools for free to small K-12 school districts in the US

Project Cybersafe Schools: Bringing security tools for free to small K-12 school districts in the US

Like other under-resourced organizations, schools face cyber attacks from malicious actors that can impact their ability to safely perform their basic function: teach children. Schools face email, phishing, and ransomware attacks that slow access and threaten leaks of confidential student data. And these attacks have real effects. In a report issued at the end of 2022, the U.S. Government Accountability Office concluded that schools serving kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) reported significant educational impact and monetary loss due to cybersecurity incidents, such as ransomware attacks. Recovery time can extend from 2 all the way up to 9 months — that’s almost an entire school year.

Cloudflare’s mission is to help build a better Internet, and we have always believed in helping protect those who might otherwise not have the resources to protect themselves from cyberattack.

It is against this backdrop that we’re very excited to introduce an initiative aimed at small K-12 public school districts: Project Cybersafe Schools. Announced as part of the Back to School Safely: K-12 Cybersecurity Summit at the White House on August 8, 2023, Project Cybersafe Schools will support eligible K-12 public school districts with a package of Zero Trust cybersecurity solutions — for free, and with no time limit. These tools will help eligible school districts minimize their exposure to common cyber threats.

Schools are prime targets for cyberattacks

In Q2 2023 alone, Cloudflare blocked an average of 70 million cyber threats each day targeting the U.S. education sector, and saw a 47% increase in DDoS attacks quarter-over-quarter. In September 2022, the Los Angeles Unified School District suffered a cyber attack, and the perpetrators later posted students’ private information on the dark web. Then, in January 2022, the public school system in Albuquerque, New Mexico was forced to close down for two days following a cyber attack that compromised student data. The list goes on. Between 2016 and 2022, there were 1,619 publicly reported cybersecurity-related incidents aimed at K-12 public schools and districts in the United States.

As an alliance member of the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative, Cloudflare began conversations with officials from the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Department of Education, and the White House about how we could partner to protect K-12 schools in the United States from cyber threats. We think that we are particularly well-suited to help protect K-12 schools against cyber attacks. For almost a decade, Cloudflare has supported organizations that are particularly vulnerable to cyber threats and lack the resources to protect themselves through projects like Project Galileo, the Athenian Project, the Critical Infrastructure Defense Project, and Project Safekeeping.

Unlike many colleges, universities, and even some larger school districts, smaller school districts often lack the capacity to manage cyber threats. The lack of funding and staff make schools prime targets for hackers. These attacks prevent students from learning, put students’ personal information at risk, and cost school districts time and money in the aftermath of the attacks.

Project Cybersafe Schools: protecting the smallest K-12 public school districts

Project Cybersafe Schools will help support small K-12 public school districts by providing cloud email security to protect against a broad spectrum of threats including Business Email Compromise, multichannel phishing, credential harvesting, and other targeted attacks. Project Cybersafe Schools will also protect against Internet threats with DNS filtering by preventing users from reaching unwanted or harmful online content like ransomware or phishing sites. It can also be deployed to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which Congress passed in 2000, to address concerns about children’s access to obscene or harmful content on the Internet.

We believe that Cloudflare can make a meaningful impact on the cybersecurity needs of our small school districts, which allows the schools to focus on what they do best: teaching students. Hopefully, this project will bring privacy, security, and peace of mind to school managers, staff, teachers, and students, allowing them to focus solely on teaching and learning fearlessly.

What Zero Trust services are available?

Eligible K-12 public school districts in the United States will have access to a package of enterprise-level Zero Trust cybersecurity services for free and with no time limit – there is no catch and no underlying obligations. Eligible organizations will benefit from:

  • Email Protection: Safeguards inboxes with cloud email security by protecting against a broad spectrum of threats including malware-less Business Email Compromise, multichannel phishing, credential harvesting, and other targeted attacks.
  • DNS Filtering: Protects against Internet threats with DNS filtering by preventing users from reaching unwanted or harmful online content like ransomware or phishing sites and can be deployed to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

Who can apply?

To be eligible, Project Cybersafe Schools participants must be:

  • K-12 public school districts located in the United States
  • Up to 2,500 students in the district

If you think your school district may be eligible, we welcome you to contact us to learn more. To apply please visit: https://www.cloudflare.com/lp/cybersafe-schools/

For schools or school districts that do not qualify for Project Cybersafe Schools, Cloudflare has other packages available with educational pricing. If you do not qualify for Project Cybersafe Schools, but are interested in our educational services, please contact us at [email protected].

Apply for a free UK teacher’s place at the WiPSCE conference

Post Syndicated from Bonnie Sheppard original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/free-uk-teacher-places-wipsce-conference-2023/

From 27 to 29 September 2023, we and the University of Cambridge are hosting the WiPSCE International Workshop on Primary and Secondary Computing Education Research for educators and researchers. This year, this annual conference will take place at Robinson College in Cambridge. We’re inviting all UK-based teachers of computing subjects to apply for one of five ‘all expenses paid’ places at this well-regarded annual event.

Educators and researchers mingle at a conference.

You could attend WiPSCE with all expenses paid

WiPSCE is where teachers and researchers discuss research that’s relevant to teaching and learning in primary and secondary computing education, to teacher training, and to related topics. You can find more information about the conference, including the preliminary programme, at wipsce.org

As a teacher at the conference, you will:

  • Engage with high-quality international research in the field where you teach
  • Learn ways to use that research to develop your own classroom practice
  • Find out how to become an advocate in your professional community for research-informed approaches to the teaching of computing.

We are delighted that, thanks to generous funding from a funder, we can offer five free places to UK computing teachers, covering:

  • The registration fee
  • Two nights’ accommodation at Robinson College
  • Up to £500 supply costs paid to your school to cover your teaching
  • Up to £100 travel costs

The application deadline is Wednesday 19 July.

The application details

To be eligible to apply:

  1. You need to be a currently practising, UK-based teacher of Computing (England), Computing Science (Scotland), ICT or Digital Technologies (N. Ireland), or Computer Science (Wales)
  2. Your headteacher needs to be able to provide written confirmation that they are happy for you to attend WiPSCE
  3. You need to be available to attend the whole conference from Wednesday lunchtime to Friday afternoon
  4. You need to be willing to share what you learn from the conference with your colleagues at school and with your broader teaching community, including through writing an article about your experience and its relevance to your teaching for this blog or Hello World magazine

The application form will ask your for:

  • Your name and contact details
  • Demographic and school information
  • Your teaching experience
  • A statement of up to 500 words on why you’re applying and how you think your teaching practice, your school and your colleagues will benefit from your attendance at WiPSCE (500 words is the maximum, feel free to be concise)

After the 19 July deadline, we’re aiming to inform you of the outcome of your application on Friday 21 July. 

Your application will be reviewed by the 2023 WiPSCE Chairs:

Sue and Mareen will:

  • Use the information you share in your form, particularly in your statement
  • Select applicants from a mix of primary and secondary schools, with a mix of years of computing teaching experience, and from a mix of geographic areas

Join us in strengthening research-informed computing classroom practice

We’d be delighted to receive your application. Being able to facilitate teachers’ attendance at the conference is very much aligned with our approach to research. Both at the Foundation and the Raspberry Pi Computing Education Research Centre, we’re committed to conducting research that’s directly relevant to schools and teachers, and to working in close collaboration with teachers.

We hope you are interested in attending WiPSCE and becoming an advocate for research-informed computing education practice. If your application is unsuccessful, we hope you consider coming along anyway. We’re looking forward to meeting you there. In the meantime, you can keep up with WiPSCE news on Twitter.

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The Raspberry Pi Foundation and edX: A new way to learn about teaching computing

Post Syndicated from Ben Hall original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/the-raspberry-pi-foundation-and-edx-learn-about-teaching-computing/

We are delighted to announce that we’ve joined the partner network of edX, the global online learning platform. Through our free online courses we enable any educator to teach students about computing and how to create with digital technologies. Since 2017, over 250,000 people have taken our online courses, including 19,000 teachers in England alone. The move to edX builds on this success to help us bring high-quality training to many more teachers worldwide. 

“I feel that this course was essential in my understanding of where I may take my students on their journey as coders. Extremely practical advice and exercises.” – Online course participant

Free training to support all educators to teach computing

Supporting teachers and educators is crucial for our mission to enable young people to realise their full potential through the power of computing and digital technologies. Through our online courses educators can learn the skills, knowledge, and confidence to teach computing in an engaging way. As a result, they empower young people to in turn develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to use digital technologies effectively, and to be able to critically evaluate these technologies and confidently engage with technological change.

Twenty of our most popular online courses are now available for sign-up on the edX platform. They will start in two blocks of ten in August and September, respectively. 

The courses are written with educators in mind, and are also useful to anyone with an interest in computing. The scope of topics is broad and includes programming in Python and Scratch, web development and design, cybersecurity, and machine learning and AI. Our aim is to support educators of all levels of experience to learn about computing, including teachers, club volunteers, youth workers, parents, and more. The courses also draw on content from our Computing Curriculum and provide support for teachers who want to engage their students with Experience AI, our pioneering education initiative about the field of AI.

“Our partnership with edX gives teachers everywhere a new way to engage with our free, expert-led computing education training. As people design and deploy new and powerful digital technologies, it’s important that no-one is left behind and we are all able to shape technology together.” – Sian Harris, Chief Education Officer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation

What are our courses like?

Designed, created, and facilitated by us, each of our courses is a cross-team project. When we put together a course we:

  • Use pedagogical best practice: we lead with concepts, model processes, and include activities that are ready for the classroom; add variety in terms of what content to present as text, images, or videos; and include opportunities to create projects
  • Use language carefully so that it is easy to follow for all participants, as are engaging with us online and may have English as an additional language
  • Put accessibility front and centre so that as many people as possible can learn with us

Offering our courses on the edX platform gives us flexibility in how we present the content, meaning we can better meet learner needs.

“Not only did the course present a thorough grounding in computing pedagogy, references were made to supporting research, and the structure and presentation was deceptively straightforward — despite dealing with some tricky concepts.” – Online course participant

We especially strive to exemplify the pedagogical approaches we recommend to teachers within the courses themselves. For example, semantic waves are woven throughout our learning resources and help learners to unpack new concepts, then repack them into more complex contexts to encourage knowledge acquisition. This teaching strategy, along with many others, is used widely in the courses and in all our teaching and learning resources.

How you can learn with us on edX

Taking our courses on edX you can:

  • Learn at your computer or on the edX mobile app
  • Join a course’s dedicated discussion are to discuss and collaborate with other participants
  • Ask our team questions — we’ll have experienced facilitators on hand

All the courses can be completed at your own pace, in your own time. Based on a commitment of between 1 to 2 hours per week, you can complete our courses in 2 to 4 weeks. You’re also welcome to work through them more quickly (or slowly) if you prefer.

Browse our selection of free courses and decide what your next learning adventure will be. 

We look forward to catching up with you in the course discussions on our new platform.

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How we’re learning to explain AI terms for young people and educators

Post Syndicated from Veronica Cucuiat original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/explaining-ai-terms-young-people-educators/

What do we talk about when we talk about artificial intelligence (AI)? It’s becoming a cliche to point out that, because the term “AI” is used to describe so many different things nowadays, it’s difficult to know straight away what anyone means when they say “AI”. However, it’s true that without a shared understanding of what AI and related terms mean, we can’t talk about them, or educate young people about the field.

A group of young people demonstrate a project at Coolest Projects.

So when we started designing materials for the Experience AI learning programme in partnership with leading AI unit Google DeepMind, we decided to create short explanations of key AI and machine learning (ML) terms. The explanations are doubly useful:

  1. They ensure that we give learners and teachers a consistent and clear understanding of the key terms across all our Experience AI resources. Within the Experience AI Lessons for Key Stage 3 (age 11–14), these key terms are also correlated to the target concepts and learning objectives presented in the learning graph. 
  2. They help us talk about AI and AI education in our team. Thanks to sharing an understanding of what terms such as “AI”, “ML”, “model”, or “training” actually mean and how to best talk about AI, our conversations are much more productive.

As an example, here is our explanation of the term “artificial intelligence” for learners aged 11–14:

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the design and study of systems that appear to mimic intelligent behaviour. Some AI applications are based on rules. More often now, AI applications are built using machine learning that is said to ‘learn’ from examples in the form of data. For example, some AI applications are built to answer questions or help diagnose illnesses. Other AI applications could be built for harmful purposes, such as spreading fake news. AI applications do not think. AI applications are built to carry out tasks in a way that appears to be intelligent.

You can find 32 explanations in the glossary that is part of the Experience AI Lessons. Here’s an insight into how we arrived at the explanations.

Reliable sources

In order to ensure the explanations are as precise as possible, we first identified reliable sources. These included among many others:

Explaining AI terms to Key Stage 3 learners: Some principles

Vocabulary is an important part of teaching and learning. When we use vocabulary correctly, we can support learners to develop their understanding. If we use it inconsistently, this can lead to alternate conceptions (misconceptions) that can interfere with learners’ understanding. You can read more about this in our Pedagogy Quick Read on alternate conceptions.

Some of our principles for writing explanations of AI terms were that the explanations need to: 

  • Be accurate
  • Be grounded in education research best practice
  • Be suitable for our target audience (Key Stage 3 learners, i.e. 11- to 14-year-olds)
  • Be free of terms that have alternative meanings in computer science, such as “algorithm”

We engaged in an iterative process of writing explanations, gathering feedback from our team and our Experience AI project partners at Google DeepMind, and adapting the explanations. Then we went through the feedback and adaptation cycle until we all agreed that the explanations met our principles.

A real banana and an image of a banana shown on the screen of a laptop are both labelled "Banana".
Image: Max Gruber / Better Images of AI / Ceci n’est pas une banane / CC-BY 4.0

An important part of what emerged as a result, aside from the explanations of AI terms themselves, was a blueprint for how not to talk about AI. One aspect of this is avoiding anthropomorphism, detailed by Ben Garside from our team here.

As part of designing the the Experience AI Lessons, creating the explanations helped us to:

  • Decide which technical details we needed to include when introducing AI concepts in the lessons
  • Figure out how to best present these technical details
  • Settle debates about where it would be appropriate, given our understanding and our learners’ age group, to abstract or leave out details

Using education research to explain AI terms

One of the ways education research informed the explanations was that we used semantic waves to structure each term’s explanation in three parts: 

  1. Top of the wave: The first one or two sentences are a high-level abstract explanation of the term, kept as short as possible, while introducing key words and concepts.
  2. Bottom of the wave: The middle part of the explanation unpacks the meaning of the term using a common example, in a context that’s familiar to a young audience. 
  3. Top of the wave: The final one or two sentences repack what was explained in the example in a more abstract way again to reconnect with the term. The end part should be a repeat of the top of the wave at the beginning of the explanation. It should also add further information to lead to another concept. 

Most explanations also contain ‘middle of the wave’ sentences, which add additional abstract content, bridging the ‘bottom of the wave’ concrete example to the ‘top of the wave’ abstract content.

Here’s the “artificial intelligence” explanation broken up into the parts of the semantic wave:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is the design and study of systems that appear to mimic intelligent behaviour. (top of the wave)
  • Some AI applications are based on rules. More often now, AI applications are built using machine learning that is said to ‘learn’ from examples in the form of data. (middle of the wave)
  • For example, some AI applications are built to answer questions or help diagnose illnesses. Other AI applications could be built for harmful purposes, such as spreading fake news (bottom of the wave)
  • AI applications do not think. (middle of the wave)
  • AI applications are built to carry out tasks in a way that appears to be intelligent. (top of the wave)
Our "artificial intelligence" explanation broken up into the parts of the semantic wave.
Our “artificial intelligence” explanation broken up into the parts of the semantic wave. Red = top of the wave; yellow = middle of the wave; green = bottom of the wave

Was it worth our time?

Some of the explanations went through 10 or more iterations before we agreed they were suitable for publication. After months of thinking about, writing, correcting, discussing, and justifying the explanations, it’s tempting to wonder whether I should have just prompted an AI chatbot to generate the explanations for me.

A window of three images. On the right is a photo of a big tree in a green field in a field of grass and a bright blue sky. The two on the left are simplifications created based on a decision tree algorithm. The work illustrates a popular type of machine learning model: the decision tree. Decision trees work by splitting the population into ever smaller segments. I try to give people an intuitive understanding of the algorithm. I also want to show that models are simplifications of reality, but can still be useful, or in this case visually pleasing. To create this I trained a model to predict pixel colour values, based on an original photograph of a tree.
Rens Dimmendaal & Johann Siemens / Better Images of AI / Decision Tree reversed / CC-BY 4.0

I tested this idea by getting a chatbot to generate an explanation of “artificial intelligence” using the prompt “Explain what artificial intelligence is, using vocabulary suitable for KS3 students, avoiding anthropomorphism”. The result included quite a few inconsistencies with our principles, as well as a couple of technical inaccuracies. Perhaps I could have tweaked the prompt for the chatbot in order to get a better result. However, relying on a chatbot’s output would mean missing out on some of the value of doing the work of writing the explanations in collaboration with my team and our partners.

The visible result of that work is the explanations themselves. The invisible result is the knowledge we all gained, and the coherence we reached as a team, both of which enabled us to create high-quality resources for Experience AI. We wouldn’t have gotten to know what resources we wanted to write without writing the explanations ourselves and improving them over and over. So yes, it was worth our time.

What do you think about the explanations?

The process of creating and iterating the AI explanations highlights how opaque the field of AI still is, and how little we yet know about how best to teach and learn about it. At the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we now know just a bit more about that and are excited to share the results with teachers and young people.

You can access the Experience AI Lessons and the glossary with all our explanations at experience-ai.org. The glossary of AI explanations is just in its first published version: we will continue to improve it as we find out more about how to best support young people to learn about this field.

Let us know what you think about the explanations and whether they’re useful in your teaching. Onwards with the exciting work of establishing how to successfully engage young people in learning about and creating with AI technologies.

The post How we’re learning to explain AI terms for young people and educators appeared first on Raspberry Pi Foundation.

How I used GitHub Copilot to build a browser extension

Post Syndicated from Rizel Scarlett original https://github.blog/2023-05-12-how-i-used-github-copilot-to-build-a-browser-extension/

For the first time ever, I built a browser extension and did it with the help of GitHub Copilot. Here’s how.

I’ve built a rock, paper, scissors game with GitHub Copilot but never a browser extension. As a developer advocate at GitHub, I decided to put GitHub Copilot to the test, including its upcoming chat feature, and see if it could help me write an extension for Google Chrome to clear my cache.

I’m going to be honest: it wasn’t as straightforward as I expected it to be. I had a lot of questions throughout the build and had to learn new information.

But at the end of the day, I gained experience with learning an entirely new skill with a generative AI coding tool and pair programming with GitHub Copilot—and with other developers on Twitch 👥.

I wanted to create steps that anyone—even those without developer experience—could easily replicate when building this extension, or any other extension. But I also wanted to share my new takeaways after a night of pair programming with GitHub Copilot and human developers.

So, below you’ll find two sections:

Let’s jump in.

How to build a Chrome extension with GitHub Copilot

To get started, you’ll need to have GitHub Copilot installed and open in your IDE. I also have access to an early preview of GitHub Copilot chat, which is what I used when I had a question. If you don’t have GitHub Copilot chat, sign up for the waitlist, and pair GitHub Copilot with ChatGPT for now.

1. 🧑🏾‍💻 Using the chat window, I asked GitHub Copilot, “How do I create a Chrome extension? What should the file structure look like?”

💻 GitHub Copilot gave me general steps for creating an extension—from designing the folder structure to running the project locally in Chrome.

Screenshot of the char window where the user asked GitHub Copilot "How do I build a browser extension? What should the file structure look like?" GitHub Copilot provided some instructions in response."

Then, it shared an example of a Chrome extension file structure.

Copilot response showing an example structure for a simple Chrome extension.

To save you some time, here’s a chart that briefly defines the purpose of these files:

manifest.json 🧾 Metadata about your extension, like the name and version, and permissions. Manifest as a proper noun is the name of the Google Chrome API. The latest is V3.
popup.js 🖼 When users click on your extension icon in their Chrome toolbar, a pop-up window will appear. This file is what determines the behavior of that pop-up and contains code for handling user interactions with the pop-up window.
popup.html and style.css 🎨 These files make up the visual of your pop-up window. popup.html is the interface, including layout, structure, and content. style.css determines the way the HTML file should be displayed in the browser, including font, text color, background, etc.

2. Create the manifest.json 🧾

🧑🏾‍💻 Inside a folder in my IDE, I created a file called manifest.json. In manifest.json,

I described my desired file:

Manifest for Chrome extension that clears browser cache.
manifest_version: 3
Permissions for the extension are: storage, tabs, browsingData

I pressed enter and invoked suggestions from GitHub Copilot by typing a curly brace.

💻 Inside the curly brace, GitHub Copilot suggested the manifest. I deleted the lines describing my desired manifest.json, and the final file looked like this:

   "name": "Clear Cache",
   "version": "1.0",
   "manifest_version": 3,
   "description": "Clears browser cache",
   "permissions": [
   "action": {
       "default_popup": "popup.html"
   "background": {
       "service_worker": "background.js"

3. Create a service worker, which is a file called background.js 🔧

This wasn’t a file that was recommended from my chat with GitHub Copilot. I learned that it was a necessary file from a developer who tuned into my livestream 👥. The background.js is what gives your extension the ability to run in the background, perform tasks, and respond to user events outside of the extension’s pop-up window (like network requests and data storage).

🧑🏾‍💻 In my background.js file, I wrote a comment describing my desired service worker:

Service Worker for Google Chrome Extension 
Handles when extension is installed
Handles when message is received

Then, I wrote a comment for the first function, which prompted a suggestion from GitHub Copilot, and then wrote another comment to describe the second function.

💻 The final file looked like this:

Service Worker for Google Chrome Extension
Handles when extension is installed
Handles when message is received

// console.log when extension is installed
chrome.runtime.onInstalled.addListener(function() {
   console.log("Extension installed");

// send response when message is received and console.log when message is received
chrome.runtime.onMessage.addListener(function(request, sender, sendResponse) {
   console.log("Message received");
   sendResponse("Message received");

4. Create the popup.html file 🖼

🧑🏾‍💻 In the popup.html file, I wrote a comment describing how I wanted my pop-up window to appear. This window is the one users will see when they click on the extension icon.

   HTML for Chrome extension that clears browser cache.
   Connect to javascript file called popup.js and CSS file called style.css
   Will render the following buttons with id's:
   - "All History"
   - "Past Month"
   - "Past Week"
   - "Past Day"
   - "Past Hour"
   - "Past Minute"

   Will render an empty paragraph with id "lastCleared"

💻 GitHub Copilot suggested the following:

<!DOCTYPE html>
       <meta charset="utf-8">
       <title>Clear Cache</title>
       <link rel="stylesheet" href="style.css">
       <h1>Clear Cache</h1>
       <button id="allHistory">All History</button>
       <button id="pastMonth">Past Month</button>
       <button id="pastWeek">Past Week</button>
       <button id="pastDay">Past Day</button>
       <button id="pastHour">Past Hour</button>
       <button id="pastMinute">Past Minute</button>
       <p id="lastCleared"></p>
       <script src="popup.js"></script>

5. Test the browser extension

I decided to test the modifications before incorporating additional styles or interactivity. I prefer making incremental changes and conducting manual tests in between because it simplifies the debugging process.

🧑🏾‍💻 Navigate to chrome://extensions/ in your Chrome browser. Turn on developer mode. Press “Load unpacked.” Upload the folder that holds your Chrome extension. Once loaded, you should be able to test your extension. Here’s what mine looked like:

Screenshot of the Chrome extension offering options to "Clear Cache."

6. Create a popup.js file to add interactivity

🧑🏾‍💻 Inside this file, write a comment that will act as pseudocode for you but as a prompt for GitHub Copilot.

Pseudocode isn’t code, but a method of conceptualizing and communicating ideas to plan and design programs before writing the actual code. Programmers can concentrate on algorithmic logic without worrying about syntactic details of a particular programming language—and communicate ideas to other developers regardless of coding experience.

Here’s the pseudocode I used:

This program is a Chrome Extension that clears browser cache.
Handle on button click:
- button with id "allHistory" that clears all cache history
- button with id "pastMonth" that clears cache history from the past month
- button with id "pastWeek" that clears cache history from the past week
- button with id "pastDay" that clears cache history from the past day
- button with id "pastHour" that clears cache history from the past hour
- button with id "pastMinute" that clears cache history from the past minute

Create function that
- converts dates and times into human-readable format
- adds "Successfully cleared cache" with date and time in a paragraph with id "lastCleared"

Then, write the series of comments below, but write them one at a time to allow GitHub Copilot to generate a code suggestion after each one. The final popup.js looked like this:

This program is a Chrome Extension that clears browser cache.
Handle on button click:
- button with id "allHistory" that clears all cache history
- button with id "pastMonth" that clears cache history from the past month
- button with id "pastWeek" that clears cache history from the past week
- button with id "pastDay" that clears cache history from the past day
- button with id "pastHour" that clears cache history from the past hour
- button with id "pastMinute" that clears cache history from the past minute

Create function that
- converts dates and times into human-readable format
- adds "Successfully cleared cache" with date and time in a paragraph with id "lastCleared"

// convert date and time into human-readable format
function convertDate(date) {
   let date = new Date(date);
   var options = { weekday: 'long', year: 'numeric', month: 'long', day: 'numeric' };
   return date.toLocaleDateString("en-US", options);

// add successfully cleared cache into paragraph with id "lastCleared"
function addCleared() {
   var p = document.getElementById("lastCleared");
   let date = new Date();
   p.innerHTML = "Successfully cleared cache " + convertDate(date);

// clear all cache history
document.getElementById("allHistory").addEventListener("click", function() {
   chrome.browsingData.removeCache({ "since": 0 }, function() {

// clear cache history from the past month
document.getElementById("pastMonth").addEventListener("click", function() {
   let date = new Date();
   date.setMonth(date.getMonth() - 1);
   chrome.browsingData.removeCache({ "since": date.getTime() }, function() {

// clear cache history from the past week
document.getElementById("pastWeek").addEventListener("click", function() {
   let date = new Date();
   date.setDate(date.getDate() - 7);
   chrome.browsingData.removeCache({ "since": date.getTime() }, function() {

// clear cache history from the past day
document.getElementById("pastDay").addEventListener("click", function() {
   let date = new Date();
   date.setDate(date.getDate() - 1);
   chrome.browsingData.removeCache({ "since": date.getTime() }, function() {

// clear cache history from the past hour
document.getElementById("pastHour").addEventListener("click", function() {
  let date = new Date();
   date.setHours(date.getHours() - 1);
   chrome.browsingData.removeCache({ "since": date.getTime() }, function() {

// clear cache history from the past minute
document.getElementById("pastMinute").addEventListener("click", function() {
  let date = new Date();
   date.setMinutes(date.getMinutes() - 1);
   chrome.browsingData.removeCache({ "since": date.getTime() }, function() {

🧑🏾‍💻 GitHub Copilot actually generated the var keyword, which is outdated. So I changed that keyword to let.

7. Create the last file in your folder: style.css

🧑🏾‍💻 Write a comment that describes the style you want for your extension. Then, type “body” and continue tabbing until GitHub Copilot suggests all the styles.

My final style.css looked like this:

/* Style the Chrome extension's popup to be wider and taller
Use accessible friendly colors and fonts
Make h1 elements legible
Highlight when buttons are hovered over
Highlight when buttons are clicked
Align buttons in a column and center them but space them out evenly
Make paragraph bold and legible

body {
   background-color: #f1f1f1;
   font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
   font-size: 16px;
   color: #333;
   width: 400px;
   height: 400px;

h1 {
   font-size: 24px;
   color: #333;
   text-align: center;

button {
   background-color: #4CAF50;
   color: white;
   padding: 15px 32px;
   text-align: center;
   text-decoration: none;
   display: inline-block;
   font-size: 16px;
   margin: 4px 2px;
   cursor: pointer;
   border-radius: 8px;

button:hover {
   background-color: #45a049;

button:active {
   background-color: #3e8e41;

p {
   font-weight: bold;
   font-size: 18px;
   color: #333;
For detailed, step-by-step instructions, check out my Chrome extension with GitHub Copilot repo.

Three important lessons about learning and pair programming in the age of AI

  1. Generative AI reduces the fear of making mistakes. It can be daunting to learn a new language or framework, or start a new project. The fear of not knowing where to start—or making a mistake that could take hours to debug—can be a significant barrier to getting started. I’ve been a developer for over three years, but streaming while coding makes me nervous. I sometimes focus more on people watching me code and forget the actual logic. When I conversed with GitHub Copilot, I gained reassurance that I was going in the right direction and that helped me to stay motivated and confident during the stream.

  2. Generative AI makes it easier to learn about new subjects, but it doesn’t replace the work of learning. GitHub Copilot didn’t magically write an entire Chrome extension for me. I had to experiment with different prompts, and ask questions to GitHub Copilot, ChatGPT, Google, and developers on my livestream. To put it in perspective, it took me about 1.5 hours to do steps 1 to 5 while streaming.

    But if I hadn’t used GitHub Copilot, I would’ve had to write all this code by scratch or look it up in piecemeal searches. With the AI-generated code suggestions, I was able to jump right into review and troubleshooting, so a lot of my time and energy was focused on understanding how the code worked. I still had to put in the effort to learn an entirely new skill, but I was analyzing and evaluating code more often than I was trying to learn and then remember it.

  3. Generative AI coding tools made it easier for me to collaborate with other developers. Developers who tuned into the livestream could understand my thought process because I had to tell GitHub Copilot what I wanted it to do. By clearly communicating my intentions with the AI pair programmer, I ended up communicating them more clearly with developers on my livestream, too. That made it easy for people tuning in to become my virtual pair programmers during my livestream.

Overall, working with GitHub Copilot made my thought process and workflow more transparent. Like I said earlier, it was actually a developer on my livestream who recommended a service worker file after noticing that GitHub Copilot didn’t include it in its suggested file structure. Once I confirmed in a chat conversation with GitHub Copilot and a Google search that I needed a service worker, I used GitHub Copilot to help me write one.

Take this with you

GitHub Copilot made me more confident with learning something new and collaborating with other developers. As I said before, live coding can be nerve-wracking. (I even get nervous even when I’m just pair programming with a coworker!) But GitHub Copilot’s real-time code suggestions and corrections created a safety net, allowing me to code more confidently—and quickly— in front of a live audience. Also, because I had to clearly communicate my intentions with the AI pair programmer, I was also communicating clearly with the developers who tuned into my livestream. This made it easy to virtually collaborate with them.

The real-time interaction with GitHub Copilot and the other developers helped with catching errors, learning coding suggestions, and reinforcing my own understanding and knowledge. The result was a high-quality codebase for a browser extension.

This project is a testament to the collaborative power of human-AI interaction. The experience underscored how GitHub Copilot can be a powerful tool in boosting confidence, facilitating learning, and fostering collaboration among developers.

More resources

A vocational digital skills course in Kakuma refugee camp: Connecting to learners’ lives

Post Syndicated from Wariara Waireri original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/vocational-digital-skills-kakuma-refugee-camp-learners-experience/

We are working in partnership with Amala Education to pilot a vocational skills course for displaced learners aged 16 to 25 in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.

Learners in a classroom learning vocational digital skills.

Kakuma camp was set up in Kenya in 1992, following a civil war in neighbouring South Sudan in East Africa. Today, 2 million people are living in the camp, and 61% are 18 and younger.

An aerial view of living spaces in Kakuma refugee camp.

We’ve designed a 100-hour, 10-week course called Using online digital technologies to create change for the Amala learners in Kakuma camp. The course focused on digital skills including making media and websites, with its content we adapted from our Computing Curriculum. The course pilot was delivered alongside Amala’s High School Diploma programme, which is the first internationally accredited course programme enabling refugee and host community youth to complete their education through flexible study.

Our thanks go to the Ezrah Charitable Trust for generously funding our work in this partnership.

Sharing lessons we are learning

We are learning a lot during this pilot, so we are writing a set of three blogs to share these lessons with you.

Today’s blog is Amala Education‘s perspective on their learners in Kakuma Camp, the purpose of digital skills education, and the course design and facilitation. We will also share our approach to adapting learning resources for the context of the Amala learners and using data to assess the course, and what other support we’ve put in place to ensure this educational project is self-sustaining.

Want to make computing education meaningful? Make it connect to learners’ lived experience

By Polly Akhurst (Co-founder and Co-Executive Director, Amala Education), Louie Barnett (Education Lead, Amala Education) & Ajak Mayen Jok (Programme Coordinator, Amala Education)

Our learners wanted a course that develops not just their digital literacy, but one that aligns with Amala’s agency-based learning model, which gives young people the skills to improve their communities. Many of our learners have limited experience of using digital tools but a huge desire to develop these skills, which they see as essential to improving their lives and the lives of their community members.

Learners in a classroom learning vocational digital skills.

So we knew we needed a course that not just builds learners’ technical knowledge and skills but can also enrich their lived experience. 

How would we do it? 

Enter the Raspberry Pi Foundation team. We combined Amala’s agency-based educational approach with the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s experience in pedagogy and teaching about technology and digital literacy to design a course that truly resonates with our learners.

Developing a relevant digital skills course

Before developing the course, the Raspberry Pi Foundation team held focus groups with facilitators and learners in Kakuma camp to understand their needs. This helped them to pitch the 100 hours of course materials at the right level for the learners.

Learners in a classroom learning vocational digital skills.

We called the course Using online technologies to create change. It takes the learners on a journey, building their foundation elements of computing and digital literacy. Learners start by finding out how digital devices work using input, process, and output. Then they move on to understanding computer networks. The course includes hands-on activities related to creating media, like filming and reviewing content and creating and choosing sounds to use in a podcast. There is also some light-touch web development with HTML and JavaScript. At the end of the course, learners design and deliver a presentation that reflects the work they’ve completed.

“Before I joined the course, I really didn’t know much about how to operate technology, but through the learning and the process, now I am able to learn something that will be beneficial for me and the people in my community.” — Learner in Kakuma refugee camp

Throughout the course, learners use their newly gained skills and knowledge to make their own project aimed at creating positive change. One example project is this website developed by Shyaka Cedric and other learners, which shares how podcasts and remote learning helped their community stay safe and healthy during the pandemic. Another group of learners used their photography and design skills to develop ID cards to keep Amala students safe within the camp. Having an Amala student ID card protects learners because they can prove their identity to their community and the police.

Facilitators from the camp make the course relatable

One of the great things about this course is that the Amala facilitators who taught the learners look, speak, and sound like them. Amala facilitators are from within the camp, and that they are relatable is great for learners’ self-confidence.

A learner and a faciliator in a classroom learning digital skills.

Having the course facilitated by fellow refugees removes the stigmatisation that the learners are vulnerable and sets the precedent that they can do anything if they put their mind to it.

“It gave me power of… getting involved with new things…Any challenge that comes my way I am willing to take after the Raspberry Pi class now…” — Learner in Kakuma refugee camp

While the Raspberry Pi Foundation team worked to make the course content relevant for the learners, our facilitators further localised the content to ensure its relatability for learners. Local contextualisation helps students to understand what they are learning, and to identify with the content — it’s not something out of the blue for them. Localisation is also important because it helps implement one of Amala’s cornerstones: decolonising the African curriculum.

Digital literacy is an urgent need

Because the learners in Kakuma camp lead complex social lives and face high levels of precarity, we decided to make the pilot course optional through our existing Diploma programme. We anticipated a modest enrollment rate, but instead over 100 people within the Amala learner community expressed an interest in this 75-person course. This showed us that the value and urgency of digital literacy in refugee communities is more pertinent than ever.

In a world where a lack of access to technology and digital skills exacerbates existing inequalities, it is critically important for young people who are disadvantaged to access meaningful learning opportunities. As one learner put it:

“I want to study this course because the current world is a digital world and I would like to acquire the skills to boost my computer skills and be able to help myself by getting a job and transforming the community through the digital world.” — Learner in Kakuma refugee camp

So what’s happening next?

We have a blueprint of what works in Kakuma refugee camp, and we are also learning what doesn’t. Bringing these lessons together will help us offer the course to more learners in Kakuma, and adapt the content in other locations, like our site in Amman, Jordan. 

Look out for our follow-up blogs about the support we put in place to enable learners in Kakuma camp to participate in the course, and how we worked to create course content that is suitable for them.

The post A vocational digital skills course in Kakuma refugee camp: Connecting to learners’ lives appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

How can computing education promote an equitable digital future? Ideas from research

Post Syndicated from Katharine Childs original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/computing-education-gender-equality-equitable-digital-future-iwd-23/

This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) focuses on innovation and technology for gender equality. This cause aligns closely with our mission as a charity: to enable young people to realise their full potential through the power of computing and digital technologies. An important part of our mission is to shift the gender balance in computing education.

Learners in a computing classroom.

Gender inequality in the digital and computing sector

As the UN Women’s announcement for IWD 2023 says: “Growing inequalities are becoming increasingly evident in the context of digital skills and access to technologies, with women being left behind as the result of this digital gender divide. The need for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education is therefore crucial for a sustainable future.”

According to the UN, women currently hold only 2 in every 10 science, engineering, and information and communication technology jobs globally. Women are a minority of university-level students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, at only 35%, and in information and communication technology courses, at just 3%. This is especially concerning since the WEF predicts that by 2050, 75% of jobs will relate to STEM.

We see this situation reflected in England: computer science is the secondary school subject with the largest gender gap at A level, with girls accounting for only 15% of students. That’s why over the past three years, we have run a research programme to trial ways to encourage more young women to study Computer Science. The programme, Gender Balance in Computing, has produced useful insights for designing equitable computing education around the world.

Who belongs in computing?

The UN says that “across countries, girls are systematically steered away from science and math careers. Teachers and parents, intentionally or otherwise, perpetuate biases around areas of education and work best ‘suited’ for women and men.” There is strong evidence to suggest that the representation of women and girls in computing can be improved by introducing them to computing role models such as female computing students or women in tech careers.

A learner and educator at a desktop computer.

Presenting role models was central to the Belonging trial in our Gender Balance in Computing programme. One arm of this trial used resources developed by WISE called My Skills My Life to explore the effect of introducing role models into computing lessons for primary school learners. The trial provided opportunities for learners to speak to women who work in technology. It also offered a quiz to help learners identify their strengths and characteristics and to match them with role models who were similar to them, which research shows is more effective for increasing learners’ confidence.

Teachers who used the resources reported learners’ increased understanding of the types and range of technology jobs, and a widening of learners’ career aspirations. 

“Learning about computing makes me feel good because it helps me think more about what I want to be.” — Primary school learner in the Belonging trial

“When [the resources were] showing all of the females in the jobs, nobody went ‘Oh, I didn’t know that a female could do that’, but I think they were amazed by the role of jobs and the fact it was all females doing it.“ — Primary school teacher in the Belonging trial

Learning together to give everyone a voice

When teachers and students enter a computing classroom, they bring with them diverse social identities that affect the dynamics of the classroom. Although these dynamics are often unspoken, they can become apparent in which students answer questions or succeed visibly in activities. Without intervention, a dominant group of confident speakers can emerge, and students who are not in this dominant group may lose confidence in their abilities. When teachers set collaborative learning activities that use defined roles or structured discussions, this gives a wider range of students the opportunity to speak up and participate.

In a computing classroom, a smiling girl raises her hand.

Pair programming is one such activity that has been used in research studies to improve learner attitudes and confidence towards computing. In pair programming, one learner is the ‘driver’.  They control the keyboard and mouse to write the code. The other learner is the ‘navigator’. They read out the instructions and monitor the code for errors. Learners swap roles regularly, so that both can participate equitably. The Pair Programming trial we conducted as part of Gender Balance in Computing explored the use of this teaching approach with students aged 8 to 11. Feedback from the teachers showed that learners found working in structured pairs engaging. 

“Even those who are maybe a little bit more reluctant… those who put their hands up today and said they still prefer to work independently, they are still all engaging quite clearly in that with their pair and doing it really, really well. However much they say they prefer working independently, I think they clearly showed how much they enjoy it, engage with it. And you know they’re achieving with it — so we should be doing this.” – Primary school teacher in the Pair Programming trial

Another collaborative teaching approach is peer instruction. In lessons that use peer instruction, students work in small groups to discuss the answer to carefully constructed multiple choice questions. A whole-class discussion then follows. In the Peer Instruction trial with learners aged 12 to 13 in our Gender Balance in Computing programme, we found that this approach was welcomed by the learners, and that it changed which learners offered answers and ideas. 

“I prefer talking in a group because then you get the other side of other people’s thoughts.” – Secondary school learner (female) in the Peer Instruction trial

“[…] you can have a bit of time to think for yourself then you can bounce ideas off other people.” – Secondary school learner (male) in the Peer Instruction trial

“I was very pleased that a lot of the girls were doing a lot of the talking.” – Secondary school teacher in the Peer Instruction trial

We need to do more, and sooner

Our Gender Balance in Computing research programme showed that no single intervention we trialled significantly increased girls’ engagement in computing or their intention to study it further. Combining several of the approaches we tested may be more impactful. If you’re part of an educational setting where you’d like to adopt multiple approaches at the same time, you can freely access the materials associated with the research programme (see our blog posts about the trails for links).

In a computing classroom, a girl looks at a computer screen.

The research programme also showed that age matters: across Gender Balance in Computing, we observed a big difference in intent to study Computing between primary school and secondary school learners (data from ages 8–11 and 12–13). Fewer secondary school learners reported intent to study the subject further, and while this difference was apparent for both girls and boys, it was more marked for girls.

This finding from England is mirrored by a study the UN Women’s Gender Snapshot 2022 refers to: “A 2020 study of Filipina girls demonstrated that loss of interest in STEM subjects started as early as age 10, when girls began perceiving STEM careers as male-dominated and believing that girls are naturally less adept in STEM subjects. The relative lack of female STEM role models reinforced such perceptions.” That’s why it’s necessary that all primary school learners — no matter what their gender is — have a successful start in the computing classroom, that they encounter role models they can relate to, and that they are supported to engage in computing and creating with technology by their parents, teachers, and communities.

An educator teaches students to create with technology.

The Foundation’s vision is that every young person develops the knowledge, skills, and confidence to use digital technologies effectively, and to be able to critically evaluate these technologies and confidently engage with technological change. While making changes inside the computing classroom will be beneficial for gender equality, this is just one aspect of building an equitable digital future. We all need to contribute to creating a world where innovation and technology support gender equity.

What do you think is needed?

In all our work, we make sure gender equity is at the forefront, whether that’s in programmes we run for young people, in resources we create for schools, or in partnerships we have, such as with Pratham Education Foundation in India or Team4Tech and Kenya Connect in Wamunyu, Kenya. Computing education is a global challenge, and we are proud to be part of a community that is committed to making it equitable.

Kenyan educators work on a physical computing project.

This IWD, we invite you to share your thoughts on what equitable computing education means to you, and what you think is needed to achieve it, whether that’s in your school or club, in your local community, or in your country. 

The post How can computing education promote an equitable digital future? Ideas from research appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

New – Amazon Lightsail for Research with All-in-One Research Environments

Post Syndicated from Channy Yun original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-amazon-lightsail-for-research-with-all-in-one-research-environments/

Today we are announcing the general availability of Amazon Lightsail for Research, a new offering that makes it easy for researchers and students to create and manage a high-performance CPU or a GPU research computer in just a few clicks on the cloud. You can use your preferred integrated development environments (IDEs) like preinstalled Jupyter, RStudio, Scilab, VSCodium, or native Ubuntu operating system on your research computer.

You no longer need to use your own research laptop or shared school computers for analyzing larger datasets or running complex simulations. You can create your own research environments and directly access the application running on the research computer remotely via a web browser. Also, you can easily upload data to and download from your research computer via a simple web interface.

You pay only for the duration the computers are in use and can delete them at any time. You can also use budgeting controls that can automatically stop your computer when it’s not in use. Lightsail for Research also includes all-inclusive prices of compute, storage, and data transfer, so you know exactly how much you will pay for the duration you use the research computer.

Get Started with Amazon Lightsail for Research
To get started, navigate to the Lightsail for Research console, and choose Virtual computers in the left menu. You can see my research computers naming “channy-jupyter” or “channy-rstudio” already created.

Choose Create virtual computer to create a new research computer, and select which software you’d like preinstalled on your computer and what type of research computer you’d like to create.

In the first step, choose the application you want installed on your computer and the AWS Region to be located in. We support Jupyter, RStudio, Scilab, and VSCodium. You can install additional packages and extensions through the interface of these IDE applications.

Next, choose the desired virtual hardware type, including a fixed amount of compute (vCPUs or GPUs), memory (RAM), SSD-based storage volume (disk) space, and a monthly data transfer allowance. Bundles are charged on an hourly and on-demand basis.

Standard types are compute-optimized and ideal for compute-bound applications that benefit from high-performance processors.

Name vCPUs Memory Storage Monthly data
transfer allowance*
Standard XL 4 8 GB 50 GB 0.5TB
Standard 2XL 8 16 GB 50 GB 0.5TB
Standard 4XL 16 32 GB 50 GB 0.5TB

GPU types provide a high-performance platform for general-purpose GPU computing. You can use these bundles to accelerate scientific, engineering, and rendering applications and workloads.

Name GPU vCPUs Memory Storage Monthly data
transfer allowance*
GPU XL 1 4 16 GB 50 GB 1 TB
GPU 2XL 1 8 32 GB 50 GB 1 TB
GPU 4XL 1 16 64 GB 50 GB 1 TB

* AWS created the Global Data Egress Waiver (GDEW) program to help eligible researchers and academic institutions use AWS services by waiving data egress fees. To learn more, see the blog post.

After making your selections, name your computer and choose Create virtual computer to create your research computer. Once your computer is created and running, choose the Launch application button to open a new window that will display the preinstalled application you selected.

Lightsail for Research Features
As with existing Lightsail instances, you can create additional block-level storage volumes (disks) that you can attach to a running Lightsail for Research virtual computer. You can use a disk as a primary storage device for data that requires frequent and granular updates. To create your own storage, choose Storage and Create disk.

You can also create Snapshots, a point-in-time copy of your data. You can create a snapshot of your Lightsail for Research virtual computers and use it as baselines to create new computers or for data backup. A snapshot contains all of the data that is needed to restore your computer from the moment when the snapshot was taken.

When you restore a computer by creating it from a snapshot, you can easily create a new one or upgrade your computer to a larger size using a snapshot backup. Create snapshots frequently to protect your data from corrupt applications or user errors.

You can use Cost control rules that you define to help manage the usage and cost of your Lightsail for Research virtual computers. You can create rules that stop running computers when average CPU utilization over a selected time period falls below a prescribed level.

For example, you can configure a rule that automatically stops a specific computer when its CPU utilization is equal to or less than 1 percent for a 30-minute period. Lightsail for Research will then automatically stop the computer so that you don’t incur charges for running computers.

In the Usage menu, you can view the cost estimate and usage hours for your resources during a specified time period.

Now Available
Amazon Lightsail for Research is now available in the US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Mumbai), Asia Pacific (Seoul), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Canada (Central), Europe (Frankfurt), Europe (Ireland), Europe (London), Europe (Paris), Europe (Stockholm), and Europe (Sweden) Regions.

Now you can start using it today. To learn more, see the Amazon Lightsail for Research User Guide, and please send feedback to AWS re:Post for Amazon Lightsail or through your usual AWS support contacts.


Teach your learners with The Computing Curriculum

Post Syndicated from Sway Grantham original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/computing-curriculum-lesson-plans/

Computing combines a very broad mixture of concepts and skills. We work to support any school to teach students about the whole of computing and how to create with digital technologies. A key part of this support is The Computing Curriculum.

Two girls code at a desktop computer while a female mentor observes them.
We help schools around the world teach their learners computing.

The Computing Curriculum: Free and comprehensive

The Computing Curriculum is our complete bank of free lesson plans and other resources that offer you everything you need to teach computing lessons to all school-aged learners. It helps you cover the full breadth of computing, including computing systems, programming, creating media, data and information, and societal impacts of digital technology.

The 500 hours of free, downloadable resources within The Computing Curriculum include all the materials you need in your classroom: from lesson plans and slide decks to activity sheets, homework, and assessments. To our knowledge, this is the most comprehensive set of free teaching and learning materials for computing and digital skills in the world.

Two learners and a teacher in a physical computing lesson.
We continuously update The Computing Curriculum to reflect the latest research about this young subject.

Our Curriculum’s resources are based on clear progression and content frameworks we’ve designed, and we continuously update them based on the latest research and feedback from practising teachers. Doing this is particularly important for computing education resources, because computing is a young subject where thoughts and understanding about the best teaching approaches are still evolving.

Computing lesson plans that save time and engage your learners

With The Computing Curriculum, we support educators of all levels of experience. Whether you specialise in computing, or you are a newcomer to the subject, the Curriculum will save you time and help you deliver engaging lessons.

In our 2022 survey of teachers who have used The Computing Curriculum resources:

  • 91% said the Curriculum was effective or very effective at saving teachers time
  • 89% said it was effective or very effective at developing teachers’ subject knowledge
  • 81% said it was effective or very effective at engaging students

The resources are organised as themed units, and they support your computing lesson planning, preparation, and delivery because they are comprehensive as well as adaptable. You are free to use the resources as they are, or adjust them to your context, access to hardware, and learners’ needs and experience level.

A Kenyan child smiles at a computer.
The Computing Curriculum will help you plan and deliver engaging lessons.

One aspect of The Computing Curriculum that will facilitate your teaching is the progression framework on which the resources are based. In creating the resources, we have considered the learning objectives throughout each unit and year group, and throughout the entire schooling period. This progression is detailed in curriculum maps and learning graphs, and you’ll be able to use these documents to plan your lessons and to check your learners’ understanding.

Start teaching with The Computing Curriculum

You can download and use the resources for the year groups you teach computing right now. And please tell us of your experiences using The Computing Curriculum in your classroom, so that we can make the resources even better for educators around the world.

If you are interested in curriculum resources tailored for your region, please contact us via this form. You can find out how we adapted resources from The Computing Curriculum for learners living in a refugee camp in Kenya if you’d like to learn about our approach to tailoring resources.

The post Teach your learners with The Computing Curriculum appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Computing curriculum fundamentals | Hello World #20

Post Syndicated from Sway Grantham original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/computing-curriculum-fundamentals-computing-systems-networks/

Why are computing systems at the heart of our computing curriculum design? Senior Learning Manager Sway Grantham from the Foundation team explains in her article from the brand-new issue of Hello World, our free magazine for computing educators, out today.

Cover of Hello World issue 20.

Whether you plan lessons on a Computing topic, develop curriculum content, or even write curriculum policy, you have to make choices. What are you going to include and what is less of a priority? You have to consider time constraints and access to resources, prior learning and maybe even pupil interests. You probably also have to consider the wider curriculum context. Well, here is my first principle to help you: computing systems should be the foundation of your Computing curriculum.

A computing systems epiphany

As a primary teacher, when I first began writing Computing lesson plans for children aged 9 to 10, I started with programming. This was a very visual entry into Computing, and children were excited to create projects that were familiar to them, such as games and animations. However, as my understanding of Computing grew, I realised that something was missing.

Two learners do physical computing in the primary school classroom.

My learners could explain what an algorithm is, as well as explaining that a program is ‘a set of instructions that runs on a computer to tell it what to do’. Both of these met the curriculum needs, but I wasn’t convinced that they could link these two concepts together. Could they connect what they were doing on a floor robot to the computing systems around them? Did they understand what a computer was? Well… I asked them to see what they’d say!

According to my class, a computer was:

  • A piece of technology
  • A keyboard and a screen
  • A search engine
  • A machine used for work
  • A metal brain
  • A machine with a keyboard
  • An information device
  • Electric

This very simple question highlighted a wealth of alternate conceptions about programming and computing systems. The other commonality of my learners’ definitions was that they described the computer’s function, as if, in order to define what a computer is, we just need to know what it does. This view of a definition greatly limits learners’ ability to understand what potential computers have beyond personal use.

My learners had two discrete chunks of knowledge: how to program a floor robot, and that laptops were computers. However, without a bridge to connect them, this learning was disjointed. Learners needed to have a concrete, conceptual understanding of ‘what a computer is’ before they could start to comprehend the more abstract role of a program in that system.

Knowledge of computing systems empowers people to take control of technology and not just consume it.

Beyond the experiences of my young learners, we see examples of a lack of understanding about computing systems all the time in society. Many competent users of software are able to regularly complete the tasks that they need, but if one day something doesn’t work, they do not know how to find a solution. Equally, many people enjoy exploring digital making projects, yet if they want to personalise the project, they don’t know what they can or can’t change to do this. Knowledge of computing systems empowers people to take control of technology and not just consume it.

Planning computing content today

Both of these examples highlight the importance of introducing computing systems as both life skills and as support for developing other areas of computing. More recently, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has been creating 100 hours of curriculum content in partnership with non-profit organisation Amala Education. Through this content we aim to give refugee learners who may never have used technology enough understanding to build a website that encourages social change.

Whilst we know that the material needs to include some foundational knowledge of computing systems, we must first consider the core content that learners must understand to achieve the end goal, such as:

  • Webpage creation 
  • HTML/CSS/JavaScript
  • Project management 
  • Project development

These areas of learning are a great place to start as, undeniably, learners aren’t going to be able to build a website without knowing the process of creating a website, the languages used to create web pages, or the project management skills to see a project from start to finish.

This could be the entirety of the content, but instead, I encourage you to think back to those children who could program but didn’t know on what devices programs could run. We need to connect the core content to that foundational content: how is building a website related to computing systems?

Prior knowledge

All learning is built on prior knowledge, even if that prior knowledge has been gained through life experience and not formal education. To build a website, we need to know how to type and use a mouse. We need to know what a website is, why people use websites, and what sort of media is found on them. Beyond that, we need to know how the files that we are creating are being shared with other people. We need to understand that a computer can communicate with another computer and what the process is to make that happen. None of this learning is the core content of building a website, but if you tried to build a website without understanding these things, it would be difficult to do.

All learning is built on prior knowledge, even if that prior knowledge has been gained through life experience and not formal education.

As the learners we support together with Amala Education might have no prior experience of using technology, we needed to ensure that enough foundational computing systems content was built into the learning sequence — things such as:

  • Recognising digital devices
  • Decomposing computing systems
  • Digital painting (mouse skills)
  • Combining text and images (desktop publishing)
  • Networks and the internet
  • Internet searching

By incorporating this content into the learning sequence, we ensure that learners do not just learn a process for creating a website. They understand the impact of the choices they make when building a website, they have the skills to implement their ideas, and they can connect their understanding to solve any unexpected challenges they find along the way. This more holistic approach should support learners’ knowledge transfer and offer them a much broader range of opportunities. 

This more holistic approach should support learners’ knowledge transfer and offer them a much broader range of opportunities.

Whatever your curriculum requires, you will have the core content you need to teach. This could be the requirements of your standardised curriculum, it could be the specific project you’re trying to build, or it could be the aspirations that you have for your students. However, rather than stopping at that part of your learning sequence, take a step back and consider the prior knowledge you’re connecting to. I expect you will find that computing systems is what you need to ensure learners’ new knowledge has a solid foundation.

Read the new Hello World issue today

Computing systems and networks is one of those computer science topics in which misconceptions abound. Hello World issue 20 focuses on how you can support your learners to grasp even the tricky ideas within this topic, giving you practical ideas, activities, and insights from practicing educators. Download your free PDF copy now, and subscribe to never miss an issue.

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Combining computing and maths to teach primary learners about variables

Post Syndicated from Katharine Childs original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/variables-primary-school-computing-maths-education-seminar/

In our first seminar of 2023, we were delighted to welcome Dr Katie Rich and Carla Strickland. They spoke to us about teaching the programming construct of variables in Grade 3 and 4 (age 8 to 10).

We are hearing from a diverse range of speakers in our current series of monthly online research seminars focused on primary (K-5) computing education. Many of them work closely with educators to translate research findings into classroom practice to make sure that all our younger learners have positive first experiences of learning computing. An important goal of their research is to impact the development of pedagogy, resources, and professional development to support educators to deliver computing concepts with confidence.

Variables in computing and mathematics

Dr Katie Rich (American Institutes of Research) and Carla Strickland (UChicago STEM Education) are both part of a team that worked on a research project called Everyday Computing, which aims to integrate computational thinking into primary mathematics lessons. A key part of the Everyday Computing project was to develop coherent learning resources across a number of school years. During the seminar, Katie and Carla presented on a study in the project that revolved around teaching variables in Grade 3 and 4 (age 8 to 10) by linking this computing concept to mathematical concepts such as area, perimeter, and fractions.

Young person using Scratch.

Variables are used in both mathematics and computing, but in significantly different ways. In mathematics, a variable, often represented by a single letter such as x or y, corresponds to a quantity that stays the same for a given problem. However, in computing, a variable is an identifier used to label data that may change as a computer program is executed. A variable is one of the programming constructs that can be used to generalise programs to make them work for a range of inputs. Katie highlighted that the research team was keen to explore the synergies and tensions that arise when curriculum subjects share terms, as is the case for ‘variable’. 

Defining a learning trajectory

At the start of the project, in order to be able to develop coherent learning resources across school years, the team reviewed research papers related to teaching the programming construct of variables. In the papers, they found a variety of learning goals that related to facts (what learners need to know) and skills (what learners need to be able to do). They grouped these learning goals and arranged the groups into ‘levels of thinking’, which were then mapped onto a learning trajectory to show progression pathways for learning.

Four of the five levels of thinking identified in the study: Data storer, data user, variable user, variable creator.
Four of the five levels of thinking identified in the study: Data Storer, Data User, Variable User, Variable Creator. Click to enlarge.

Learning materials about variables

Carla then shared three practical examples of learning resources their research team created that integrated the programming construct of variables into a maths curriculum. The three activities, described below, form part of a series of lessons called Action Fractions. You can read more about the series of lessons in this research paper.

Robot Boxes is an unplugged activity that is positioned at the Data User level of thinking. It relates to creating instructions for a fictional robot. Learners have to pay attention to different data the robot needs in order to draw a box, such as the length and width, and also to the value that the robot calculates as area of the box. The lesson uses boxes on paper as concrete representations of variables to which learners can physically add values.


Ambling Animals is set at the ‘Data Storer’ and ‘Variable Interpreter’ levels of thinking. It includes a Scratch project to help students to locate and compare fractions on number lines. During this lesson, find a variable that holds the value of the animal that represents the larger of two fractions.


Adding Fractions draws on facts and skills from the ‘Variable Interpreter’ and ‘Variable Implementer’ levels of thinking and also includes a Scratch project. The Scratch project visualises adding fractions with the same denominator on a number line. The lesson starts to explain why variables are so important in computer programs by demonstrating how using a variable can make code more efficient. 

Takeaways: Cross-curricular teaching, collaborative research

Teaching about the programming construct of variables can be challenging, as it requires young learners to understand abstract ideas. The research Katie and Carla presented shows how integrating these concepts into a mathematics curriculum is one way to highlight tangible uses of variables in everyday problems. The levels of thinking in the learning trajectory provide a structure helping teachers to support learners to develop their understanding and skills; the same levels of thinking could be used to introduce variables in other contexts and curricula.

A learner does physical computing in the primary school classroom.

Many primary teachers use cross-curricular learning to increase children’s engagement and highlight real-world examples. The seminar showed how important it is for teachers to pay attention to terms used across subjects, such as the word ‘variable’, and to explicitly explain a term’s different meanings. Katie and Carla shared a practical example of this when they suggested that computing teachers need to do more to stress the difference between equations such as xy = 45 in maths and assignment statements such as length = 45 in computing.

The Everyday Computing project resources were created by a team of researchers and educators who worked together to translate research findings into curriculum materials. This type of collaboration can be really valuable in driving a research agenda to directly improve learning outcomes for young people in classrooms. 

How can this research influence your classroom practice or other activities as an educator? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. We’ll be continuing to reflect on this question throughout the seminar series.

You can watch Katie’s and Carla’s full presentation here:

Join our seminar series on primary computing education

Our monthly seminar series on primary (K–5) teaching and learning is of interest to a global audience of educators, including those who want to understand the prior learning experiences of older learners.

We continue on Tuesday 7 February at 17.00 UK time, when we will hear from Dr Jean Salac, University of Washington. Jean will present her work in identifying inequities in elementary computing instruction and in developing a learning strategy, TIPP&SEE, to address these inequities. Sign up now, and we will send you a joining link for the session.

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Rapid7 Now Available Through Carahsoft’s NASPO ValuePoint

Post Syndicated from Rapid7 original https://blog.rapid7.com/2023/01/24/rapid7-now-available-through-carahsofts-naspo-valuepoint/

Rapid7 Now Available Through Carahsoft’s NASPO ValuePoint

We are happy to announce that Rapid7’s solutions have been added to the NASPO ValuePoint Cloud Solutions contract held by Carahsoft Technology Corp. The addition of this contract enables Carahsoft and its reseller partners to provide Rapid7’s Insight platform to participating States, Local Governments, and Educational (SLED) institutions.

“Rapid7’s Insight platform goes beyond threat detection by enabling organizations to quickly respond to attacks with intelligent automation,” said Alex Whitworth, Sales Director who leads the Rapid7 Team at Carahsoft.

“We are thrilled to work with Rapid7 and our reseller partners to deliver these advanced cloud risk management and threat detection solutions to NASPO members to further protect IT environments across the SLED space.”

NASPO ValuePoint is a cooperative purchasing program facilitating public procurement solicitations and agreements using a lead-state model. The program provides the highest standard of excellence in public cooperative contracting. By leveraging the leadership and expertise of all states and the purchasing power of their public entities, NASPO ValuePoint delivers the highest valued, reliable and competitively sourced contracts, offering public entities outstanding prices.

“In partnership with Carahsoft and their reseller partners, we look forward to providing broader availability of the Insight platform to help security teams better protect their organizations from an increasingly complex and volatile threat landscape,” said Damon Cabanillas, Vice President of Public Sector Sales at Rapid7.

The Rapid7 Insight platform is available through Carahsoft’s NASPO ValuePoint Master Agreement #AR2472. For more information, visit https://www.carahsoft.com/rapid7/contracts.

Training teachers and empowering students in Machakos, Kenya

Post Syndicated from Wariara Waireri original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/computing-education-machakos-kenya-edtech-hub-launch/

Over the past months, we’ve been working with two partner organisations, Team4Tech and Kenya Connect, to support computing education across the rural county of Machakos, Kenya.

Working in rural Kenya

In line with our 2025 strategy, we have started work to improve computing education for young people in Kenya and South Africa. We are especially eager to support communities that experience educational disadvantage. One of our projects in this area is in partnership with Team4Tech and Kenya Connect. Together we have set up the Dr Isaac Minae EdTech Hub in the community Kenya Connect supports in the rural county of Machakos, and we are training teachers so they can equip their learners with coding and physical computing skills.

“Watching teachers and students find joy and excitement in learning has been tremendous! The Raspberry Pi Foundation’s hands-on approach is helping learners make connections through seeing how technology can be used for innovation to solve problems. We are excited to be partnering with Raspberry Pi Foundation and Team4Tech in bringing technology to our rural community.”

– Sharon Runge, Executive Director, Kenya Connect

We are providing the Wamunyu community with the hardware and the skills and knowledge training they need to use digital technology to create solutions to problems they see. The training will make sure that teachers across Machakos can sustain the EdTech Hub and computing education activities independently. This is important because we want the community to be empowered to solve problems that matter to them and for all the local young people to have opportunities that are open to their peers in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, and other cities in Kenya.

Launching the Dr Isaac Minae EdTech Hub in Wamunyu

In October this year, we travelled to Wamunyu to help Kenya Connect set up and launch the Dr Isaac Minae EdTech Hub, for which we provided hardware including Raspberry Pi 400 computers and physical computing kits with Raspberry Pi Pico microcontrollers, LEDs, buzzers, buttons, motors and more. We also held a teacher training session to start setting up the local educators with the skills and knowledge they need to teach coding and physical computing. In the training, educators brought a range of experiences with using computers. Some were unfamiliar with computer hardware, but at the end of the training session, they all had designed and created physical computing projects using electronic circuits and code. It was hugely inspiring to work with these teachers and see their enthusiasm and commitment to learning.

Through our two-year partnership with Kenya Connect, we aim to reach at least 1000 learners between the ages of 9 to 14 from 62 schools in Machakos county. We will work with at least 150 teachers to build their knowledge, skills, and confidence to teach coding, digital making, and robotics, and to run after-school Code Clubs. We’ll help teachers offer learning experiences based on our established learning paths to their students, and these experiences will include basic coding skills aligned to Kenya’s Competency Based Curriculum (CBC). We are putting particular focus on adapting our learning content so that teachers in Machakos can offer culturally relevant educational activities in their community. 

“Our partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation will open up new avenues for teachers to learn coding and physical computing. This is in line with the current Competency Based Curriculum that requires students to start learning coding at an early age. Though coding is entrenched in the curriculum, teachers are ill-prepared and schools lack devices. We are so grateful to the Raspberry Pi Foundation for providing teachers and students access to devices and the Raspberry Pi learning paths.”

– Patrick Munguti, Director of Education and Technology, Kenya Connect

Looking to the future

Next up for our work on this project is to continue supporting Kenya Connect to scale the program in the county.

A group of learners and educators pose together in rural Kenya.

In all our work in Sub-Saharan Africa, we are committed to strengthening and growing our partnerships with locally led youth and community organisations, the private sector, and the public sector, in line with our mission to open up more opportunities for young people to realise their full potential through the power of computing and digital technologies.

Our work in Sub-Saharan Africa is generously funded by the Ezra Charitable Trust.

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Reflecting on what we teach in computing education and how we teach it

Post Syndicated from James Robinson original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/reflecting-on-computing-education-hello-world-special-editions/

Reflecting is important within any line of work, and computing education is no different. Reflective practice is always valuable, whether you support learners in a non-formal setting, such as a Code Club or CoderDojo, or in a more formal environment, such as a school or college. When you reflect, you might for example evaluate a session or lesson and make changes for next time, or consider whether to reorder activities and learning across a longer time period, or even think broadly about what you teach and how you teach it.

Two special editions of Hello World: The big book of computing content, and the big book of computing pedagogy.

This is where our two special editions of Hello World come in: The Big Book of Computing Content and The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy. Both available as free downloads, they help you reflect on what you teach within Computing and how you teach it.

What you teach: The Big Book of Computing Content

Computing is a broad and interdisciplinary subject, and different curricula and courses around the world focus on different aspects of it. For all of us, therefore, computing is framed by the curricula with which we are working and the terms which we’re using to talk about the subject. Over the past years at the Foundation, we have been developing a Computing taxonomy to help describe the different aspects of the subject. The Big Book of Computing Content is based on this taxonomy. The aim of this special edition of Hello World is to illustrate the breadth of Computing, and to model language that describes the different concepts, knowledge, and skills that comprise it.

Cover of The Big Book of Computing Content.
The Big Book of Computing Content explores what we mean by Computing and aims to provide a common language to describe the subject. This book complements our Hello World special edition on pedagogy, introducing research alongside practical articles from teachers.

We have organised this Big Book according to our taxonomy’s 11 content strands and also included progressive learning outcomes for each strand at different stages of learning. These outcomes are not prescriptive; instead they illustrate the wide applications of the subject by highlighting the kinds of knowledge and understanding that learners could develop in each area of Computing.

We hope that The Big Book of Computing Content encourages educators to reflect on all aspects of Computing and how they interconnect, as well as on the language we use to describe Computing. Whether the Big Book helps you to discover new aspects to Computing, to think about the subject differently, or simply to see the differences in how we as educators talk about our subject, the time you spend reflecting is important and valuable.

How you teach: The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy

One part of our work as educators is understanding the breadth of Computing and the specific ideas within it. The other part is reflecting on how we teach the subject: the specific methods, strategies, and practices we can use with our learners. The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy describes a range of teaching approaches framed around our 12 pedagogical principles for teaching Computing. Each research-informed principle either reflects how general-purpose pedagogy applies within Computing or explores pedagogies specific to Computing itself. This Big Book consists of research summaries as well as practical articles from educators which illustrate how you can apply the different pedagogies.

Cover of The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy.
Hello World’s special edition on pedagogy lays out approaches to teaching computing in the classroom. It bridges the gap between research and practice, giving you accessible chunks of research, followed by stories from educators.

Rather than prescribing a set of principles that educators must follow, the aim of The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy is to help you develop your understanding of a range of pedagogical approaches which you can select, apply, and adapt to suit your context.

Reflect to develop your knowledge and agency

Ultimately we want to support all Computing and Computer Science educators to build their understanding of subject matter (that is, content) and pedagogy, or what is called pedagogical content knowledge (PCK, a term popularised by Lee Shulman). Combining your PCK with your grasp of the context of your learners, curricula, and setting will enable you to choose suitable practices for your content and context.

Three computer science educators discuss something at a screen.

We hope that you find the two Big Books to be valuable reference tools to help you and your peers reflect on what it is you mean when you talk about Computing, and on how you teach the concepts, knowledge, and skills within it. Both books are available as free PDF downloads.

We would love to hear examples of how you have used The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy or The Big Book of Computing Content to inform your own teaching practice or to discuss practice with colleagues. Tell us in the comments.

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Spotlight on primary computing education in our 2023 seminar series

Post Syndicated from Bonnie Sheppard original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/primary-computing-education-research-seminar-series-2023/

We are excited to announce our next free online seminars, running monthly from January 2023 and focusing on primary school (K–5) teaching and learning of computing.

Two children code on laptops while an adult supports them.

Our seminars, having covered various topics in computing education over the last three years, will now offer you a close look at current questions and research in primary computing education. Through this series we want to connect research and teaching practice, and further primary computing education across the globe.

Are these seminars for me?

Our upcoming seminars are for everyone interested in computing education, not just for primary school teachers — you are all cordially invited to join us. Previous seminars have been attended by a valuable mix of teachers, volunteers, tech industry professionals, and researchers, all keen to explore how computing education research can be put into practice.

Learner using Scratch on a laptop.

Whether you teach in a classroom, or support learners in a coding club, you will find out how our youngest learners develop their computing knowledge. You’ll also explore with us what this means for your learning context in practical terms.

What you can expect from the online seminars

Each seminar starts with a presenter explaining, in easy-to-understand terms, some recent research they have done. The presentation is followed by a discussion in smaller groups. We then regroup for a Q&A session with the presenter.

Attendees of our previous seminars have said:

“The seminar will be useful in my practice when our coding club starts.”

“I love this initiative, your choice of speakers has been fantastic. You are creating a very valuable CPD resource for Computer Science teachers and educators all over the world. Thank you. 🙏”

“Just wanted to say a huge thank you for organising this. It was brilliant to hear the presentation but also the input from other educators in the breakout room. I currently teach in a department of one, which can be quite lonely, so to join other educators was brilliant and a real encouragement.” 

Learn from specialists to benefit your own learners

Computer science has been taught in universities for many years, and only more recently has the subject been introduced in schools. That means there isn’t a lot of research about computing education for school-aged learners yet, and even less research about how young children of primary school age learn about computing. 

Young learners at computers in a classroom.

That’s why we are excited to invite you to learn with us as we hear from international primary computing research teams who share their knowledge in our online seminars:

  • Tuesday 10 January 2023: Kicking off our series are Dr Katie Rich and Carla Strickland from Chicago with a seminar on how they developed new instructional materials for teaching variables in primary school. They will specifically focus on how they combined research with classroom realities, and share experiences of using their new materials in class. 
  • Tuesday 7 February 2023: Dr Jean Salac from the University of Washington is particularly interested in identifying and addressing inequities in the computing classroom, and will speak about a new learning strategy that has been found to improve students’ understanding of computing concepts and to increase equal access to computing.
  • Tuesday 7 March 2023: Our own Dr Bobby Whyte from the Raspberry Pi Foundation will share practical examples of how primary computing can be integrated into literacy education. He will specifically look at storytelling elements within computing education and discuss the benefits of combining competency areas.
  • May 2023: Information coming soon
  • Tuesday 6 June 2023: In a collaborative seminar, Aim Unahalekhaka from Tufts University in Massachusetts will first present her research into how children learn coding through ScratchJr. Participants are encouraged to bring a tablet or device with ScratchJr to then look at practical project evaluations and teaching strategies that can help young learners create purposefully.
  • Tuesday 12 September 2023: Joining us from the University of Passau in Germany, Luisa Greifenstein will speak about how to give children appropriate feedback that encourages positive attitudes towards computing education. In particular, she will be looking at the effects of different feedback strategies and present a new Scratch tool that offers automated feedback.
  • October 2023: Information coming soon
  • Tuesday 7 November 2023: We are delighted to be joined by Dr Aman Yadav from Michigan State University who will focus on computational thinking and its value for primary schooling. In his seminar, he will not only discuss the unique opportunities for computational thinking in primary school but also discuss findings from a recent project that focused on teachers’ perspectives. 

Sign up now to attend the seminars

All our seminars start at 17:00 UK time (18:00 CET / 12:00 noon ET / 9:00 PT) and take place in an online format. Sign up now to receive a calendar invitation and the link to join on the day of each seminar.

We look forward to seeing you soon, and to discussing with you how we can apply research results to better support all our learners.

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