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Exploring programming pedagogy - from block to text based programming

Steve Bunce, Vital CPD, and Mark Dorling, Queen Mary University of London


Attendees will develop a solid interpretation of what programming constructs are expected to be taught to learners at each Key Stage 2 -4; identifying the transition points from block to text-based languages e.g. from Scratch to Snap and then Python. The most relevant academic literature and experience will be shared with attendees in easy to understand byte sized chunks. This will be illustrated by sharing tried and tested activities/games adapted from other subjects to support the development of the 13 programming skills needed by learners to become creative, independent and resilient programmers – classified around our idea of construct, change and create.

This workshop will help attendees to answer four burning questions facing most educators teaching Computing at both primary and secondary:
- What are the key skills that novice programmers need to become creative, independent and resilient programmers?
- How do we effectively scaffold our support for learners in transitioning from block-to-text based languages e.g. From Scratch to Snap and then Python, in secondary education?
- How do you teach learners of all ages to programming effectively, and what pedagogies can we reuse from other subjects?
- What academic research literature should I begin reading to inform my practise.

Relevant Key Stages: KS2, KS3, KS4

Session resource(s)

Steve Bunce's biography

Steve is an experienced teacher and has taught in primary, middle and secondary schools and covered many roles including ICT co-ordinator, head of year and senior leader. For the Open University, he has advised schools across the UK on their use of technology. As a part-time lecturer at Durham University, he has shared learning experiences with the undergraduate teachers. Developing teaching and learning in schools is the focus of Steve's work and he now advises teachers in using iPads to impact upon learning, as an Apple Professional Development Authorised Trainer. With computing, Steve works with many teachers to build their confidence in the subject and uses video games, Minecraft, robots and 3D printing, to capture their imaginations.

Mark Dorling's biography

Mark is a former Computing teacher in both primary and secondary education, in both selective and non-selective schools. He is currently a PhD student at Queen Mary University of London under the supervision of Professor Paul Curzon, where he is researching the use of concept mapping techniques with trainee teachers in Computing education.

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