Launching the Raspberry Pi Computing Education Research Centre

By Sue Sentance. Posted

The new research centre will sit in the Department of Computer Science and Technology at the University of Cambridge

Originally published in Hello World Issue 19: Sustainability and Computing, June 2022. All information true at the time of original publishing.

The creation of a new research centre represents a unique partnership between the University of Cambridge and the Raspberry Pi Foundation

Last July, the University of Cambridge and the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the creation of a new research centre focusing on computing education research for young people in both formal and non-formal education (helloworld.cc/centreblog). This is an exciting venture and has the potential to represent an important step change for the field. Computing education research that focuses specifically on young people is relatively new, particularly in contrast to established disciplines such as mathematics and science education research. However, computing is now a mandatory subject in some countries, and is growing globally, so we need to investigate the learning and teaching of this subject rigorously, in conjunction with schools and teachers.

Developing the centre

We have been making progress towards establishing the centre over the last nine months or so. In October I was appointed director, and in December we were awarded funding by Google for a one-year research project on culturally relevant computing teaching, following on from a project at the Raspberry Pi Foundation. We are uniquely positioned in that the research team for the centre straddles both organisations. They complement each other well: the University of Cambridge is one of the highest-ranking universities in the world, and the Raspberry Pi Foundation has a compelling mission around empowering all young people with the computing skills and knowledge they need in today’s world.

We are officially launching!

On 20 July 2022 we held an in-person afternoon event in Cambridge, UK, to celebrate the establishment of this research centre, and to support our long-term goal of creating a community with fellow researchers, teachers, and other education practitioners. We are thrilled that Professor Mark Guzdial, who many readers will be familiar with, was there to cut the ribbon!

Research and you

In the busy lives that teachers live, the word ‘research’ may conjure up an image of out-of-touch academics buried in books in stuffy libraries. Teachers will probably not have time to read long research articles or engage with new theories, which is one reason this magazine always includes some accessible insights into emerging research. In our research in the centre, we want to make sure that firstly, we work with teachers and schools directly when implementing and evaluating research projects, but also that we publish results in a number of different formats as promptly as we can, without a paywall. We look forward to working with a large community of teachers; even if you can’t attend the launch, do sign up to be part of our mailing list at computingeducationresearch.org.


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