Computer Science Education Research Group
Computer Science Unplugged
A long time ago – present
CS Unplugged is a collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around.
Plugging It In
2017 - present
It’s good to link the ideas covered in the Unplugged activities with the skill of programming. The plugging it in section allows you to program some of the Unplugged activities. There are programming challenges in Python, Scratch and another Block-based language at a variety of levels, so choose a difficulty level that’s appropriate for you. The levels are beginner, growing experience, ready to expand.
CS Unplugged at Home
2019 - 2020
Traditionally Unplugged activities have been designed to be used with school classes and larger groups, but we’ve got many ideas for you to try out if you’re at home. All the activities for CS Unplugged at home can be completed using items in your home, including an empty cereal box. These activities were inspired as a response to schools being closed due to the Covid pandemic, but there are many other situations where you may want to use Unplugged activities in a one-to-one situation rather than the traditional classroom context.
CS Unplugged at a Distance
2019 - 2022
We know that CS Unplugged is always better in person! But if you find yourself having to facilitate online through a video conference system, the CS Unplugged at a Distance content is adapted to support this.
Computer Science Field Guide
August 2012 – Present
The "Computer Science Field Guide" is an open source online resource for teaching Computer Science to students, with curriculum guides for teachers.
Big Ideas of Computer Science
Jan 2017 – Present
The "Big Ideas" project aims to provide a framework for understanding how specific topics in CS curriculum in K-12 (secondary and primary school) education fit into a big picture.
When teaching computer science it can be easy to focus on details and lose sight of the bigger picture; this is particularly concerning with new pre-tertiary curricula being adopted in many countries, as teachers grapple with a bewildering array of topics to teach. Why do students need to know how to "code?" Why do we teach them how to work with binary numbers? What's the purpose of learning selection sort and quicksort? This document presents a list of 10 "big ideas" of computer science that have been distilled based on input from curriculum designers and computer science education experts around the world.
The list of Big Ideas is currently in The Big Ideas of K-12 Computer Science Education (PDF, 593KB) .
DTHM for kaiako
Jan 2018 – present
The DTHM for kaiako project came about because there needed to be a space for teachers to share resources for teaching in Aotearoa/New Zealand in Digital Technology and Hangarau Matihiko. This was created as a strategic partnership with UC CSERG, Digital Technologies Teachers Aotearoa (DTTA) and AATEA solutions. DTHM for kaiako brings resources, events and community together.
Code:Wof is designed to maintain your programming fitness with short daily programming exercises. You can save your progress and track your programming fitness over time. The exercises are intended for people who have learned Python elsewhere, but want more exercises to maintain and improve their fluency. This site is not for learning how to program, but simply to regularly exercise what you already know.
edX - Teaching Computational Thinking
This UCX course is for educators who are passionate about the future of their 7-12+ year old students and want to learn more about teaching computer science in an engaging and meaningful way.
Computer Science Badges
A badge system for computing clubs.
Computer Science Club
2012 – 2013
A group of pilot clubs teaching Computer Science and programming to students aged 10 to 15 years. We had around 100 students attend our clubs over the time it ran.
Computer Science for High Schools (CS4HS) Conference
2011 - 2017
To support the introduction of Computer Science and Programming into NZ high schools (which started in 2011), we organised the largest CS4HS conference in New Zealand for secondary school teachers to learn about computer science and programming, and how to teach it in their schools. These events were supported by Google Australia through their CS4HS grants. In 2014, we had 120 teachers travel to Christchurch for the 3 day intensive conference.
Computer Science for Primary Schools (CS4PS) Conference
2016 – 2017
CS4PS was a primary school version of the CS4HS event, to help primary school teachers prepare for the new DT curriculum. It is focussed on supporting local primary schools who are early adopters with the new curriculum.
Kia Takatū ā-Matihiko: The National Digital Readiness programme
2018 - 2020
UC Computer Science Education Research group was a partner in The Kia Takatū ā-Matihiko | Digital Readiness programme that was launched in 2017 by the Ministry of Education as a 3-year initiative to support and embed the new Hangarau Matihiko and Digital Technologies curriculum in kura and schools across New Zealand.
For information about the Computer Science Education research group, see:
News, events and seminars
The mussel and scallop industry could be revolutionised by a new autonomous underwater drone.
In the wake of the recent occupation of parliament grounds, University of Canterbury senior lecturer in psychology ...