Computer Science Education Research Group

Tim Bell with Computer Science Unplugged props © University of Canterbury 2017

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.

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) .

Computer Science for High Schools (CS4HS) Conference

We organise 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. In 2014, we had 120 teachers travel to Christchurch for the 3 day intensive conference.

Computer Science for Primary Schools (CS4PS) Conference

2011 – Present

CS4PS is a primary school version of the CS4HS event, to help primary school teachers prepare for the new DT curriculum. It is currently focussed on supporting local primary schools who are early adopters with the new curriculum.

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.

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