CSSE Seminar Series

Teaching Programming with Confidence – Can CS Unplugged help?


Bhagya Munasinghe


University of Canterbury

Time & Place

Mon, 14 Sep 2020 15:00:00 NZST in E16 - Engineering Core

All are welcome


In converting students from consumers to creators in digital technologies, the skill and confidence of teachers is important. Building teacher capacity involves making strong links between the curriculum, student learning and teaching approaches. Computational Thinking (CT) and Computer Programming teaching can be enhanced by a number of important dispositions like confidence in dealing with complexity, persistence in working with difficult problems, tolerance for ambiguity, ability to deal with open-ended problems, and ability to communicate and work with others. Individual factors related to the teacher’s personality, such as self-efficacy, motivation, needs, etc., seem to affect the integration and development of modern technologies in educational practice.

Unplugged style teaching is an effective pedagogic approach for educating young students with CT concepts as well as broadening Computing teachers’ PCK (Pedagogical Content Knowledge) boundaries. Teachers’ feedback has consistently suggested unplugged as a successful method for teaching CT and introducing programming concepts to young students. In this seminar we will explore teachers’ understanding of teaching CT and programming, and how CS Unplugged experiences can influence their skill and confidence to teach them.


Bhagya is studying towards a PhD degree under the supervision of Prof. Tim Bell within the Computer Science Education Group from 2019.