The 2016/17 Teacher Inquiry project provided an opportunity for teachers to meet, share ideas and work on research projects together in the area of Computing. This project will run from October 2015 to June 2016 and will culminate in outputs both in terms of impact on the teachers’ professional development by virtue of their engagement with this project, and also the findings from the mini-research projects carried out in the research groups.
Teacher inquiry is a way of empowering teachers to investigate changes in teaching and learning and measure the impact of those changes on their learners, rather than having them dictated to them through other forms of training. It enables teachers to gain confidence in decision making, based upon the needs of their students and schools. Some teachers work in schools where research is a focus, but many others do not. A community of practice such as CAS may be able to support a research culture even if the teachers is not fortunate enough to be working in a research-focused school. Being involved with research also develops teachers’ ability to reflect on their pedagogical practice and the learning that is taking place in their classrooms. This is especially important in Computing, where there is not yet a long history of school Computing from which strong pedagogical frameworks have emerged. There is a small amount of existing research about computer science pedagogy but need for much more, so there is an opportunity for teachers to make a valuable contribution to the field as well as developing their own teaching through the reflection involved in inquiry.
Through a call on the CAS forum in August 2015, 24 teachers were recruited to work on this project and are joined by 8 academics.