Carrie Anne Philbin, Director of Educator Support at
Raspberry Pi Foundation, joined CAS in 2011 and has been actively involved ever
since. She is a board member and runs a
working group called CAS Include, which looks at how to broaden
diversity and inclusion within the classroom. Wendy MacLeod, CAS Community Outreach Team reports.
It’s not always easy
being a woman in what has traditionally been a man’s world and Carrie Anne
Philbin has faced her share of challenges.
One of these was on her You Tube channel where she had to deal with
people making personal comments about her rather than remarks about the
transistors she was talking about. But such instances have never dimmed her
passion for computer science.
Carrie Anne’s interest in technology started at
a young age and she was inspired by her father.
As a plumbing and heating engineer, her father took a hands-on approach
to everything and this encouraged Carrie Anne to begin exploring things around
her. One of her earliest memories was
the day her dad brought home a Commodore 64, an 8-bit home computer. Curious to discover what this piece of kit
was capable of, she set about tinkering with it and was delighted when she
realised that typing text onto the screen enabled a train to move.
As a student, Carrie Anne’s enthusiasm for
technology grew. Despite choosing to
study History and Politics at Essex University, she spent most of her time in
Computer Science lectures and labs. She also spent a lot of her leisure time tinkering
with devices and gaming. It was at this
point in her life, that she began to realise that her passion was computing and
there were careers she could pursue in this exciting field.
After graduating, Carrie
Anne worked as an IT administrator at a local school. Moving from class to class enabled her to
observe many different activities and because of her knowledge she was
regularly asked to assist in lessons.
She soon realised how much she enjoyed teaching and decided to retrain
as a teacher.
Once qualified, Carrie Anne
spent the next six years teaching IT up to A Level standard. Joining a team that was entirely male was
tough at the time, but she believes that this is one of the reasons she was
offered the role She was insightful and looked for every opportunity to
introduce new initiatives like Google Drive and virtual environments, into the
In 2013, Carrie Anne
became involved with the Sonic Pi project through her connections with Dr Sam
Aaron at the University of Cambridge.
This was a project which involved using a Raspberry Pi to code music. Her involvement with this project was
instrumental in her joining Raspberry Pi Foundation on a full-time basis and
she now has the role of Director of Educator support.
She is currently working on a variety of
projects, including creating the resource repository for the National Centre
for Computing Education, containing everything needed to teach Computing from
KS1 – 4. This is eagerly anticipated by
teachers and is due to be completed in July 2020. She is also involved in Picademy, a free face-to-face professional development programme that supports educators
throughout their digital making and computing journey and Hello World
Magazine, a partnership between CAS and Raspberry Pi Foundation.
Carrie Anne is truly inspirational, and her
enthusiasm is infectious. She finishes the interview by telling me about her
desire to share how incredible her subject is. Despite facing challenges, Carrie
Anne is not afraid to step outside her comfort zone or try something new and
she encourages all those around her to do the same.