Why are we conducting research?
The importance of parental involvement in education is well established. However, the growth in Computing Education has exposed questions over parents’ confidence and competence in engaging in computing with their children . Many parents have little experience in computing, technology or education, and struggle to facilitate the learning experiences of a child who has an interest in this area. This is of particular concern because of the importance of parents’ involvement and support to computing education.
With the introduction of computing in schools in Ireland, it is evident that PI, whether it be helping a primary school student with their homework or a second-level student with subject or career choices, is of growing importance. Clearly there is potential for parents to play a significant role in initiating and supporting interest in computing. What is lacking is support for those who wish to undertake this role but feel they lack knowledge and skills. There is a strong rationale for supports for parents wishing to guide their children in learning skills essential for success at school as well as giving them a creative outlet for critical thinking and collaborative problem solving
OurKidsCode aims to build parents’ confidence and skills so that they can discover technology alongside their children. The OurKidsCode research team has been working hard to figure out what the best way to do this is.
What have we done so far?
Our design process, which places participants at its centre, not only follows international best practice, but also establishes it through ongoing research and publication. Workshops are subject to ongoing evaluation using a Design Based Research (DBR) approach with each cycle leading to refinements in the implementation. Facilitator training follows the same model of evaluation, giving the benefit of input of professional educators and their growth through dialogue with us.
Our research has so far resulted in the the development of Design Principles and a workshop model and activities that successfully engage parents and increase participant confidence and readiness to partake in family computing activities. Details of these can be found in our publications.
The project takes the view that workshop and club models, online and in person are well-developed, while leaving the door open to addition, improvement and innovation. The focus is now on evaluation of the systemic programme in action, as organised by the project management, delivered by facilitators
and supported by other stakeholders. It will continue to report on the impact of the programme in straightforward quantitative terms, but also identify barriers and catalysts to that impact through qualitative exploration. The aim will be to support understanding of the whole system of stakeholders through interviews with key personnel, as well as continuing to monitor impact and quality of family workshops through online surveys.
Bresnihan, N., Bray, A., Fisher, L., Strong, G., Millwood, R., & Tangney, B. (2021). Parental involvement in computer science education and computing attitudes and behaviours in the home: Model and scale development. ACM Transactions on Computing Education, 21(3), 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1145/3440890
Bresnihan, N., Millwood, R., Strong, G., Caldwell, L. (in press 2023) ‘Family Learning in the Context of Computer Science Education’ in Leask M. & Younie S.(eds) Teaching and Learning with Technologies in the Primary School, Routledge Taylor Francis.
Bresnihan, N., Strong, G., Fisher, L., Millwood, R., & Lynch, Á. (2020). Increasing Parental Involvement in Computer Science Education Through the Design and Development of Family Creative Computing Workshops. In H. C. Lane, S. Zvacek, & J. Uhomoibhi (Eds.), Computer Supported Education (pp. 479–502). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-58459-7_23
Peer Reviewed Conference Papers
Bresnihan, N., Strong, G., Fisher, L., Millwood, R., & Lynch, A. (2019a). OurKidsCode: A National Programme to get Families Involved in CS Education. Proceedings of the 2019 ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, 298–298.
Bresnihan, N., Strong, G., Fisher, L., Millwood, R., & Lynch, Á. (2019b). OurKidsCode: Facilitating Families to Be Creative with Computing. Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Education, 1, 519–530. https://doi.org/10.5220/0007729405190530
Bresnihan, N.; Strong, G.; Fisher, L.; Millwood, R. and Lynch, Á. (2019) ‘OurKidsCode: Family Creative Coding Workshops’, Scratch Conference Europe 2019, Cambridge, UK.
Bresnihan, N.; Strong, G.; Fisher, L.; Millwood, R. and Lynch, Á. (2019) ‘OurKidsCode: Family Creative Coding Workshops’, Educational Studies Association of Ireland (ESAI) Conference 2019, Sligo, Ireland.
Bresnihan, N., Bray, A., Fisher, L., Strong, G., Millwood, R., & Tangney, B. (2022). ‘Parental involvement in computer science education and computing attitudes and behaviours in the home: Model and scale development’, ACM SIGCSE TS 2022, Providence, Rhode Island, USA,
Bresnihan, N. (2018), ‘OurKidsCode: Family Creative Coding Workshops’, CoderDojo Coolest Projects, RDS, Dublin, Ireland.