Episode #5: Supporting all students in Computing

23 January 2020

We believe that all learners should be able to access a high quality but accessible computing education. In this month's episode we explore some practical strategies that not only support SEND students but improve accessibility for all learners. My expert guest this month is Catherine Elliott who has a wealth of experience in supporting SEND students, has written reports on the subject and hosts a fantastic online course.

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Below, you’ll find notes relating to ideas and reading discussed in the episode, you can also view a full transcript of this episode.


Catherine is part of the CAS #include working group who focus on promoting diversity and inclusion in computing education. CAS #include are also working on materials to support teachers with Diversity and Inclusion, you can hear more about this here.


Here we mention the principle of "universal design" and how it applies to computing education, you can read more here.


In 2018, Catherine produced a report into the current state of computing in Special Education Needs and Disability settings.


Catherine highlights Cognitive load theory and its implications for all, but especially SEND students. We highlighted the theory in our first Quick Read and discussed in episode 3 of the podcast.


We refer to strategies such as peer instruction which was covered in our fourth Quick Read.


Catherine highlights Richard Mayer's Cognitive theory of multimedia learning, you can read more about the theory here.


We also refer to Dual Coding theory which focuses on the combination of verbal and visual information to help learners form a mental image.


The use, modify, create learning progression is discussed and further explained in this paper.


PRIMM, an approach built upon the use, modify, create progression has been shown to be effective in support learners. Read more in this blog post.


As mentioned a few times, Catherine presents many of these ideas and more in our online course "Creating an inclusive classroom - approaches to supporting learners with SEND in computing"


There is even more to read about inclusion in computing in issue 11 of Hello World


James Robinson
Senior Learning Manager
Raspberry Pi Foundation

Catherine Elliott
Sheffield e-learning service