This 12 week computing curriculum based around the HCI research we undertake here at Open Lab, developed in collaboration with over 600 pupils, eight teachers and three secondary schools.

Pupils pick a personally important survey question, with multiple choice answer - this might be a question about how to improve their school, their community, or be related to their interests. Then, they learn to code a simple voting system using the BBC micro:bit and python.

This approach combines coding, creativity and real-world applications of computing concepts! We're always looking to share these resources, and understand how they can be adopted or adapted by new schools! If you're interested, or want to learn more, please get in contact with us!


This project came about in 2018, where I worked in collaboration with a local secondary school towards the development and delivery of a 12-week computing curriculum for Key Stage 3 (11-14 years old), with a particular focus on encouraging pupil transition from block to text-based programming.

Using a Design Studio approach, pupils were commissioned to respond to a challenge set by Newcastle University - "How can you improve your school environment?". Pupils could decide on the areas they wished to explore, ranging from dance hall supervision to what food should be served in the cafeteria. BBC Micro:bits would be used as a key element to record responses.

Throughout the project, I worked in collaboration with teachers and pupils, to iterate on the final curriculum model. This contributed to an understanding of how universities and schools might work collaboratively to develop engaging curriculum materials.


Aiming for an improvement in pupil engagement, this publication outlines the lessons we learned from working in collaboration with pupils and teachers for four Year 8 classes in a secondary school in England. Through this research, we explored the viability of the Design Studio approach, as a pedagogical tool for improving pupil resilience and confidence in text-based programming, while engaging reluctant pupils.