I first learned how to code in BASIC on a BBC Micro that my dad used to bring home from the school Maths department in the holidays. As part of my degree, I then learned to code in various languages such as Smalltalk, C, C++ and Java. However, I never went on to use these skills educationally or professionally for many years – so I am now really excited by the opportunities for children to learn how to code as part of a supportive community.
Work and education
I work for the Raspberry Pi Foundation as the Northern Regional Manager and East Midlands Coordinator for Code Club. I’m also studying part-time for an MSc in Computing in Education at Nottingham Trent University.
My previous roles have included working as an ICT Technician and unqualified Computing Teacher in various primary schools in Derbyshire. Before that, I was a Network Administrator, then a Project Manager at a pharmaceutical company in Surrey for 10 years. Whilst working full-time, I also completed a BSc in IT & Computing with the Open University, graduating with first class honours.
Talks and media work
In April 2015, I spoke at TEDx Derby about why it is so important for children to learn to code.
January 2017 – Stand presenter with the Raspberry Pi Foundation at BETT
June 2016 – Workshop at Roehampton Festival of Education presenting some of my MSc research on computational thinking
June 2016 – Keynote talk “Autism, Girls and Coding” at the CAS Include Diversity in Education Conference at the University of Manchester .
March 2016 – Keynote speaker at the Discovery Schools Trust ICT Conference in Leicester
January 2016 – Keynote talk “Physical Computing in Primary Schools” (with Sway Grantham) at BETT
December 2015 – BBC Radio Leicester interview
October 2015 – BBC Radio Nottingham interview
In September 2014, I contributed infographics of computing curriculum vocabulary to the FutureLearn MOOC Teaching Computing, run by the University of East Anglia.
I was quoted in this Nominet article about Code Club (July 2015)
Turner, S. J. and Childs, K. (2016) Artists. In: Caldwell, H. and Smith, N. (eds.) Teaching Computing Unplugged in Primary Schools: Exploring Primary Computing Through Practical Activities Away from the Computer. London: Learning Matters. pp. 51-72.
In September 2015, I was observed by Nicky Morgan, the then Secretary of State for Education, teaching a Computing lesson. I worked with a group of Year 5 and 6 pupils at a school in Loughborough to code a times table game in Scratch.