Meet the Ambassadors: Yasemin Allsop, United Kingdom

Over 70 EU Code Week Ambassadors from 34 countries are helping us spread the word about #codeEU throughout Europe. Who are they and why did they get involved in Code Week? We’ll be running a series of interviews and get to know them better. Our previous interviewee, Abayomi Ogundipe from Moldova, interviewed Yasemin Allsop from the United Kingdom.

 

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Yasemin, who are you?

I am a Senior Lecturer in Primary Computing and ICT at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK.  Prior to this role, I worked as an ICT Co-ordinator for over 10 years in inner-city primary schools in London. I am also a PhD student focusing on how children learn and develop metacognitive skills by making computer games.  I am also the founder and one of the editors of a non-profit educational technology magazine called ICT in Practice.

How does your country deal with this idea of code learning?

I think that we have been very lucky in terms of developing computer science education and promoting coding activities in the UK, thanks to the lead of individuals such as Miles Berry and Phil Baggie and organizations such as Computing at School (CAS) and Code Club.  Computer science is part of our computing curriculum and it is compulsory for schools to teach the computing curriculum at both and primary and secondary levels.  Coding, programming, computer game making has until now been taught through clubs and is now in the classroom as part of the lessons. There are many online communities available to find coding resources in the UK and events taking place to share knowledge and experiences.  Our Royal Family and Prime Minister are also actively supporting coding events.

Why are you involved as an EU Code Week ambassador? What do you expect from it?

I believe that metacognitive skills are the key to learning in life! Through my research over the years, I have learned a lot about how children learn and develop skills.  It was fascinating to find out about how game making provides a context for children to develop metacognitive abilities and problem-solving skills that would help them to be successful learners both in and outside of the school. By being an EU Code Week ambassador I aim to encourage more people to provide such learning opportunities for students to develop skills for life so that they will learn to learn, love to learn and achieve whatever they dream of…

Do you have a hero or someone that inspires you (can be a hacker or not)?

My Hero is Miles Berry principal lecturer in computing education at the University of Roehampton. I think that his work has helped many teachers in the UK to understand that computer science is more than just coding. He has always shared his knowledge and experience with us at every opportunity without expecting anything in return. He has written brilliant and extremely useful guidance documents in computing and made these resources available freely to everyone.