Programming Power: Policy Networks and the Pedagogies of ‘Learning to Code’

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Interest in the educational value of learning to write and programme computer code has grown from a minority concern among computing educators, grassroots computing organisations, and computer scientists into a major policy discourse. Originating with activist and grassroots campaigning groups such as Computing at School, ‘learning to code’ is now being actively promoted in England by cross-sector organisations including Nesta (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) and the Nominet Trust that are increasingly seeking to participate in educational governance. As a result, learning to code has been recognised as desirable amongst politicians and educational policymakers, as evidenced by the scheduled 2014 replacement in the English National Curriculum of the subject ICT (Information and Communication Technology), which critics claim over-emphasises basic functional skills for using computers, with a new computing programme of study that focuses instead on computer science, programming skills and computational thinking (Department for Education 2012). Learning to code has been transformed from a grassroots campaign into a major policy agenda in a remarkably concentrated period, yet the powerful actors mobilising it into curriculum policy are largely unrecognised in educational policy research, and the material practices of coding promoted through the pedagogies of learning to code have not been subject to detailed research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPower and Education
Subtitle of host publicationContexts of Oppression and Opportunity
EditorsAntonia Kupfer
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherMilton Keynes: The Open University and Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-41535-6
ISBN (Print)978-1-349-56959-5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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