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UC expert receives international award

UC expert receives international award for services to computer science education

January 24, 2013

A University of Canterbury (UC) professor has won a prestigious international award for his global contribution to computer science.

Professor Tim Bell has received the award in Switzerland at Zurich's ETH University, which is ranked as the top university in Europe.

His international medal was presented for his fundamental contribution to computer science education.

The presentation was a part of the Swiss Day for teaching informatics. Professor Bell gave a workshop on Computer Science Unplugged as part of the day.

The Computer Science Unplugged project has been going for 20 years, and was started by Professor Bell and Canadian Mike Fellows, and later joined by Ian Witten of Waikato University. The international project is based out of UC and is the flagship project of UC’s computer science education group.

Last year Professor Bell won UC’s Innovation Medal which honours efforts to have academic research adopted in the wider community.

Professor Bell’s creative work in developing new materials and methods for teaching basic computer science and implementing them on a global scale has had an enormous impact around the world.

He has worked tirelessly to have the novel approach to teaching computer science described in the book adopted by school districts and by university-based science outreach projects all over the world. It is recognised and celebrated as an international movement among maths and science educators.

Through Professor Bell’s work, Google New Zealand is sponsoring UC to write an online textbook for high schools, initially for use in New Zealand but eventually internationally. Professor Bell has been very active in New Zealand helping schools to adopt the new computer science achievements for NCEA that were rolled out in 2011.

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