Hallam Voices - Simon Rose
Wednesday 24 April 2019
"Hands-on is how I would describe studying at Sheffield Hallam.
I started my time at SHU in 2011 on the Games Software Development course (now Computer Science for Games). This gave me experience working with the latest technologies and has close ties to the games industry. I did my year-long industrial placement at a software company (3Squared) working on .NET web applications, which gave me invaluable experience and developed my skillset considerably. After my placement, I decided to change courses to Software Engineering to broaden my skillset and move away from specialising in games.
I became interested in researching computer science education during the 3rd year preparation module for my master’s individual project. I went on to write my master’s dissertation titled; ‘An investigation in to bricolage programming and its effect on problem solving ability in young children’ supervised by Jacob Habgood. This involved developing a programming game and conducting an experiment with children aged 6 and 7 in a local primary school. I graduated with first class honours.
I then applied for a PhD scholarship at SHU to continue this research, which I started in September 2016. As part of this, I have developed another (more complete) programming game called ‘Pirate Plunder’ that aims to teach children to use procedures in the Scratch visual programming environment. I have conducted several research studies in primary schools with children aged between 9 and 11 using the game, also teaching separate topics to control groups. My PhD has been supervised by Jacob Habgood and Tim Jay, who have supported me superbly throughout. They have met me regularly and have always been there to guide my research (and proof read my work!) I have published several research papers during my PhD.
I have been teaching at undergraduate level throughout my PhD as part of the GTA studentship scheme. I have taught on several first and second year modules and supervised final year projects on both Software Engineering and Computer Science courses. Despite only being a recent graduate myself, I feel that the GTA scheme has benefited me greatly, developing both my confidence, teaching and programming abilities. The SHU staff, in particular Pascale Vacher and Martin Cooper, who I have worked with closely on modules, have always been there to provide support and answer questions. I have also taught programming using GameMaker as a part-time Computing teacher at Mercia secondary school.
SHU has allowed me to develop skills in several different areas, which has opened a range of possibilities after I finish my PhD. Who knows what the future holds!"