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Software Carpentry Instructor Training, New Zealand 2016

Jan 28-29, 2016

9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Trainers: Aleksandra Pawlik, John Rugis

Helpers: TBA

Workshop description

The New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI) is pleased to announce its sponsorship of a Software Carpentry instructor training event in New Zealand. This workshop covers the basics of educational psychology and instructional design, and looks at how to use these ideas in both intensive workshops and regular classes. The workshop is a mix of lectures and hand-on lessons where you practice giving a short lesson using approaches learned and implement some of the teaching techniques which we will discuss. This is training for teaching, not technical training; you do not need any particular technical background, and we will not be teaching that.This workshop is based on the constantly revised and updated curriculum.

Who: The course is aimed at everyone who is interested in becoming a better teacher. In particular, this trainig is aimed at those who want to become Software and Data Carpentry instructors, run workshops and contribute to the Carpentry training materials.

You don't have to be currently an instructor or a teacher to attend this workshop. But you do need to be willing and committed to become one and to improve your teaching techniques.

Where: Conference Centre Building, 22 Symonds Street, Auckland. Get directions with OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.

Requirements: Participants should bring a laptop that is wifi Internet capable and has a functioning browser. If you have it, a specialized device for recording audio and video (mobile phones and laptops are OK) - throughout the two days, we are going to record one another teaching in pairs or threes. It does not have to be high-quality, but it should be good enough that you can understand what someone is saying.

Also, make sure you read the Preparation section below. You will also receive some further information before the workshop so please check your email.

All paricipants are also required to abide by Software Carpentry's Code of Conduct.

Contact: Please mail for more information.


Day 1

09:00 Welcome and introductions
09:30 Overview: key concepts and training goals
10:00 Formative vs. summative assessment
10:30 Coffee break
11:00 Teaching as performance art
12:00 Lunch break
13:00 Discussion on the exercise on teaching as performance art
14:00 Concept maps
14:30 Coffee break
15:00 Concept maps - continued
16:00 Motivation and demotivation. Diversity. Indifference.
16:45 Wrap-up
17:00 Close

Day 2

09:00 Recap and homework review
09:30 Alternative formative assessment techniques
10:30 Coffee break
11:00 Live coding and active learning
12:00 Lunch break
13:00 Overview of Software and Data Carpentry infrastructure
13:30 Setting up and running a workshop
14:30 Coffee break
15:00 Overview of existing materials; how to contribute
16:00 Next setps
16:45 Wrap-up
17:00 Close

We will use this Etherpad for chatting, taking notes, and sharing URLs and bits of code.


Cognitive development and models

Mental models

Lesson design


In preparation for the training we would like to ask you to:

  1. Watch one of the following videos from Software Carpentry workshops or and put a 3-4 sentences feedback to
  2. Complete a small task:
    • If you want to teach Software Carpentry, please submit a small pull request to this repository Your pull request should contain one file (and one file only) called "your_name.txt" (e.g., marie_curie.txt or alan_turing.txt). This file should contain a sentence or two that describes the type of work you do. You will submit the name of this file as part of your application.
      Help on creating pull requests can be found at If you need assistance, please mail
    • If you want to teach only Data Carpentry, please propose a short exercise for the existing lessons by submitting it via this form.
  3. Read:

If you are interested in doing more reading:

  1. Huston's "Teaching What You Don't Know" is a lot of fun - many will recognize themselves in these stories.
  2. "Building a Better Teacher", is a well-written look at why educational reforms in the past 50 years have mostly failed, and about what we should be doing instead.
  3. Susan A. Ambrose's "How Learning Works" is the best summary going of research in education. It is full of useful insights, and a lot of how we teach is based on the findings it reports.