by Yolanda Redrup
Google hopes to expand its initiative with the University of Adelaide to upskill primary and middle school teachers in computer science.
To ensure teachers have the skills required to teach the federal government’s new technology curriculum, Google and the University of Adelaide have created a series of massive open online courses.
“New Zealand a few years ago tried to change their curriculum, which was similar to ours, but they found that even though it was well designed, insufficient teacher training was a real barrier to adoption,” Google Australia engineering director Alan Noble said.
“A new curriculum is all well and good, but if the teachers aren’t prepared to implement it, it tends to fall apart.”
Mr Noble said it was vital the new technology curriculum was approved so all schools could start teaching it.
The first of three online courses, created for students up to year 6, began in March 2014 and it has already had more than 3000 teachers, principals and information technology leaders from around the country complete it.
Head of the University of Adelaide’s computer science faculty, Katrina Falkner, said most of the teachers taking the course were from South Australia and Victoria.
“It’s a good number given when it launched the curriculum was under review and the government hadn’t really looked closely at it,” she said.
“We’re seeing a lot more interest now from particular schools where the teachers will go through the course in one hit, so there’s more of an organised effort.”
Dr Falkner said ideally representatives from every school do the course.
“When the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority report came out for consultation on the new curriculum, every industry association was looking at it to see what the challenges would be,” she said.
“It was clear one of the biggest challenges was to provide time for teachers to make sure they were comfortable and confident with the teaching materials.”
[to be continued] Read the full article here: http://www.afr.com/news/google-pushes-for-approval-of-technology-curriculum-20150728-gimn9d
View the free online Digital Technologies Education courses here: https://csdigitaltech.appspot.com/course