Feeds

Google claims MOOCs SOLVE code-for-kids teacher training problem

Shock finding as Big G learns free online stuff can attract, engage, lots of people

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Google's latest contribution to the global movement that advocates teaching kids to code as the solution for every problem has discovered something revolutionary: if you put good content online, lots of people will read it and some of them may even engage with it.

The revelation comes from Google Research, which has run its eye over the numbers emerging from Harvard University's Creative Computing Online Workshop, a six-week massively online open course (MOOC) “for educators who want to learn more about using Scratch and supporting computational thinking in the classroom and other learning environments.”

Google's now touting the course as a tremendous success because it “... had 2600 participants, who created more than 4700 Scratch projects, and engaged in 3500 forum discussions, compared to the 'in-person' class held last year, which reached only 50 educators.

Those expecting data from the in-person class to compare outcomes with the MOOC will be disappointed. Google Research doesn't offer a single supporting digit other than the attendee and project numbers mentioned above. It has also dug up a few other MOOC success stories suggesting those who participate in them quite enjoy the experience.

The findings are, however, a long way short of representing the "Unique Strategies for Scaling Teacher Professional Development" Google's blog post claims. For starters, no teacher is compelled to do this course, so there's no proof it can scale professional development unless teachers are keen to do it. Let's not forget, also, that online educational resources have been with us for years. MOOCs may offer a better experience than previous tools, but declaring one course's success is a harbinger of major change seems unwise. Google's account of the research also fails to offer any sentiment analysis, so we don't know if participants can't wait to do another MOOC or have run away screaming with mental scars so deep they'll never look at a computer again.

And of course let's not imagine that just because teachers learn Scratch they're ready to teach computational thinking to kids across several years of school, as will be required under Australia's nearly-complete Digital Technologies Curriculum.

That wave of cunning kids ready to code away the world's problems may not be as close as Google hopes, is it? ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.