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Google's tech training for Australian teachers revealed

Flappy Bird and much more on the menu from March 24th

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The University of Adelaide's Computer Science Research Group, which was engaged by Google to develop a course to teach digital technologies to Primary School teachers, has released an outline of the course.

Google's interest in the matter arises from its support of Australia's Digital Technologies curriculum, the nation's first attempt to embed computational thinking in the nation's schools from Kindergarten to Year Ten. As we've chronicled, the new curriculum worries teachers because they feel they lack the knowledge (and time, and resources) to teach it. Last November, Google promised to develop a course to help teachers out.

The shape of that course has now been revealed, as the Computer Science Research Group has contacted those who expressed interest to outline its progress.

That communiqué says the course will give teachers the chance to “... learn about how digital technology can be integrated into your classroom, exploring example lesson plans, and helping form a community designed to share resources and support.”

The authors also feel “foresee those in other year levels, such as high school, benefiting from the foundational concepts” that will be addressed over its eight-week span. During that time, participants will cover seven modules, namely:

  1. Welcome and Introduction
  2. Data (Patterns and Play)
  3. Data (Representation and Binary)
  4. Digital Systems
  5. Information Systems
  6. Algorithms and Programming
  7. Visual Programming and Visual Programming Environments

“In each module we explore computer science and computational thinking concepts, which provide foundational knowledge for all teachers, moving toward examples and ways to consider teaching the concepts from the very early learning objectives (Foundation), building up toward the Year 6 objectives,” the document explains. Teachers will be encouraged to “explore and engage all year levels” instead of considering material appropriate only the years they teach.

“We are busy preparing the final course modules as we speak, setting up web resources and filming the final lesson videos,” says the email to registrants from Associate Professor Katrina Falkner, head of the school of computer science. Falkner has posted a Pinterest board linking to some of the resources she feels may become part of the course. There's a code-your-own Flappy Bird exercise among the Pinned items, plus some Scratch resources, a LOGO analog and much more.

Vulture South has signed up for the course as part of our ongoing exploration of the digital technologies curriculum. You can too, here, should you be so inclined. Even if you've registered already, the School asks you do so again thanks to a “a small problem with our enrolment database in our preparation period”. ®

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