Taking on the digital technologies challenge
Thursday, 7 November 2013
The University of Adelaide and Google today announce a free open online course to help primary school teachers across Australia bring computer science and computational thinking into classrooms.
The course, to be available from March 2014, will help provide resources and example learning activities for the Digital Technologies section of the new national curriculum, from kindergarten to Year 6.
To be announced today at a Digital Technologies Curriculum Summit hosted by Google in Sydney, the project is bringing together the expertise of a network of teachers and industry representatives to develop materials that will help teachers meet the learning objectives of the new curriculum.
"Our ultimate aim is to enable Australia's future as creators of digital technology, not just consumers," says project leader Associate Professor Katrina Falkner, Deputy Head and Director of Teaching in the University's School of Computer Science.
"Information and Communications Technology (ICT) contributes 6-8% of GDP in Australia, but currently there is an accelerating ICT skills shortage, with declining numbers of higher education enrolments in computer science nationally and a school education system where computer science is taught primarily in upper secondary, and then only as an optional subject.
"With the new Digital Technologies curriculum and the strong focus on computational thinking right from early education levels, we have an opportunity to turn this around, and make computers and how they work part of everyday education and life.
"There is general recognition, however, that busy teachers will need help to build these concepts into their lesson plans - that's what our course is about."
"Google believes that all students should have the opportunity to become active creators of tomorrow's technology," says Maggie Johnson, Director of Education and University Relations at Google.
"This course will help create a foundation of technology by introducing students to Computer Science and computational thinking at a young age, and work to keep them interested in and excited about those subjects throughout their entire education."
The University of Adelaide's Computer Science Education Research Group is using Google's open source platform to build the course.
The course will run for 8-10 weeks and will be open for access at any time once released online. Participants will complete a portfolio of activities to be assessed, with feedback, and a certificate for successful completion.
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