Google New Zealand Blog 2018-05-25 07:39:00

Industry has long been talking about the need for STEM skills in our future workforce, and increasingly we’re seeing that a core competency in computational thinking is critical for the jobs of the future. To equip teachers with the skills needed to both inspire and prepare students for this future we are delighted to announce our 2018 Google Educator Professional Development Grant recipients.

Google’s Educator PD Grants (formerly CS4HS) program has been running in Australia and New Zealand since 2011, and in that time has trained over 12,000 teachers. The program aims to equip teachers through practical professional development workshops, giving them the skills and resources they need to confidently teach computational thinking and computer science concepts in new and exciting ways.

A recipient of our 2017 program Mahsa Mohaghegh from Auckland University of Technology’s workshop was held in November 2017 and included hands-on activities for teachers to engage in. Attendee Barry Hook, a Computer Science teacher, who has attended several workshops shared that the hands on activities offered, along with the opportunity to connect with peers are the key to building confidence and skills in teachers to deliver the digital technologies curriculum.

“The major thing we have here [in NZ] is a curriculum which defines what we have to do, but not how we do it. Without having conversations outside of your normal confidence area, you just can’t expand your experience," said Barry. "Until today, I’d never thought of using the Internet of Things. Suddenly, I have a purpose for which I can use some of my robotics resources. It suddenly introduces a twist, and it’s that twist which will make the kids find it more interesting; students which are currently losing interest will now have something to excite them again.”

New Zealand Educators at the Auckland University of Technology CS4HS 2017 Workshop
Conferences and workshops like these connect like-minded educators, and has allowed Barry to “open up conversations or ways and approaches which I would not have had the opportunity to observe in my own development online”. Discussing his PD exposure, he said, “I basically rely upon these Google conferences as my sole source of non-self-directed professional development.”

We’re excited to announce the following 2018 CS Educator Grants Awardees, which will continue to motivate and inspire educators like Roxy and Peter around Australia and New Zealand.

2018 CS Educator Grants Funding Recipients 

Auckland University of Technology

Core Education Ltd

The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Victoria University of Wellington