New grants help Australian teachers build digital skills

In a world where technology is evolving rapidly, it’s vital that Australian teachers have the knowledge and access to the resources they need in order to equip students for the future. 

For the past ten years, we’ve been contributing to these efforts through Google’s Educator Professional Development Grants program providing teachers with skills and tools to confidently teach computational thinking and computer science concepts. In that time, over 20,000 teachers have benefited from the practical professional development workshops. 

This year, our grants aim to bring digital technologies training to teachers in regional and remote communities where access to these opportunities can sometimes be limited.

The impact of PD Grants for Educators

It’s been inspiring to see teachers build their skills and watch the impact this has had in local communities. 

”The ongoing provision of the Google Educator PD grants (3 years) has resulted in us being able to build a solid reputation in the North Queensland region as a provider of excellent quality Digital Technologies Teacher Professional Development,” said Leanne Cameron, a Senior Lecturer at James Cook University. “Additionally, the participants have learnt that they will continue to be supported and updated into the future.” 

Last year, COVID-19 delayed many of the ‘hands on’ workshops. But awardees found  innovative ways to deliver training safely and sometimes remotely. James Cook University overcame the challenges presented by the pandemic to hold a series of virtual sessions with indigenous students from remote areas, who were able to join from local learning hubs.

Once restrictions had eased, the university was able to bring a group of teachers together from the remote community schools to discuss the curriculum and conduct 'train the trainer' sessions.

“These teachers have now gone back into their communities to share what they have learnt, supported by the workshop leaders in optional weekly online sessions that will continue until the end of the current semester,” said Leanne. 

In 2021 James Cook University hopes to use their Educator Grant to offer practical workshops that will complement the more theoretical offerings of last year.