We are very proud to announce that MacICT has been successful in our application for a 2014 ‘Computer Science for High School’ grant from Google!

This annual program promotes computer science education by helping to equip educators with the skills and resources they need to teach computer science and computational thinking concepts in fun and relevant ways. Globally, this program has already trained more than 12,000 teachers and reached over 600,000 students. Read all about it here.

Earlier this year, MacICT applied for one of these grants based on the need we identified for workshops aimed at teachers inspired by the Maker movement. This year they opened it up for us to target Primary as well as Secondary teachers, and we will be running a workshop for teachers from Kindergarten to Year 12 called ‘MakerDay C.R.E.A.T.E! – How to Create Reality with Electronics, Art and Technology in Education!’.

Despite ongoing rhetoric around the need for “Twenty First Century” educators, a computer science skills shortage has been identified by the employment sector. This skills shortage is evident at both an international and local level and has been attributed to the slide in the number of computer skills training courses offered within schools over the last two decades. In turn, this has manifested into a shortfall of skilled workers in the computer science industry. The current number of blue and white-collar CS workers is now disproportionate to the demand of an increasingly digital world.

There is a high need to engage students in technological skills and for students to learn how to design and create new digital technologies and applications yet to be invented. With this in mind, half of the proposed “MakerDay C.R.E.A.T.E! How to Create Reality with Electronics, Art and Technology in Education” (MakerDay C.R.E.A.T.E.) workshop is to be spent introducing to select digital programming languages suitable for the age group of students they teach.

In parallel to the deficit of skilled CS worker lies a shortage of skills in manufacturing and trade, particularly in the industries of woodwork, metalwork, electronics and engineering. Due partly to a similar decline in courses offered within schools over the same period, many students of today have had limited exposure in learning how to creatively design and make things. The remaining half of the proposed workshop’s focus therefore is to expose teachers and their students to the exciting and internally gratifying process of learning how to create objects that have both form and function, through understanding basic engineering principles, electronic circuits and robotics.

Teachers will see that an opportunity exists for greater student engagement across several Key Learning Areas of the school curriculum, while also offering students realistic vocational choices in computer science, engineering or robotics before they leave school, go to University or begin employment.

In addition, the one day “MakerDay C.R.E.A.T.E! How to Create Reality with Electronics, Art and Technology in Education” professional learning workshop will provide K – 10 teachers with a range of exciting pedagogical strategies, ideas and resources. These will help introduce the concept of Maker Education as a way for teachers to design learning opportunities that develop confidence, creativity and spark an interest in science, technology, engineering, maths and the arts. This workshop will show teachers how students can create technology through inventing solutions to real world problems.

Due to a growing awareness of the computing requirements of the draft Acara Digital Technologies curriculum and the demands of the NSW BOS syllabuses for the Australian curriculum, teachers are looking for ways to integrate ICT in meaningful and authentic ways to meet cross curricula outcomes. Increasingly, teachers in Australian schools are recognising the need to integrate computing into learning but lack the knowledge and confidence to do so in innovative and creative ways.

Specific goals for the workshop include providing teachers and pre-service teachers with:

  1. A deeper understanding of learning through design, as a pedagogical approach, situated in an inquiry-based context where students are cast as problem solvers involved in co-constructing knowledge, ideating, inventing, prototyping and iterating.
  2. A range of teaching strategies, project ideas, resources that integrate computing with electronics and mechanics to create engaging, authentic learning experiences for children that spark creativity and develop confidence.
  3. The knowledge, skills and support necessary to introduce programming, electronics and engineering and robotics to meet the design and computing requirements of the draft 2013 Acara Technologies Curriculum, as well as the demands of the NSW Board Of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) for the National Curriculum. There will be a particular emphasis on developing computational, design, creative, critical and systems thinking.

Click here to read more and enrol now!