Microsoft, Google and IBM stump up cash to train 45,000 computing teachers

Academic mortarboard symbol on computer keyboard

Microsoft, Google, IBM and ARM have pledged time and money to the government in an effort to boost the amount of tech-savvy teachers that will be able to teach the new computing curriculum from September.

Organisations, including the tech firms listed, have put forward a total of £426,500 while the Department for Education (DfE) is throwing in £338,000, which will be used across a variety of schemes to train more teachers.

The hope is that 45,000 new teachers will pass through the schemes, equipping them with the necessary skills to teach the new computing syllabus, which will have a focus on programming and algorithms.

The largest project involves Microsoft, which has stumped up £284,000 to work with the British Computing Society (BCS) and Computing at School (CAS) to create another 250 lead schools for the CAS Network of Excellence that provides IT teacher training, doubling the number to 500.

Another 100 CAS hubs where teachers and lecturers can come together to share ideas and training tips for computing teaching are also being created. The project is backed by £150,000 from the DfE.

Michel van der Bel, managing director of Microsoft UK, said that providing the funding was a vital investment from Microsoft, especially as the firm is wary of a major skills shortage that could blight the tech industry by as soon as 2025.

“If we want the next technology success story to be based in Britain, we need teachers who have the right skills and the confidence to encourage, support and enable them to do so,” he said.

“Industry support is vital to help bring the curriculum to life, which is why Microsoft has partnered with the CAS group to deliver a series of personal training sessions and to develop a suite of online training materials as teachers get ready for those first lessons.”

Another notable project is Code Club Pro. This will train 3,000 primary school teachers on the new computing teaching requirements, run by volunteer trainers and teachers who will be recruited to help with the project.

This is being funded by several donations, including £25,000 from UK success story ARM, £10,000 from Postcode Anywhere, £10,000 from Google and £41,314 from the DfE.

Meanwhile, IBM has offered £15,000 as part of a project led by the London Connected Learning Centre to provide tailored computing teacher training to 10 primary and secondary schools.

Computer scientists will also lead seminars at the schools to help teachers better explain to pupils how computing is used in the real world and give more immediacy to the lessons.

Other projects involve schools and universities providing more training courses for teachers in areas such as coding and helping fund ‘master teachers’ who will visit other schools to pass on ideas and expertise on how to teach computing classes.

The projects are the latest government-backed ideas designed to kickstart a surge in computing improvement in the education sector. The BCS is already recieving £2m in funding from the DfE to train 400 teachers by September 2014.

4 June 2014 | 9:18 am – Source: v3.co.uk
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