Spotlight on educators
Meet CS educators around the world who have benefited from professional development opportunities in their community
Daryl presenting at ISTE 2017
From Math teacher to lead CS teacher and advocate
Daryl Detrick was teaching math at Warren Hills High School in Washington, New Jersey when he attended his first computer science (CS) professional development (PD) opportunity in 2008. Carnegie Mellon University, alongside 4 other institutions, pioneered a PD collaboration that would lay the groundwork for Google’s educator PD grants program today. Daryl walked away from that initial experience with more than just inspiration. He attributes the growth of his classes to “hearing people who are experts in their field, which is what the [PD] workshops provide”.
Since 2008, he’s attended over 10 CS PD workshops as both a participant and presenter. The PD not only taught him tools and content to bring to his classrooms, they also inspired him to advocate for CS education at his high school - growing the program at his high school from 53 students in 2008 to 225 students today. Daryl notes, “My CS classes aren’t just about coding, but they’re about how these students can make a difference in other people’s lives and ways that they can use their skills to change the world for the better.”
Today, he is one of the lead advocates for the CSTA NJ chapter and is working with the CSNJ advocacy group to implement State legislation that creates a CS teaching endorsement and requires all high schools to offer the subject. From inspired PD attendee to statewide advocate, Daryl has become a champion of CS education for students and teachers alike.
Shangbin excited to see his student’s work
Programming makes students happy and smile!
Shangbin Li, a teacher at Guangzhou Yilelu Primary School in Guangzhou city, wanted to offer his students an easier way to learn programming and computational thinking. Today, most schools in China offer an Information Technology (IT) course as part of their standard curriculum. Each course incorporates the basics of application tools and programming; however application tools are not enough to improve a student’s computational thinking (CT) and real world application of computer science from Shangbin’s point of view. Some students are also struggling to learn programming without a strong foundation in CT and computer science.
Shangbin was determined to improve his student’s experience learning CS and CT. He found a professional development opportunity through his local education department. Shangbin attended a workshop to learn about App Inventor as a solution to teach CT and CS in his classroom so that students can program mobile applications.
The visual programming environment of App Inventor, a platform developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), allowed students to learn programming in a fun and creative way. His students learned to develop Android applications to meet their own needs in daily life. Shangbin says “my students feel happy, confident and accomplished. The Google educator grants program provide such great opportunity to teachers to learn new technology and teaching method, and it helps people to resolve real life problems using cell phones.”
Paul in action ready to code
Inspiring others to learn CS
Paul O’Callaghan is a primary school teacher at Lucan Community National School in Dublin, Ireland. His interest in CS was first sparked when he took some summer PD courses in Scratch and continued later, when he chose modules in Computational Thinking, STEM education and Raspberry Pi during a Postgraduate education course. He then decided to participate in the CTwins project, a joint initiative of Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast and 2016 grantees.
“The CTwins workshop helped me grow in confidence”, Paul says. “It was motivational to be surrounded by like-minded educational professionals and to work collaboratively with people of all ages who were passionate about integrating computational thinking meaningfully into their curricula.” Paul’s experience at CTwins not only gave him the confidence to use Scratch in his Science lessons, but also encouraged him to begin helping other members of staff at his school and to develop a programme to integrate CS throughout the entire curriculum - from BeeBots, Kodables and Scratch Junior in Infant classes, to Blockly, Brebas challenges and programming Sphero and Drones for the 8 to 10 year olds. Parents have also been invited to join coding classes with their children. “Integrating community links at such a young age opens parents’ eyes to the wealth of opportunity CS skills have for pupils”, Paul says. “The potential for CS in our school knows no bounds”.
Bianca helping other teachers
Becoming a CS expert
Bianca Audet, a primary teacher and assistant principal at Kahibah Public School in New South Wales, Australia, attended her first CS PD workshop at the University of Newcastle in 2015. Bianca says the workshop helped her “to understand that Computer Science was not as intensive or difficult as I thought. And that students would be able to follow some simple initiatives, such as Scratch coding.”
Bianca returned from the workshop and introduced the materials into her classroom with great success. In 2016, she returned to another CS PD workshop at the University of Newcastle, not as a student but as a teacher. She shared her expertise and experience implementing digital technologies at her school coupled with practical tools to implement in the classroom. Through her leadership she’s helping equip other primary teachers interested in integrating computer science and computational thinking into their classrooms.
Bianca’s experience through the CS PD workshops has significantly impacted her school’s STEM offerings. Thanks to Bianca’s advocacy and expertise, Kahibah Public now offers dedicated STEM class time with a focus on engineering and robotics for students.
More CS education at Google
Grants supporting educator PD is one of the many Google initiatives that focus on CS education. Check out these programs and resources for your students and classroom.
Free, easy-to-use computer science curriculum for in or out of the classroom—no experience needed.
Applied CS skills curriculum
Free course to prepare college students for CS careers through hands-on coding experiences.
CS student volunteers
Connecting college students in the U.S. and Canada studying CS with mentorship opportunities.
Applied Digital Skills
Free course to prepare learners for jobs that require basic digital skills.