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Google funds computer science teacher training

Google funds computer science teacher training

Google's Eric Schmidt has promised to fund training and equipment for 100 new science teachers, with the majority to focus on computer science.

Google's Eric Schmidt has pledged cash to fund teachers and hardware for computing eduction in the UK, teaming up with charity Teach First.

Announced at an event at the London Science Museum last night, Schmidt admitted that progress on improving computing education in the UK had been made since his scathing comments at the McTaggart Lectures last August but stated that things are still in a 'sorry state.'

Schmidt isn't just a man of words, though: in the same breath as denigrating the state of computing education in the UK, the Google boss announced that he would put his money - or, more accurately, his employer's money - where his mouth is in partnership with charity Teach First.

A cash injection will be provided to the charity, which currently places exceptional graduates on six-week training programmes ahead of two-year placements in schools, in order to put 100 additional science teachers through the programme. Each teacher will be given a bursary to buy equipment, including the low-cost Raspberry Pi device designed by Broadcom engineer Eben Upton - who, incidentally, was a guest at the event.

'The success of the BBC Micro in the 1980s shows what's possible,' claimed Schmidt. 'There's no reason why Raspberry Pi shouldn't have the same impact, with the right support.'

Schmidt's comment on the BBC Micro comes as Nesta releases a report into the impact of Acorn's eight-bit marvel which claims its release, alongside the BBC's Computer Literacy Project which taught the country how to use the device, had a major impact on the nation - an impact which Schmidt claims is now being forgotten and lost.

'It's vital to expose kids to this early if they're to have the chance of a career in computing,' Schmidt told attendees at the event. 'Only two per cent of Google engineers say they weren't exposed to computer science at high school. While not every child is going to become a programmer, those with aptitude shouldn't be denied the chance.'

The Google-funded programme is to run for three years, with 100 science teachers to benefit from Schmidt's largess of which the majority will focus on computer science.

3 Comments

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badders 24th May 2012, 15:43 Quote
Admittedly el Goog has a vested interest in acquiring more and better CompSci engineers, but IMO this program can only be a good thing.

Investment in furthering and expanding children's early education is going to be vital for the UK economy in 15-20-40 years. It would be nice if other industries contributed to charitable education institutions in a similar manner - it would be just as bad if suddenly, 50% of school leavers wanted to do Computer Science.
yougotkicked 24th May 2012, 19:08 Quote
I sure wish they would do the same for the US education system, it could certainly use it. In high school and middle school we had zero courses to teach the finer points of computer usage, much less programming. what's worse is that my state is one of the best for education, and my high school was among the best in the country. I only graduated high school two years ago, so it likely has not improved since then.

I find CompSci education to be lacking all around, not just at the elementary levels. I have never met anyone who was drawn to computer science by an educational program, it's always self-motivated. If we could just teach children to use their computers effectively at a young age, I'm sure mankind as a whole would become more productive.

Although, if everyone starts learning to use a computer properly, many of us geeks might have to get real jobs since nobody will pay us to fix the "Magic Box" by running a virus scan. DEATH TO GOOGLE!!!
nuc13ar 25th May 2012, 16:24 Quote
I would expect nothing less from Google. They are the competing branch. I found computer science to be boring though, game design/content creation is where its at for me :)
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