Great teachers inspire great students

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“No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher,” said karate master Mr Miyagi in the popular 1984 film The Karate Kid. “Teacher say, student do.”

But, thanks to a new initiative for New Zealand technology teachers, it will be “teacher say, teacher do”.

The great and the good of the country’s technology teachers are reaching out to one another through the CS4S (Computer Science for Schools) Teachers’ Network.

The idea is that technology teachers, who may be the only subject matter experts at their schools, can easily collaborate with other like-minded teachers across the country on the digital curriculum.

We’re supporting the network at Company-X by working with technology teachers in designing and developing specialist software that will enable the collaboration.

The network thinks of itself like a community garden for teachers working in the New Zealand digital curriculum. Teachers plant seeds of knowledge not only with their students but with each other which they nurture and grow before they harvest.

Our solution will allow technology teachers to learn from each other and share their expertise.

Nothing will be off the table.

New technology, robotics and coding will take their place alongside lesson plans searchable by curriculum level, age, resource or technology type.

User groups for speciality areas like the BBC micro:bit and Scratch coding will also be available.

We’re also applying gamification, the use of game-design elements in non-game contexts, to award users with digital badges. The more badges a user has, the more he or she has contributed to the community.

There are badges for joining, setting up a profile, sharing and downloading resources.

Our solution will also enable technology teachers to attend free professional development workshops in the technology space.

This sort of collaboration has been going on for a long time on an informal ad-hoc basis, but it’s great to see things being formalised and enabled by our software solution.

To paraphrase karate master “good students come through good teachers” CS4S will enable great teachers to inspire great technology students. In another decade some of those students will be looking for work in the technology space. Given the international skills shortage in this space we could do with them right now!

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About Author

David Hallett

David Hallett is a director of Hamilton software specialist Company-X, design house E9 and chief nerd at Waikato Need A Nerd.