Giving Compass’ Take:
• In this story from Fast Company, author Harry McCracken discusses Google’s Applied Digital Skills program. Led by JamieSue Goodman, the program has offered free access to tens of thousands of teachers to tools and projects designed to teach young students how they can use modern computers and technology in their careers.
• How can the nonprofit sector help teachers access these and other tools for digital skills education? How important is it that students learn these skills?
• To learn about how to support STEM education, click here.
In 1989, when JamieSue Goodman was a high school freshman … her journalism teacher got a grant to buy a computer. The idea was to use it to lay out the school paper. But desktop publishing was new, and the teacher didn’t have a technical background. And so the whole experience turned into an adventure in discovering the machine’s capabilities.
Fast forward to 2019. Schools are full of computers … However, a modern version of the situation Goodman encountered 30 years ago persists. Even gifted teachers aren’t necessarily prepared to guide students through using technology to accomplish real-world tasks.
And JamieSue Goodman is in a position to help. As project lead for Applied Digital Skills at Google, she spearheads an ambitious program to provide educators with a rich set of video-based instructional materials that they can access for free. “Basically, every job out there requires some basic computer skills,” she says. “And we want to make sure that everybody has what they need to succeed.”
Along with Google colleagues, she created an initial curriculum, CS First and field-tested it in South Carolina schools. Following Goodman’s “awesome project” philosophy, it’s organized into activities that kids care about: A collection of athletic-themed lessons, for instance, includes such tasks as recording sports commentary, making a commercial for a fitness gadget, and programming an extreme sports game.
After launching CS First in 2014, Goodman and her colleagues went on to develop the Applied Digital Skills curriculum, which debuted for the 2017-18 school year. Its broader scope helps students prepare for life beyond the classroom, showing them how to create a résumé in Google Docs, organize college information in Google Sheets, assemble a presentation in Google Slides, and even analyze data to predict hit movies.
Read the full article about digital skills by Harry McCracken at Fast Company
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