Helping the Raspberry Pi Foundation upskill thousands of teachers across England
The Raspberry Pi Foundation was established as a charity in 2008 to put the power of digital making into the hands of people all over the world. Since then, 25 million of its low-cost, single-board computers have been used in classrooms worldwide, its Code Clubs engage 100,000 young people per month, and 3.5 million users have accessed its free educational resources.
One of the foundation’s main goals is to help teachers improve their computing knowledge and skills. “Every young person needs to be able to interact with computers and technology, which is why training teachers is so important – they are their enablers,'' says Kate Drewitt, Head of Partnerships and Fundraising at the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
To support this goal, the Raspberry Pi Foundation received a £1 million Google.org grant in 2017 to develop free online computer science courses for secondary school teachers in the UK. Google.org aims to make high quality education more accessible to millions of students. That includes partnering with innovators who support well-prepared teachers.
The grant came at a key time for the foundation, as the UK government had just announced plans for a new National Centre for Computing Education to upskill teachers across the country. Sue Sentance, Chief Learning Officer for the Raspberry Pi Foundation says: “We knew that these new courses would become a valuable part of the National Centre, so Google.org really helped us kick-start our support of that initiative.”
Ten new online courses have so far been developed with the grant, to upskill secondary school teachers across subjects such as programming, computation and cryptography. Google engineers and other Google employees have also volunteered their time to ensure teachers are aware of the courses and get advice and encouragement.
More than 30,000 people globally have accessed the courses, with 74% of participants reporting an increase in their programming skills. Many have also gained new confidence and approaches to teach coding in the classroom.
“The ability to scale at speed and get these courses out to teachers is due to Google’s commitment and trust in us,” says Sue. “The collaboration with Google will allow us to reach a greater number of learners.”