Google grant to help SWVA teachers learn App development - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Google grant to help SWVA teachers learn App development

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Virginia Western Community College news release

The Google Foundation recently awarded Virginia Western Community College a $7,000 grant in support of a summer computer science workshop for educators at the high school and middle school levels. The workshop, titled App Inventor for Educators, will promote computer science and computational thinking in the region and will be held from July 30-31 at Virginia Western.

The grant will cover the costs of this 1-credit seminar for 20 area teachers. There are just a few slots still available for qualified Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) teachers from regional high and middle schools.

"We are so excited that the Google Foundation has provided us this opportunity to train local STEM teachers free of charge," said Dr. Diane Wolff, Virginia Western Professor of Information Technology. "It is widely appreciated that technology needs to be incorporated in high school and middle school curriculum, but many teachers find it difficult to do. Through the App Inventor program, we will be able to demonstrate the computing tools that are available to assist educators."

An area school survey reported that 98 percent of teachers think it is "somewhat or very important" to implement technology in the curriculum, but less than 10 percent of teachers are using current technologies such as blogs, wikis, podcasts and videocasts, GPS units, or iPod Touches on a regular basis (2010-15 Educational Technology Plan, Roanoke County Public Schools).

The workshop will focus on App Inventor for Android, which was developed by Google in 2010 and now is maintained the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT). Teachers will receive hands-on experience in app design and take away opportunities for projects that can be easily replicated in the classroom.

"Students are frequently using mobile apps in their daily lives," Wolff said. "We hope to help teachers capitalize on their students' enthusiasm for the technology in order to deliver coursework in a relatable and exciting way."

Teachers wishing to inquire about attending the workshop may contact Dr. Wolff at

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