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City to offer summer technology courses for teachers

In an effort to bring more technology to the classroom, Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced on Friday that teachers can apply for free training run by six different technology companies this summer.

This announcement is one of a series of moves designed to help teachers better prepare students for the 21st-century workplace. In 2013, the city committed to training 120 more computer science teachers, an initiative from the Bloomberg era that de Blasio said he would see through. The union has also trained educators in computer science through a pilot called “Teachers Who Code.”

This time, Google, Microsoft, PBS, SMART Technologies, Edmodo, and Common Sense Media will be providing a mix of in-person and online sessions to nearly 400 teachers. In line with Fariña’s focus on middle schools, priority will be given to applicants who teach grades 6 through 8.

Compared to Bloomberg’s heavy emphasis on creating tech-savvy students, the new administration hasn’t made technology a central focus of its early initiatives, making the announcement from Fariña a notable one.

“We must integrate more technology into our classrooms so that our students graduate with the digital skills they need to succeed in the competitive jobs of today and tomorrow,” she said.

In the Google course, teachers will be trained to use Google Apps for Education, and participants in the PBS classes will learn to incorporate digital media such as video and audio into lesson plans.

While each course comes with its own set of requirements and participant benefits, all focus on creating a community of technology-trained educators who can collaborate after the courses end.

“As a platform created by educators for educators, we’re happy to be part of a technology-focused program that is bringing teachers together to learn from one another,” said Crystal Hutter, the chief executive officer of Edmodo, a website that allows teachers to post assignments and resources for students.

Interested teachers must apply by July 1, and the courses will be offered throughout July and August.