Google, Oklahoma City Thunder & the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian team up for teacher training event

Published November 20, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY — Google teamed up with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) on Saturday to strengthen computer science in Native classrooms and to inspire and promote the improvement of teaching and learning about Native American history through NMAI’s Native Knowledge 360°.

“I am grateful to the Thunder, Google and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian for their commitment to providing our teachers the resources they need to best serve our Native and Indigenous students,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt. “In Oklahoma City, we are deeply proud of our unique Native American and Indigenous heritage and celebrate the contributions made every day by our Native and Indigenous citizens.”

The Oklahoma City Thunder, whose recent City Edition uniform design was influenced by the culture of tribal nations in Oklahoma in celebration of Native American Heritage Month, hosted the training at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At the day-long training, Google presented Teaching Computer Science for Native Students; and The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian presented Teaching Native History and Culture in the Classroom.

“This event was an opportunity to celebrate Native American Heritage Month and provide teachers with learning tools, many of which aren’t always available or accessible for local, Native students,” said Andrew Silvestri, Google’s head of community affairs in Oklahoma. “We hope events and partnerships like these will encourage long-term interest in tech and help students of all backgrounds get excited about STEM.”

Google’s American Indian Network introduced teachers of Native American students to CS First – a simple teaching curriculum with tools designed by Google to help introduce the fundamentals of computer science in the classroom or as an after-school program. Teachers learned the importance of computer science curriculum in Native classrooms and how best to engage students in the world of tech.

“Encouraging STEM concepts with Google and the Smithsonian for Native students is an excellent way for us to celebrate Native American Heritage Month,” said Brian Byrnes, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing for the Thunder. “Equipping the next generation with relevant skills to change the world around them is exactly what we hoped for with this event.”

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian conducted a workshop for Oklahoma teachers on the museum’s education initiative and free online resources: Native Knowledge 360°, which provides educational materials and teacher training resources that incorporate Native narratives, more comprehensive histories and accurate information to teach and learn about Native America. Teachers walked through a sample segment, American Indian Removal: What Does It Mean to Remove a People?, an online lesson that provides perspectives from Native American community members, documents, maps, images and activities to help students and teachers understand an important and difficult chapter in United States history.

“The National Museum of the American Indian is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere—past, present, and future. Native Knowledge 360 is our national initiative to transform teaching and learning about American Indians. We’re pleased to partner with the Google American Indian Network and the Oklahoma City Thunder—three great teams working together to support Oklahoma educators.” said Ed Schupman, manager of national education for the National Museum of the American Indian.

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