We have a super exciting piece of news to share with you — can you tell by the exclamation marks?!
Before I do the big reveal: Lots of you have been with us for a long time and know our origin story, but many of you are new to the Grok family, so let’s go back in time…📖
How Grok began
The NCSS Challenge was created way back in the dark ages of 2005, under the National Computer Science School banner at the University of Sydney. “The Challenge” (as it’s informally known) is not just a competition — rather it aims to teach kids to program while they compete, something no other competition provided. We want students of any experience to join, not just those students who are “already in the clubhouse”. In 2005 we had one stream of around 150 students…but from little things big things grow 🌱
By 2012, the NCSS Challenge had over 4,000 students participating and was too big to be run on a part-time basis in the University. Also, teachers wanted more Challenge, more of the time! And so Grok 🤖 was born in early 2013.
Since then we’ve delivered the NCSS Challenge every year (15 this year, if you’re counting!), and added more competitions along the way. And we’ve added courses too, so if you can’t fit into our competition schedule, or you just want MORE, Grok can deliver that too. Welcoming the Australian Computing Academy into the Grok ecosystem in 2017 was a real game-changer and since then we’ve also welcomed over 24,000 new teachers and over 300,000 new students onto the Grok Learning platform.
What a 🎢 roller-coaster!
But we think that was just the beginning.
So here’s the next game-changer that we’re introducing on Grok. Our competitions are our heritage, and our most popular way to learn to code. And we’ve been speaking to many of you over the past couple of years about what we can improve on Grok, and how we can improve our competitions.
Can you guess the most common piece of feedback we’ve received from teachers?
Both Australian and overseas teachers want….. MORE competitions!
Double competitions on Grok‼️
We’ve heard you loud and clear 👂📢. The current competitions are fabulous but sometimes they just don’t fit into your classroom schedule 😢. We are super proud to announce that we’re now delivering double competitions‼️
Starting in 2020, each year we’ll run two Python Challenges, and two Web Design Challenges. These will be delivered one per quarter, alternating between Python and Web Design, so you can pick the timing that suits you. For our mighty cohort of AU teachers, the competitions will be scheduled to suit AU school terms.
We know that many schools run Digital Technologies on a semester or term-based rotation, and you don’t want some students to miss out. We hope this new competition schedule makes it easier to #acceptthechallenge with your students.
New competition schedule
We’re working out the finer details of the competition schedule as we speak (and proper names for the competitions 😛).
So that you can start planning 📋💯, I can tell you a rough timeframe for each competition.
- The first Python Challenge will run in February/March (Term 1 for AU schools)
- The first Web.Comp will run in May/June (Term 2 for AU schools)
- The second Python Challenge will run in July/August (Term 3 for AU schools)
- The second Web.Comp will run in October /November (Term 4 for AU schools)
Stay tuned, and keep an eye on your emails and our social media for precise dates coming soon!