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Grant for coding could turn Gympie into mini Silicone Valley

ONE Gympie teacher envisions the Mary Valley becoming a smaller version of famous US technology hub Silicon Valley.

With Gympie State High School receiving a $380,000 State Government grant to create an Online Computer Coding Academy, it will soon be on its way.

Information and communications technology head of department Ken Brady, who said he swapped a career as an air force officer to make a difference in children's lives through teaching ICT, is the man behind the plan for an academy for Queensland students from Year 3 upwards.

It was one of only 21 school proposals that received funding from the Palaszczuk Government's $8 million Collaboration and Innovation Fund.

Mr Brady thought the school only had an outside chance it would receive the funding against fierce competition state-wide, particularly from Brisbane School of Distance Education.

"It means a lot to the community," he said.

"If we can get a little mini Silicon Valley going that would be great.

"It feels like it's recognition for all the great stuff that's been going on in the school for a while… we're ready to take it to the next level."

The fun and computer games have been going on in Mr Brady's senior classes for seven years now.

As students create games like Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies in the "game-based learning environment" they learn skills such as computer programming and software engineering.

Some of Mr Brady's past students have already gone on to find success in the tough tech-savvy world, starting their own game development studios in Canberra and at Rainbow Beach.

Unfortunately, at times he has had to turn away students from his popular class because of size restrictions - a problem the online course will solve.

Education Minister Kate Jones praised the plan.

"The successful applicants submitted projects that were judged to have the ability to make a real difference to our students' education," she said.

"We want to encourage schools to invest in creative and collaborative programs designed to add further depth and quality to the education offered to their students.

"The successful schools will be required to develop a case study highlighting how their projects can be used across Queensland's state schools."

Topics:  gympie state high school queensland labour silicon valley

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