Coding Playground: BCIT shows K-12 teachers a bit about tech

BC’s K-12 teachers are gearing up for school to start. Last week, many of them came to BCIT to learn ways they can integrate computing into their classes. Teachers from across the province came together in a fun “unconference” model to work on lesson plans and get inspired for the new school year.

Hosted at BCIT’s new downtown TEC (Technology Education and Collaboration) Hub, teachers at the “Coding Playground” explored coding, robotics, unplugged computational activities, and also learned about expansion of the local tech sector.

New curriculum

The new activities are connected to government plans to include coding-related material for all students in BC’s K-12 school system. The benefits of such exposure go beyond IT jobs to problem-solving that’s transferable to other environments. Grade 4-5 teacher and unconference organizer Stephen Price explains: “there’s a lot of value in thinking about a problem in its component pieces – that’s really what we’re doing when we’re coding.”

BCIT Computing faculty led activities as well as supported teachers’ own project ideas throughout the week. “Our staff had a lot of fun working with the K-12 teachers,” reports Bethany Edmunds, Associate Dean. Indeed, lead BCIT Instructor Carly Orr says “It was great to see teachers play, learn, and share teaching ideas and experiences!”

Growing tech sector

Teachers also participated in a special tour at SAP Labs in Yaletown, giving them a look at a possible future workplace of their current students. SAP has partnered with BCIT on K-12 initiatives for a number of years, including the STEM Academy at Templeton School in Vancouver. At more than 1200 employees, SAP Labs Vancouver is its largest Canadian development centre.

“We all want to ensure students in BC have the foundational skills that can lead to opportunities to thrive in our growing tech sector” explains Bethany.

For more on this story, listen to Stephen and Bethany discuss the Coding Playground on CKNW and Stephen Price’s CBC interview (begins at 2:11:26).

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