Grade 10 students from Templeton Secondary School’s STEM program visited our Downtown Tech Hub last month to help launch their first applied robotics group project. Over three months, these 25 students will work on building a garbage-sorting robot.
Sharing real-world insights
BCIT Computing Instructor Carly Orr welcomed the group, and introduced them to key concepts in computational thinking and project management. Computer Systems Technology Program Head Trevor Lord and instructor Aaron Hunter discussed the future of software development, as well as the kinds of soft skills that are needed in the tech sector team environment.
“Solving real-world problems is what we and our grads do, and so we have insights and solutions that we bring to industry all the time,” explained Trevor Lord. “We’re offering Templeton STEM students some of our lessons learned.”
During a tour of the new space, Carly reported that “students and teachers from Templeton had a great time exploring the Tech Hub’s writable surfaces, comfy chairs and cozy corners, responding with ooh’s and ah’s.”
Templeton teachers also appreciated the expertise brought by BCIT in hosting the kickoff of the robotics challenge, and reported that they felt inspired by the “fantastic and innovative learning space.”
STEM teacher Carl Janze sent “a special thank-you to Carly, Trevor and Aaron for the thought-provoking discussion.”
“Not only was it an excellent introduction to computational thinking and the cornerstone skills required for success in related fields, you also reinforced key tenets of our STEM program, namely that a team ALWAYS does better than any set of individuals, and most importantly, Technology is first and foremost about people.”
Partnership to support a growing tech sector
The partnership with Templeton STEM is a three-way initiative supported by BCIT, the Vancouver School Board and software giant SAP. SAP Canada offers a one-year mentorship to students in STEM, and aims to nurture laddering pathways between high school, post-secondary, and tech careers. Participating students benefit from workplace experiences, skills camps, and even job shadowing.
BCIT faculty worked with Templeton staff during the project brainstorming and planning phase, and are offering ongoing support as needed. Carly advises that she’s looking forward to seeing the result.
In a tech sector as active as BC’s, more students trained in applied projects can’t come soon enough.
Photo: Carly Orr