Along with a thriving tech sector comes the need to train more professionals for the industry. While BCIT Computing has been expanding both part time and full time programs, there is also a need to ensure younger students from the K-12 system graduate with plans to train for tech.
That’s why BCIT hosted 19 teachers from all over BC last month for a weeklong session to work on class activities and lesson ideas, as well as visit some industry partners to see what a career in tech could look like for their students.
Instructors from the Centre for Digital Media led sessions on design thinking using Lego Mindstorms, BCIT staff provided information on the changing sector and modern computing education and tools, and teachers also toured local tech powerhouses SAP Labs and EA.
“We want to help transfer the sector’s excitement to teachers from districts outside Metro Vancouver and give them practical tools they can use in their classrooms” explains Computing Associate Dean Bethany Edmunds.
“Students – and teachers – in these districts don’t always have the opportunity to see close up what kinds of jobs are growing in the 21st Century Economy. We want to help break down those barriers between the Lower Mainland and the more rural parts of BC.”
Support from SAP, a local tech industry anchor
The event was made possible by funding provided to BCIT from software giant SAP for the BCIT Centre of Excellence in Analytics, which includes a high school outreach component to ensure the growth in jobs in analytics are supported by prospective employee interest in the field.
“The visit to SAP opened doors to a whole new world. It’s an amazing work environment – you get quality work out of people if the space looks that way” reported Katie Comrie who teaches middle school in Castlegar. Sue Thorne, high school teacher from Creston, added “they provide a work environment that enables productivity. Schools need to be going the same way.”
Hailing from Bella Bella to Kimberley, the diverse group of school teachers became close colleagues within the week, and have formed an online community to continue supporting each other and sharing lesson successes and challenges.
“The learning experience and opportunity to be with colleagues, develop new friendships, the collegiality for the future, it is immensely beneficial. It will benefit our districts and personal knowledge for many years,” said Scott Stephenson who teaches in the Southeast Kootenay district. “I loved it.”
Photo by Marieke van Rooyen