UBC is working with public school educators to create ways to bring more innovation into Okanagan classrooms.
As part of an effort to help increase innovation and computer coding taught in Kindergarten to Grade 5 classrooms, UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Education recently hosted an event with School District 23.
The June 10th event saw tech sector entrepreneurs, UBC faculty members and school district educators discuss ways to bring more applied science skills into technology (ADST) into classrooms starting this September.
“In order to innovate, we need to collaborate,” says Susan Crichton, director of UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Education and its Innovative Learning Centre (ILC). “The ILC had an active role in the development of ADST curriculum and recognizes that educators and technology innovators in our region have a significant role in leading change in teaching and learning.”
The think-tank event saw a number of ideas and experiences shared on how technology works in classrooms, and how it can work moving forward.
One educator from School District 23 shared her experience, inviting members of a local First Peoples’ group to the classroom to share stories about their culture, while another educator shared his experience with a project that involved researching artifacts from an ancient civilization that students then replicated on a 3D printer.
“The introduction of coding and design thinking pedagogies is a new professional development area for the majority of classroom teachers across British Columbia,” says Jon Rever, Director of Instruction at School District 23. “Teachers and administrators from the Central Okanagan School District are excited to engage with members of the Faculty of Education at UBC Okanagan and local high-tech industry leaders to co-create a teaching and learning model that will support classroom teachers to develop real-world coding, design thinking and learning opportunities for students.”
Coding workshops for kids are becoming increasingly popular in BC and beyond. In January, UBC Okanagan hosted Codecreate, an event which saw more than 100 students across the Okanagan Valley learn to code. The event was attended by Mayor Colin Basran and supported by local MLAs Christy Clark, Steve Thomson and Norm Letnick.
A study recently released by Accelerate Okanagan showed the valley’s technology sector contributed $1 billion to the regional economy in 2013.