I have been involved with OCRI for the last four years in this program, and Macadamian for three years with volunteers. Our goal is to increase the rate of enrollment in post secondary in Technology programs, to ultimately increase the number of kids choosing a career in the technology sector. As you might realize in a town like Ottawa, where Nortel was king, this is a great challenge. Many of those kids their parents used to work at Nortel, they are not likely to recommend their kids to choose technology careers anymore.
We've been experimenting for three years, constantly tweaking with this program. Always trying to find a recipe that will work and engage the kids. This semester thanks to the input teachers, and
For example: at the end of Grade 3, a student is to be able to read the time from an analog clock. A team of two high-schoolers went out to create a game called MathTime that would help their 3rd grader customers get better with the concept telling time, adding minutes and figuring the resulting time.
There are many more things the curriculum calls for that can be learned through playing games, and being involved into designing the games. Our high school students went through the text books and topics to see how they could help their 'clients' learn through playing. From Biology to Math, the results are fantastic.
The most amazing thing about this evolution of the program is:
- High School kids are creating solutions using technology and games to help 3rd Graders, doing something useful with technology.
- 3rd Grade kids get to be part of the process of technology creation, opening their mind more to technology possibilities at a young age.
- Our High School kids get to integrate a very important skills part of the technology field - first understanding the business problem, then use whatever technology is available to address it.
We're not done, we need more help. We're at a point now if we want to make a dent in the universe we need to scale. We have an opportunity to scale through programs that are now available. We will know more in the new year about how big and how fast.
Call to action - We will need industry, high-tech companies in town to participate in bigger numbers, we need volunteers from the industry to step up, and roll up their sleeves. It's about making sure our labor of tomorrow gets into technology career, this is our investment to make. I'm challenging you to jump in with us, it's with projects like the High School Tech Program that we will make a difference.
Come on now - Drop an email to Kelly Daize at OCRI to let her know you're interested in supporting us when the time comes.