Bringing Tech into the Classroom

June 1, 2023

TechImpact’s partnership with EECD’s Centre of Excellence for Digital Innovation

One of our organizational pillars at TechImpact is to encourage New Brunswickers to explore tech as a career option, and for many, that journey starts when they are in school (K-12). That’s why we’ve partnered with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD) on their Centre of Excellence for Digital Innovation. Our goals are aligned! 

The Centres of Excellence (or COE) are a partnership between the education system, community members, businesses and industry partners. These centers connect students to expert knowledge through virtual and experiential learning. There are 4 Centres of Excellence all with diverse areas of focus ranging from Energy and Health to Entrepreneurship and Digital Innovation. 

The Centre for Digital Innovation (COEDI) helps to bring educational experiences and technology into the classroom and to encourage innovative thinking about concepts that students might not otherwise have access to. 

Over the past few months, we have been busy working with the Centre of Excellence for Digital Innovation to engage with youth through exciting activities, informational sessions, and events aimed at sparking interest in digital innovation in the youth of the province. 

In March, in partnership with the Centre of Excellence for Digital Innovation and the Centre of Excellence for Energy, TechImpact brought together great speakers (Kathryn Lockhart, CEO Propel, Leslie Magee, Investor and Mentor, Alex Hawkins, Grade 12 Rothesay High Student and Loren Scholar ) to talk about start-ups, raising capital, investing, and finding your pathway through high school to lead you to your passions and dreams. We led 2 TechImpact sessions with our team as speakers (Alex Weaver Crawford, Sophie Leonard, and Cathy Simpson) and our TechImpact focus was on pathways to a career in the tech sector and how diversity is key in the creation of equal and sustainable cities. This virtual showcase for K-12 students was to celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The focus was on the empowerment of women and girls in the participation of STEM education and training and promoting women’s equal access to careers in this sector. 

We believe that experiential learning is a key component of technical education. One valuable way to learn about tech is to hear directly from people who work in the industry and being able to ask them questions. This is what we did when we paired Sophie Gadd, the director of software engineering at Introhive with a high school class at Moncton High School. There students heard about her role and what steps they can take to work in software engineering after graduation. TechImpact’s CEO talked to the students about the tech ecosystem, the supports in the province to find your pathway in tech, and the many career opportunities.  

TechImpact continues to work towards creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce and recognizes that full and equal access to science and technology training for women and girls of all ages is imperative. Participating in events like International Women and Girls Day in Science and the Girls StemUP conference, where our Cathy was a keynote speaker for the day, are excellent opportunities to showcase phenomenal female leaders who have accomplished great things here in New Brunswick. It demonstrates what is possible and the goal is to encourage more to build their own unique and innovative pathway! 

Not all classroom engagements come from within the TechImpact team. A few weeks ago, Adam Binet, the COEDI lead led ’How to Code a Sandcastle’, an online interactive workshop that taught basic concepts of computer coding to grade 2 students across the province. Students learned how computers function using coding and concepts like loops and scripts. The students were able to write code snippets that resulted in instructs for their fellow classmates to create sandcastles. 

We were able to see these sandcastles and more exciting student projects coming out of the Centres of Excellence in May at the COE Partner Appreciation Day. There we were honoured for our partnership with the Centres of Excellence alongside other industry partners including the McKenna Institute, Brilliant Labs, and Cisco to name a few. 

By being involved with the Centre of Excellence for Digital Innovation and showing students what can be done with tech and by involving them in innovative experiential learning opportunities, we are inspiring them to think outside the box and to consider exploring and learning more about a career in tech and other STEM fields.  

Our partnership with EECD and the Centres of Excellence enables the development and evolution of the tech talent pipeline in New Brunswick. It’s a pleasure working with Adam Binet and we’re excited about more to come in the upcoming school year!