FCL x CanCode
The investment of $50 million under the CanCode initiative gave us at Fair Chance Learning an exciting opportunity to meet the needs of even more Canadian students, and resulted in new partnerships with TakingItGlobal, Information and Communication Technology Council (ICTC), and Let's Talk Science. Together, we took coding across the country and had a blast doing it.
Each collaboration resulted in a different approach to exposing teachers and students to technology and coding concepts, with one common thread, lots of F.U.N!
In the history of humanity less than 600 people have made it to space, and only 12 of those people are Canadian. For many students, astronauts seem to be as elusive as unicorns – and they’re not completely wrong. The odds of meeting a Canadian astronaut are (pardon the pun) astronomically low. So, when Fair Chance Learning partnered with Let’s Talk Science and the Canadian Space Agency to bring former astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk to speak to students not once but TWICE, they created moments that will last a lifetime for those students. The coding-focused learning events - one in September in Vancouver and the other in December in Ottawa – taught digital skills necessary for their future careers, while sparking a love of learning and empowering them to dream big. By connecting Dr. Robert Thirsk to 75 students and equipping them with future-ready skills, Fair Chance Learning helped make space exploration (or playing a part in it) an attainable career goal and less of a fantasy.
Michelle Valtas - Director of Marketing & Communication
What a Ride!
Late last spring, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. Let’s Talk Science (LTS) was about to launch their exciting CanCode Living Space project, where students across Canada would record, interpret and act on classroom conditions data while astronaut David Saint-Jacques did the same on the International Space Station and LTS needed support. LTS was beta testing of their materials with a local school and needed someone with micro:bit knowledge to support the class and their teacher. I spent several days with a great group of grade 6s and their teacher coding their micro:bits to simulate a heartbeat, be a step counter, and most importantly to measure the temperature, relative humidity and CO2 levels of their “living space”, their classroom. The kids loved the coding, something they hadn’t done before and really liked being able to have that code flashed onto the micro:bit to be used in such a wide variety of ways.
Fast forward to the lazy days of the end of summer and off to Calgary to support my Let’s Talk Science colleagues in rolling out the Professional Development series around the Living Space Project. While most people were enjoying those remaining sunny days, a group of eager Albertan teachers were knee deep into learning about the project and diving into coding!
Early in September, I was off to Vancouver, again supporting my LTS colleagues and working with a group of teachers and even better, some of their students, introducing the Living Space Project. The students were a great addition to the PD, bringing so many great questions and awesome thinking. Teachers were able to co-learn along-side their students, gaining the added bonus of having “trained experts” to bring back to their classrooms and schools! The day was wrapped up with an exciting presentation and question and answer period led by Dr Robert Thirsk. His talk made us all aware of the importance of computational thinking and coding for our students.
The story doesn’t end there. I’ve been all over Ontario supporting Let’s Talks Science, board leads, coaches and teachers with the Living Space project. Everyone I worked with was excited about the project and eager to get coding with their students. They could easily see how the micro:bit was accessible to all, but would really pique the interest of some. I’m looking forward to seeing where this learning goes and how it can be supported moving forward!
Barb Seaton - Professional Learning Associate
Through CanCode, Fair Chance Learning expanded our partnerships in order to connect with more students and educators and provide access to computational thinking and future skills training. Of particular interest to me was our work with Talking IT Global and their online learning platform. Fair Chance Learning collaborated with the team at TIG to produce an "Introduction to micro:bit" course which provide hundred of educators with first-time access to computational thinking practices and an introduction to the micro:bit physical computing device. Not only that, but we were able to give away thousands of micro:bits right across Canada! A highlight in 2018/19 was seeing the excitement on educators faces as they prepared to bring these tools back to their classrooms.
Titus Ferguson - Director of Industry Education Partnerships
As plans are finalized for the CanCode extension, our team looks forward to supporting initiatives that provide K-12 educators with the professional learning opportunities they need to introduce digital skills and coding into the classroom.