National Science and Technology Week – October 16th to October 25th
Last week celebrated the role that Science and Technology plays in Canada’s economy, as well as educating youth on the many pathways that exist in these sectors. This week we are sharing the impacts technology has played in the lives of students and youth.
Providing youth access to knowledge in technology at a young age not only opens their eyes to new opportunities, but it also supports them in engaging in experiences that develop the necessary skills to excel in these fields early on.
RCT’s youth internship program trains over 60 youth aged 15-30 every year in paid internships giving them a minimum of 6-months experience in computer refurbishment, distribution, and recycling. Youth don’t just get to refurbish computers, but they also take part in a process which sees those computers distributed to schools, charities/NFPS and families in their communities. The entire experience provides them with skills to jumpstart their careers in the IT sector, and empowers them to not just work to make money but to make a difference. When you walk into our offices, at any given time there are over 20 interns busy at work.
Erin Carey, a technology teacher in the Toronto District School Board who has received computers through the programs that RCT runs, uses computers in her classroom to do more than just teach, but to empower her students. Here’s what her experience is with technology in the classroom.
“Engaging with digital learning is so important for youth to get glimmers of possibility when there are emotional and financial support gaps. Many kids that don`t have reliable access to digital devices now have challenges in learning environments on top of other basics lacking – good diet and feeling safe at home. It becomes an addition to their poverty of experience. One way to build confidence, leadership, and self-awareness is providing access to learning technical interfaces through experiential education.
I work to make labs of opportunity. Projects I do with my students for video, sound, graphic design, and running events are often tied to real client needs. They are using digital software and equipment, designing and providing services usually to charity organizations or internal school board clients. This gives them real deadlines, a chance to develop group work skills, and they learn to tell their own stories at the same time.
Hands-on activities are great to snag interest, and with digital extensions, learning how to learn something, in a “choose your own adventure” way, helps to bridge connections to family and relationships, employability and work. This can inspire youth further towards citizenship and social value projects, and incorporate entrepreneurial learning styles. We want them happy, employable and successful, and a component now that will help them reach a global standard is digital learning with a growth mindset. Canadian youth today are developing a new digital culture, and new career mash-ups that don`t exist yet.”
RCT invites you to engage your students in digital learning. Show them the opportunities that exist for them, and start closing the gaps. Are there students in your class who don’t have daily access to a computer, how can outreach, our program to provide affordable computers to low-income learns, help? Can you hold a workshop in your school? Are there online resources you can share with your students? Let’s get the conversation started on twitter. @RCTontario
Communications Lab within the Toronto District School Board