Building Canada’s Digital Generation

Cybera and the Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) are proud to be participating in the new national CanCode program, announced today. This two-year program supports initiatives that aid coding and digital skills development among Canadian youth, from kindergarten to grade 12 (K-12).

Over the next two years, Cybera and PIMS will trial new tools and frameworks that help teachers bring computational thinking into their math, science, social sciences, and humanities courses. The project, called Callysto, will focus on adapting the Jupyter ‘All-in-One’ Science Platform for a younger audience. Jupyter is a web-based platform that enables a broad suite of computing capabilities on any device that has an internet connection.

The goal of Callysto is to teach students the analytical skills needed to comprehend the constant stream of information they are exposed to. The new platform will incorporate data collection and coding tools, along with communication resources, in one easy-to-use web-based location. It will allow students to seamlessly interlace data files and analytics tools with fully formatted text, video and images, making it ideal for a broad range of projects that require assessing raw data.

For example, students in a social studies class who are looking at local recycling rates could download the open data from their town’s website, analyze it, graph it, and incorporate photos, infographics, and text to display the results — all in one place.

"Technology impacts our everyday lives in ways seen and unseen," says The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. "Learning digital skills and coding, and how technology serves us will open so many doors to our young people as they become our future innovators and leaders. Giving the opportunity for all children to become tech savvy, gain digital skills and learn coding will further strenghten our success as a country."

“We are excited to be involved in a project that is giving students the means to use modern computational tools in their everyday classes,” says Dr. Barb Carra, Chief Operating Officer of Cybera. “Helping the population to become more tech-savvy, and more responsible and accountable in their use of technology, is absolutely vital to the healthy growth of Canada’s digital economy. We are keen to see how this project grows, and we expect to be thrilled and surprised by the different uses the students will find for the new tool!”

“Today’s youth will need to apply analytical and computational thinking to almost every subject and story they come across in life, not just to scientific topics,” adds Professor James Colliander, Director of PIMS. “With this project, we will give teachers the modern tools and support needed to introduce these concepts to their students. And we will encourage young people to investigate and fact-check each other’s work through collaboration, and not just leave it to the teacher to point out what’s correct and incorrect.”

Cybera and PIMS are currently developing the training materials for Callysto, and are looking for teachers in Alberta and British Columbia who are interested in learning more and helping with the trial use of this platform. If you know of a teacher who loves technology and is an avid early adopter of new tools for the classroom, please contact us.

Visit our CanCode project page here


Background

About Cybera

Cybera is a not-for-profit technology-neutral organization responsible for driving Alberta’s economic growth through the use of digital technology. Its core role is to oversee the development and operations of Alberta’s cyberinfrastructure — the advanced system of networks and computers that keeps government, educational institutions, not-for-profits, business incubators and entrepreneurs at the forefront of technological change.

Working with government, education, and private sectors, Cybera is creating a community that champions vital networking and computing services and utilities for everyone, everywhere. We also provide member organizations with unbiased, highly skilled expertise on technology products, processes or services, and access to shared IT tools.     

About PIMS

The Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) is a collaborative network dedicated to the promotion of discovery, understanding and awareness in the mathematical sciences. PIMS brings together leading researchers from major Universities across western Canada, as well as the University of Washington, and is a Unité Mixte Internationale of the National Center for Scientific Research (Le Centre national de la recherche scientifique, CNRS).

PIMS sponsors and organizes educational and community outreach, aboriginal math camps, and summer schools for both teachers and students, as well as initiatives to promote diversity in mathematics, partnerships that bring mathematical research to industry, cutting edge mathematical and scientific research, and events across the PIMS network that promote advancement in computer science, pure and applied mathematics, and statistics. 

About CanCode

CanCode is a program led by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. It is investing $50 million over two years, starting in 2017–18, to support initiatives providing educational opportunities for coding and digital skills development to Canadian youth from kindergarten to grade 12. The program will also equip 63,000 teachers across the country with the training and tools to teach digital skills and coding.