Train­ing the next gen­er­a­tion com­put­ing in

Orleans Star - - COMMUNITY NEWS - Ben­jamin Va­chet ben­­ Twit­ter @Or­leansstar

Faced with a deficit in com­puter sci­ence en­roll­ment at the post-sec­ondary level, the Ot­tawa Net­work for Ed­u­ca­tion has im­ple­mented a pi­lot project to en­cour­age in­ter­est among sec­ondary school stu­dents. At Or­léans’ École se­condaire catholique Garneau, the ini­tia­tive is in its third year.

By of­fer­ing a con­cen­tra­tion in the field, Garneau was ap­pointed to be part of this project. Once a week, the Grade 11 stu­dents in the full time com­puter fo­cus re­ceive a visit from their men­tor, Jose De Leon, a contractor from Or­léans that comes to help them cre­ate an ed­u­ca­tional game for chil­dren in Grade 3 . This year, five projects are un­der con­struc­tion, un­der the di­rec­tion of com­puter teacher, Pa­trick Pichette.

"There is a group work­ing on a game where the char­ac­ter must an­swer ques­tions that will al­low it to earn coins to build a boat to sail back home, an­other stu­dent is work­ing on a mu­sic game like Gui­tar Hero but eas­ier, oth­ers con­duct a rac­ing game where you ad­vance each time you an­swer a ques­tion cor­rectly ... It is a good in­tro­duc­tion to pro­gram­ming, and if they can fin­ish, their game will be of­fered in schools for stu­dents in Grade 3."

This project aims at in­spir­ing stu­dents to con­tinue study­ing in com­puter sci­ence af­ter high school. But, by pair­ing the pro­gram with a tar­get au­di­ence of Grade 3 stu­dents, the Ot­tawa Net­work for Ed­u­ca­tion also hopes to cre­ate in­ter­est among the young.

"Of my 14 stu­dents, 10 to 12 wish to con­tinue in com­puter sci­ence. There is a lack of en­roll­ment in com­puter sci­ence at the post­sec­ondary level, and this project is a good ini­tia­tive to stim­u­late the en­thu­si­asm of youth. "

De Leon also guides the stu­dents and an­swers their ques­tions.

Ex­panded pro­gram

In late April, the Gov­ern­ment of Canada an­nounced a new pro­gram of more than $960,000 to ex­pand the project to the Ot­tawa Net­work for Ed­u­ca­tion and ex­pose stu­dents to com­puter pro­gram­ming as well as op­por­tu­ni­ties that ex­ist in the fields of sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics.

Trans­lated by Cather­ine Kitts

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