Training the next generation computing in
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.
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