510 teachers empowered to teach code through TeacherCon 2022
School board curriculums from coast-to-coast-to-coast are rapidly modernizing to include computer science. That’s a good thing—the world is changing, and we want students in Canada to be ready with the knowledge they need to prosper in our digital world.
But over two years into the pandemic, teachers are running on one percent. Complicating matters, as of last September., provinces like Ontario mandated coding education for grades 1 to 9. At Canada Learning Code, we want teachers to be ready with the tools they need to support students across Canada.
To support teachers through this important but challenging update, Canada Learning Code hosted TeacherCon 2022 from August 9 to 11: a virtual participatory conference experience for teachers to learn how to teach computer science in an easy way.
TeacherCon 2022 highlights
With 12 workshops, six webinars, and two keynote speakers over three days, teachers left the conference having learned how to enhance language literacy with code, tackle cyberbullying with machine learning, integrate digital art and code into their classrooms, and so much more.
- We had 510 teachers attend 1,039 workshops and learn that introducing coding into the classroom is as easy as 1…2…3…Teach!
- François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry of Canada, addressed teachers in Canada, reinforcing the importance of giving children the digital skills they need in the classroom.
- Oh, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau retweeted it!
Ann Makosinski kicks off TeacherCon as keynote
Ann Makosinski, an inventor, writer, and university student, opened TeacherCon with an inspiring keynote about her incredible climb to teen-inventor status.
Makosinski said her first toy was a box of transistors, which launched her journey into the world of inventing.
Growing up, she competed in ten school-based science fairs, usually working with alternative energy harvesting. This led to her first invention, the Hollow Flashlight: a flashlight that runs off the heat of the human hand, which she designed at 14 years old. This invention won at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair and Google Science Fair.
She would continue to work with this technology, creating the eDrink: a coffee mug that converts the excess heat of your hot drink into electricity, giving your phone a boost of energy.
And more recently, she created a line of children’s toys that run on green energy.
During her opening keynote, Makosinski said, “don’t discount the value of hands-on science as well as digital science.”
She said tactile engagement is being lost through the constant use of screens, beginning at a young age. She recommended teachers give their students room to find what they like about computer science. Is it in front of the screen coding, or is it the construction of the “thing” they gravitate toward?
As an advocate for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) as well as STEM, Makosinski suggested combining science and art. This provides a way for students to feel excited about what they’re learning and to create something tangible.
Lastly, she said teachers have a significant influence on their students. They can bring these subjects into the classroom and empower their students to make a positive difference in the world NOW and later.
Mission partners get involved in delivering workshops
Our outstanding presenters and partners from Pinnguaq, all the folks at Digital Moment, Sarah Ryan—Brilliant Labs, Derek Tangredi, and Jade Roy hosted their daily webinars and workshops.
Canada Learning Code Teen Ambassadors, educators and speakers from Amazon Future Engineer Canada, Mike Washburn—Logics Academy, Lucas Pacentrilli—Phidgets Inc, Digital Moment, Teacher and Teen Ambassador panellists, Your Voice is Power—presented by Marika Schalla and Peter Skillen, all participated in daily sessions and panel discussions.
We connected with incredible individuals who wanted to equip themselves—and the youth in their lives—with the tools and resources they need to prosper in our digital world!
Closing keynote speaker Eugenia Duodu
Eugenia Duodu closed the conference with an inspiring keynote.
Duodu holds an HB.Sc. in Chemistry and Biology and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Toronto. She is the CEO of Visions of Science Network for Learning, a charitable organization that empowers youth from low-income communities through meaningful engagement in STEM.
Duodu devotes her time to community and global outreach initiatives and participates in various boards, organizations, and councils. She advocates for education and creating equitable opportunities for youth to achieve their full potential.
During her speech, Duodu shared her experience growing up with a love for STEM in a low-income community in Toronto. She never had any tangible opportunities to go deeper with STEM. Even with the support of her single mother, she said she couldn’t see that connection for herself.
However, in high school, she started developing confidence in science and began to understand that STEM goes beyond a textbook.
Her teacher told her about a microbiology course—her first specialized opportunity to engage in STEM. Her brain was activated in ways it had never been before. It totally changed her outlook on science and her place in it.
And for the first time, she started to see people like her in the field. These connections gave her the confidence to move forward.
She thanked the educators attending TeacherCon 2022 for their efforts in creating meaningful equity in computer science.
She said you never know what your students are battling and how one enriched experience can be the tipping point for something incredible.
Shout out to our amazing partners, presenters and speakers! You helped to empower hundreds of educators coast-to-coast-to-coast to build confidence through digital tools and bring computer science to hundreds of learners in their classrooms.
Huge thank you to our incredible mentors and instructors who joined us to help bring the week to life! Without your dedication and enthusiasm, our TeacherCon wouldn’t be possible!
A round of applause to educators across Canada who joined our conference! Thanks for making this another great #TeacherCon for the books!
Didn’t get a chance to join us for TeacherCon this year? Sign up for our mailing list to be the first to know when new learning opportunities become available, like this one! You can also check out our experiences page to see what workshops are currently available. We hope to see you online soon!
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