Brilliant Labs has teamed up with New Brunswick’s department of education to bring an Hour of Code to New Brunswick schools for a week in December.
Brilliant Labs is a non-profit organization dedicated support creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in the youth of Atlantic Canada. They’re aiming to assist in New Brunswick Department of Education’s plan to improve literacy and numeracy skills by promoting the Hour of Code, which is a global movement that allows students to try an hour of coding through a series of kid-friendly tutorials. The event takes place from Dec. 5 to Dec. 11 and Brilliant Labs is asking all New Brunswick schools to participate.
“If we look at the world around us today, everything is driven by code,” says Jeff Willson, executive director of Brilliant Labs. “So we need to be preparing our kids in New Brunswick for the future.”
Willson says the Hour of Code is a way for children and teachers to get exposed to computer science.
“The idea is that if you initiate as many activities as possible through the Hour of Code, then it might get them excited about computer science.”
Though many students find the Hour of Code event exciting and fun, Willson says keeping that excitement going after the event is just as important. He says schools should incorporate coding and computer science throughout their curriculum.
“[Brilliant Labs] supports teachers and students in integrating coding on an on-going basis. So whether it will be in language arts, in math, in music, or even science, let’s create a project where you can get hands on with coding but also support the curriculum outcomes,” says Willson.
“So if you are doing a book report in language arts, rather than just reading the book and then writing a two-page paper about the book, why not create an interactive program to share your understanding of what you just read.”
It’s no secret that coding and computer science will be key to the jobs of the future. Yet coding education is not yet where it needs to be in New Brunswick schools. To get all of New Brunswick students to learn about coding while they are in school, Willson says all stakeholders have to want and support the movement.
“Parents have to want it, and teachers have to want it, principals, community have to want it. Sometimes, it is just that they’re not aware that coding is a possibility … So how can they ever integrate that into their everyday school life,” says Willson. “So [Brilliant Labs] is trying to raise awareness. When we are creating new teachers, we have to start teaching them how to integrate coding across the curriculum.”
“We let [youth] know that coding is there, give them a chance because they could be the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg to come out of New Brunswick.”