NB Tech Guys Bringing Hour of Code To Francophone Schools

Image: Brilliant Labs on Facebook

MONCTON – Members of New Brunswick’s tech scene are hoping to bring an Hour of Code into New Brunswick’s Francophone schools.

If they succeed, New Brunswick will be the first province in Canada to have all its schools participate in the program.

Hour of Code is a global movement for kids from K-12 that aims to inspire students, improve diversity in tech and change school curriculums to include this highly demanded skill. Last year, more than 100 million students around the world participated, including many Anglophone students in New Brunswick.

Denis Daigle, technical co-founder of Ongozah, is one of the people getting the ball rolling. He said the reason why New Brunswick Francophone schools haven’t participated in Hour of Code is because of translation resources. Now that’s no longer an issue.

“Hour of Code has grown very quickly and has been made available in many countries around the world. Because of this rapid adoption, there has been a lack of translated learning materials and supporting applications,” Daigle said. “This year however, we have the pleasure of having VizWik, a bilingual and rapid mobile application creating software, integrated into the learning material.”

Daigle will be working alongside other community and business leaders including Jeff Willson, executive director of Brilliant Labs and Roddy Awad, President at TKS. Educational marketing consultant & technology integrationist Martine Paquet is also on the team. They will also be working very closely with the province with Michelle Austin, education officer of professional sciences and René Boudreau, executive director of the research and innovation council also on board.

The plan is to recruit one “inspired technology champion” in each of the province’s 93 Francophone schools. The committee will work with these champions and give them the tools they need to deliver the Hour of Code sessions in their schools. The sessions are planned to take place between Dec 7 to Dec 11.

Daigle said coding isn’t just a cool skill for kids to learn; it’s now a requirement for the future.

“Almost everything around us is affected by programming and computer science; our cars, our phones and mobile applications, our computers and tablets, even our washing machines and our refrigerators. In the future we will see more and more robots, the Internet of Things, virtual experiments – and this is all based on basic computer programming,” he said.

“Our young people know how to use technology but we must ensure that they can, and are empowered to, create with their technology so they can truly impact the future.”