With Canada ranking 13th out of 16 peer countries in innovation, teaching technology early is key in keeping Canada competitive. Countries higher on the list, such as the U.K. are investing in computer literacy programs, offering tablets and coding classes as early as primary school. Building a stronger and more productive economy is only part of what makes tech in schools so essential. Implementing technology programs for youth doesn’t have to mean turning every student into a future programmer. Other benefits of digital literacy include collaborative student-to-student and student-to-teacher learning, according to a recent Pearson Education study.
The tech and social landscapes of Canada can no longer be separate. Canadian youth can no longer be mere consumers of technology. To stay competitive and productive, Canada’s tech industry must reach out to our youth and encourage them to become creators and interlocutors in the innovation economy. Organizations like Compu Corps, an Ottawa-based organization which engages over 250 IT volunteers and contributes to over 100 ongoing charity projects, provides an exemplary model for Canada’s non-profit and tech sectors. Compucorps sends volunteers from the IT and tech sector into Ottawa communities for various educational projects, including an 8 week program for low-income kids between the ages of 12 and 15 that teaches coding, programming, computer building and refurbishing, and 3D printing.
An important step in bridging the digital divides is disseminating skills and expertise at a grassroots level. Entrepreneurs and IT professionals are more eager than ever to merge the tech and social spheres by giving back to the local and global community. Since providing learning opportunities in tech may break down Canada’s socioeconomic barriers and strengthen their industries, it is no surprise that tech and IT professionals are enthusiastically donating their time as TechMentors for Compu Corps and organizations like it.
IT professionals in Ottawa seeking to make a contribution can learn more about monetary donations, volunteering (Tech Mentor) or donating used equipment by visiting http://compucorps.org/
For opportunities to donate technology resources and/or software to charities, nonprofits, and libraries across Canada visit http://www.techsoupcanada.ca
Together, we can bridge the digital divide!