Each spring, RRC’s Applied Computer Education Department runs Technology Camps for high-school students of all genders and to middle-school girls out of the Exchange District Campus. The camps allow young people to explore different technologies through diverse hands-on activities.
Building connections and bringing learning opportunities
In spring 2019, Red River College staff members, Stephen Jay, Cristy Kubara and Marnie-Leigh Boulet, brought the highly successful Technology Camps to three different schools in Brazil.
This unique opportunity came about after the Chair of ACE, Haider Al-Saidi, went with a delegation to Brazil in the fall of 2018. While there, he made connections with several schools that were interested in bringing the RRC Technology Camps to their students. After some follow-up communication, the camps were scheduled at the Pan American Christian Academy, Metodista Bertioga school and the Metodista school in Sao Paulo.
Similar to the Technology Camps in Winnipeg, the objective of the camps in Brazil was to show students what the Information Technology industry is all about and to potentially get them interested in a career in I.T. The camps also provided students with new material and experiences they may not have otherwise encountered.
The students who attended were a mix of male and female high school students (grade 10-12) and each camp had approximately 25 attendees. The day involved four different sessions that were one hour each, topics included, web development, database development, networking and web security. Stephen Jay taught each camp, while Cristy Kubara and Marnie-Leigh Boulet acted as E.A.’s.
A positive experience for the students
Not only were the camps a positive experience for the students, but the instructors also came away with success stories that made it all worth it for everyone involved. “One of the schools we went to didn’t have a data projector, which meant we had to improvise. I was writing security injections on a whiteboard. Even though the technology was sub-par, the students were helping each other, they were learning and getting it,” recalls Jay. “At another school, there were a group of kids in the back row that were ‘too cool’ to engage. As the day went on, we were able to get their attention through technology.”
“Going to Brazil and meeting all the people was such a wonderful experience,” adds Kubara. “They are so warm and welcoming. The students were so excited and willing to learn. The first thing they would talk about was wondering about how cold it is in Canada, and ‘is it really cold?’ We showed them pictures of the snow and told them how we embrace the winters rather than hide away from it. Most of them said they weren’t afraid of the cold, because it would be a better life for them in Canada.”
At the moment there are no set dates for another round of Technology Camps in Brazil, but the schools and RRC instructors are both hoping to organize something as soon as next spring.