SAINT JOHN – New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) is fostering an early passion for innovation in young people in southwestern New Brunswick with advanced coding camps aimed at under-represented learners.
With the help of a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) PromoScience Program and with funding from the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) and Canada Summer Jobs, NBCC offered six coding camps in Saint John and Charlotte County over the summer.
“Innovation and applied research are key ingredients of the NBCC Advantage, where the strengths of our College meet the aspirations of learners and the needs of our Province,” said Marilyn Luscombe, President and CEO of NBCC. “We know the value of curiosity and creativity in the new economy and we’re proud to play a role in educating the next generation of innovators and thinkers.”
Curriculum for the camps, which taught the foundational concepts of coding, was developed in part by NBCC students. NBCC learners also mentored the 52 middle school-aged children who took part in the camps.
“On our first day of camp, we knew we had something,” said Joe Marriott, camp curriculum designer and project coordinator. “Our students deserve a lot of credit for developing and delivering some of the exercises.”
NBCC collaborated with Brilliant Labs, a not-for-profit organization providing opportunities for youth in Atlantic Canada to create and innovate with today’s technology, in delivering the coding camps.
Through hands-on activities, children learned to write software and program micro:bit miniature computers. The camps provided participants with a solid foundation in understanding how simple computer programs work.
Community partners hosting the camps included Teen Resource Centre, Saint John Free Public Library, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Carleton Community Centre and Nick Nicolle Community Centre in Saint John, Community Youth Activity Centre in Saint Andrews, and Boys and Girls Club of Charlotte County in St. Stephen.
“I can’t overstate how important these community partners are to our program,” said Marriott, a recently retired NBCC instructor. “The camps simply wouldn’t have happened without NBCC being welcomed into their organizations. We delivered the content, but they handled all of the logistics.”
Funding for the coding and tech camps will remain in place for the next two years.
The NSERC PromoScience Program supports hands-on learning experiences for young Canadians. The program inspires the next generation of scientists and ensures access to job opportunities for people across the country who have a passion for science.
With over 90 programs and six campuses across New Brunswick, NBCC is a provincially recognized post-secondary institution renowned for producing skilled, knowledgeable college graduates. NBCC offers students full-time concentrated study periods in one- and two-year certificate and diploma programs. For more information, visit: www.nbcc.ca.
Communications Coordinator, NBCC