There are many unknowns as the world responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. With everything going on around the world recently, the Vancouver School District plans to continue sharing positive stories about our students- to help bring some light to this unprecedented time.
This month, the District is focused on digital literacy and technology to spark excitement about advances in learning. One of the highlights is the work of Grade 12 technology students at Killarney Secondary, prior to the mounting global COVID-19 response.
Microsoft's TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) is a program that brings in computer science professionals to high schools to assist teachers with their computer science lessons in the classroom. TEALS first came to Killarney Secondary in 2019 and has since been added to other schools in Vancouver because of its success.
"TEALS is a really good model to implement in high school," says Seema Ali, a Grade 12 computer science teacher."The program not only teaches the students, but also supports teachers. I find this extremely effective as all of the support is right there in the classroom."
With the TEALS program, students come up with several ideas for programming projects and then create them from scratch. "Coding with TEALS gives students the opportunity to get creative," says Ali. "As part of one coding project, students created a database that took photos of drivers as they travelled through an intersection. With the correct codes, their programming took images and you could tell if someone was falling asleep at the wheel or if they were distracted while driving."
However, TEALS is not the only successful form of digital literacy at Killarney Secondary. These Grade 12 students have a heavy load in their computer science courses. Ali is teaching her students C++ coding, cyber security, website and database design, as well as scripting.
"I enjoy making code that works," says Grade 12 student Jacky Tsoi. "It is very satisfying after spending a lot of time on coding, you fix your small errors and your code returns the results you were looking for."
Computer science is important to incorporate in schools in the modern day. As technology continues to advance, the importance of understanding how to make our daily lives more efficient and effective is evident.