Change in the Making: How Canada Learning Code & Code Mobile Workshops Empower Educators Across Canada

November 22, 2018

Limited access to digital skills threatens to widen the opportunity gap for access to 21st century skills. Making computer science education more accessible can help ensure young people are equipped with the skills required for the future. What better way to reach diverse students across a vast country than a mobile workshop? Enter the Code Mobile! The Code Mobile started as a mobile tool to support students but as its popularity and demand have grown, educators are taking advantage of the professional development opportunity.

Educators are agents of change: when we empower them with the resources and skills to teach computer science, we reduce the skills gap. Together with Canada Learning Code & the Code Mobile, we are helping to build the capacity of over 5000 educators across Canada to teach computer science.

Learn more about Professional Development with Teachers Learning Code here.

Learn more about the Code Mobile learning experience and request a workshop for your classroom or community centre today!

Ever wonder how the Code Mobile got rolling? Many thanks to Vanessa Doucet-Roche, Program Delivery Manager of the Code Mobile for sharing her personal journey of The Code Mobile Journey, powered by Microsoft:

The Code Mobile Journey: From One Code Mobile to a Fleet of 14

Canada Learning Code designs, delivers, and partners on technology education for Canadians. In 2016, Canada Learning Code had a vision of bringing tech education across Canada to communities large and small in an effort to promote digital literacy and a love of coding. With the support of Microsoft’s YouthSpark Initiative, we transformed a cargo van into a computer lab on wheels, complete with all the tools needed to host interactive workshops and technology fairs across the country.

On a late spring day in 2016, we hit the road in our first Code Mobile - which we’ve affectionately dubbed ‘the OG’ - to start a cross-country journey. Powered by Microsoft’s YouthSpark Initiative, we set out to help ten thousand learners harness the power of technology.

We spent the next four months driving across twelve provinces and territories to deliver technology learning experiences to fifty-one communities. Along the way, we heard hundreds of amazing stories and had the incredible opportunity to experience firsthand how impactful technology education can be for all Canadians.

In Moncton, New Brunswick, we met a father who took his daughter out of school early to meet a team of women teaching people about technology across the country.

In Pleasant Bay, Nova Scotia, we built computer games with students in a school that had limited access to wifi and no access to cell service.

In Prince George, British Columbia, we helped 72-year-old Tom, who had never used a computer before, learn how to write emails to his granddaughter.

In Whitehorse, Yukon, our little team worked overtime to double our workshop offerings because we had sold out of spots and didn’t want to turn anyone away.

Some of my favourite memories are of conversations with people that approached us outside of workshops to learn more and tell us their stories. Hearing about their relationships with technology, and especially their anxiety about what the future might look like, reminded us about the importance of having access to technology and understanding how to use it. In addition to our regular bevy of workshops, we often ended up running workshops in parking lots and on street corners to meet the demand for knowledge.

At Canada Learning Code, we advocate for a future where technology makes people feel empowered. We believe that coding isn’t only a hard skill - it’s about understanding the ways that computer systems and other technologies are embedded in everyday life.

If our cross-country trip taught us anything, it emphasized that Canada’s digital divide is still a real and pressing issue. Many people in Canada lack access to the tools needed to develop technology literacy, confidence, and active citizenship.

That’s why we’re so excited to expand the Code Mobile program. Beginning with one Code Mobile that could (and did!), we’ve launched an entire fleet of fourteen Code Mobiles that are active from coast to coast. Powered by a regional Code Squad, our Code Mobiles are equipped to visit learners wherever they may be - including remote and rural communities - free of charge.

We make it a priority to work hand-in-hand with learners, teachers, and community educators to make sure that our programming is engaging and that the resources we leave behind continue to support their learning. A Code Mobile may only drop by for a visit, but we want to make sure that the communities we engage are equipped to continue to share and learn - in the ways that work best for them - long after our vehicles head to their next destinations.

The future is digital - we want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to be a part of it.