Growth of Technology in Alberta Schools

With increased exposure and access to technology for students at home, it’s no surprise that school’s are starting to follow suit and adapting to a new way of learning.

According to Lindsay Harvey, Spokesperson for the Minister’s office at the Ministry of Education in Alberta, “the biggest technological trends we’re seeing are an increased adoption of coding, computational thinking, maker spaces, virtual and augmented reality, and online learning.”

And in June of 2016, Education Minister, David Eggen, announced that as part of a major overhauls to the K – 12 school curriculum over the next six years, coding and programming may be added to student education. The proposed curriculum is undergoing large public consultation and will take some time before it is implemented, but it is an exciting proposition for the future of the technology sector in Alberta. Junior high schools in British Columbia are set to implement coding as part of the curriculum by September 2018.  Introducing coding at a young age has the opportunity to encourage children to become involved in digital technology fields and the potential to increase gender diversity in what is currently a male dominated field.

The increased presence of technology can also be found among post-secondary institutions because of the nature of specialized programs.

On February 21, 2017, the University of Alberta had a grand opening of an exciting radiation therapy training facility with new, one of a kind technology. Within the Cross Cancer Institute, a machine that stimulates working on a patient getting radiation therapy, allows students to get one of a kind hands on experience.

Ben Lof, Spokesperson for the Minister of Higher Education says, “the students taking [this radiation therapy program] are then much better equipped when they go on to do their actual practicum because they’ve had this simulated experience that is just like the actual radiation machine. According to UofA, it is one of a kind in the world.”

Ben Lof notes that there are more exciting technologies that will become available to Alberta students. An updated Learner Pathways System will be released soon and will benefit students enrolled in post-secondary. This system will be made up of the Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer, Alberta students, stakeholders, and other provinces. The system will make information more accessible for students by including a redeveloped Transfer Alberta website and search tool, and a mobile application. As well, the system will provide tools for post-secondary partner institutions including a central data archive application and a simplified method for uploading course applications, programs and determining at which schools their credits can transfer.

We are excited to see these changes being implemented in Alberta schools!

Robyn Welsh
Robyn Welsh
Robyn is studying Communications/Journalism at Mount Royal University in Calgary. She is a co-founder and editor for Vamp Media (www.vamp.media), and has written for the Calgary Journal, The Reflector, Beatroute Magazine, as well as several others.