New Brunswick teachers and students –it’s your turn to crack the code. At the 2014 State of the Province address Premier David Alward announced the Brilliant Labs initiative, an entity funded by both the private sector and government with a mandate to award competitive grants to schools, teachers and their students who pitch cool, engaging projects in coding, robotics and arts.

It is full STEAM ahead for New Brunswick kids – and David Alston deserves a lot of that credit. As the Premier stated in his speech, David first pitched the idea to him at the tech community’s KIRA Awards in May 2013. “He gave us a challenge,” said the Premier. “That every kid in this province should learn to code, and through coding, discover their passion.” STEAM, by the way, stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math and is a world-wide movement to combine arts and sciences to drive creative thinking and new ideas.

David Alston is that guy you don’t say no to, partly because he’s so darn nice you want to help him but also because he is so passionate about the stuff he loves and that’s infectious. I’ll always join that party.

I first met David when he was working at iMagicTV over a decade ago, watched him zoom ahead as the Chief Marketing Officer at Radian6 and for the past nine months I’ve cheered him on as he’s turned teaching kids to code into a province-wide movement.  Back in October 2013, he posted a great piece about the Kids Coding project on Wicked Ideas and last night Michael Hawkins and I met up with him after the State of the Province to get his reaction and to find out what’s next.

Here’s what David had to say:

And on how the education system can integrate the new initiative:

 

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