Take off, eh! Tech gives teens superpowers (and in New Brunswick some cool cash too!)

Written by Lisa Hrabluk

Best-selling author. Award-winning journalist. Purpose-led entrepreneur. Find me hanging out where culture, people and ideas collide.

February 21, 2014

Happy Canadian Computing Education Day!

Okay so it might not have a cool name like the May 2-4 weekend, but today is something special. It’s part of a growing movement to shine a big honkin’ spotlight on technology skills and why every student in Canada should get some.

That’s right. Every kid. And I’m saying this as a certified member of the word nerd brigade.

On Wednesday Feb. 26th, Wicked Ideas is teaming up with T4G and Brilliant Labs to launch the Student Superpower Challenge as part of the Big Data Congress II in Saint John. The Challenge is a student-focused event that merges high school students’ personal passions with the power of technology.

We’re set to welcome over 600 teens to the Saint John Trade and Convention Centre where famed data scientist and hacker Hilary Mason, New Brunswick entrepreneur David Alston and Michael Go, the reigning New Brunswick high school coding champ, will challenge and guide teens to create and share ideas about how they’d use technology to change the world.

Then the competition part kicks in. Hosted by Brilliant Labs, we’re challenging high school students from across New Brunswick to develop creative solutions to the problems they see. We’re awarding three cash prizes of $5,000 each to the top creative student teams or individuals to help them develop their idea.

Deadline to submit ideas is April 30th, 2014 and then the finalists will pitch their ideas at a daylong sessions on May 16th at Planet Hatch, Fredericton’s cool new start-up space.

I’m really excited to be a part of this challenge and Wicked Ideas is going to host the conversation for students, parents, teachers and supporters over the next few months – gently encouraging students to test their ideas and challenge themselves to dream big.

Why do it? Because we need creative people to drive the development of new ideas that will help make our world a better place – and to do that we need more young people to see the role technology will play in shaping their career.

Technology makes stuff happen. If students want to make stuff happen, they need to know how to make technology work for them. The Student Superpower Challenge will help get their technology-enabled careers off the ground and teach them to fly.

The challenge is open to all high school students in New Brunswick, regardless of whether they are able to attend the opening event.

We’ll be posting more details on Feb. 26th so stay tuned – and start dreaming big.


Fun Fact: Wicked Ideas’ interview with David Alston is featured in this neat video about tech in schools projects around the country. Hear what David’s got to say around the four-minute mark. For more info on the Canadian computing education movement, visit www.cancomped.ca

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