Canada’s tech education landscape is witnessing a shift.
As the world continues to grapple with a rapidly evolving digital landscape, the demand for advanced computer science (CS) skills and resources has never been higher. This need is particularly acute for youth preparing to step into future job roles that are yet to be created, experts note.
Addressing this challenge head-on is Google’s Code Next Connect, an innovative CS educational program slated to launch in Canada for the 2023 academic year.
Code Next Connect comes as a response to a growing concern: a majority of students aren’t acquiring the CS education they require, and teachers often lack the resources to deliver it. The program aims to bridge this gap and make CS education accessible to students, including those facing barriers to access.
Since 2018, Google has been collaborating with Canadian school boards, educators, and students to deliver CS lessons through CS First, a complimentary introductory course. Over the past five years, this initiative has reached hundreds of thousands of Canadian students, equipping them with skills and inspiring them with examples and success stories from Google developers.
Code Next Connect is an extension of this mission. The program is a free, immersive CS education initiative designed specifically for high school students who are not white and male. It aims to provide “black, indigenous, latinx [sic], and women-identifying high school students” with the “skills and tech social capital needed to pursue high-achieving careers in tech,” according to a statement from Google.
The curriculum for Code Next Connect will be delivered by Google engineers, who provide mentorship opportunities and teach an array of topics, from game design to hardware development.
“The virtual program helps students build critical skills in computational thinking, engineering and leadership,” says Sandy Currie, a STEM Program Manager at Google Canada. “The curriculum is delivered by Google engineers who provide mentorship opportunities and teach a range of topics from game design to hardware development.”
Applications for Code Next Connect are open until August 5. High school students aged 13 years or older residing in Canada, are encouraged to apply. The program is particularly suited for students in grades 9 and 10.
Participants will receive a host of benefits if accepted into the program, including a $250 stipend in the form of a gift card, weekly club meetings from October to June, and early access to new Code Next curriculum. They will also receive a unique email address, some Google merchandise, and the chance to form relationships with fellow students interested in technology and coding.
The program also provides participants with an exciting opportunity to present their work to the larger Google community at Demo Days and get featured on the Code Next Students page.