First BC Tech Summit a coding eye-opener for Island students

More than 2,000 people flocked to the Vancouver Convention Centre for the BC Tech Summit

  • Feb. 1, 2016 1:00 p.m.

On Jan. 18 and 19 more than 2,000 people flocked to the Vancouver Convention Centre for the BC Tech Summit, two days where businesses, educators and students got to immerse themselves in a non-stop smorgasbord of presentations, show cases and hands on tech experiences – including panels and a ‘Code Camp’ specifically for students.

I thought it was really successful,” said teacher Magen Boniface, who attended with nine students of the eBus Academy, an online school operated out of Nechako Lakes School District.

“It just offered such a broad range of perspectives,” she said.

Included in the eBus Academy group were Alana Perry, who lives in Nanaimo, and Aiden and Naeven Alle Kopas, of Ladysmith, who were joined by their mother Ellina.

One of the most important outcomes for students at the conference was an understanding that digital tech is not about individuals in cubbyholes, keying code anonymously.

“The idea of tech is not one where you work in isolation, you’re part of a team,”Boniface said. “I really think it broke the stereotype of tech for some of our students.”

It also forked what might have seemed a straightforward career path. What Boniface and her students learned is that tech as a business sector has made its way into the circuitry of almost every occupation.

“Tech is everywhere,” Boniface said. Which means there’s more than one pathway for getting into it in the field.

“Before coming to the conference I was pretty sure what I wanted to do – now I’m not so sure,” Perry said. So she’s rethinking her plan to zero in too narrowly on computer sciences as her major discipline at university.

Not that she doesn’t want to create innovative code, a facet of the business students got a taste of at the BC Tech Summit’s two-hour Code Camp, but it became clear to her that you can approach digital tech from the inside-out and from the outside-in.

What emerged was an appreciation of the need for people involved in the digital tech industry to be multi-talented and creative as much as mathematical and analytical.

“I really heard that at the coding camp,” Perry said. “The idea of coding is like learning a language, and it’s not that difficult. Once you’ve learned it, you can unlock your creativity.”

The understanding that digital tech is not an abstract, theoretical science has rendered terms like “geek” and “nerd” irrelevant, Perry said. Those types of labels simply don’t apply any more, and the BC Tech Summit confirmed that for her.

“I think having such a range of people represented breaks that mold,” she said. “I think that stereotype doesn’t exist or it’s not really representative of people.”

Neither is tech an A to B sort of progression. To succeed, you have to take leaps of faith, audiences learned over and over. “You’re probably going to learn the greatest lessons through failure – just don’t make the same mistake twice,” was a message that came through loud and clear for Perry.

Aiden Alle Kopas is interested in music as a career, and he produces hip-hop compilations of his own using a digital sound-studio program on his home computer. But he’s got serious reservations about how pervasive the tech revolution is becoming.

“I just don’t think that people have to have so many things do so many things for them,” Alle Kopas said.

He’s concerned that instead of actually playing music, with hands on instruments, and – perhaps – shared with an audience, the day will come when music is reduced to an abstract process of coding notes or even assembling blocks of sound.

“Yesterday we were in Best Buy and I was seeing all these scales and fit-bits and everything, in that sense I disagree with the whole technological revolution,” he said.

Ellina Alle Kopas said one of the displays at the BC Tech Simmit featured a wrist attachment that, when people shook hands, exchanged information and indicated whether or not they might want to be friends. “Well, why not just a handshake and a hello? Does it make it more real just because a piece of technology has said you’re friends?”

For Aiden we are getting to the point where we are too fascinated by gadgets, and not in tune with the immediate, physical feeling of creating and performing a piece of music.

So even though he uses technology to assemble his hip-hop compilations, he always wants to be incorporating music that either he or someone else has played on a physical instrument, not rifs generated by code.

“Explore the new developments and technology,” he advises, “but still learn where the music came from, learn how to play actual instruments, or learn how to build relationships with people that aren’t technological.”





Just Posted

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Justine Keefer’s Cedar Elementary School Grade 6/7 class put together a student paper, as part of a school project. Pictured here Andrew Gregory, left, Felix Leduc, Addison Armstrong, Lucia Walker and Anise Dick. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Cedar Elementary School students create their own newspaper

Grade 6/7 class publishes Wolf Pack News as part of language arts and social studies

Évangeline Laforest and Oscar McClements’ invention La Méduse (the Jellyfish) removes oil from the ocean. The invention was one of 15 out of 700 inventions submitted to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Little Inventors contest. (Cole Schisler photo)
‘Little Inventors’ from Ladysmith showcased in national science challenge

Évangeline Laforest and Oscar McClements were one of 15 finalists in the Little Inventors Challenge

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read