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Innovation Insights: App Development Club for Students by Students - innovate niagara

Innovation Insights: App Development Club for Students by Students


“We need to teach 10 million Canadians to code or we’ll get left behind.” - Melissa Sariffodeen, co-founder and CEO of Ladies Learning Code.


The 2016 ICTC Digital Talent Strategy Report indicated that “according to current projections, there will be a shortage of more than 200,000 information and communications technology (ICT) workers in Canada by 2020.” This is an alarmingly high projection, but Danny Moutika and Pranav Parakh, two high school students from the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) are setting out to address this shortage by equipping their peers with the programming skills needed to be “future ready,” one coding club at a time.

Danny is the recipient of the WWDC 17 Scholarship, awarding him the opportunity to attend Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC and Pranav is a volunteer for Code Niagara. Leveraging advisory support from ihub and their own knowledge of app development and programming, they hope to address the ongoing changes in Canada’s digital workforce by planning and facilitating an App Development Club for intermediate and secondary students.

Throughout the 10-week program, participating students will review coding concepts, language, interactions and the development of apps using iOS/Swift Playgrounds, and will be given the opportunity to work on their own app projects with the chance to publish them at the end of the club.

Danny and Pranav advocate that “you should learn to code because there is demand for programmers. It will lead to great future job opportunities and you can change the world with coding skills.” Their reasoning speaks volumes. Not only are they aware that digital skills will help students thrive in a growing digital economy, they’re mindful of the ability to impact real-world change that lays in their fingertips if they are equipped with the computational skills to do so. Their reasoning is also in alignment with the Federal government, which announced $50 million of funding to teach Canadian youth coding and “other digital skills” this past summer.

At ihub, we explore how we can innovate the 21st century classroom but through this club, and similar student powered initiatives, we are going beyond that and looking at how we can support 21st century learning by preparing this generation for tomorrow’s expectations. We are supporting future-ready leaders by allowing them to apply their learned skills outside of the classroom, fostering student agency and empowering them by enabling risk-taking and innovation. Danny and Pranav are reflecting this by demanding an opportunity to shape coding education in a way that isn’t even integrated into the Ontario curriculum yet!

About the Author:
Alexis Kleiman is the Coordinator of the Educational Research & Innovation Hub (ihub) and a recent graduate from Brock University’s Honours Political Science Program. In her current role, she works directly with teachers, students, educational institutions, industry experts and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Niagara and across North America to enhance the modern education experience.

Twitter: @atkleiman / @ihubNiagara
E: alexis.kleiman@ihubniagara.ca

This article originally appeared in The Business Link Niagara.