Building an app – one of the computer science class projects at Havergal College, an independent school for girls in Toronto, Ontario – requires more than just the necessary technical skills to develop a software application. A successful project involves teamwork and working with members of the school community to develop an original idea to create a more comprehensive app that also reflects the students’ own sense of style.
“The app project is designed to consolidate Grade 12 students’ understanding of what they have learned during the year, but having previously worked on projects for themselves, now they are working for someone else,” says technological education teacher Kyle Cardinale.
The experience is a reminder that collaborating with others and managing a project from concept to completion are necessary skills for students considering careers in the tech industry.
The app project is just one example of the school’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) initiatives that allow students to showcase their tech knowledge. Students also use their design skills to create components such as a user interface and to prepare marketing materials to advertise the product.
The project is part of the school’s curriculum designed to prepare students for university and potential STEM-related careers. The apps ranged from scheduling for club events and attendance, to managing the logistics of school assemblies.
“The focus on gender in STEM – and the future careers of the girls – motivates me to build upon the program and make it even stronger,” says Mr. Cardinale, adding that an increasing number of Havergal students are interested in careers involving engineering, the sciences and technology.
“It’s our job to give them the confidence and exposure to skills such as coding so that they know they can do it – they believe in themselves,” he says.
It’s our job to give them the confidence and exposure to skills such as coding so that they know they can do it – they believe in themselves.— Kyle Cardinale, technological education teacher at Havergal College
Part of this process involves opportunities like hackathons where students from different grades and other Conference of Independent Schools collaborate with each other to learn about coding. Students also are given the opportunity to join the Robotics team, learn how to operate a 3D printer and film stop-motion animations for both curricular and co-curricular applications.
Meanwhile, Havergal’s computer science students will have plenty to celebrate in the next academic school year when new facilities, including an art and tech wing and a Makerspace, will enhance the school’s STEM program.
Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.