Students learn to “hack” open data to gain in-demand data science skills

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PICTURE BUTTE, AB: February 25, 2020: Today, Grade 7-12 students will learn in-demand digital literacy skills – including data analysis and coding – at the Southwest Alberta Hackathon, hosted by Callysto and Palliser Regional Schools. Starting at 9:30 a.m. at Picture Butte High School, students will use open data from sources such as the City of Lethbridge and Statistics Canada to solve real-world challenges.

They will work through the challenges using Callysto, a federally-funded, curriculum-based, free, online platform for teachers and students in Grades 5-12.

“There is definitely a demand for data-science skills,” says Callysto ambassador David Hay, an elementary teacher with Elk Island Public Schools who is currently on sabbatical to promote and develop Callysto. “Organizations want people who can make sense of, and communicate, data. We’re hoping to teach students these skills at the hackathon, where they will be using open data from local and national sources to make the learning relevant, and prepare them for real-life challenges.”

Jason Kwasny, Technology Integration Specialist at Palliser Regional Schools, says all students deserve the opportunity to explore their passions and showcase their skills.

“With that in mind we jumped at the opportunity to provide Palliser students with a novel way to demonstrate their talents in data analysis and coding,” he says, adding that opening the event up to all students in Southern Alberta is a demonstration of the collaborative skills students are asked to demonstrate in class. “Computational thinking skills are often dealt with in mathematics or computer science classes, and the recognition that these skills can be applied across the curriculum is important for our students and teachers to see.”

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, comments on the learning opportunities for young Canadians.

“Through CanCode, our government is investing in programs like Callysto to help young Canadians learn the digital literacy skills they need to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow,” he says. “These skills are equipping students in the Calgary and Lethbridge areas to succeed and seize future opportunities in a rapidly evolving digital economy.”

About Callysto
Callysto is a free, interactive, learning and skills development program for Grades 5-12 students in Canada. The program is part of a two-year pilot project by Cybera and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences. They received funding from the federal government’s CanCode program to build and employ new technologies that promote digital literacy, and help Canada’s youth develop the foundational skills required to become the future drivers of innovation.

About Palliser Regional Schools
Palliser Regional Schools is a public school division serving some 8,550 students in 51 schools from Coaldale to Calgary. 

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For more information, please contact:

Byron Chu, Callysto Project Manager: byron.chu@cybera.ca

Craig Albrecht, Palliser Regional Schools Communications Specialist: craig.albrecht@pallisersd.ab.ca

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