VANCOUVER, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, the Vancouver School District and City of Vancouver announce in collaboration with BroadbandTV (BBTV) the launch of FuturePLAY - a sustainable and scalable educational program aimed at fostering digital and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Design, and Mathematics) literacy in grades four to seven students.
Beginning in vulnerable communities in Vancouver, FuturePLAY will be rooted in two key goals: creating engaging and well-equipped learning spaces for students, and providing deep professional development for teachers to support them as they use these spaces. FuturePLAY will also directly support British Columbia’s redesigned curriculum, with guiding principles that include personalizing learning, enhancing core competencies, mastering foundational skills (reading, writing and numeracy) and engaging in real-life situations. Through the development of 21st century competencies such as critical thinking, creative thinking as well as collaboration, FuturePLAY will also help prepare students for secondary and post-secondary programs and the future workforce.
For students, the program provides technology such as Chromebooks and iPads pre-loaded with educational software for coding, design, CAD and other technical disciplines, while also creating resource spaces with modular environments that enable an array of collaborative methodologies and lend to different learning styles. For teachers, FuturePLAY offers deep professional development programs in collaboration with Science World to leverage the spaces effectively, as well as information about careers and skills needed in fast evolving STEAM industries including engineering and technology.
“Digital fluency will be essential to all new jobs. An understanding of technology will be essential for youth to integrate with critical thinking, social perceptiveness, and complex problem solving to remain competitive and resilient in a multi-job career pathway,” comments Suzanne Hoffman, Superintendent, Vancouver School District. “It’s our role as educators to equip learners with the right tools and to foster their curiosity so they can be successful in a fast-changing industry landscape.”
A unique partnership between the Vancouver School District, City of Vancouver and local industry, the program leverages joint funding from both the public and private sectors. It will also meet the increasing need in Vancouver for fostering homegrown talent alongside its burgeoning profile as a global hub for the STEAM industry. Public sector funding will be provided by the City of Vancouver and private funding will be led and sourced by BBTV’s CEO from Vancouver’s thought leaders, innovators, and top companies supporting STEAM, including Gold donor, TELUS Friendly Future Foundation; and Silver donors, Impactreneur Capital, Garibaldi Capital Advisors, and Westbank. BBTV is a Platinum donor. The Province of British Columbia supports the endeavour.
“Vancouver is now a global powerhouse for tech startups and leading innovative enterprises and we need to ensure all kids have the educational support to pursue career opportunities in our local economy,” comments Mayor Gregor Robertson. “I’m so thankful to see this creative partnership of our Vancouver schools with leaders of Vancouver’s innovation community - it will benefit local kids and our city well into the future.”
“FuturePLAY is a game-changer for elementary STEAM education, offering a multitude of potential benefits for students” comments Shahrzad Rafati, Founder & CEO, BroadbandTV. “It has the potential to dramatically scale digital and STEAM literacy, beginning in the areas of Vancouver that need it the most, while also expanding the pipeline of entrepreneurial graduates interested in pursuing jobs in B.C.’s growing innovation ecosystem. I’m particularly excited about how the program can increase the number of girls and indigenous youth who remain engaged in science and technology, and ultimately choose to pursue STEAM careers.”
“We are making sure B.C.’s students receive an education that provides them with the tools they need to thrive and contribute to a prosperous 21st century economy,” said Minister of Education Rob Fleming. “FuturePLAY fits perfectly with B.C.’s new curriculum and is a great example of partners coming together to ensure students have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed now and into the future.”