When schools across North America locked down, goIT from Tata Consultancy Services stepped up – finding new and innovative ways to engage with middle and high schools during the “New Normal” of distance learning and social isolation.
In March of 2020, schools and educational institutions across the world shut down in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic – interrupting the education of an estimated 1.3 billion students, according to UNESCO.
The shutdown also impacted one of Tata Consultancy Services’ longest-running educational development program, goIT.
goIT is a hands-on digital innovation workshop experience offered to schools across North America – and now the world – for free. Over the
course of 12-20 hours – students are taught the principles of design thinking, human-centered design, basic coding all with the close support of by volunteers from TCS and other partner companies; culminating in a “Dragon’s Den” style competition in which teams of students ‘pitch’ the concept for tech solution design to address problems they’ve identified within their community.
The workshops are lively, vibrant affairs that have now gone completely virtual!
Adjusting to the New Normal
Resilience and adaptability are two values that both help drive the success of Tata Consultancy Services as well as help solve problems for both businesses and communities. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the goIT team leaned in to these values in order to meet the new needs of students and educators.
The first move was to develop a ‘templatized’ version of goIT called goIT@home – which maintains the core facets of the program, delivered in a format optimized for distance learning.goIT@home can be accessed by schools, parents, and educators for free here. TCS is also supporting goIT@home by offering mentorship and coaching from ‘virtual volunteers’ who can help recreate the workshop experience on distance learning platforms.
You can read more about goIT@home here: https://www.tcsempowers.com/covid-19-response/access-to-education/tcs-free-stem-goit-goes-virtual
The goIT Monthly Challenge
When the going gets tough, the tough go virtual – and TCS leveraged their technology in order to deliver the competitive elements of goIT to a much larger audience through the goIt Monthly Challenge.
Each month, TCS is joined by a co-host in challenging students 10-17 to make a ‘pitch video’ which outlines how their goIT innovation could help address problems aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. A panel of judges then decides a winner – with prizes offered to the school the winner attends.
In June, TCS was joined by Humana in challenging students to address Goal #3 of the United Nations’ SDGs – “Good Health and Well-bring.” The winning app was Addin, which was an extension for online meeting apps that helped deaf and hard-of-hearing people communicate more effectively.
In July, Zions Bank joined TCS in challenging students to address social justice, in alignment with Goal #10 of the United Nations’ SDGs: “Reduce Inequalities.” The winning app idea was Female Force, which empowers and supports women through a community-based platform.
August’s goIT Monthly Challenge is being supported by KeyBank and is focused on Goal #2 of the United Nations’ SDGs: Zero Hunger. Each month, more and more entries are being submitted, and the quality of the applications continues to improve – making it more and more difficult to pick a winner!
To learn more about the goIT Monthly Challenge, go here: https://programs.tcsempowers.com/us/goIT/monthly-challenge
With the upcoming school year still somewhat uncertain, goIT developed a digitized version of the program called goIT online. This new development is a self-paced online experience that can be leveraged by teachers to bring the same high-quality, standards aligned, goIT experiences to their students in a remote setting.
In addition to the new virtual and remote offerings, the program continues to operate in its previous format – recently reaching over 650 summer school students with the Toronto District School Board, and students in partnership with St. Stephen’s Community House and NiSource in Columbus, OH, to name a few.
Each event is supported by ‘virtual volunteers’ from TCS and other partner companies – who leverage TCS’ technology to engage directly with students, only at a distance.
More programs are planned for the future – including a state-wide culmination for students from Wyoming, in partnership with the Department of Education. This will see winners from previous in-person and virtual events showcase their innovations with one team being named the state-wide champion.
While circumstances might change, TCS’ commitment to providing access to education won’t – and goIT continues to be one of the most dynamic, innovative, and engaging ways to get students interested in design thinking, and STEM careers.
For more information about goIT, click here: https://programs.tcsempowers.com/us/goIT
Tata Consultancy Services’ commitment to providing access to education didn’t end with Ignite My Future in School. During the COVID-19 pandemic, TCS provided a global response to meet the needs of students, educators, and parents.