Ask nearly any teacher and they will all say that 2020 and 2021 have been the toughest years of their teaching career, with seemingly insurmountable challenges around every corner. From pivoting to remote learning in just a handful of days during the onset the Covid-19 pandemic and teaching students with uneven access to technology and broadband to trying to maintain class engagement from afar, the last year and a half have been taxing. Pile on increased levels of anxiety and mental health among students and educators, everything seemed impossible.
TCS, the creator and supporter of goIT, the immersive digital innovation education program that seeks to inspire students to pursue careers in STEM, recognized the hurdles teachers were facing and double-downed on support for educators and their school districts.
With the switch to remote learning as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the goIT curriculum became even more critical. Toronto District School Board teachers needed curriculum that would engage students, worked across subjects, and aligned with the TDSB global competencies, a set of skills that foster deep learning through engaging experiences that incorporate creativity, inquiry, entrepreneurship, collaboration, leadership, communication, global citizenship, character, critical thinking and problem solving. Since September of 2020, over 1,300 students in the TDSB participated in a goIT program and over 200 teachers became goIT facilitators.
The year-end celebration of student work, despite being canceled in 2020, was back on track for this past June. Teachers were invited to register their top team for the June event, although students were so excited to pitch their goIT app designs, several teachers asked to allow more than one team to participate. The turnout was so large, the program was expanded from one to two days to accommodate all the entries. Teams represented the full spectrum of TDSB, from Kindergarten to Grade 8, and a few goIT Monthly Challenge participants and winners.
TDSB students and teachers as well as several TCS volunteers were joined by TCS client partner NielsenIQ, plus we had special guest speakers including TDSB Director Karen Falconer and the TDSB Chair Alexander Brown; TCS Chief Social Responsibility Officer, Balaji Ganapathy and Executive Director and Canada Country Head Soumen Roy, joined us to welcome students and congratulate them on all their hard work and effort throughout this most difficult year.
The TDSB is one of TCS’ longest standing educator partnerships, with 2021 marking seven years. Since inception, the program has welcomed over 13,000 students, kindergarten through 12th grade. TCS has trained over 300 TDSB teachers as goIT Facilitators. The partnership with TDSB also sparked one of the newest elements of the program, the goIT Monthly Challenge, a recurring opportunity for students to directly engage in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the goIT digital innovation.
Be sure to check out the Monthly Challenges HERE