Get a huge salary to spend the day playing video games and building robots. Got your attention?
That’s the desired effect of the Discover the World of Technology day, sponsored by Thompson Rivers University, the Kamloops-Thompson School District and local tech-based firms.
On Monday and Tuesday, 140 Grade 8 to 10 students from three southern Interior school districts gathered at the Henry Grube Centre to learn how fun the computing industry can be.
Just a few of the sessions included using an iPhone touch screen to control a robot arm, helping an audio-visual technician create an eye-popping laser show like a real music concert, and even creating a short animation film.
“Smaller schools are not really able to expose the schools to everything here today, so luckily we can bring them into our sessions,” said organizer Brenda Mathews, a TRU professor of computing science.
Kamloops tech professionals from B.C. Lottery Corporation, Lee’s Music, a small software company called Orchestrate and more volunteered to share their enthusiasm with the kids.
The whole point of the annual event is to expose them to what the field of technology offers and get kids to add technology into their mix when considering university courses.
“It’s not sitting at a computer writing code,” said Mathews. “Technology is so broad and we’re trying to give them some experience with that. And those technology fields, there’s huge demand and they pay more, and also the jobs are interesting… like really interesting.”
By the end of the day, it seemed, students had bought into the hype.
“I really liked the animation,” said Cecelia McLean, a 13-year-old Ashcroft Secondary student. “It was a little tough to get used to but once you get used to it it’s really, really fun and we made funny little animation videos.”
Her schoolmate, 13-year-old Jericho Hewitt, was keen on robotics. And a third Ashcroft student, 15-year-old Dillon Lambert, said the laser show captured his imagination.
Although most students return to normal curriculums that don’t touch on such technologies, all they have to do to ensure they can enter the cool fields they saw during the day is to stay in math.
That’s the main message of the day, said Mathews.
“Any entrance into any technology in university takes math. And if they have that, that’s the key.”