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Monday, May 13 • 3:45pm - 4:45pm
Forging Computational Superstars: The Fort McMurray Success Story

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In Spring 2014, one of Said El Majdani's students at Westwood Community High School in Fort McMurray asked him with some after-school tutoring support to learn C++. He was quickly joined by his other student friends. Soon, Said had more than 15 students asking for help learning to code. The unofficial coding club started with four old computers, which the students had sourced and fixed themselves. Now, Westwood has three labs dedicated to computer sciences and robotics, which include 3D printers, augmented reality devices, virtual reality devices, phone applications, a dedicated server for students to learn information security protocols on, and more. As they learned, the students started sharing their learning with others, and began teaching STEM to other elementary and college-level students. Westwood students have now given workshops at Keyano College about web design, python, open computer vision, and artificial intelligence. Many have taken on paid contracts from local businesses, and are working with local governments to build apps for them. And several of Said's students have been accepted into University of Waterloo engineering programs, with one winning a $100,000 scholarship to attend. In this session, Said will describe the progression of STEM interest in his school, where nearly half of the student population has now signed up for optional computing courses. What is the secret to Westwood's success, and how can it be replicated in other schools? NB an article about our program : https://www.cybera.ca/news-and-events/tech-radar/forging-computational-superstars-the-fort-mcmurray-success-story/ an interview in Huffington Post Canada about Automation challenge and preparing the students: https://www.msn.com/en-ca/video/news/said-el-mejdani-prepares-next-generation-oil-sands-workers-for-automation/vi-BBPMSlp?ocid=mailsignout

Speakers
avatar for Said El Mejdani

Said El Mejdani

Teacher, Fort McMurray Public School Division & Westwood Coders
Said El Mejdani is a computer science teacher at Fort McMurray Public School District who won a National Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2019. He holds a Bsc. Math from Ibn Toufail University in Kenitra, Morocco, a B.Ed from Ecole Normal Superieur in Rabat, Morocco, and a Master’s... Read More →


Monday May 13, 2019 3:45pm - 4:45pm MDT
Theatre