As part of Science Odyssey, we are interviewing a variety of STEM innovators to investigate pathways into STEM and to discuss the future of STEM learning and careers.
Adrienne is Lead Teacher – Coding, Digital Media and Learning Commons at Norma Rose Point School with the Vancouver School Board.
What sparked your interest and eventual career in education, specifically integrating technology and literacy?
Both my parents are teachers so I grew up learning what the mind-set of a teacher entailed. I had been working as a graphic designer and web designer and decided to go back to school and go into teaching. My undergrad was in English and my Teaching specialty was Fine Art and Media. I later went on to obtain my Masters of Educational Technology which really took all that I had learned and brought it together. The integration of technology and literacy was an opportunity I was able to apply for a position as a Digital Media Teacher and Learning Commons Teacher Librarian. It felt like the job profile had been designed for everything that I had been working towards.
What role does mentorship play in engaging youth in STEM?
Working at a middle school has shown me how great it is for mentors to give students the opportunity to engage with STEM projects. I’ve observed how eager students of this age are when actively participating in STEM challenges and inquiry projects. If students are given the option to explore they often willingly will find their own momentum leading them to discover. Mentors are imperative because they are able to inspire, set the stage and create an environment for students to harness their curiosity.
Did you have a mentor who supported you in your work and own learning journey in STEM education?
I see how valuable mentors are to youth, helping them shape who they are, set goals and envision themselves in the future. I have worked with some great colleagues during my time with the VSB. I always find learning to be contagious when you are around others who are excited about learning more. There has been no single person who has mentored me but rather a community of people around me who are always sharing information and keeping me engaged. I have to give some credit to social media. It’s so great to be able to use these platforms to share information with others.
What did you want to be when you were a child? Did you plan your current career path?
I wanted to be a Veterinarian when I was a child. My current career path was definitely not linear. I never have been one to walk on a straight path. However all the jobs and experiences I have had contributed to me being where I am. Prior to graphic and web design I was an E.A. Education Assistant giving me a lot of insight of what it was like teaching and working in a school. Being exposed to a variety of programs including creative writing, philosophy, and music has given me a unique perspective. I am really appreciative of my journey.
Tell us about your work with School District 39 and the Coding Program?
Currently I have been working alongside Peter Halim and we have been putting on workshops for teachers. Our main focus has been the micro:bit, a small hand held computer, because we love how versatile it is for a range of abilities and the possibilities are endless. Our intention is to help teachers bring code into their classrooms. We are working on providing resources, devices, and tools to assist teachers. We hope teachers will be able to see how computational thinking can fit into what they are already doing as well as compliment the new curriculum being implemented in BC. For more information on the micro:bit go to http://microbit.org/
What is Science World’s role in promoting and supporting STEM learning and careers in BC?
I am really excited about Science World focusing on bringing more technology into their workshops and into the installations for young learners. Just around the corner is STEAM Days of Summer. https://www.scienceworld.ca/pro-d Connecting the VSB and Science world is a great pairing and I hope to see more projects like this in the future. It’s going to be so fun bringing teachers together for STEAM and for all these ideas to be taken back into classrooms for students
Norma Rose Point School is located on Musqueam land, within the University Endowment Lands, neighbour to the University of British Columbia (UBC) and part of the University Hill Secondary and Elementary Family of Schools. The school is appropriately named in memory of a Musqueam Elder, Ms. Norma Rose Point (affectionately referred to as Rose Point), for her outstanding lifelong contributions to First Nations education, establishing the first pre-school on a First Nations reservation. She was also a “tireless advocate” of Aboriginal education who worked for many years with the Vancouver Board of Education, Musqueam and the UBC Community. In December 2012, she was awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal posthumously for her lifelong contributions to Aboriginal education.