During February’s Black History Month, Virtual Secondary School students completed an activity that highlighted seven Black pioneers in the world of computer technology.
Students worked in groups of four to research and create an informative poster covering one of 7 Black Pioneers outlined in an online program
. The focus was on the technology that each of these computer technology pioneers worked on, contributed to, or invented.
Teacher Warren Hutton says this project was an effective way to emphasize community building and a respectful class environment.
“As we went through each poster, we discussed what we knew about each of these individuals and inventions prior to this exercise and how important representation is and why it is such a problem in computer technology,” explained Hutton. “Students were then required to write a paragraph that answers, ‘How can better representation in computer technology improve society?”
Grade 10 student Haylee Sim says this activity taught her much about the contributions Black pioneers have made to the kinds of technology we use today.
“The project overall was very insightful,” she says. “I learned that if you work hard, persevere and are determined, you can prove people wrong and blow them away. Everyone has the potential to do something great. Technology itself is very diverse, with various different fields, that it would only make sense for the people working in technology to be as diverse as the field is.”
Grade 10 student Sam Merat thinks it’s important to learn Black history to respect those who have “made positive impacts on our lives, to give appreciation and recognition to those who have shaped our lives by pushing through the struggles they faced.”
Hutton complimented the creations and was especially proud of how students worked together in their groups to create their posters.
“I was incredibly impressed with how they collaborated in their breakout rooms and found ways to all contribute their ideas, whether it was over video call or through chat. The conversations and collaboration became a valuable component of this activity. Additionally, the paragraphs they provided showed me how much these students care about the social progress being made in the world.”