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New Burnaby school tackles digital skills

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

The District of Burnaby is opening a new “Digital Academy” that focuses on teaching skills like making web apps, programming and coding, digital photography and other skills not traditionally offered by public schools.


Director of instruction Kevin Brandt said it’ll all launch in the 2015 school year with many of the courses online and available for free to any student in B.C.

“We’re going to be rolling out the courses, starting with 3D animation, digital photography, 3D printing, computer programming and web-app development,” he said.

“It’s going to be very flexible like all online programs. You can be an academy student where you take an entire program with us or you can just take a course.”

Brandt said the district is trying to predict where employment demands are heading. It’s also partnering with B.C. Institute of Technology and Simon Fraser University to match post-secondary course offerings.

It’s unclear, he said, whether there would be transferable credits, or perhaps preferential acceptance into post-secondary.

Currently, Burnaby’s online education has 14 full-time teaching positions serving students — that number could grow as demand increases. Some of the courses could be offered at Cariboo Hill Secondary.

Trustee Ron Burton said the district’s funding could also grow if the program attracts students from other places in the province. Provincial funding is alloted based on student enrolment, he said, that means more money for Burnaby schools for every student that signs on to the new program.  

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