Implementing FIT

An Introduction

Implementing FIT

The overall goal of ICTC’s FIT program is to encourage youth participation in ICT at the secondary school level. The hope is that young Canadian talent will pursue careers in ICT and become employable after secondary or post-secondary education. The disconnect between the Canadian labour market and education is concerning as students are filtered into irrelevant and expensive educational pathways; with FIT, ICTC’s goal is to encourage young adults to pursue realistic and employable careers.

ICTC implements the FIT program in collaboration with provincial and territorial Ministries of Education, school boards, and individual schools in order to facilitate the program. ICTC’s goal is for the FIT program to be delivered in a complete and uniform way, in as many schools as possible across Canada. As each province and territory is unique in funding, infrastructure, and educational guidelines the implementation of the FIT program does vary.


This section, ‘Implementing FIT,’ provides an overview of how to implement the FIT program. The following areas are covered:


 

Please note: The information provided here is for a typical FIT program implementation. Please review this information with an ICTC representative.


1. Implementation Timeline


There are 3 stages to implement the FIT program. These stages and the key milestones are summarized in the graphic below.




The “Decisions” stage of implementation can take an indeterminate amount of time. Discussions with ministries of education, school boards, and schools can be lengthy. Decision making can take a considerable amount of time and may require multiple levels of agreement.

Once an agreement is in place to deliver the FIT program at a school, or a number of schools within a school board, implementation moves into the “Planning” stage.

An important next step is the evaluation and alignment of existing courses and the creation of required new courses to meet the FIT curriculum requirements. The cycle of new course development can be as long as a year. In October principals, assistant principals, vice principals, curriculum leaders/ department heads meet to decide which courses will be offered in the following school year. The key considerations for the course selection include:

  • Direction and vision of the school and the school board mandate for 21st century learning
  • Projected Enrollment numbers for the upcoming school year
  • Qualifications and expertise of teaching staff 

 

Once the courses have been approved the student course selection materials will be created and the “Planning” stage for the FIT program is well underway.

The remaining stages of the “Planning Stage” will look something like this:
 

   November:

  • Courses finalized for the upcoming school year and submitted to principal for final approval
  • Course booklet sent to the printer’s mid-November. These Course booklets are for students and parents to decide on student enrollment in courses for the following school year 2009-2010

   January:

  • Optional Professional Development opportunity for educators during exam periods (timing varies by province)

   February:

  • Guidance counsellor present to course registration to classes
  • Students and Parents review course materials
  • Course selection for the following school year is completed

 

  March:

  • Student registration is complete
  • School timetables are built based on student enrollment   

   April:

  • Staff confirmation of course enrollments
  • Student timetables for the upcoming year are distributed 

   May:

  • Teacher(s) design and build labs for September
  • This marks the beginning of the “roll-out” phase of the FIT implementation

   June:

  • Optional Professional Development opportunity for educators during exam periods (timing varies by province)
  • Teacher(s) build the budgets for FIT implementation

   July:

  • First week of July a summer institute for technology training is held. Alternately these have been held within the last two weeks of August
  • Teachers finalize and prepare class activities

 

   September:

  • The FIT program begins

 

2. Teacher Training



There are a number of concentrations that schools can offer when delivering the FIT program. These include:

  • Interactive Media
  • Software Design and Development
  • Business and Information Analysis
  • Network Systems and Operations

All schools offering the FIT program offer business and communication skill development. Each school offering the FIT program will need to review the technical capabilities of its staff to deliver the particular concentration of FIT that was selected. In some cases teachers will require technical certification training or upgrading to meet the standards set by vendors. These technical certifications may include but are not limited to:


1. Cisco IT Essentials (ITE)

2. CompTIA A+


Cisco IT Essentials (ITE) train-the-trainer classes:

This class is 40 hours in length (5 days, 8 hours a day), and is traditionally carried out in an in-person training model. There has been a move towards a blended-distance learning model to accommodate teachers in remote locations or who are unable to be released from the classroom for a full week of training.

To become an instructor in this program, the teacher must complete a training course from an approved Area Academy.  The full qualification requirements are outlined in the train-the-trainer model for the Cisco Academy found here.

For the Cisco Academies:

  • High Schools are typically called ‘Local Academies’ in the Cisco Academy program.  Instructors here are authorized to deliver curriculum to students only.  They receive their training from ‘Regional Academies’.
  • Some larger High Schools and/or colleges/technical institutes/universities are known as ‘Regional Academies.’  They are authorized to train instructors.  Instructors here typically have more practical experience/industry certifications than instructors in Local Academies.  If one of these schools decided to also offer training to students, then they are a Local/Regional Academy.  NAIT in Edmonton is a Local/Regional Academy.  Regional Academy Instructors receive their training from ‘Area Academies.’  Local Instructors can also receive training at Area Academies if their Regional Academy cannot accommodate them.
  • Area Academies train Regional and Local Instructors.  They typically receive their training from Cisco directly, but depending on the training, can receive training from another Area (or even a Regional) depending on the skill sets needed to be trained in.  In Canada there are four Area Academies – One on Quebec, one in Ontario, and one in Alberta (SAIT) and British Columbia (BCIT).

 

Please note: The role of the Regional and Area Academy is currently under review within the Cisco Academy program.  Some Regional Academies are better prepared to deliver training than some Area Academies.

For more information please visit:

https://www.netacad.com/web/about-us/about-networking-academy

http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/netacad/downloads/779/edu/media/docs/Instructor_Training_Guidelines.pdf

 

CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+)

Information about the CompTIA CTT+ certification and training can be found here.
 

3. Technical Requirements


Institutions often presume that implementing FIT requires a large investment in hardware or software to meet the requirements of FIT. This is simply not true. The FIT program was designed to seamlessly integrate into a school’s curriculum; therefore, no extra technical requirements are needed if you are approved.
 

When seeking to implement FIT, you will be advised by your local FIT representative the concentrations that your school is able to offer. Concentration fulfillment is based upon a set of competencies, and often, schools will be unable to offer all of FIT’s four concentrations right away. This is based upon the course offerings of the school, since, certain courses meet certain competencies.
 

With the help of a FIT representative, a school will be able to map out different pathways of courses they are able to offer students. Schools wishing to offer students all of FIT’s four concentrations may be required to run new courses to meet the competencies. During this time a school may look to implementing new software and hardware to meet the course requirements.
 

At this time, FIT may offer advice to a school or board as to what resources are complementary to each course or FIT concentration. FIT is pleased to suggest resource vendors that have received a FIT, ‘SEAL OF APPROVAL,’  by ICTC and that supplement FIT concentrations.
 

In this circumstance, the technical requirements of a school may alter and be determined by an external vendor and the school.


4. Registering Students


FIT Student Student registration in the FIT program occurs when a student selects a FIT course in a designated FIT institution. At this time, they are offered an invitation by the Lead FIT Teacher to the program. Even though students are automatically registered as, ‘FIT students,’ upon entering a FIT approved course, it is only students who complete a course pathway that are awarded a FIT certificate. (Course pathways are the selected courses that complement a FIT concentration/certificate)


PLEASE NOTE:
FIT is pleased to announce it will be implementing a Student Passport by Fall 2013. This passport tool will allows students to track their competencies that he/she has developed as a FIT student and will display the competencies a student must meet (or has met) in order to achieve a FIT certificate. Once the Student Passport has been implemented in a school, students will then automatically receive a, ‘Welcome Letter,’ when registering in a FIT approved course. This way a student may identify as a FIT student.


The Passport tool will benefit students by providing them with documentation of the industry-validated competencies they have achieved with FIT. Not only will this prove to be a useful for students when applying to post-secondary programs but also, upon their resume and job applications. 


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