Name: Eddie Wong
School: Burnaby Secondary
Years teaching FIT: Three
“this [FIT] gives students a competitive edge over their peers when applying for work”
How did you get involved with FIT?
Three years ago, the Burnaby School District was looking for someone to pilot their Computer Networking Technician (CNT) program that articulated into the first semester of the 2-year Computer Information Systems Administration (CISA) program offered by the BC Institute of Technology (BCIT).
Students attaining a 60% average in all the ICT courses taught in the CNT program would obtain preferred entry status over applications received through general admissions. My student teacher told me about this job opening and I applied. After a successful interview I was hired, and subsequently, discovered that the learning outcomes for the ICT courses aligned perfectly with FIT’s learning outcomes. The district wanted to adopt the FIT program offered by ICTC, so in short, when I accepted the position I was already setup to integrate the FIT program.
What is the Value of teaching ICT skills?
Virtually every occupation today requires some degree of competency in ICT—whether it’s processing credit card transactions in a restaurant, checking inventory for a customer in a store, using an accounting software package, or analyzing samples in a lab, technology is ubiquitous. If we want to adequately equip our young people with the skills necessary to succeed in the working world, ICT skills should definitely be a core component in their education.
How do you incorporate FIT into your curriculum?
As part of the Cisco Networking Academy, the curriculum I teach is finely focused on computers and networking. The skills and concepts that we cover align very well with the FIT outcomes.
Why would you promote other teachers getting involved with FIT?
By aligning their curriculum to include FIT outcomes where possible, teachers in every subject area can play a role in equipping students with the necessary ICT skills to succeed in the 21st century.
How has FIT benefited your students?
Students that successfully complete our program receive a FIT certificate that is recognized across Canada by various businesses and academic institutions that have partnered with ICTC. I believe that this gives students a competitive edge over their peers when applying for work because it validates that they possess a basic IT skill set that is valued by employers today. Several of my students have been offered jobs where they need to use the skills they have learned in the program; this underlines the program’s effectiveness.
What is your background with ICT?
Since my senior high school years, I’ve had a desire to help and to mentor young people. I have also had a strong interest in technology. The latter led me to pursue a BASc degree in Biomedical/Electronics Engineering from Simon Fraser University in the late 1990’s. However, somewhere along this journey it occurred to me that I could combine both of my core interests by pursuing a teaching career after my degree. So, after much deliberation and prayer, I applied to the Professional Development Program (PDP) at SFU while working for a software engineering firm, and was accepted. After completing the PDP in 1998, I was hired immediately and taught junior science and senior Physics for several years. An ICT course load became available in 2003, which I accepted and thoroughly enjoyed. After spending my professional development time learning various multimedia tools and an object-oriented programming language, I returned to university and completed a graduate diploma in educational technology in 2008. One year later, I applied to the Burnaby School District for the CNT teaching position and have been teaching at Burnaby South Secondary ever since. The district paid for my training to obtain my CompTIA A+ and CCNA certifications to teach this program.
Where would you like to see ICT in the future?
I would like ICT to be an essential component of a student’s secondary school education, by being either a compulsory course or integrated into the curriculum of other classes. Although I appreciate technology, it is my hope that the quality of real-life interactions will not be lost as ICT is further integrated into our everyday lives.
Why do you think ICT in education is beneficial for Canadian industries?
Canada is facing a looming job shortage of highly skilled individuals in the technology sector. One way to reverse this trend is to promote ICT skills at the high school level in hopes of attracting more people into the field to meet this demand. Hopefully this will prevent local industries from having to attract talent overseas and from relocating their operations outside of the country.
How do you promote the FIT program to prospective students?
I tell prospective students that obtaining an ICT certification such as FIT enhances a person’s chances of being successful in any career, given that technology is so prevalent in practically every field. Moreover, I provide them with examples of students that have either obtained ICT jobs after the program or have successfully articulated into semester 2 of BCIT’s CISA program.
Eddie Wong’s inspirational quote for ICT in Education:
Our role is to educate, equip and enable our students. We want them to seize opportunities and expand their horizons to benefit our country and our world. FIT is a way of ensuring that students’ education is aligned with current trends in society so they will ‘fit’ in the workforce of tomorrow.