Originally posted on 12/9/2013 on the Valence Developer Blog by Sarah-Beth Bianchi.
Several weeks ago, Desire2Learn was invited to take part in a program that connects high school students with local businesses to shed light on potential career paths and provide mentoring opportunities. For this particular event, known as ZOOM Challenge Day, we were asked to host a one-day workshop that would allow these students to contribute to a project that had direct relevance for the company, and utilized skills from one of the Specialist High Skills Major programs offered in the Ontario secondary school system.
Fast forward to last Thursday. Six high school students specializing in Information & Communications Technology came to Desire2Learn headquarters and became the newest members of the Valence Community.
These students worked with the Valence Community Facilitator (yours truly), and the Senior Software Developer who built the Remote Plugins Test Service, plus a number of other developers and a technical designer who dropped in throughout the day. In teams of two, the students customized that Remote Plugins project to adapt it for additional use cases, such as re-branding it for their school. Through this project, they gained insight into the agile software development process, participated in pair programming, and learned about the importance of source control. They also got to act as LMS Administrators by deploying their Remote Plugins to a demo instance of the Learning Environment.
The staff who participated in the event had an opportunity to mentor these students by assisting them with their projects, and sharing our educational and career backgrounds to showcase the (sometimes circuitous) routes that led us to where we are today.
At the end of the event, the students demonstrated an understanding of the basics of software development and a new-found appreciation for source control. A pretty good result for a day spent in a meeting room, fuelled by pizza, pop and cookies.