Creative Technologies Course: Connect Charter School

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The Creative Technologies course was introduced at Connect Charter School in August, 2019, as part of Connect’s complementary programming. 

Students in grades 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9 each rotate through music with Mr. Andrew Bolen, fine arts with Ms. Lorrie Emin, and creative technologies with Mr. David Cloutier and Ms. Heather Rattai, during each semester at school. As in past years, grade 6 students continue to have a full year of music instruction to enhance musical skill development. Drama remains an important part of programming at Connect, taught as an elective by Ms. Heather Melville.

“In order for our students to remain at the forefront of integrating technology into learning, we recognized they needed to be given opportunities to extend their thinking on how to apply existing technology while also looking for gaps that need to be filled through the development of apps or software,” notes Phil Butterfield, Principal at Connect Charter. “By introducing this course with the existing music/band and art classes, we were able to maintain our commitment to performing and visual arts as well as adding an important element of innovative technology into our program.” 

According to David Cloutier, Educational Technologist, “our Creative Technologies course builds student capacity in solving problems both in and outside of school – whether it’s related to computation, creative arts, or even relationships. Modern technology in Creative Technologies are our medium of learning these skills.” 

Heather Rattai, creative technologies teacher, notes that “students in this course are interacting with apps and resources that they can then use in other classes as a way to share their knowledge and express their creativity.”

Dr. Norman Vaughan, Professor, Mount Royal University, notes: “from my perspective, this Creative Technologies course is empowering students to not only take control and responsibility for their own learning but also to collaborate and learn from others. They say that to ‘teach is to learn twice’.” 

Student Perspective

“Some of the things I did in Creative Tech were about Internet safety, which is super important in today’s world of fake news, scams and all sorts of nasty stuff on the Internet. We were given free coding time for the first five minutes of every class, and that’s a skill that is soon to be required by today’s workplace. I personally wrote a program that would make a BBC micro:bit transmit morse code signals over bluetooth to other micro:bits with the same program. This course is an awesome course and it adds a lot of value to Connect Charter because it helps students learn how to use the technology they are provided with more effectively and helps us to learn vital skills for the workplace.”

  • Bennett T, Creative Technologies student

Q&A with Jack, Creative Technologies student

What did you create in creative tech and why do you think this was important to do?

Technology is used everywhere in our everyday lives and the ideas you learn are basic but most people don’t fully understand.

How do some of the skills in Creative Tech transfer beyond the course?

I learned how a breadboard works as well as many other little things that I am now able to use to help me in life whether it be creating a circuit ie. light switch in my house or something else.

Do you feel that the course adds value to Connect and if so in what way?

I definitely like the aspect of hands on learning and in particular two of my favourite things to do is tinker with tech and building. It really provides aspects for everyone; some people – myself included – really like technology, especially when it is hands-on.