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Microsoft, BC polytech school to build AR/VR curriculum

Microsoft, BC polytech school to build AR/VR curriculum 

Apart from developing a mixed-reality curriculum with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Microsoft also committed to creating 50 new AR/VR jobs at its Vancouver facility.

The initiatives were announced earlier this week by Brad Smith, Microsoft president, at the Business Council of British Columbia’s Business Summit.

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He also announced a plan to pilot TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools), a Microsoft Philanthropies program that helps high schools build and grow sustainable computer science programs.

The TEALS pilot is the first time the program will expand outside the United States. Founded in 2009, this year the program has volunteers from 500 companies helping teach 12,000 students in 348 U.S. schools, with 86 in Washington state. TEALS is currently in the process of determining which school in the province it will partner with to bring the program to British Columbia in the 2018–2019 school year.

“Vancouver is becoming a world-class hub for mixed reality and digital innovation,” Smith said. “By continuing to partner with British Columbia’s business and education community, we’re excited to play a part in helping British Columbians enter the growing technology workforce.”

The announcement comes as British Columbia continues to expand its digital economy, recently opening Canada’s first VR/AR/MR hub, The Cube.

The Cube is a 6,000-square-feet co-working space in the heart of Railtown. It is named as one of nine finalists in the federal government’s Supercluster Initiative, where the government will make investments up to $950 million over five years to support business-led innovation superclusters that generate economic impact for Canada. Microsoft is a founding member of British Columbia-led Canadian Digital Supercluster consortium.

As part of its partnership with BCIT, Microsoft will help train students to meet the skill sets needed for careers in the burgeoning field of digital media and entertainment.

 By developing local talent, BCIT is preparing students for immediate opportunities in the technology industry and strengthening the pipeline for individuals looking to enter the industry.

“As a significant provider of IT and computing diploma graduates in the province, we know there is an immense opportunity for students preparing to enter the Lower Mainland’s growing tech industry,” said Kathy Kinloch, president of BCIT. “Collaborating with Microsoft will help keep BCIT at the forefront of technical innovation and sets our students up to enter the job market with the highly desirable skills that businesses are demanding.”

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