A student uses computer modelling for a school garden project. Submitted photo

A student uses computer modelling for a school garden project. Submitted photo

Campbell River’s ‘school of hack’ gives kids inside computing edge

Teachers take ‘hacking’ back to its roots with school program

Hacking is not thought of as a good thing in the computer world these days, but that’s not always the way it was.

In fact, it’s almost as if someone “hacked” the term itself.

Timberline teacher Tyler Couture says, originally, hacking referred to using coding and technology to problem-solve and come up with fun, creative solutions. Only later, did the term become synonymous with shady, underworld computer activities.

The school has a program called Digital Hackerspace and through it educators and students are trying to reclaim hacking.

“There’s an original sense of the term, which is where we got ‘Hackerspace’ from, to kind of re-appropriate it back to its initial meaning, which is ‘fun and awesome,’” he says.

The program was originally overseen by teacher Dave Coad, but Couture took over when Coad retired, and he, two other teachers and the students have taken up the mission and pushed Hackerspace’s evolution.

Hackerspace is a school-community operated workspace where students with common interests in computers, technology, and digital art and music, can meet, socialize and collaborate. Hackerspace’s goal is to create hackers according to the original sense of the term: students who can use technical knowledge and creativity to overcome problems with playful cleverness.

There are courses that cover 3D ​computer modelling and animation, computer programming, digital art and design, digital photography and game programming design, though often students will work on projects across the different disciplines. The classes run through a customized online learning platform, which the school created. It is now being used at Carihi Secondary, which has its own version.

“It kind of started with an off-the-shelf system that was too limited,” Couture says. “Because we had the expertise in-house, we basically just took it and expanded it to work for us.”

The program is aimed both at students interested in going into computer science and engineering but also at those who want to go into the arts using new media, often for commercial applications. The courses for Timberline’s Digital Hackerspace courses are taught in a teacher-guided, self-directed manner using free, open-source software with all the assignments online.

“They can do them at their own pace, and there’s a lot of options of which ones they choose,” Couture says. “It’s not linear. There are all sorts of different paths, and there are multiple ways of getting to different assignments and projects.”

Digital Hackerspace has grown from six class blocks up to 10, including two blocks for Grade 9 students and eight for students through grades 10 and 12.

“It’s almost becoming a department,” Couture says. “There’s three teachers who work in there now.”

 

The program is also geared toward arts students. Submitted photo

The program is also geared toward arts students. Submitted photo

Just Posted

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

Most Read