Wyoming Department of Education and TCS to host statewide goIT Digital Innovation Challenge for middle school innovators

The Wyoming Department of Education and Tata Consultancy Services, a global IT services consulting and business solutions organization, will co-host Wyoming’s first statewide goIT Digital Innovation Challenge, on Oct. 17. The event will be bringing together top student teams from three participating school districts to pitch their digital innovations and compete against one another for the title of Wyoming goIT Champion. 

Guest speakers at the virtual event include Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon and Surya Kant, Chairman of North America, TCS. Robin Cooley, Director of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, Laurel Ballard, the WDE’s State Leader for Teacher Resources and computer science Education Champion, and Robert Kane, U.S. Head, Life Sciences Industries, TCS, will make up the panel of judges, and address the students on how important embracing technology and innovation will be to their own careers and the future of Wyoming. 

The event aligns with the Wyoming State Legislature’s mandate that all schools must integrate computer science into their curriculums by 2022. In 2018, the Wyoming Department of Education addressed this need by launching a partnership with TCS to bring its flagship STEM education program, goIT, to all of Wyoming’s middle school students. 

goIT is a digital innovation education program that empowers students to pursue careers in technology by engaging in standards-aligned, project-based learning. Over the course of 12-20 hours, students learn about the importance of computer science and design thinking and are then challenged to ideate digital innovations that solve or address community or world issues.

Founded in 2009, goIT has reached over 30,000 students in the US and Canada in over 100 different cities and has engaged over 5,000 employee mentors. In recent years, goIT has also expanded globally – and has now reached 22 countries and benefited over 75,000 students. 

The Wyoming goIT program was piloted with Johnson County #1 School District and reached over 300 students from Clear Creek and Kaycee Middle Schools. In the second year of partnership, goIT expanded to three of the five planned districts prior to COVID-19 shutdowns, impacting roughly 2,000 students from seven different schools and challenging them to ideate apps that would attract residents to the state, either by highlighting the unique opportunities to be found living in Wyoming, or addressing some of the issues that students feel drive residents away. 

Employees from TCS and the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services have also volunteered their time to mentor students through the program.

“TCS believes in empowering people and communities by connecting them to opportunities in the digital economy,” Surya Kant, Chairman of North America, TCS said. “TCS goIT brings tremendous value to students and schools by introducing technology, design thinking, problem solving, and career readiness into classrooms. By partnering with the Wyoming Department of Education and Department of Workforce Services, goIT is positively impacting students across the state.”

“Access to STEM education is critically important for our young people in Wyoming,” Robin Sessions Cooley, Director, Wyoming Department of Workforce Services said. “We know over the next ten years STEM jobs are projected to grow at more than double the rate of non-STEM occupations, and STEM jobs have higher wage potential. Competitions like goIT give our students a chance to gain valuable experience in both STEM and computer science, and we’re proud to be a partner in this event.”   

The WDE and TCS hope to expand the program to reach students from 20 districts across the state by the spring of 2021.

“Wyoming is investing heavily in computer science resources; however, students first need to have an interest in the subject,”  Laurel Ballard, Wyoming’s State Leader for Teacher Resources and computer science Education Champion said, “Computer science education can be daunting for both students and teachers, and goIT has created a program that makes learning accessible and relevant to the real world. This type of learning has enabled our students to understand how CS relates to their interests so they can continue deepening their knowledge of the subject.”

Parents and teachers interested in goIT are encouraged to join the goIT Monthly Challenge, during which students from across North America are challenged to come up with a digital innovation that aligns with the specific United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal chosen for that month. 

To learn more about goIT, the goIT Monthly Challenge, and the ways in which parents and educators can get involved, visit the goIT website at https://programs.tcsempowers.com/us/goIT/monthly-challenge

Parents, guardians, teachers, and the public have been invited to tune into the goIT Virtual Showcase via a live stream on YouTube from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 17. To register for the event, go to http://bit.ly/Wyoshowcase2020.



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