#BCTECH Summit

PLP is a great thing to take if you’re interested in attending some of the most interesting field trips and studies. In grade 8 we drove down the Oregon coast, grade 9 we went to Florida, and this year it was San Diego. On the side however, we do tons of smaller field trips, such as the Museum of Vancouver, a hydroelectric dam, and most recently, the BC Tech Summit. This event takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre, and is jam packed full of activities. Companies bring int heir latest technology, universities from all over BC are demonstrating their programs, and there are multiple guest speakers. Everyone from professional athletes, to young entrepreneurs who are there to pitch their new ideas.

Of course, being in PLP we couldn’t just go and fully enjoy everything, we had three main tasks to complete throughout the day. The first was to interview a tech industry mentor.

In the main ballroom of the convention centre was where the stage and a bunch of chairs had had been laid out, and the mentor tables were up front by the main stage.

As I’d mentioned, there was a mentor at each table, and where Mimi, Izzy, and I sat down, we were with one of the creators of an app called Buzz. It’s an app that’s still being developed but will be available for download in about a year. It’ll be able to send a mass message to anyone in your vicinity, no matter what device their on.

One assignment down. Part 2/3 was to talk to a university that was in attendance in order to present the programs that they offer. Sadly there wasn’t anyone there who had a display about anything to do with astronautical engineering, so I went with my second interest, medicine. One of the biggest developments to come out of the tech industry in recent years is augmented reality (AI). Similar to virtual reality, but this is essentially the ability to manipulate a 3D object that isn’t really there. This is the next step in technology that BCIT has taken in their medical program. They’ve begun using it to train students on how the body moves, some surgical performances, and where everything in our bodies is located. This technology is what’s replacing what they called “cold models”, or the dead bodies that they would have to bring in for the med students to do surgery on and study.

The last aspect of this three part assignment was probably my favourite. Before we went to the summit, we were to choose two speakers who would be presenting the day we were there. For this I chose the creator of Plastic Bank, and my all time hero who doesn’t have much to do with technology but has been my role model for I don’t even know how many years now, Karina Leblanc.

As I mentioned, David Katz is the founder of Plastic Bank, a system that is designed to not clean the ocean, but to reduce the amount of plastic being dumped into it. Simply put, this program is a form of encouragement to those who live in third world countries to start collecting the plastic they see on the ground. With this plastic they can bring it to a collection centre (a plastic bank if you will) where in exchange they are given money, fuel, cooking ware, first aid materials, electricity, home supplies, it all depends on how many bottles and bins they’re able to collect. The money that’s earned then goes into an online account that has ben set up for the person, this is a way of reducing the amount of theft because of the extra security. The idea is to “create a new sense of worth to people living in poverty.”

Time for speaker number two, Karina Leblanc. As I said earlier on she has been an inspiration to me since I first began playing soccer. Not only is she a two time Olympian and an extremely talented player, but she is one of the strongest motivational speakers I’ve ever had the opportunity to see. She started off by talking a bit about her life story, how she immigrated form the Caribbean, how she used to be one of the most shy little girls, and that she told every person she was going to compete in the Olympics one day. She had just started playing soccer when she decided to try outs for the U15 BC try outs, which all of her friends later made but she didn’t make the cut. This is what she believes to be the best thing to ever happen to her because it started her inner drive. She decided that day that she wouldn’t let one coach determine her life so she began putting in an extra 15 minute of every work and a few years later she was representing Canada on the international soccer pitch.

It’s something that countless amounts of people have said but her biggest message is to be yourself because, ”The only way you can do you, is to do you.” She was constantly pressing the idea that each and every person has an innner greatness that deserves to be shared with the rest of the world. Sinceshe’s been retired for three years, she has become a UNICEF ambassador. She was recently in Peru working with a group of kids who don’t have a single scrap of technology. She said that the biggest thing she noticed while she was there was how those kids had a really great sense of self without any technology. We have all of this so why can’t we have that same feeling? Simplest answer that Karina was able to give was “Don’t listen to the world that’ll tell you you’re average.”

The BC Tech Summit was one of the most interesting field trips our PLP10 class has gone on. It was one of the longest days I’ve ever had to experience due to the fact that we had to leave at 7:00am and we got back around 5:00pm. From the moment we left we were already busy, we drove across town, listened to numerous interesting speakers, spoke to some entrepreneurs, and so much more. Very fascinating, very long, very tiring.

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