LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. -- More than 100 students from a number of schools in southern Alberta were given the chance to learn some of the digital ins and out at a special event Tuesday.

The Southwest Alberta Hackathon is hosted by Palliser Regional Schools and The Callysto Project, which teaches skills like computational thinking, coding and data analysis.

Grade 12 student Jackson Lowe says learning how to structure the codes and sorting through the data has been good.

“I’ve always been interested in learning computer programming and this was a good opportunity to come and try it out. I haven’t been able to do a ton of computer programming courses at my school because my schedule is… just doesn’t really allow for it, so this has been a nice opportunity to come and get some experience.”

Lowe adds that he’s considering getting a job that involves science, math or computer science and the skills he’s learning are great to have in those careers.

The event lets student use open data from institutions like the City Of Lethbridge and Statistics Canada so they can try to complete different real-world challenges.

The program doesn't just benefit the students – it also helps teachers learn skills that can tie into core subjects.

"This is an opportunity for them to get a little more exposure…" - Jason Kwasny

Palliser’s technology integration specialist Jason Kwasny says the students get to see extra-curricular ideas that they might not normally get to see.

"This is an opportunity for them to get a little more exposure; you know shine a little bit, show off some of their skills right. For teachers in our schools, I’m super excited because I hope that they take some of the stuff into their classrooms and then start to apply it and go, 'Oh this can fit in social studies or math right.'"

The Callysto Project is federally funded free learning platform in Canada, which promotes digital literacy and helps Canada’s youth learn the skills to become the future drivers of innovation.

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"Any career you can think of involves programming..." - David Hay

Alberta Callysto Ambassador David Hay says it’s important to organize these Hackathon events so students can be introduced to something that they didn’t know they loved doing yet.

“Basically any career you can think of involves programming at this point. Whether we are automating processes or looking at how we can analyze any data that we have. We’re doing programming in just about anything.”

Hay says the point of Callysto is to give students access to tools that are used in industry so they can have a better understanding of what coding is.

The Callysto Project started in 2018 and trained and provided resources to over 380 teachers and 11,000 students last year.