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Just a few years ago, fibre Internet was only available in big cities. As Internet technology evolves, Xplore continually invests in its networks to give rural communities access to the latest and greatest. As a result, more and more small towns can now get access to gigabit speeds on Xplore Fibre — and that means more opportunities for these communities to thrive.

Xplore’s network investments in Sundre, Alberta brought fibre Internet with cutting-edge speeds directly to homes and businesses. We are also investing in the local community by sponsoring programs that help with technology use and adoption with a goal of building a brighter future.

Today, we want to introduce you to the Sundre Municipal Library’s Beginner and Intermediate Tech Clubs, sponsored by Xplore.

Fibre, in combination with coding and robotics equipment and lessons, helps students compete with their peers, discover new interests and get excited about STEM fields.

The programs gave children ages 10-14 the opportunity to learn robotics and coding over a 6-week period.

“So much of our current and future career space is going to involve technology. Many of our rural students will not end up staying here so giving them exposure builds interest in science and technology and better sets them up to compete in the future. These opportunities put students on a more even playing field with their urban counterparts,” Joy Willihnganz, Library Manager, Sundre Municipal Library said.

Students in the Beginner Tech Club learned the foundational skills of robotics and coding where Intermediate Tech Club participants had the opportunity to build on the basics and learn more advanced programming.

The Beginner session started with basic coding using a MicroBit controller and a Cute Bot dual-speed motor intelligent car. Participants programmed them to do things like move and follow a track.

Students also learned how to make the car dance like a bee, use turn signals, automatic collision avoidance, and line-tracking.

The Intermediate class built an intelligent smart home system including voice-activated lights, a smart fan, automatic windows and wardrobe, and a water level detector.

The program saw a diverse demographic of participants, including many girls.

“It’s important for girls to know that there’s opportunities for them in science fields as well. It was really neat to see so many girls taking part,” Joy said.

After the program was complete, students got to take their robotics and coding kits home. In their final classes, they were given ideas for ways to use the kits and continue their learning.

“For some of them, the cost of these kits would have been prohibitive. Being able to take them home allows them to continue learning, and the parents are excited to interact with this technology with their children. The generational learning is very neat to see,” Joy said.

In a satisfaction survey conducted after the course was complete, parents agreed that the program sparked more curiosity in their children, that their children were excited that they got to keep the coding equipment, and that they would use it in the future to continue learning.

Joy was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of children who showed up every weekend for class eager to learn and interact with their instructor and peers.

“Post COVID, it’s been so good to see kids interacting with other people and things and having fun again,” she said.

Technology-based programs can be difficult for the library to run due to the costly nature of required materials, equipment and expertise.

“We are extremely grateful for the sponsorship from Xplore. Without the sponsorship, we could not offer these programs. Thank you for joining with us in enlightening and encouraging our youth to perceive possibilities for future engagement in STEM fields,” Joy said.

Gigabit-speed Xplore Fibre is available in Sundre, Alberta. Visit today to see if your home is covered by fibre!