Me as a cub reporter, circa 1988
Meet the Teacher
Educator. Journalist. Certified Geek.
Meet Andrew Tomec, the brains behind Chromeworks and a man on a mission to evolve Ontario's school system, one classroom at a time.
Mr. Tomec began his career as a journalist in the 1980s, working as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Ontario and British Columbia, including the Ottawa Sun and the Ottawa Citizen. An award-winning writer with a gift for simplifying complex subjects, his career was transformed in 1992 when the first Mac computer landed in his newsroom. While exasperated colleagues wondered what to do with this mystifying new technology, Mr. Tomec, a lifelong technology enthusiast, rolled up his sleeves and taught himself the intricacies of desktop publishing, digital image editing, graphics and web design — technologies that were transforming his industry.
Since taking up teaching in 2010, Mr. Tomec has become a passionate advocate for coding in the classroom, teaching hundreds of young children the elements of computer programming via in-class workshops and lunchtime computer clubs. Through his work with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and running after-school and summer camp programs, he's taught countless area youngsters video editing, computer game design, robotics, digital photo editing, stop-motion animation, 3D modeling and printing and other cutting-edge technologies.
When COVID-19 shuttered schools worldwide in March, Mr. T immediately grasped the need provide structure and routine into the lives of students stuck at home in quarantine. While school officials were still debating contingency plans, Mr. T's virtual classroom was up and running within a week of the shutdown, providing free daily computer classes to a growing cohort of fans on three continents. With lockdowns now easing, Mr. T has scaled back his offerings, but plans to continue his free weekly computer classes every Saturday morning at 10 am. Chromeworks is also running a full slate of virtual summer camps for students who are looking for more intensive small-group coding lessons.
"We live in a fast-changing world where many of our children will end up in careers that haven't yet been invented," Mr. Tomec observes. "To thrive in this increasingly digital world, kids are going to have to learn to be creators of digital content, rather than mere consumers. The good news is that most of them are eager to embrace the future. With the proper tools and a little guidance to get them started, there's no limit to what they can accomplish."