Youth from The Learning Centre Gained Tech Skills Through IGT Tech Camp

Two young men from The Learning Centre were among 36 participants from the Caribbean who recently gained a new set of computer skills through the first staging of the IGT Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp. The two-week groundbreaking virtual tech camp got off to a stirring start on August 9 with the curtains coming down to mark a successful end on Thursday, August 19.

The IGT Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp is the latest educational outreach of International Game Technology (IGT) through its flagship philanthropic initiative, the IGT After School Advantage Programme (ASA). Lessons were presented by the highly skilled team at the Mona GeoInformatics Institute (MGI) located at The University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.

During the camp, teens from several IGT After School Advantage Centre (ASA) sites across the Caribbean were logged in on Zoom, clicking away with enthusiasm as they engaged in their delightful digital journey into the disciplines of coding and robotics. Both students who joined from The Learning Centre were males aged 17 and 18 years. The remaining participants were from other selected IGT ASA Centres in Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Maarten and Trinidad & Tobago.

All 36 participants accessed the daily sessions by utilizing state-of-the-art computer centres and equipment which have been provided and maintained throughout the Caribbean since 2011 by IGT – the renowned leader in gaming technology.

Supervisor for the IGT After School Advantage Programme at The Learning Centre, Mr. Daniel Coulthurst (centre) provided “on-the-ground” assistance to these youngsters as they participated in the first staging of IGT Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp earlier this week.

Supervisor for the IGT After School Advantage Programme at The Learning Centre, Mr. Daniel Coulthurst (centre) provided “on-the-ground” assistance to these youngsters as they participated in the first staging of IGT Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp earlier this week.

Regional Director for IGT in the Caribbean, Brendan Hames noted that the camp showcases IGT’s innovative character and equally responds to calls from the region’s governments for more investments in STEM education.

We believe in technology. It is at the heart of what we do at IGT. The purpose of these ASA Centres is to open doors of digital opportunity. It is to bridge the digital divide that exists in our communities. We want to see Caribbean youth empowered and understand that with technology, there are no heights impossible.”

He continued, “The future is digital and the IGT Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp offered each of these students an opportunity to maximize the use of technology so that they will know how to navigate the digital economy, learning and professional spaces which are being presented to them today and which they will see more of, emerging out of a global pandemic.”

MGI, the partnering educational institution for this initiative, developed a robust and engaging curriculum from which the students were taught. This was done with expert guidance from Education Specialist and STEM Educator at the UWI, St. Augustine campus, Dr. Nalini Ramsawak-Jodha.

Director at MGI, Dr. Parris Lyew-Ayee Jr. noted that in designing the curriculum, his team was very careful to make it practical and relevant to the social reality of the participants.

“We were committed from the onset to make this training relevant to the youth’s needs. It was a no-brainer to have a Child Development Specialist on board, giving us the relevant advice to complement our exciting lineup of coding and robotics modules for our students’ development. We know that these skills will give them the competitive edge they need in this time of the fourth industrial revolution where those who are not technologically savvy will lag. We made it interactive for them and are pleased that it all ended on a fun and empowered note.”

On day one, students were given an in-depth overview of computer software, hardware and applications used in coding and robotics. This overview set them in high gear to delve into their projects throughout the training camp. The MGI tutors adapted a practical pedagogic approach in lesson delivery while the students steadily navigated their way through the technical processes of developing their web pages with a myriad of creative and fascinating features. Some of the practical content covered included: HTML, JavaScript and CSS projects along with group robotics activities. Ably guided by their MGI tutors in one of two Zoom breakout rooms, the students followed through intuitively with instructions on how to create a webpage and basic layout.

These teens from The Learning Centre in Barbados were all "zoomed into" the tech camp each day on the Zoom platform.  The IGT Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp was the first-of-its-kind for International Game Technology through its IGT After School Advantage Programme held recently in conjunction with Mona GeoInformatics Institute (MGI) who presented the training.

These teens from The Learning Centre in Barbados were all “zoomed into” the tech camp each day on the Zoom platform. The IGT Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp was the first-of-its-kind for International Game Technology through its IGT After School Advantage Programme held recently in conjunction with Mona GeoInformatics Institute (MGI) who presented the training.

Many questions were forthcoming in the Zoom chat and the camp’s WhatsApp group from IGT ASA Centre supervisors on behalf of students who encountered difficulties, but so too were the quick responses by the MGI representatives who were determined that no student would be left behind.

Each student received a certificate of participation for their engagement in this first-of-its-kind Caribbean tech camp hosted and fully funded by IGT.

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