Youth participants recently wrapped up the Level II intermediate course of IGT’s Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp and anticipation is high for the incoming students of its Level I introductory course in a few weeks.
IGT established the regional virtual learning camp in 2021 with an introductory offering through its After School Advantage (ASA) centres in Barbados, Jamaica, St Kitts & Nevis, and Trinidad & Tobago. For 2022, this number was increased to include Antigua as the newest participating country.
IGT’s Regional Director for the Caribbean Brendan Hames said the project had grown tremendously since the inception. “We’re pleased to renew this vital exercise and to see many of the young participants from the initial cohort move into new areas of knowledge and digital skill,” he said. “We’re sure the new group starting the introductory course in August will finish with an even greater appetite for the next level of the course.”
Dr. Ava Maxam, Acting Executive Director of Mona Geoinformatics Institute (MGI) at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, said the institute was positive that the Level II intermediate training had helped to instil in the youngsters an appreciation of the potential for them to launch careers in the coding and robotics fields.
“We have been able to provide the students with a strong sense of the opportunities that are now available given the evolution of the technology,” she commented. “And we know this will be an inspiration for them.”
Education Specialist Nalini Ramsawak-Jodha from the UWI, St. Augustine campus who provided curriculum development guidance to the MGI team, noted that the right mix of fun and learning were factored into the curriculum design to engage the students in the discussion and action pertaining to regional growth and sustainability in accordance with the Camp’s theme, ‘Youth coding for a sustainable Caribbean.’
“This year’s course design was carefully structured to meet the objective of the programme and cater to all of the participants of varying learning styles and interest. The theme of regional sustainability being linked to coding and robotics is a very broad topic. We had to ensure that the lessons were in friendly bite sizes that would make the students eager to learn and actively engage in all aspects of the training,” she related.
In the practical assessment, students were required to create a website; to introduce themselves and/or their interest area on the page; to break down the various sections of the website and create a webpage for one or more of each of the categories in the previous page created. A group project focussing on cross-cultural website development was also assigned and assessed (historical sites, sports venues, etc) as well as a CSS-centred exercise.
IGT, through its ASA Programme, has consistently played a leading role in increasing access to technology and internet connectivity for youth in underserved communities. Since 2011, IGT and its subsidiaries have opened some 39 ASA computer labs across the English-speaking Caribbean. Through this and other initiatives, IGT aims to continually enhance the technological awareness of students and thus prepare them to contribute to the social and infrastructural development of the Caribbean.