IGT Brings ‘New Levels’ of Knowledge for Coding & Robotics Camp ’22

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.”

1 IGT Coding and Robotics Camp 1

Tyrese Bradshaw (seated), youth beneficiary of the IGT After School Advantage (ASA) Programme at The Learning Centre in Barbados enjoys an icebreaker activity while ICT teacher and IGT ASA Supervisor Daniel Coulthrust watches. The youngster is among over 60 Caribbean youth participating in the virtual IGT Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp being delivered over Level Two in July and Level One in August by training partners, Mona Geoinformatics Institute (MGI) located at the University of the West Indies, Mona. MGI enlisted Education Specialist, Nalini Ramsawak-Jodha from the UWI, St. Augustine campus to provide curriculum guidance for the development of course modules currently being taught to the participants from Antigua, Barbados, St. Kitts & Nevis, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. The camp is fully sponsored by International Game Technology (IGT) through its ASA Programme.

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.

While incorporating the HTML, CSS and JavaScript tools of the Level I course, the Level II course, offered in two modules, took the students into more complex web development and design functions, and also provided them with an introduction to artificial intelligence (AI), encompassing a brief history of the technology and moving into several of the more widespread current applications, including voice, speech recognition and autonomous vehicles. Students were required to complete one written exam and a practical assessment for each of the modules. Among the test areas were: basic terms in AI; real-world applications of AI; and applications of AI in the electronics industry.

2 IGT Coding and Robotics Camp 2

Tyrese Bradshaw (seated), a student of The Learning Centre in Barbados, was well supported by representatives of International Game Technology (IGT) during his participation in the ongoing IGT Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp. He is among the first ever Level Two cohort of Caribbean youth in this the second staging of the virtual tech camp sponsored by IGT and delivered by Mona Geoinformatics Institute (MGI) located at the University of the West Indies, Mona. Also seen here (from left) are: Principal of The Learning Centre Arlene Arthur, Administrative Assistant Cheryl-Ann Forde and IGT Antilles Brand and Public Relations Manager, Kellee King-Campbell. The IGT Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp engages youth participants between the ages of 11 and 18 from IGT After School Advantage Centres in Antigua, Barbados, St. Kitts & Nevis, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.

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.

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