IGT’s Coding and Robotics ‘Rocked’ Up Success and Heightened Interest
With the successful second staging of the IGT Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp for its After School Advantage (ASA) beneficiaries, Brendan Hames, Regional Director IGT-Caribbean, notes that more students have been expressing a desire to be a part of the next training. IGT aims to meet these additional requests as best as possible, in continuing the programme which caters exclusively to students within IGT ASA Centres across the Caribbean – many of whom are either in state care (children’s home or place of safety) or are otherwise disadvantaged youth.
“The response to our introductory Level 1 training in 2021 was overwhelmingly positive,” Hames stated. “With the addition of the more advanced Level 2 component and focus on regional sustainability, there was an even greater demand for enrolment from our ASA student group across the region.”
Over 60 youth from IGT ASA Centres in Antigua and Barbuda; Barbados; Jamaica; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Maarten; and Trinidad and Tobago participated in this year’s camp. It was delivered by the Mona GeoInformatics Institute (MGI) at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus. The MGI team received curriculum development guidance from Nalini Ramsawak-Jodha, Education Specialist and Lecturer from the School of Education at the UWI, St. Augustine Campus. The camp culminated in late August with more than 30 students completing introductory level training and over 30 additional students receiving intermediate training at Level 2 for the first time.
Participants have indicated that this year’s camp has taught them useful skills and broadened their horizons in terms of future career options. In the post-camp evaluations, students identified a wide range of future endeavours that the experience had ignited in them, everything from e-commerce stores to gaming and game design to cybersecurity (“ethical hacking”).
The participating supervisors affirmed the high level of engagement among the students and had high praises for the MGI instructor team as well as Education Specialist, Nalini Ramsawak-Jodha.
ICT Teacher at The Learning Centre in Barbados, Daniel Coulthrust noted, “The camp gave students the ability to manoeuvre certain situations on their own while simultaneously teaching them to follow instructions on the computer. At The Learning Centre, we focused on reading a lot. The camp provided reinforcement in this area for the students and improved their self-confidence by providing networking opportunities with others outside of their culture.”
Four IGT ASA beneficiaries from The Learning Centre were among the 60-plus regional youth to benefit from both Levels 1 and 2 training.
Pointing to one area in which the acquired skill will be of immediate use to the youth, Coulthrust said, “In the computer lab the students created flyers pertaining to fundraising. Now they can go even further to set up a webpage for future fundraising activities.”
MGI’s Acting Executive Director Dr. Ava Maxam said the Institute was gratified at the continuing success of the programme and was eager to renew the partnership with IGT to serve more youth across the region.
“The value of this initiative cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Maxam. “We look forward to an even better offering as the programme grows and as we offer our youth a vital pathway to fulfilling their potential through information technology (IT).”
The programme’s curriculum advisor, Ramsawak-Jodha said it was inspirational to know that the students had gleaned as much as they had from the sessions. “We are proud to be associated with this experience, and we commend IGT for deepening its commitment to ensuring young people receive this critical and early exposure to IT.”
As Caribbean territories continue to strive to secure relevance and sustainability in this data-driven age, IGT has been graciously aiding the cause for the technological empowerment of the region’s youth. This has been witnessed through the company’s provision of fully equipped IGT ASA Centres for students in underserved communities since 2011. The company has also funded numerous IT training opportunities for young people, the most recent being the IGT Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp which has left anticipation on a high for the 2023 hosting.