The second staging of the IGT Caribbean Coding and Robotics Camp was successfully held in July and August 2022 catering to more than 70 students from Barbados, Jamaica, St Kitts & Nevis, Antigua and Trinidad & Tobago. With last year’s camp receiving excellent reviews from children and supervisors alike, this year’s camp has expanded to include a more advanced supplementary course for graduates of last years’ introductory course. The camp is fully sponsored by IGT Caribbean and delivered to children through their After School Advantage (ASA) centres.

IGT After School Advantage (ASA) beneficiaries from the Sunbeam Children’s Home in Old Harbour, St. Catherine in Jamaica (seated) were accommodated on site at the Mona Geoinformatics Institute (MGI), UWI Mona for the opening day of the 2022 IGT Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp on July 20. Also in attendance are Juan Pablo Chadid, Regional Vice President of IGT Latin America and the Caribbean; Brendan Hames, Regional Director of IGT Caribbean; Kevin Johnson, Coordinator and Lead Tutor of MGI; Jordan Earle, Technical Support, MGI and Debbie Green, General Manager, IGT Jamaica. (Photo contributed)

Brendan Hames, IGT’s regional director for the Caribbean, said the project had grown
tremendously since its 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,” said Hames.

“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,” Hames added. Mrs. Nalini Ramsawak-Jodha, Lecturer in Education from the UWI St Augustine campus who provided curriculum development support to the MGI team, shared that the right mix of fun and learning were factored into the curriculum design to actively 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 interests. 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. Dr Ava Maxam, acting executive director of Mona Geoinformatics Institute (MGI) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona campus, said the institute was positive that the Level II had helped to instil in 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.” While building on the introductory programming tools HTML, CSS and JavaScript of the introductory course, the supplementary course, carried the students into more advanced web development and design functions, and also provided them with an introduction to artificial intelligence (AI).

Youth at the Sunbeam Children’s Home in Old Harbour, St. Catherine, Jamaica are actively engaged on day four of the Level Two training session for the IGT Coding and Robotics Rock! Camp. 

Students completed assessments to test basic terms in artificial intelligence (AI); real-world applications of AI; and applications of AI in the electronics industry. In the practical assessment, they 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. In addition, a group project focusing on cross-cultural website development was also assigned and assessed (historical sites, sports venues, etc) as well as a CSS-centered exercise.

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