Last update: 13-Dec-2013 3:20 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Trinidad BrightPath TechCamp for Youth A Success
Future tech innovators from the Caribbean, the USA and the UK were celebrated at the close of a unique summer camp experience hosted by BrightPath Foundation in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
BrightPath Foundation, a Trinidad-based non-profit organisation, hosted its first three-week TT.TechCamp last month, and closed the event with a formal ceremony at the Courtyard Marriott, Port-of-Spain on July 31. BrightPath Executive Director, Bevil Wooding, described his organisation’s tech education initiatives as “combining technology immersion with fun-filled creative activity, wrapped into a values-based learning experience that we believe can benefit attendees for life”.
Camp director, Nigel Edwards explained that demand for the TechCamp exceeded capacity within hours of being announced.
“We were totally oversubscribed. We’ve had expressions of interest in the event from around the region and as far away as the US, UK and Africa.”
Some TechCamp sessions were webcast live via the Internet for overseas participants.
“This is confirmation of the value of programs like these that provide our youth with the skills needed to move from being technology consumers to being technology producers,” Edwards said.
The theme of the camp, “Identity Powering Technology”, was on full display as participants showcased web and mobile app projects to promote local content.
Groups of youngsters ranging in age from 10 to 15 years presented ideas for local and Caribbean disaster preparedness, hospitality, news, local cuisine and educational content.
Kevin Khelawan, COO at local software firm Teleios Systems, one of the sponsors of the event, was pleased with the outcome. He said, “We were really quite happy to be a part of bringing the pioneering international work of BrightPath Foundation back home, where it all began.”
Teleios staff volunteered to facilitate sessions on software development and technology innovation.
“To collaborate with the BrightPath team and share our own experience in programming and technology innovation with the youth has been a great privilege for our software developers,” Khelawan added.
Rhea Yaw Ching, an executive at sponsor Columbus Communications, a regional telecommunications provider, said, “It was really refreshing to see such a strong emphasis being placed on this important issue, and to such a young audience,” adding, “This BrightPath TechCamp serves a timely reminder that the Caribbean remains capable of creating local content that can have global appeal.”
Wooding’s Foundation has already staged similar events in Caribbean, including Antigua, St. Kitts and Grenada, the USA, the UK and as far away as Fiji in the Pacific. His vision extends beyond technical training and content development. The BrightPath founder has been a strong advocate for technology-enabled development globally.
“Technology is supposed to be a great enabler, but enabling does not take place in a vacuum. Technology programs and policies work best when the people behind them have a deep appreciation of their social context. This is why we emphasise the values that must lie behind how technology is used. Innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship have to be guided by ideals such as collaboration, integrity and civic duty if technology is to positively impact us as a society.”
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