By Gerard Best
Secondary school teachers and students were immersed in a day of technology gadgets, spacemen and science experiments at the BrightPath Foundation’s TechLink Trinidad 2014! TechLink Trinidad was held at the Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies on September 27.
“TechLink combines hands-on technology training with fun-filled creative activity, wrapped into a values-based learning experience that we believe can benefit participant for life,” BrightPath Foundation executive director Bevil Wooding told T&T Guardian.
In the all-day event, students used tablets, micro-computers, drones and robots to conduct special experiments that reinforce basic principles of science, technology, engineering and math.
Since TechLink’s launch in Grenada in November 2013, over 400 persons, including educators, small business entrepreneurs, young people and parents in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and Saint Lucia, have taken part in the initiative.
But for the T&T edition, there was a twist. Capitalising on the interest in space experiments following NorthGate College’s success in the 2014 Cubes In Space experiment design global contest, TechLink Trinidad focused on a suite of technology-based science experiments, under the theme “exploration: learning, developing, innovating.”
“Together with our collaborative partner iDoodleSoftware, we will be hosting NASA astronaut Dr Roger Crouch in Trinidad for the TechLink event,” Wooding said.
“The goal is to produce a context in which education is more engaging and interactive. Participants get to be young explorers for the day. They split into groups to tackle real-world problems and used technology and science to come up with solutions,” he said.
Corporate sponsors included regional broadband-provider Columbus Communications and the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.
Rhea Yaw Ching, corporate vice president of sales and marketing at Columbus, said the partnership with BrightPath is part of Columbus’ wider commitment to investing in the communities it serves.
“As more affordable high-speed Internet access becomes a reality across the region, Columbus is actively looking for opportunities to help users at every level understand how to make the most of it.”
TechLink Trinidad also included an Educators Forum, designed to equip secondary school teachers with know-how and practical tools to use technology in the classroom.
“While the students enjoyed the chance to go deep into digital content creation, teachers learned new and better ways to use technology in the nation’s classroom. This is technology meeting the real world. The goal here is to give a real sense of the possibility of technology being applied to Caribbean education,” Wooding said.