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The blink I bmobile Foundation supports the development of future computer programmers at the 2014 TechnoKids Programme

The happy faces of campers and tutors at TechnoKids Camp Valencia 2014

“I am having fun!” “I have learned so much about computers and how they work!” “This is a great way to spend my summer.” “I can’t wait to show my family and friends what I learnt!” These are just some of the remarks made by some of the children enrolled in the annual TechnoKids Vacation Programme at the Sangre Grande and Valencia venues. The Ministry of Tertiary Education and Skills Training’s (MTEST’s) TechnoKids Programme is operating from 15 venues to host three hundred (300) children between the ages of 6 to 9 years and is designed to introduce computer programming talent in these children and nurture the next generation of software developers.

The classes are taught by qualified Instructors with help from Classroom Assistants and all classrooms are equipped with PCs. The children are also being exposed to the use of tablet computers and each child will be provided with a USB memory stick at the end of the programme in order to carry their work home. The curriculum areas include: an introduction to the world of computers, mouse and keyboard use; the basics of programming, statements, properties and variables operations in the Microsoft Small Basic programming application, graphics sound and music, animation and tablet experience.

In sharing how proud the blink | bmobile Foundation was to be a sponsor of the TechnoKids Programme, Ronald Walcott Executive Vice President of bmobile Service and Operations stated “It is great to see these young children excelling at the programming exercises. This is the 2 nd year blink | bmobile is involved as a corporate sponsor and we welcome the opportunity to support the development of our youth and the future of our mobile apps industry. We hope the exciting format of the camp causes a passion for technology to take root in them because 0ur industry needs more local talent and innovators.”

Commenting on the programme’s objectives of teaching children programming and computer technology in an enjoyable environment to nurture future software developers, Kathy Ann Marshall, the Sangre Grande Class Instructor and a Senior IT and Programming Lecturer at COSTAATT remarked “We have reached small basic programming in the curriculum. I enjoy seeing how quickly these children are learning the technology. They follow the instructions easily and enjoy the class exercises. I hope to see these kids continue with programming classes.” Marshall continued, “There has been a lot of interest from the parents in these communities to enroll their children. I just wish many more could have been accepted but there’s always next year.” Marshall ended by saying “This is great because Trinidad lacks programmers and to have a vibrant and innovative IT industry we need our own local programmers.”

Joshua Mangroo, the Valencia Class Instructor and CEO of Advent Signs Limited, a Branding, Web Design and Animation Company, agreed with Marshall. Mangroo noted, “I like to introduce children to technology because they have an innate ability that we need to harness.” Mangroo continued, “All the kids are brilliant and have accomplished all the tasks assigned. These kids really want to learn and will benefit in additional ways like being better equipped to complete homework assignments when school resumes in September.”

Both Marshall and Mangroo commended MTEST, the blink | bmobile Foundation and the rest of the programme sponsors. Mangroo expanded by saying, “This project is a great initiative that could not be done without the support of the sponsors and I really applaud the time and effort of all involved.”

Now in its 2nd year, the programme is being conducted over a 4-week period and will come to a close on August 07th 2014. The venues for the camps include: COSTAATT at Sangre Grande; NESC at Laventille, Debe, Pt Lisas and Woodford Lodge; MIC at Macoya, Penal and Pt Fortin; UTT at John Donaldson, San Fernando and O’Meara and YTEPP at Diego Martin, Waterloo, Valencia and Tobago. The children were enrolled in Techno Camp free of charge through the joint support of MTEST, the blink | bmobile Foundation, the Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago, National School Dietary Services Limited and Microsoft.

 Learning teamwork is also key at TechnoKids; these Sangre Grande and Valencia participants enjoy working together as they learn programming and animation

Getting geared up to practice their new exciting world of technology at TechnoKids Sangre Grande and Valencia

Showing off her animation skills to friends at TechnoKids Camp Sangre Grande

Excitedly looking on as the TechnoKids tutors explains the use of the Samsung Tablet device TechnoKids Camp Valencia

Sangre Grande TechnoKids Tutors on hand to help out at every step