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Time to teach our youths to become creators of technology – teacher

Time to teach our youths to become creators of technology – teacher

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Students of the 2014 STEM summer programme have been told that the nation’s priority is linked to what they have learnt by participating in the programme.

Minister with responsibility for Information Technology Camillo Gonsalves shared this opinion with parents and students on August 15, while speaking at the programme’s closing {{more}}ceremony.

“It is the way of the future in education. Our nation’s prosperity is linked to programmes like STEM and students success in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math,” Gonsalves said.

“There is a lot of talk all the time about tourism, about agriculture, about manufacturing and the role that these things play in our economy and they are all very important things, but those are the industries of yesterday and today. What you are doing are the industries of tomorrow.”

The IT minister shared his appreciation for the programme because of how it incorporates the use of the Internet for information, rather than just for entertainment.

Furthermore, he pointed out that STEM allows for the growth of creativity and made the bold statement that “schools kill creativity.”

“We don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it and very often it is because of the chalk and talk style of teaching,” Gonsalves said.

“There is another way to learn. Instruction is important…but it is better to give students something to do, instead of giving them something to learn and if you give them something to do and the thing that you give them to do demands thinking, they will learn as a by-product. They won’t realize that they are learning, but they will learn. If you create learning environments that allow students to be active and hands-on…you will be surprised, as we saw today, by what our young men and women can accomplish if you just give them the tools, you give them the environment and then you let their creativity take you the rest of the way.”

He also highlighted the STEM programme, which allows for students to be the leaders and shapers of their own learning experience.

The STEM programme is the brainchild of Information Technology teacher at the St Martin’s Secondary School Petrus Gumbs.

In his remarks, Gumbs pointed out that children all over the world are developing applications that are used by others on a daily basis on their smart devices.

According to Gumbs, children in St Vincent and the Grenadines were more users of technology rather than creators and for that reason, he decided to start the programme.

“It’s not that our kids are any less smart than those kids, when you look at it. I think it boils down to the fact that our kids are just not that exposed. Most of our kids here in St Vincent, when you see them, they are more users of technology, but we want them to start to become creators,” he said.

In addition, the teacher stressed that the time to teach the youth to become creators is now, rather than when they are older.

“If we can’t grab our children at a young age, start showing them little venues that they can get into, when they put up their mind blocks and so forth, it’s going to be very difficult to grab them at an older age,” Gumbs said.

This is the second year that the STEM programme was held in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Gumbs revealed that as part of this year’s programme, participants were able to competently use university level programming language to build and programme miniature robots.

He noted that he did not inform the students of the level they were working at, in an effort to avoid students from shying away from the challenge.

In addition to building robots, students had the opportunity to create computer games, which incorporated aspects of Vincentian culture and terrain.

Gumbs, the director of the programme, soundly declared that “there [is] a place for STEM in the new developing landscape here in St Vincent and the Grenadines” and thanked his facilitators, sponsors and a number of other persons who contributed towards making the programme a success.

The sponsors of the programme included Beachcombers, Off the Grid Media, Subway, Randy’s Supermarket, CK Greaves, GECCU Ltd, QuickCash, Kingstown Cooperative Credit Union, SVG Teachers’ Union, Hotel Alexandrina, New Montrose Hotel and the T-Shirt Store.(BK)

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