Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 13th 2015 Contents B48
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, August 13, 2015
Exams are over, school is out, and
parents enter the perennial struggle
to balance kids downtime with actual
educational activity over the July-
What if, instead of just vegging out
on YouTube clips, your kids learned to
create their own artistic and educational
short films? Rather than grazing Hol-
lywood blockbusters blankly, what if
your kids collaboratively crafted their
own customised movie theatre, com-
plete with silver screen and popcorn
It s not so far-fetched, says Bevil
Wooding, one of the masterminds
behind BrightPath Foundation s Tech-
Camp. In fact, it s already here.
"In this Tech Camp, if you want to
watch a movie, you have to make your
own movie theatre. You have to set up
your projector, you have to create your
customised lighting and set up your
anti-reflective screen, then you have
to put your high-definition surround
sound system in place," said Wooding,
BrightPath s Founder and executive
director in a release.
Since its inception in 2013, Tech
Camp has earned a reputation for
directing young people s energies
towards building solutions that are
locally relevant but globally applicable.
And while the first two editions of Tech
Camp focused on local content creation,
this year organisers went one step fur-
ther to create a camp that could only
be completed by the campers them-
"If you want popcorn to eat while
you re watching your movie, you have
to create your own popcorn machine.
This is Tech Camp," Wooding explained.
The idea is simple. Rather than sit
around face-planted on digital devices
all day, Tech Campers are taught to
open up and take apart those familiar
gadgets, identify their internal parts,
understand how those components
work together, and then put them back
together in a way that helps to solve
a specific problem.
"Tech Camp is our way of devising
a space where young people s creativity
can intersect with engineering, science
and art principles. We re making it pos-
sible for them to grasp the fundamental
mechanics of how and why stuff gets
made, so that they can go out and work
together to solve problems on their
own. We re making Makers," Wooding
A day at TechCamp is pretty packed.
Hands-on interactive sessions cover
some of the latest technologies, from
three-dimensional printing and mobile
software development to micro com-
puting, drones and robotics. Expert-
led demonstrations touch on data ana-
lytics, mechanical and electrical
engineering, die-cutting, embossing,
photography and videography.
If 11-year-old Amaris John has her
way, she s going to use some of what
she s learned at Tech Camp to transform
her living room into a fully Internet-
connected workspace where she can
dream up other designs and work on
bringing them into reality.
"I ve already started working on it,"
For three years, TechCamp has made
its name by giving kids all the tech-
nology they need to take a concept in
their heads and transform it into reality.
"The children just love it," said
Nyasha Pierre, an executive assistant
at the Cipriani College of Labour and
Co-operative Studies, whose ten-year-
old daughter took part in the camp.
The College has hosted TechCamp since
"The children find it mind-blowing,
as they get to build things they never
thought they could build," Pierre said.
But what really sets TechCamp apart
is its strong emphasis on imparting
core values such as teamwork, discipline
and respect for others.
Dariel John, 11, helped design the
floorplan for the recreation room. At
first, working in groups was "compli-
cated," she said.
"Everyone wanted to do what they
wanted. Nobody wanted to cooperate."
After a while, one of the TechCamp
expert facilitators encouraged the group
to listen to all the ideas and document
them, and then work on blending them
"That s how we started working
She said the change in strategy pro-
duced a shift in attitude from "self-
ishness" to "other-mindedness," which
made a huge difference. As she
described her personal process, Dariel s
friends Regan Wilson, 12, and Zea Lam-
ont-Harper, ten, looked at each other
and smiled knowingly.
"I realised that I didn t always have
the best ideas, and other people had
better ideas than I did, so we used other
ideas instead of mine," she said.
"The College is pleased to collaborate
with BrightPath on bringing this excel-
lent resource to the campus and the
community. A number of participants
are also children of our staff members
and so we are ourselves intimately con-
nected with the experience of discov-
ering science, technology and the value
of teamwork," said Valene Mc Dougall,
Head of Stakeholder Relations at the
The focus on character development
issues is deliberate, Wooding said.
"At the root of our programs is that
belief that there has to be a values-
based component to all learning."
He explained that BrightPath Foun-
dation is part of Congress WBN, a
faith-based international non-profit
with operations in 100 nations.
"The ultimate goal is to unlock every
dimension of young people s creative
potential in a rich, safe, productive and
values-filled environment," Wooding
"Our programs are designed to
expose young people to the things that
they are interested in, but ultimately
we are using that trigger point of excite-
ment to inculcate values that will shape
their lives and form our wider society.
We don t want them to be just pro-
ductive citizens but positive contributors
to the order of our society."
old-school in camp
BrightPath Foundation founder and executive director Bevil Wooding, centre, interacts with eager
participants at TechCamp 2015, Cipriani Labour College, Valsayn, July 21. PHOTO: GERARD BEST
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