Sat | Mar 28, 2020

Students get hands-on technology tour

Published:Sunday | March 15, 2020 | 12:21 AM
Research Officer at the Scientific Research Council Kemar Rose (left) explains the mandate of the agency to students of the Spring Village Development Foundation during a recent IGT Technology Tour of the facility at Hope Gardens. Looking on is General Manager of IGT Jamaica Debbie Green (second left).
Senior Process Technician at the Scientific Research Council Olive Chambers (right) shows one of the many pieces of equipment used in their lab for water treatment to students of the Spring Village Development Foundation. Also enjoying the informative session are: Desmond Whitely, centre manager at Sunbeam Children’s Home (left); Kellye Barwise, Global People Services Coordinator, IGT Jamaica (third left); and Owen Campbell, Driver, IGT Jamaica (second right).
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Students from five institutions that are home to IGT After School Advantage (ASA) Centres were an part of educational visit to the Scientific Research Council (SRC) recently. The learning tour was designed in partnership with IGT Jamaica, which arranged for the students to visit the St Andrew-based institution to learn about the latest developments in science and technology.

The group included students and staff from Sunbeam Children’s Home; Mustard Seed Communities – Mary’s Child; Mustard Seed Communities – Matthew 25:40; Spring Village Development Foundation, and the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation in Spanish Town. All these institutions house IGT’s flagship ASA Centres, where students have access to the digital world and can pursue their studies through the provision of up-to-date computer technology.

Coordinator of the visit at the Scientific Research Council Michelle Morris explained that the first part of the tour focused on biotechnology. The students observed the process of preparing disease-free, healthy plants, which are propagated in a lab using a soil-free technique in optimal conditions. The group moved on to the shade house, where they participated in planting-out activities.

The tour also focused on the SRC’s research into eco-friendly, aesthetically pleasing wastewater systems, which produce clean water for irrigation and biogas to create organic fertiliser.

The ASA Centre students were enthusiastic about the trip. A student from Mary’s Child noted: “It was fantastic. We learnt a lot about water treatment:” Another student said: “It was a very informative tour. I had no idea that so many things could be extracted from plants.” A student from Sunbeam Children’s Home said, “I learnt a lot about plants.”

Hands-on

Morris said the students’ response was very much hands-on. “We appreciated the young people’s enquiring minds, and we were happy to have the opportunity to show them our work. It was an absolute pleasure to host them at the SRC today.”

IGT Jamaica General Manager Debbie Green shared that IGT continuously seeks exciting learning opportunities to widen the exposure and enhance the knowledge of students within its ASA Centres. “In recent years, we have organised visits to the Mona Geoinformatics Institute at the University of the West Indies and the Northern Caribbean University, exposing them to new and exciting cutting-edge technology in 3D modelling and imaging, virtual reality, and robotics. IGT Jamaica is proud to be partners in this process of empowerment for our young people and to continue our support for the teachers and administrators at our ASA Centres. We wish to thank our friends at the Scientific Research Council for their very generous hospitality today.”

Randy Finnikin, executive director of Spring Village Development Foundation in St Catherine, declared that this was a “great opportunity” for the students who attended. “IGT Jamaica has already expanded their world through our ASA Centre,” he said. “The tour helped to expand that world further. They loved it!” The Spring Village Development Foundation is the most recent site of an ASA Centre, opened in November 2019. It administers a community centre, youth Club and a HEART/NSTA Trust Training Institute in the busy community near Old Harbour, educating rural youth.