Fri | Oct 20, 2017

Innercity Children Experience Technology in a New Way

Published:Thursday | July 23, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Marvin Hall, founder, Halls of Learning, demonstrates to Melanie Subratie, chairperson of the Musson Foundation, Bradley McFarlane from the Waterhouse Commmunity, and Amelia Walker from the Mountain View community how this Maccanoid Robot works at a robotics workshop put on by Musson Foundation in collaboration with Halls of Learning to expose over 400 inner-city kids to robotics on Saturday.

MORE THAN 400 children from several inner-city communities in Kingston and St Andrew were beaming with excitement and joy as they got the opportunity to engage with various robotic equipment during an all-day workshop, which was held at Musson Foundation Learning Lounge in St Andrew.

Children from communities, including Nannyville, Mountain View, Deanery Road and Trench Town, were on hand for the exciting experience.

Marvin Hall, founder of Halls of Learning, told The Gleaner that every child should have the opportunity to be exposed to top-class education.

"We believe that every child, no matter where you come from, should have the opportunity to have a world-class learning experience. Since we were formed, the foundation has been trying to do our part, by opening up the doors to several inner-city children so that they can have access to these kinds of technologies," he said.

"We have given over 400 kids the opportunity to experience robotics in seven different workshops. The children have responded exceptionally. They are quite excited to see robots in front of them, four feet tall, to be able to programme a robot on a tablet, something that is very common for children these days. It has been an eye-opening experience for a number of them."

He noted that policymakers should ensure that students experience technological advances in a real way.

a passion

"For me, it is a passion because it has been a long road. My ultimate goal is for children to broaden their perspective, to build a generation of children that are better thinkers, better engineers, better programmers and solve the problems that we have not yet foreseen," he said.

"I would also urge our policymakers to ensure that children use their hands in conjunction with the technology. There has been a tendency to say here is a computer, here is a tablet and then play a game and then they get immersed in just a tablet experience and not one that is connected back to reality. The goal should be for them to develop the habit of partnership, teamwork and proper thinking skills. I think that's the direction we need to be going."

Melanie Subratie, chairperson of the Musson Foundation, echoed similar sentiments, noting that the event is a step in creating a solid foundation for the next generation.

"It's an awesome feeling to know that you have assisted to expose children to learning that most would have not been introduced in schools. Our children are naturally curious and intelligent and so we have to challenge them," she said.

"It might be a little bit sophisticated but if it means that we will have 20 more engineers or artistes in 10 years' time, then we have to make the effort."