STEMGuyana launches Platinum Volunteers Program to encourage community members to contribute to the education development of their community’s children

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STEMGuyana’s Platinum Volunteers program offers VIP invites and discounted rates on all of the organization’s future STEM programs–including summer camps, virtual academies, STEM clubs.  More than 300 volunteers have registered which should be more than enough for the program but the registrations have proven to be imbalanced with numerous volunteers registering for some regions and pods, while others are under allocated.

In a facebook post, the organizations stated that volunteers were mostly needed in 8 of their current 29 Learning pods.  Those areas include–Women of substance (region 2), Herstelling, Kairuni, Swan, Adventure (region 4), #58 Corentyne (region 6), Byderabo Bartica (region 7) and St Ignatius (region 9).

The organization’s post noted that a contribution of just 2hrs per week “invested in your community’s children, could make the difference for their future.”  Volunteers will receive a platinum  card after 3 months, which earns them special rewards in all of the organization’s future programs.

Thinking about new ways to educate the 21t century child

By Karen Abrams, MBA
Doctorate, Education Technology – Curriculum Development ‘25

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Strategic stakeholder communities–parents, school administrators, public and private sectors, understand that the process of educating a nation’s children is dynamic, so they repeatedly ask what skills and competencies children need to fit into the larger society and how to best cultivate those skills.

Societies tend to tailor education to the demands of each new age, so more recently, the 20th century focus on universal schooling which prioritized core competencies such as reading, writing, and arithmetic is shifting to make way for our current technologically dependent world.  Additionally, global crises, and the changes in the world of work, require educators to prepare children for a world of rapid change in technology, increasing interconnectedness, and new forms of employment.

The rapid advances in technology, changing employment, and complex global problems threaten to leave many behind, destabilizing societies and leaving complex global problems unsolved. Indeed, globally, nations today are battling the “nearly insurmountable” (UNESCO) education challenges created by the COVID pandemic.  The children of those citizens who live below the poverty level in developing countries were already struggling before the pandemic, and they will now feel the brunt of the effects of two years without access to organized schooling if the entire ‘village’ is not organized to contribute to fixing the problem. Whether public or private, in school or afterschool, religious or secular, stakeholders must come together to contribute to solving this massive problem which portends social and economic disaster down the road for developing countries. 

Equipping future generations with the right mix of skills will empower them to contribute to the development of  thriving societies. Regarding our current and future world, young people will increasingly need to focus on making use of what they know and less on just mastering bodies of knowledge. The new demands of our societies require cultivating the breadth of skills–a range of important skills that include the basics that many education systems currently focus on, such as literacy, numeracy, and content knowledge in academic subjects as well as information literacy, flexibility and problem solving.
The new digital economy requires individuals to be able to filter, analyze, and create meaning from the vast amounts of information available online. Skills like complex reasoning and creative thinking can empower individuals to take full advantage of opportunities in the digital world. Digital literacy is also essential. As societies continue to digitize, lacking digital skills will be like not knowing how to read and write. Parents, educators, and civil society organizations like STEMGuyana will need to work together to meet the complex educational needs of the 21st Century child.  “It will indeed take a village”

Students introduced to AI Technology Spark Programme launches

 The Spark Programme which aims to introduce students to Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is a product of the collaboration between the Ministry of Education and the LEAD Mindset, JASECI Labs and BCS Technology.

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand said that such programmes ensure that rounded individuals are produced by the school system who can take up their space in the world, own that space and be creative.

She said that the Government of Guyana believes that citizens, especially young people, should be given the platform and the environment to flourish and to be all that they can be for themselves, their families, communities and the world.

A total of 136 students will be participating in the programme.

According to the founder of JASECI Labs, Mr. Jason Mars, explained that the programme will run for eight weeks with two tracks, one that focuses on developing the leadership and innovative mindset while on the other, participants will be exposed to the AI technical track. He said that the AI track will teach the students how to code and use the same instruments used by the biggest companies in the world to build AI products and services. Mr. Mars is also a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Michigan

The participating schools are Christianburg-Wismar Secondary School, Mckenzie High School, Queen’s College, the Bishops’ High School, St. Joseph’s High School, St. Rose’s High School, St. Stanislaus College, President’s College, Berbice High School, New Amsterdam Secondary School, West Demerara Secondary School and the Anna Regina Secondary School. Students from the Government Technical Institute and Teacher

Robin The Robot’s weekly roundup – What are robots?
Hello everyone! Welcome back! I’m really excited that you decided to join us on another adventure! Episode two’s lesson is super special. It’s all about robots! Did you know that Robotics is the intersection of science, engineering and technology that produces machines, called robots, that substitute for (or replicate) human actions.
A robot is the product of the robotics field, where programmable machines are built that can assist humans or mimic human actions. Robots were originally built to handle tasks which humans do not enjoy doing (like building cars on an assembly line), but have since expanded well beyond their initial uses to perform tasks like fighting fires, cleaning homes and assisting with incredibly intricate surgeries.

Each robot has a differing level of autonomy, ranging from human-controlled bots that carry out tasks that a human has full control over to fully-autonomous bots that perform tasks without any external influences.

Children in Guyana attend STEMGuyana’s weekly STEM club program where they learn to design, build and program robots to do all kinds of fun things. Did you know that all robots have some sort of central processing unit, similar to a human’s brain? Robots are also programmable and that means we can write instructions to the brain and the brain carries out the instructions through the robot’s motors.
Robots use sensors (the way humans use their senses). Some sensors used by robots include color sensors – sense different colors, like e.g. a robot might sense the red color of a traffic light and the robots program can then sense a command for the robot to stop.
All robots use motors, the way humans use their arms and legs. Humans write instructions for robots, which are processed by the robot’s brain, which then enables the motors to do some action. For example, a human might write, if a robot senses green light, then engage motors and make them turn wheels. This will result in a robot car moving forward when it senses a green light.

Just like humans need energy, all robots also need to have a power source, like a battery or some connection to a power source. Join me next week for more “Robin The Robot” updates and tips.

“Eye of Learning Pods” – A weekly report
Lake Mainstay Learning Pod cops outstanding club leader award for March
Ms Sharmala Singh from region 2’s Lake Mainstay Learning pod was named the Club Leader of the Month by the Learning pod selection committee. Ms Singh has exemplified, “outstanding organization skills, she utilizes technology well and manages one of the pods with outstanding student engagement”, says Program Analyst Ms Melissa Carmichael. “Ms Singh also communicates well, takes pride in execution of her leadership role, is innovative and proactive and adheres to the program’s guidelines while using her own innovative skills to offer improvements where necessary, she continues.

Offering support to Ms Singh are two outstanding volunteers Ms Erika De Jonge and Ms Ladonna Williams, to whom we extend sincere congratulations and thanks as well. Both volunteers and coaches will earn certificates and prizes and awards will be handed out each month to the club leaders who differentiate themselves by the service and commitment they offer to the children of the Learning Pod program.

Both the award and prizes are sponsored in part by the IDB funding for the expansion and the extension of the STEMGuyana Learning Pod program which was designed to provide technology integrated, academic support services to children affected by the pandemic across all 10 regions of Guyana.

The Learning pod program will support 40 clubs in 10 regions of Guyana for 10 month sessions for the next three years. The program’s effectiveness will be closely monitored and analysed and routinely updated when necessary in order to ensure that academic outcomes improve for the program’s children, while exposing and preparing them for the 21st century technology society in which they will grow up and to which they will be expected to contribute.

 



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