By the end of the 2016 school’s summer break, over 270 children and teenagers and a number of retirees will have learnt more about computers and the internet, thanks to communications provider, FLOW.
The information will be conveyed during the FLOW’s 2016 Internet Summer School, which began on Tuesday and is expected to run for four weeks at the company’s conference room in Arnos Vale.
On the opening day of the programme, FLOW’s Country Manager, Wayne Hull encouraged students to pay attention to the tutor.
“You are going to learn a lot of new stuff and I hope that your time here is exciting and you get to ask lots of questions,” Hull said, noting that the programme began over 10 years ago.
The programme will see one batch of students being tutored in the morning and a different batch receiving lessons in the evening. Each batch will be tutored for a week by Sheddie Conliffe, an information communication technology teacher of the Thomas Saunders Secondary School.
Conliffe explained that the youngsters have been placed in three age groups, 7 to 10, 11 to 14 and 15 to 18.
He said that the younger age group will cover the basics: what is a computer system, how to use a computer properly, how to give instructions, cyber bullying, internet safety and computer safety.
They will finish off by taking part in a worldwide programme aimed at teaching children about coding and at getting children to perform basic coding and basic problem-solving tasks that involves critical thinking that could be applied in all aspects of life.
Conliffe said that the children will also take part in a humanitarian project called “Free Rice”, sponsored by the World Food Programme (WFP).
Under the programme, children will go to a website and answer questions and for every correct answer, the WFP will donate ten grains of rice to needy persons.
In relation to the 15 to 18 age group, these students will look at video production, photo editing, cyber security, Internet searching, “netiquette” and ways to protect yourself online.
“They will look at digital footprint because they will be going off to the job market soon and in this digital age where employers will be checking online history, we want to look at protecting online history and how to paint a good picture of yourself,” Conliffe explained.
Nikala Williams, marketing and corporate communications manager at FLOW described the programme as a worthwhile investment.
“We started over ten years ago and we found that it was very impactful. This is money well spent because there are lots of kids who got their very first experience with computers through this program,” said Williams who mentioned local app creator Cenus Hinds as coming out of this programme.
Williams added: “We want to keep it going and we invest in this program because we believe in educating SVG one child at a time. This is our little bit we are doing and we are going to continue doing it because it is worth it.”
Williams noted that while the classes were supposed to be around 25 students each, more parents took up the opportunity than last year.
“Some parents just dropped off children and we couldn’t turn them away so we have an excess so it looks like we might have to run another week,” said Williams who added that they are hoping to expand the program next year.
“We want to expand next year if we get more computers. We encourage students to bring their own laptops, as the tutor will download special programs that they can take with them. Our biggest challenge is making sure we have enough computers,” Williams stressed.