A new initiative from BrightPath Foundation is taking a radical approach to Caribbean digital content creation. Called TechLink, the new project is already being described as a revolution in community-driven technology-driven education for the region.
On February 1, BrightPath Foundation, in collaboration with its corporate partner Columbus Communications, brought TechLink’s second mobile app development workshop to St George’s, Grenada.
Stephen Lee, technology trainer for the TechLink progam, said what the 20 college-age participants lacked in experience they made up for in enthusiasm.
“Most of the participants, I would say 75 per cent, had little or no prior app development experience. But many were actively pursuing an interest in mobile apps and saw the TechLink workshop as an opportunity to learn more and develop expertise,” he said.
The workshop syllabus included sessions covering the overall app development process, from idea to publishing, and a live walkthrough of Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone development environments. Lee also presented an overview of game development frameworks and did a walkthrough of online app builders: Appery.io and MIT App Inventor 2.
Participants of all levels were directed to online training resources and encouraged to keep developing skills and innovating. Kensuki Morris, a St. George’s University Student who attended, said, “This initiative is awesome. It encourages young people to empower themselves by taking advantage of what is available through broadband and skills. I will definitely attend future sessions.”
This programme focused specifically on youth from local communities. Fifteen participants were return attendees, who were joined by six new participants. They were exposed to a vast amount of information on the development, design, coding and production of mobile applications.
“The workshop is specifically designed to ensure that all participants, regardless of their entry-level, get a solid introduction to mobile app development and leave with a robust set of resources to start their mobile app development journey,” said Bevil Wooding, Founder of BrightPath Foundation.
At the regional launch of TechLink in Grenada on November 30, 2013, more than 100 young people and small business entrepreneurs participated in a full day of workshops. Many walked away energised with new ideas and ways that technology could be used to develop their communities, businesses as well as their career plans.
Gail Purcell, country manager for Columbus Communications Grenada, said, “Since its debut in Grenada, TechLink continues to attract audiences from all sectors--young people, parents, educators, and small and micro-business owners. At Columbus, we are proud to know that our company is associated with such a program that maintains our corporate social responsibility to all our customers, while truly affording our staff who support, and the participants who attend, such a rewarding experience."
Grenada is just the beginning. BrightPath is already partnering with on-the-ground community leaders in St Lucia, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Montserrat, Wooding said.
“The goal is to see TechLink run in countries across the region from Belize to Suriname, targeting youth, parents, seniors, educators and small business owners,” he said.