What is an innovator?
An innovator is anyone that comes up with unique solutions to problems we face.
How did the idea for WeInnovate come about?
Wepala sponsored and coached a robotics team that went on to represent Trinidad and Tobago at the World Lego Festival where they were awarded a judges award. Seeing how much this group of 10 year olds accomplished with limited resources encouraged us to invest in the team and the future of Trinidad and Tobago. Sharing what we know is part of our ethos and WeInnovate is the perfect way for us to help the next generation of innovators.
What is an innovation center and what do you hope to accomplish?
The Innovation Center is meant to be an incubator for great ideas. A place where people can come to learn new things, interact with cutting edge technology. A place where entrepreneurs come to share and pursue their ideas. We hope that kids and adults can come to the Center to gain the knowledge and skills to pursue their own big ideas. We sincerely believe everyone has great ideas and it’s a matter of execution.
What are some of the activities and technologies that the kids are exposed to?
We’ve started with Lego Robotics and we also taught a web course. We plan to add more courses over the next term, including more advanced robotics, web programming and mobile app development. We want to add courses that are a natural progression from the fun courses to courses that can some day help kids and adults build things that positively impact their lives and those around them. We are also planning to get a 3D printing machine as well as a Virtual Reality headset.
What is the format of the programs?
The programs are a mix of theory and practical. We introduce the kids to basic concepts in physics and engineering. The practical application comes into play with the building of the robot. We have instructors as well as assistants to help ensure everyone is engaged.
Do you think tech education should be made mandatory at primary and secondary?
I consider myself a geek but I always tell people that technology is a vehicle not the destination. Forcing kids to learn things about “technology” may not be the best way to get more kids in tech. That said robotics teaches more than technology, and it gives kids an opportunity to see where their passion may lie. The most important thing for kids to learn is that they can build things and that they can accomplish great things, they just need to apply a bit of ingenuity.
How can we modernise the education system in Trinidad?
I think to better serve the kids that pass through the school system, more attention needs to be paid into the different facets of learning, and the different ways in which children learn. Children also need greater access to cutting edge technology so that they can figure out future applications that even we as adults may not be able to envision.
Anything else you would like to add?
Wepala was launched in Trinidad as a way to help technology professionals pursue their passion while exposing them to projects on an international scale (most of our clients are in the US). We’re always exploring ways we can bring new technology to consumers and help entrepreneurs build great things. WeInnovate is part of that vision and we continue to look for like minded individuals who want to be part of something bigger.
Link – facebook.com/pg/weinnovatett