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Q and A with Level Up Learning Center (Trinidad and Tobago)

What is Level Up Learning Center (Trinidad and Tobago)?

Level Up Learning Center (Trinidad and Tobago) is a franchise of Canada’s largest tech camps provider. We are dedicated to helping kids from as young as six years old learn, discover and problem solve using today’s technology.

How did the idea to bring this to Trinidad come about?

While the franchise holder was on holiday in Canada with his family, he sought extra-curricular activities for his son to do. Someone suggested this camp. The Tech Camp had a profound impact on the franchise owner’s son and piqued his interest on how everyday things worked. His son no longer became a passive user of technology but a curious mind wanting to learn more. Mr. Khan’s was disheartening to part with the exposure he had over that summer and even tried to negotiate to have the family migrate to Canada. Motivated by his son’s positive experience with tech-education, Mr. Khan promised himself to create every opportunity for his son to learn more.

How can technology help kids learn?

Computer science can benefit kids in the following ways.

  • Problem solving – Coding involves logical thinking which is directly tied into science and math. At Level Up children are taught through a project based approach to learning. These projects involve the use of computer-based learning and science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) to solve problems.
  • Order and sequencing – The sequential and logical thinking involved in coding can contribute to improved reading comprehension skills. The ability to order events in text relates to the skill of the chronological sequencing required in writing code.
  • Curiosity and creativity – Instead of regarding technology as magical, coding promotes the question of “Why?” when thinking about a particular application or game. They quickly learn to connect coding and storytelling, which releases their imaginations and unlocks many possibilities.
  • Career Opportunities – To compete in the global economy of now and the future, students need to possess a comprehensive skill set when it comes to technology. Not knowing how to code in the future may be comparable to not knowing how to read.

What are some of the activities at Level Up?

We offer a variety of activities which suit the age level and the audience we have in a group. These include:

  • Block based coding
  • Programming games
  • Robot programming
  • Introduction to Python, Java, and HTML
  • Digital safety
  • Poster design
  • 3D animation
  • Email

What are some of the technologies used at Level Up?

At Level Up TT we use a variety of technologies to engage and encourage interaction. Some of the items are:

  • Raspberry Pi, which is a complete computer that fits in the palm of your hand. We access Python, Scratch and other learning resources through this device.
  • A variety of robots – Ozobots, MBots and Edison Bots.
  • Little BIts electronics kits – magnetic and colour coded snap on circuits to teach electronics, a key component of robotics.
  • A programmable drone
  • Augmented Reality (AR) kits

Your facebook page also talks about developing life skills. What are some of these life skills?

As the world becomes more technologically advanced, we experience the human disconnect even more. At Level Up we aim to help children cope with mistakes and stress. We utilise seated yoga, breathing exercises, problem solving tasks and games to teach them about self awareness, mindfulness, decision making, problem solving, creative and critical thinking, and building interpersonal relationships.

Do you think tech education should be made mandatory at primary and secondary level just like Maths and English?

Both primary and secondary education should comprise tech education. Too many children use their devices passively because they were not taught how to effectively use them. A tablet is used to look at videos or play games, but do these kids know they can do programming from said devices? While adults may see tech education as just another reason for staring at a screen, they should rethink the benefits listed earlier. A little research would show that logic and sequencing, two core components of writing, are involved throughout programming. Math skills are taught as well when kids learn about graphical axes ‘x’, ‘y’ and ‘z’. Tech education will enhance the lessons taught in other subject areas, making it more applicable to life than an exercise book.

How can we modernise the education system in Trinidad?

If we are to empower the younger generation to find sustainable employment then we are not doing a great job at providing tech education. Our education system is particularly lacking when we consider what is offered around the world. To modernise the education system in Trinidad and Tobago we need to do these things:

  • There must be a proper working computer lab in each school, where a class can sit comfortably, with a maximum of two kids per machine. If secondary kids are being given a laptop, then there should be some way of actually using the laptop in school rather than them being taken home to be hacked, sold or used a doorstops.
  • All teaching staff – trained in HOW to use the computers efficiently and effectively. This way lessons can be taught via software as opposed to board or text book.
  • There should be a movement towards a paperless school. Textbooks are costly, whether provided by the government or parent. In an effort to maximise effective computer usage, soft copies of textbooks should be
  • There should be easier access to programs like ours which encourage kids to think creatively. Knowledge and learning should be fun. We are actually looking for a primary school to run a pilot project with, but most currently do not have a working computer lab.

Anything else you would like to add?

We aim to provide a holistic experience for all in attendance of our programs. For those interested in helping their kids get the upper hand in life, these range of programmes are for you. Regardless of career choice, computers will be a part of it.
You can contact us at hellott@levelupkids.ca or 279-0488 for more information about our program offerings.

Website – levelupkids.ca/trinidad
Facebook – facebook.com/leveluptnt/

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