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Educator launching youth technology camps

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A science educator is this year following through on his dream of bringing do-it-yourself microtechnology to the children of his old neighbourhood.

“Bermuda is finally catching on,” said Darren Burchall, an information technology teacher based in Brazil.

Brazil is where Mr Burchall launched his own science, technology, engineering and maths initiative, Great4Learning.

He took it subsequently to students in Africa, where Ghanian students delved into a robotics workshop at the start of this year.

The fruits of his programmes internationally are coming home to Bermuda this summer.

A former vice-president at the Southampton Rangers Club, Mr Burchall recalls sitting on his nearby porch and watching cricket and football matches there.

Later this year the club will host a free Stem programme for the young learners of the neighbourhoods around Camp Hill and the Riviera Estate, to tinker with basic robotics and circuit boards.

Named after his father, the initiative is called the David Boysie Burchall Stem Robotics Academy.

“I've been concerned that Bermuda has been lagging behind the rest of the world, and I would like to get more technology into the Bermuda school system,” Mr Burchall said.

“It's not being delivered at the level I think it should be.”

Local teachers are heeding the call, and have been contacting him for advice on how to enhance their ICT programmes.

Mr Burchall hopes to speed the dissemination of skills by giving away 500 Arduino boards — kits based on open-source technology that can be used to build your own hardware.

That gift, likely to come in time for Christmas, comes with the help of his friend Claudio Olmedo, maker of the one-dollar board that has proven “accessible to children around the world”.

The camps at Southampton Rangers are set to be held over the first three days of August, and should cater to about 20 children.

Another Stem class at Warwick Academy has finally broken the 20-student mark, at 48, and Mr Burchall hopes to host a three-week summer camp at CedarBridge Academy in tandem with the Bermuda Government, as well as giving educators a seminar through the Bermuda Union of Teachers.

“I'm really happy that it's taking off,” he said. “Bermudians are paying attention.”

To find out more, e-mail darren@great4learning.com

Making learning fun: the Great4Life science, technology, engineering and maths workshop in action (Photograph supplied)
Science skills: a student learns about hardwear during a Great4Life camp (Photograph supplied)
Education initiative: Darren Burchall with Claudio Olmedo, the inventor of the one-dollar Arduino board (Photograph supplied)
Being given away: the Arduino microcontroller board (Photograph supplied)

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Published June 03, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 03, 2016 at 7:33 am)

Educator launching youth technology camps

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