- The teaching staff at Clan Carthy Primary School was presented with 30 tablet computers on Monday, July 28, under the government’s Tablets in Schools initiative.
- The teachers also began training sessions in the use of the devices, which were presented under the government’s US$1.5 million contract with Geo TechVision Enterprises.
- Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell said the initiative is part of a “joined up” effort with the Ministry of Education.
The teaching staff at Clan Carthy Primary School was presented with 30 tablet computers on Monday, July 28, under the government’s Tablets in Schools initiative, which is being implemented by eLearning Jamaica.
The teachers also began training sessions in the use of the devices, which were presented under the government’s US$1.5 million contract with Geo TechVision Enterprises, to provide 10 schools with 5,069 tablets, and accompanying services.
Additionally, 900 tablets are to be distributed to students for the start of the new academic year in September.
Addressing the teachers, facilitators and other stakeholders prior to the start of the training session, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell said the initiative is part of a “joined up” effort with the Ministry of Education.
“This intervention is probably the most exciting one that you and I would have seen in our lifetime…we are bringing our education system into the 21st Century and you are pioneers,” he told the teachers.
“We want to ensure that our education system is on par, equivalent, better than our competitors…there is no reason why those students in the United States, Japan, should have better access to the tools than we do,” he added.
Minister Paulwell said that while the initiative is not the panacea for all the issues in the education system, it will result in incremental benefits.
“What we really want to create is not a youngster, who will memorize everything, and reproduce it on an exam paper…eventually what we want is an inquisitive mind, to be able to do research, to innovate, and to be far more productive than we have been over the past 50 years. So this is truly a ground-breaking activity,” he stated.
He informed that an education campaign on the use of and care for the devices will start this weekend.
Meanwhile, Principal of Clan Carthy Primary, Sheldon Richards, told JIS News that last year, the staff received level one training in computer use, and was certified by the HEART NTA, and teachers have applied the knowledge gained.
“Over 50 per cent of my staff is over 45 years old, and about 30 per cent are over 60…. a number of teachers had expressed fears in using such technology, but I am quite impressed to see that these teachers are now communicating through emails. Even the way grades are taken and sent to the office, it’s no longer long sheets of paper, handwritten…it is now Excel spreadsheets…so it is being used, and the teachers are quite excited,” he stated.
He informed that workshops have also been held throughout the year, in anticipation of the receipt of the tablets.
Mr. Richards explained that the training will focus on the use of the tablets to deliver instruction to the students. “Teachers are going to be…taught how to use the different software and applications in order to best facilitate teaching, with the use of the device,” he stated.
He noted that the students are also extremely excited about receiving the tablets this September. “They are just tripping over themselves in anticipation of what is to come,” he remarked.
Grade two teacher, Tracy Fisher-Williams, told JIS News that she anticipates that the training session will better enable the teachers to reach those students, who are behind, and make them more excited to learn.
Mrs. Fisher-Williams said she has benefitted greatly from last year’s training, which provided guidance on where to find online educational resources to enhance the learning process, as well as create power-point presentations, and other useful tools for the classroom.
Vice Principal, and Grade six teacher, Winsome Reid, said the training has helped the teaching staff, exposing them to new technology and its use in the classroom. “Although it was rigourous, I have learnt a lot, and I have been employing it in the classroom, exposing the children to what the world has to offer…(I am expecting), new ideas, how I can get students to be more interested in learning,” she said.
“Anything that will enhance learning, I welcome…under normal circumstances, our school would not have been able to afford this. We welcome the partnership. I am expecting the grades to go up in the weak areas, such as comprehension and Math,” the Vice Principal said.
She said the aim is to make learning student-centered, enabling the children to learn and discover knowledge on their own.