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KINGSTON — Participants who attended a pre-conference satellite meeting for the 40th annual conference of the International Association of School Librarianship were on August 5, sensitised about e-learning practices in Jamaica.

The meeting, which was held at the Mona Visitors' Lodge, University of the West Indies (UWI), had as its theme: 'School Libraries: Best Practices for e-learning'.

Lecturer, Department of Library and Information Studies, at the UWI, Dr. Paulette Stewart informed that the meeting also focused on e-learning best practices in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Europe.

“I am hoping that the participants will see how important it is for the e-learning project to be merged or to be integrated into the library, as the library for the 21st Century learner is one that is more technologically equipped than just print based only,” Dr. Stewart said.

“So, we would want to see the e-learning project being integrated into the school library, because that is the best practice that we can see now for our students,” she added.

The e-learning project seeks to utilise current state-of-the-art technology in Jamaican high schools to improve the quality of education delivered to students, enhancing their learning experience in the process, thereby improving the level of passes in the CXC/CSEC external examinations.

This initiative is being co-ordinated by e-Learning Jamaica Company Limited, commonly referred to as e-Ljam, an agency of the Office of the Prime Minister.

In her presentation, Chief Executive Officer and Programme Co-ordinator of e-Learning Jamaica, Avril Crawford informed that a technology enrichment programme will be implemented in 30 low performing schools across the island.“ These are schools which have been getting perhaps the poorest children from the Grade Six Achievement Test and obviously not doing well at the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) examinations and our Grade Nine diagnostic test. That is how the schools were chosen,” Mrs. Crawford said.

She noted that a volunteer programme will be instituted to assist the teachers at the grade seven and eight levels where integrated learning software in English and Mathematics will be provided.

In the meantime, for the 2011/12 financial year, the e-learning programme will focus on: providing white board and mobile labs for participating high schools; completing training and certification of teachers using the online application process; and implementing the technology enrichment programme.

The 40th annual conference of the International Association of School Librarianship will be held from August 7 to 11, 2011, at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, under the theme: ‘School Libraries: Empowering the 21st Century Learner’.

 

By LATONYA LINTON, JIS Reporter

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