KINGSTON — Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Grace McLean, says the Ministry has been working to prepare students to adapt to the ever-changing technological landscape.
"The Ministry of Education recognises the role that technology plays in education and training and has taken steps to ensure its integration in the teacher-learner interaction. Our literacy and numeracy programmes and activities make use of technology and tools to enrich aspects of the learning environment,” she stated.
Mrs. McLean was addressing the opening of the 5th international conference on technology in education and training, EduVision 2011, which got underway on December 1st at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston.
She cited the increased number of Enrichment Centres,which are designed to improve literacy and numeracy in primary schools, through the use of technological software and hardware and the flagship e-Learning Jamaica, an innovative project to improve education in Jamaica’s high school system through the use of ICT, as two innovations that are advancing the Ministry’s agenda of utilising technology to enhance learning.
Mrs. McLean noted that e-Learning Jamaica, in particular, will “continue to introduce new approaches to impart instruction, stimulate learning and consistently deliver a good level of education to high schools students addressing some key constraints in the system and encouraging better student performance."
EduVision continues to focus on increasing its impact and outreach to fulfill its mission of supporting wider Governmental ICT (Information and Communications Technology) strategies for national development,” she said, stressing the importance the Government now places on equipping schools with the requisite technologies to enhance the learning experience of students.
EduVision is a collaborative effort of the Ministry of Education under its Primary Education Support Project and the Institute of Education at the University of the West Indies (UWI). It is being held under the theme: ‘Sustainable Innovations: New Opportunities for Education and Business Collaboration'.
The biennial conferenceinitiated in 2003, provides an opportunity for teachers, educators, researchers, administrators and technology professionals in the education, health and agriculture sectors to share knowledge, skills and experience on ways of enhancing educational practices through modern innovations and strategies.
Participants in this year’s conference will be kept busy over the two days as they participate in a number of activities including research paper presentations; exhibits and demonstrations; fast-track skills workshops; conference forum discussions; and human networking and the new on-site student competition.
Chairman, EduVision Committee, Philbert Dhyll, explained that the new technology competition dubbed ‘Mission Impossible: Possible?’ will involve teams of tertiary students, who “will unleash their potential as they accept the challenge to develop a software application to address issues in the education sector."
Another fresh feature is the Pascal Programming workshop, designed to help secondary school students preparing for examinations, to become more proficient in the subject areas. Pascal is an influential computer programming language named after the mathematician Blaise Pascal.
Among the objectives of the conference are to showcase new technology innovations and promote their applications and potentials for meeting development goals in education/training; healthcare/wellness; and food-security; and facilitate practical/experiential teaching and learning with technology innovations (tools, media and methods) among professionals from local, regional and international perspectives.
Other conference partners include with the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA); Department of Information and Telecommunications in the Office of the Prime Minister; ICT4D Jamaica;e-Learning Jamaica;University of Technology;Innovative Corporate Solutions;HEART Trust/NTA;and Flow Jamaica Limited.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter