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St. John’s Primary School has topped six other schools to emerge triumphant in the digital storytelling competition, which was staged under the Partners in Learning Programme.
The winning school was announced today (April 6) at an awards ceremony, held at the Caenwood Centre on Arnold Road in Kingston.
St. John’s Primary came out ahead of Linstead Primary, Mount Airy Primary and Infant, Ewarton Primary, Philadelphia All-age, Drew’s Avenue Primary and St. Catherine Hall Primary Schools, winning a laptop computer and printer donated by the Jamaican branch of Microsoft Corporation.
The schools formed part of the Partners in Learning Programme, which is a joint venture between Microsoft Corporation and the Ministry of Education and Youth. Through the programme, teachers in primary schools are exposed to software technology, which they in turn use to enhance the learning experience of their students.
As for the digital storytelling competition, in which the seven schools were vying for top honours, the Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education and Youth, Adelle Brown, said teachers received training in the use of the digital storytelling technique to enhance their lesson delivery.
Mrs. Brown noted that a number of schools were invited to participate in the competition by utilising the digital storytelling art, which involved creating and enhancing a story with the use of multimedia to create a story, using some aspects of the primary curriculum.
The winning entry from the students of St. John’s Primary featured a video-diary that recalled a group trip to the Franklyn D. Resort in Runaway Bay, St. Ann, where they frolicked in the pool and made use of the various leisure amenities provided by the hotel.
Providing an overview of the judges’ report, Diane Browne, Chief Judge, indicated that the criteria on which entrants were judged included, theme and content; originality and creativity; evidence of links to the revised primary curriculum; sound and lighting; and elements linked to digital storytelling, such as context, media, action, relationships and communication.
The Partners in Learning Programme came about in 2003 after the then Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture and the Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to become a Caribbean and Central America (CAC) Partner in Learning with Microsoft.
According to Mrs. Brown, the Ministry has benefited from a number of offerings through the Partners in Learning Programme, among them the Fresh Start for Donated Computers Programme and the Microsoft School Agreement.
The former programme, she explained, is designed to remove licensing barriers that prevent schools from using donated computers. Meanwhile, the latter agreement, she noted, “is a comprehensive annual licensing programme where schools are given access to current software versions of Office Professional and Windows XP Upgrade and the Encarta Reference Library”.
Mrs. Brown pointed out that the Ministry signed its first School Agreement with Microsoft in June 2005, which enabled the Ministry to provide its schools with Windows XP Professional Upgrade for personal computers, Microsoft Office and the Encarta Reference Library, free of cost. “The Partners in Learning Programme is one of the initiatives through which the Ministry will further the effort to prepare teachers to integrate technology in teaching and learning,” the Chief Education Officer noted, adding that “Microsoft is collaborating with the Ministry on a number of professional development programmes to equip teachers and educators with information technology skills”.
She informed that 106 Principals and teachers have completed intermediate computer training through a programme offered in collaboration with the University School of Continuing Studies. An additional 100 teachers in Regions One and Four of the Ministry’s six regions islandwide, are also engaged in Partners in Learning computer skills training through HEART, while another 212 teachers are slated to receive training.