May 30, 2014
ICT leading the way in education

When laptops are distributed to secondary school students later this year, their teachers will be better equipped to help them use the devices productively.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with EZ Learners Inc, hosted a one-day workshop for teachers on information {{more}}and communication technology integration.

The workshop was designed for mathematics and English language teachers that work with students in the lower forms of secondary schools.

In her address at the opening ceremony, head of the curriculum unit Aldia Gumbs-Dyer commended the teachers for being a part of the workshop, which will address the technological advancements in education.

“We know that the world is changing and it is changing rapidly. Our own education system has been moving along very swiftly. Just a few years ago, many of you were in school and a computer was something that only the rich and the fortunate could afford. But nowadays, a computer is almost like the text books that the students carry in their bags,” Dyer said.

Dyer said students will soon receive laptops from the Government, and as educators, they must be ready to facilitate the positive and productive use of this tool.

“As teachers, as administrators, we want to be proactive and we want to prepare for the ways in which we will help these students to use these tools to better their lives. It is very important that our students are presented with the appropriate programmes, appropriate software and the appropriate methodology to use these computers effectively and efficiently if they are to maximize the use of these instruments. We want to make sure that when these computers land in our students’ hands and even now that our teachers are ready and prepared to work sufficiently well with students that they will be able to make the best use of their computers, of the programmes that are available,” she said.

Senior education officer for secondary schools Asfo Stephens told teachers that computers should be developmental to the students that are using them.

While highlighting that ICT is a “revolutionary development,” he declared that the Ministry was happy with the initiative of the Curriculum Unit to put on the workshop so that teachers could make maximum use of the computers in the classroom environment.

“The computer cannot be viewed as a mere toy or a tool to engage in socially unacceptable activities. The computer must be developmental. Today, we have teaching being done online through online tutoring,” he said.

“The technology is so far advanced that you can be any part in the world and tutoring your students any part in the world. The concept of the computer was borne out of the psychology of how human beings learned. So, ICT is not entirely divorced to the …teaching, learning process.”

Facilitator of the workshop Troy Weekes is also the creator behind EZ learner, which is a learning platform which initially focused on literacy development.

Since its commercial launch in 2011, EZ Learner has developed Composer, StoryVille, Comprehend and Compute, which all have different educational targets.

According to Weekes, Composer uses visual paradigms in order to stimulate and motivate thoughts of the students, by presenting them with everyday imagery, as well as key words to get them starting to think and construct their sentences and paragraphs.

Storyville is a social platform that allows students to share their compositions with other students worldwide, as well as read other students’ written pieces. Comprehend was developed to adapt short stories into comprehension passages, from which students could be questioned in the form of comprehension exercises.

Finally, Compute is the mathematical application that was created for students, based on the curriculum guidelines that are outlined by national ministries of education.

EZ Learner has mobile applications and can be used on the BlackBerry and Android platforms.(BK)