Distribution of tablets to teachers for e-Learning project begins

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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THE distribution of 25,000 tablets to teachers and students under the Tablets in Schools (TIS) Pilot Project began Monday with the delivery of approximately 180 devices.

The deliveries will now allow the commencement of training of teachers in seven educational institutions included in the pilot phase.

The devices were delivered by Digicel Jamaica, which is one of four companies contracted to provide the tablets under the year-long pilot project. The other three companies are Innovative Corporate Solutions, Productive Business Solutions and GeoTech Vision Enterprises.

Groups of teachers will be in training for two-week periods, focusing on tablet integration in instructional delivery ahead of the roll-out of the devices to students in September.

Teachers of Chetolah Park Primary School in Kingston were among the first to receive their tablets at the Convent of Mercy Alpha in Kingston. Some 38 educational institutions, including infant, primary, all-age and high schools, a special school and one teachers' college will receive devices under the project.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Julian Robinson, said the delivery of the tablets marked a critical milestone in the project.

"... We have very high expectations in terms of the impact that the project will have on teachers, students and communities, because each school will become a hot spot where persons in the community will be able to access the Internet if they have devices that are so enabled," he said.

Education Minister Ronald Thwaites said it was an important step in enabling Jamaica achieve global standards in education by making information technology available to all children.

"Educational opportunities have been uneven in our past, and as this programme rolls out, we will be equating the quality of instruction available to all our children, irrespective of the school they are in, irrespective even of whether they are in school or not, because this (technology) will be available at home and will eventually be applied to radio and television, as well as on the tablets," Thwaites said.

CEO of e-Learning Jamaica Company Ltd (e-Ljam) Avrill Crawford explained that all the teachers in the 38 schools are being trained so that by September they will be ready to integrate the tablets into the normal teaching/learning process. Students and their parents or guardians will sign an agreement regarding their responsibility for proper use and care before receiving the tablets.

At the same time, e-Ljam chairman, Yvonne McCalla Sobers, challenged the teachers to use the tablets to enhance the learning process. "The charge to you is to widen access to education, to enable your students to access the world, but also to access themselves,"
she said.

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