Interactive smart board for Port Royal Infant and Primary

Interactive smart board for Port Royal Infant and Primary

Staff reporter

Sunday, January 26, 2020

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A centre of excellence driven by technology – the vision of the Port Royal Infant and Primary School that is now the recipient of a smart interactive board, funded to the tune of US$10,000 by PayPal GIVES, the charity affiliate of the multibillion-dollar tech-company out of the United States.

Students at the school excitedly shuffled into their computer room last Thursday when the Jamaica Observer visited for the official handing over of the smart board, which come with several features.

“Everything can be done at the board. Students can manipulate the board and access various learning apps, for example, the notebook software that comes with it. Teachers can switch between the notebook software which allows them to create various lessons, and the browser where they can access the Internet,” said Josette Malcolm, procurement officer with Massy Technologies.

Principal of the school, Nicola Jones told the Sunday Observer that the learning tool will enhance student engagement and assist teachers to deliver their lessons.

“We are way past that era of chalk and talk and we are now moving away from white board and to technology. With the inclusion of the smart board, the children can now source their information on the spot in the classroom with their teacher. It will also allow for more collective learning because, as you know, children love anything they can manipulate, and so it will grab their attention,” said Jones.

With the Ministry of Education's emphasis on greater use of information and communications technology (ICT) in teaching, Jones said the school identified the smart board as a tool that would advance their vision.

“When we looked at all the advantages that the smart interactive board brings to schools worldwide, we did a worldwide analysis and found that this was one of the best tools to put into the school because it has worked wonders in many countries including the United States,” she said.

The school then sought funding through PayPal after learning about their work in assisting learning institutions to enhance their ICT curriculum.

“PayPal told us to do a project proposal to demonstrate why we need to improve the technology of the school and how the smart interact board will assist us to improve that technology. We had to do an ICT integration plan,” said Jones.

The school went through rigorous due process, which included registering the school as a charitable organisation in the United States, which places the school in an enviable position.

“I don't think that has ever been done here. Port Royal primary is now a public charity company in the US where donors can provide funding to any project. That is significant,” said Everton Spencer, a maths specialist who assisted the school is getting the grant.

Their laws don't allow them to give grants to schools, so they had to approve us as a public charity company in the United States. They said that our mission and vision were consistent with their philosophy of doing business. That is why they were attracted to us,” Spencer added.

Teachers at the school were also excited to have the smart interactive board at their disposal.

“This will allow the classes to be more student centred; less of us and more of them. The children nowadays love technology, so this is a big boost for the classroom,” said the grade four teacher, Mrs Williamson.

“In teaching our lessons too, we can actually use the smart board to do video calls with teachers and their students which will allow us to share and learn from persons in other places,” beamed Simone Campbell Williams, infant class teacher.

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