SmartTerm to offer services for free until new school termFriday, May 15, 2020
With schools closed to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), online learning platform SmartTerm says students and teachers can access the platform at no cost until the start of the new school year, which will begin on September 7.
SmartTerm gives educators the ability to create an online learning environment similar to that of the physical school or classroom at the early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary level. This includes e-testing, e-books, online videos, and an application store that can house quick links to multiple content providers to keep the students engaged.
According to Communications Director Theon O'Connor, educators will be able to manage students and assignments, take attendance, share content, and converse via video Web sessions, while adhering to the curriculum set forth by the country's respective Ministry of Education.
Developed in 2016, SmartTerm has scaled to more than 13 countries and 30,000 users, however, O'Connor told the Jamaica Observer that since the outbreak, over 200 schools in the Caribbean have reached out to the company.
“A lot of these institutions were primarily face-to-face interactions and now COVID-19 has really pushed for understanding online learning and finding platforms that are able to facilitate that. Not only a platform that allows you to see people and be able to talk to them, but something that is really specialised for such a time and so we definitely saw an uptick in the number of people who requested SmartTerm services,” he told the Caribbean Business Report.
According to him, the biggest challenge for clients is not the inability to access the Internet, but rather the ability for educators to pivot and change to include the use of technology in the classroom to deliver content effectively.
“We've spent a lot of time training, supporting and guiding our educators on using SmartTerm to transform their classrooms. As a result of working closely with teachers, we are working closely with the Joint Board of Teacher Education on a pilot initiative to digitise the way teachers are educated and in the future help with information and communications technology topics in the curriculum,” he stated.
O'Connor is also of the belief that the pandemic will transform the education system and the way it utilises technology.
“Technology will forever be incorporated into education from here on. There have always been schools and ministries sceptical about introducing technology into education because of cost and/or being afraid of what change will bring. COVID-19 has in many ways forced institutions to take a hard look at alternate methods of learning such that student development can continue outside the physical classroom,” he stated.
In addition, SmartTerm will also be hosting its webinar series 'Education in the Era of COVID-19', which will run for the next five weeks. The series will feature education and technology experts, including parents and teachers, and their perspectives, including adjustments, fears, challenges and opportunities during the pandemic.
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