Bethlehem Primary and Flow increase online student engagement
Marcine Parkinson-Pike, a Grade 6 teacher at Bethlehem Primary & Infant School helps Ottania Williams with her school assignment.

Eight months after being gifted 30 LTE-enabled tablets and a free internet upgrade from the Flow Foundation, the Bethlehem Primary and Infant School has increased its student online learning enrollment from 50 to 90 per cent. 

In May 2021, the communications and entertainment provider Flow partnered with entertainer Papa Michigan to support the institution which had seen a significant reduction in student participation because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The school identified the shortage of devices as a primary reason for the lack of full participation in online learning.  However, that began to change when the teachers, after receiving the devices, made a personal effort to engage each parent and student about online schooling.  As a result, they are now recording approximately 90 per cent student engagement in online classes. 

Principal Denesha Rowe says the internet speed upgrade has also allowed her teachers to be more efficient and has significantly improved the reach to their students.

“Technology is a critical resource for any institution to succeed.  Since we received the donation, we have seen significant improvement in our students' participation in online learning,” said Rowe. “My teachers are dedicated and are actively using the resources to research the best learning strategies for our students and we continue to be grateful for the donation."

Located in Malvern, St Elizabeth, the school has 187 students enrolled and caters primarily to the communities of Roseberry, Ginger Ground, Ivor Cottage, Elgin and Munro. Being on Flow's fibre fast network now means that the students and teachers can optimise their online education opportunities.

Marcine Parkinson-Pike, a Grade 6 Teacher for the past 10 years, shared, "As a teacher, you want to know that you are reaching your students. You want to be able to develop their minds as much as possible in an effective way.  Having the upgraded internet speed has really been a great resource in helping us to achieve this."

One of her students, Ottania Williams, also expressed gratitude for the device which has been instrumental in her exam preparations.  

"Even though I am nervous about my PEP exams, I know that I am more prepared and it is because of my tablet and the internet we have at school," she shared.

Along with the boost to online learning, the upgraded internet has also allowed the school to host virtual PTA meetings, which has resulted in greater parent attendance and engagement.

“We believe in using our technology to connect people and bridge the digital divide for the ones who need it most,” said LeVaughn Flynn, Public Relations Manager at Flow. “The results we have seen at Bethlehem Primary and Infant School are exactly the impact we want to make in the lives of people and we are proud to have partnered with Papa Michigan to contribute to the education of the children at Bethlehem.”

Entertainer Papa Michigan (right) hands over a tablet to a student of the Bethlehem Primary & Infant School in Malvern, St Elizabeth

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