Thirteen Schools in ICT in Education Project
The Government of Saint Lucia has taken a significant step in transforming and modernizing the education sector with the distribution of electronic learning devices to secondary school students.
The Ministry of Education began distribution earlier this week as part of a three-year ICT in education project.
The introduction of the electronic learning device, the Lernbook, is part of a three-year pilot project across secondary schools, which focuses on broadening information technology in the classroom. The initiative stems from the ratification of the ICT in Education policy, which sets the framework for e-Education initiatives being undertaken by the Ministry of Education.
Students from 13 secondary schools received devices which replaced the one-laptop-per-child programme which ended in 2017. Permanent Secretary in the Department of Education, Innovation, and Gender Relations, Michelle Charles, said teachers have already undergone training to use these devices in the classrooms.
“We opted for those 13 schools because these students would have chosen their subjects at the end of form two. It allowed us to be able to monitor and evaluate the project over the three-year period,” Ms. Charles said. “These devices contain content that are aligned with the CSEC syllabus and there are six books on the devices; English, Mathematics, Sciences and Social Studies. These were distributed to parents but this is just one leg of the entire process. Prior to that we had engagements with principals, teachers who are going to be champions within those various schools to ensure that the initiative is successful.”
Ms. Charles said the devices are interactive and allow for continuous simulation exercises.
“For example; for the student who is doing Sciences, you have a number of simulations for lab experiments and the e-book allows you do those experiments over and over. It allows the student to better understand what is happening, as opposed to doing it within the classroom setting where you have the physical apparatus where you only get to do that lab once.”
The consultant on the project, Prithvi Raj Kodi, said the courses are hands on and allow the teachers to access the students periodically.
He added: “One of the top benefits is the interactive nature of the devices. As opposed to a physical textbook, the user can not only interact with the elements but all key words. For example, complex words that are tough to pronounce have pronunciations. For scientific words that are tough to remember the definitions- they are all clickable and have the definitions for those words. A user can break down reading monotony with cool facts at the end of the topic. For the teachers, there are end of section quizzes that they can ask students to take for evaluation purposes. Towards the end of the chapter, there’s an end of chapter test which is password protected where the teacher can give out the password right before he/she wants to take a class test.”
Kodi encouraged the students to take advantage of the resources available to them through the e-book, which will prepare them for a more integrated digital aspect of their education. (GIS)