Forty primary school teachers from the eight education districts on the island have received specialized training in the use of the SMART classroom—an interactive digital screen used for student learning.
In October 2023, the Caribbean Digital Transformation Project funded 20 SMART classrooms, which are installed at various primary schools across the island. The training is expected to provide the selected teachers with the skills and techniques to operate and troubleshoot the new technology plus training fellow teachers to do the same.
The Caribbean Digital Transformation Project has dispensed approximately US$200,000 for the rollout of 20 Smart Classrooms within select Primary Schools around the island. Information Systems Manager with the Ministry of Education, Joshua Vernor, reinforced the many opportunities this technology will facilitate for both the teacher and student.
“We are here to conduct some training, our smart schools, smart rooms training. The whole idea is that we’re hoping that we can now infuse or continue to infuse technology in education to make the classroom setting a little more interactive so we could better reach some of our students who might now really enjoy the traditional chalk and talk.”
The Smart Classroom project incorporates deliverables such as the purchase and installation of equipment, the supply of furniture and now has commenced the train the trainer component with teachers from selected schools where the Smart Classrooms are installed. Francillia Solomon is the Project Coordinator for the Caribbean Digital Transformation Project.
“The training here today is to ensure that the Smart Classrooms don’t become white elephants that the teachers at the respective schools have competence in the use of these Smart Classrooms, that there be maximum benefits of the Smart Classrooms to students.”
Twenty teachers from the north of the island benefited from hands-on training at the Dame Pearlette Louisy Primary School, while another 20 teachers from the south of the island received similar training on the use of the Smart Classroom, at the Banse La Grace Primary School in Laborie.
“It is the project’s intention for the Smart Classrooms by the next academic year. And so with that goal, it is our intention to provide training, support, and hand-holding to the teachers until they are competent and capable to fully utilize the system to deliver online learning to the students of not only these schools but also others in their vicinity.”
The COVID pandemic brought to the fore the need to transform the traditional classroom into a more technological environment incorporating digital tools for great student engagement and effective learning.
“Everybody is excited they want to touch. ‘Miss, what is this? What’s going to happen here? Will we be using it?’”
Teacher at the Millet Primary School, Mary George, relayed the excitement of the students to the new technology and her expectations of training provided on the use of the Smart Classroom.
“I must admit that I am very impressed with the transformation so far. Even the Smart Classroom happening now, when the students come in they too are eager and excited to be part of what’s happening. So I know that it is going to bring a new methodology, way of teaching way of students interacting and we’re all eager to see what’s going to happen. Out of the training today I expect I will get the necessities to be able to use the equipment that we’ve been given because it’s quite a bit and it will really mean that I must have the skills to be able to use it.”
OECS Commission also facilitated the Smart Classroom training. The Caribbean Digital Transformation Project previously donated to the Ministry of Education, 2100 tables for grade 6 students and 2100 laptops for first form students.