Technology and the literacy debate will take centre stage next month when the Barbados Association of Reading (BAR), hosts its annual Reading Conference at the Savannah Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church, from Thursday, December 6, to Friday, December 7.
The event, which is supported by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, will be held under the theme: Developing Literacy through Technology.
Over 150 teachers and others who facilitate reading across public and private nursery, primary and secondary institutions are expected at the forum that will place emphasis on What Can be done with the Technology We Have in Schools?; Software and Devices Available for Teaching Literacy, and Technology and Literacy in Comprehension.
President of BAR and Education Officer, Undine Shorey, in providing the rationale for the Reading conference, said: "The use of technology in promoting literacy is very important in today’s educational system. We will be left behind in this process if we don’t come on board, as technology is changing our way of life. Our charges are very ???technology savvy’ so if we want to reach them and exceed their satisfaction we have to utilise all available tools of technology."????????????????????????????????????
The event officially opens at the hotel in Hastings, Christ Church on Thursday, December 6, at 6:00 p.m. Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones will deliver the feature address, while President of the International Reading Association (IRA), Professor Maureen McLaughlin from the Reading Department of East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, will bring greetings on behalf of that organisation to the delegates.??
On Friday, December 7, the session will run from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. On this occasion, the IRA board member in charge of the Caribbean Affiliates of Reading Associations, Joyce Hinman will bring greetings and Professor McLaughlin will discuss Reading Online and Offline: Strategies to Promote Student Engagement.
Local facilitators will include Information Technology Coordinator (ITC) at Sharon Primary, Millinese Alleyne, who will address Maximising the use of technologies: Using Talking Avators, and ITC at George Lamming Primary, Kevin Carrington, who will speak about Using the Tablet to develop Literacy.
Technologies that promote literacy in schools, including the Smartboard, will be demonstrated by the Ministry’s School Liaison Officers, Berkely Lowe and Junior Burgess and there will also be a presentation from one of Government’s IT partners, Illuminat (B’dos) Ltd.
The conference is timely following on the heels of Government’s launch of its second phase of the Education Sector Enhancement Programme (ESEP), in October.?? Financed by a loan of US$35M from the Caribbean Development Bank, and counterpart resources from Government, ESEP II is designed to address critical issues of the Ministry’s continued sector development plan.
Its major objective is to enhance the quality and effectiveness of basic education in Barbados.?? The new programme is also considered integral to the achievement of the goals articulated in the national Human Resource Development Strategy 2011-2016, and will further assist Government to better plan for its investments in the education sector, including technology.