Education Minister: Transform Children’s Lives Through Technology

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Technology in schools should be used to transform the learning styles of children, so that work written, researched or presented ???becomes extremely real to them???.

This point was stressed today as Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, addressed the official opening of the Legacy Foundation Educational Resource Centre at Charles F. Broome Memorial Primary School on Government Hill.

Noting that there was still a fear of computers by some teachers, the Minister said: ???All it calls for is adequate and appropriate preparation???and the ability to present it to the children for them to assimilate and for them to use it in a manner which makes them comfortable and make you comfortable.???

As he stressed that the challenge was to find the positives in the use of computers, he spoke about the need for parents to supervise their children when using technology.

???There is a plethora of learning material that has built into it a whole lot of interactive behaviour???Buy that instead so that children can see the transformation in their lives??? Genuine learning doesn???t blunt you; it doesn???t stymie you into a fossilised kind of mental state; but it creates this wide open arena; this global space where we can learn and exist and have our being and see ourselves unfold???and know that our children are part of a learning environment that can???make them wholesome,??? Mr Jones stated.

Commending the Parent Teachers??? Association (PTA), teachers and students of Charles F. Broome and the Legacy Foundation for their role in the development of the Centre, Mr Jones said they had all come together and demonstrated ???the transformational effects of the genuine use of technology in capturing the mind and hearts and spirits of our children???.

The school was also praised for its excellent teachers and for operating at the highest level in the primary school system. Noting that this could only be a combination of several factors, the Education Minister said the resource centre was a demonstration of one of those factors.

???The commitment of parents [and] of students to learning that is one of the primary factors in student achievement. Don???t care how good the teachers are, unless you have parental commitment you will only get 30 per cent. Parental commitment is absolutely important,??? said the former teacher.

President of the PTA, Ayo Burrowes, expressed the hope that the centre would serve as a model for other schools on the island to improve the learning environment of their students. She said: ???The project has demonstrated the potential for Parent Teacher Associations, working in concert with the private sector, to fill gaps in resource requirements that cannot always be immediately addressed by Government.???

Legacy Foundation, a registered charity and a philanthropic initiative of members of the Barbados Public Workers??? Cooperative Credit Union Ltd., provided two 40-foot containers for the development of the Centre which houses an array of technology.

The Centre can accommodate about 32 pupils, each with fully networked laptops, and provides substantive exposure to information and communication technology. It also contains a counselling room which allows teachers to offer one-on- one sessions to students with learning challenges.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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