Exhibition On Latest Educational Technology In Barbados

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When the inaugural Barbados Technology in Education Conference (BTEC) comes off at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC),
from March 15 to 17, lots of gadgetry and equipment, used in education, will be on display.????

"This is aside from the several aspects of technology that will constitute workshop material for participants who will attend the conference,"
Chairman of the Coordinating Committee for the event, Paul Murphy disclosed. He stressed that the exhibition would put technology ???at the fingertips’ of those attending, in much the same way as the interactive workshops on Animation in Education; Assistive Technology for Special Needs and Mobile Devices and Gaming in Education.

"The Frangipani Room of the LESC will be transformed into an exhibition hall displaying a wide array of information technology from the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development and its training and development partners, as well as from corporate Barbados. These will include the latest software and hardware, including the Kindle; IPad; IPod and IPhone and interactive whiteboards," Mr. Murphy explained.????

A check with one of the Ministry’s main exhibitors, the Media Resource Department (MRD), revealed that indigenous software would be a highlight. Among these???? will be productions on the Arawaks, the Caribs, and We 10 Heroes; the NIFCA silver award winning DVD on Barbados’ National Heroes, which the MRD is hoping will be accessed by more schools.

"Families should find the department’s Smart Board entertaining and challenging, as well as its Hurricane Preparedness Game, which will allow them to simulate the planning and preparation required during hurricane season," Audio Visual Aids Officer, Charmaine Seale explained. She noted that the website http://www.mrd.gov.bb/ would also be available to show educators other resources that would be on offer free of cost.

"We are hoping to interest others in providing additional resources to the Ministry. An added reason for visiting us at BTEC is that patrons could win several prizes including an Amazon Kindle Fire," she promised.

PromoTech, described as the premier partner for Hewlett Packard (HP) and an authorised Service Centre, has indicated that interactive technology would be its key highlight. The company will be exhibiting its HP range of items including printers, notebooks, desktops and workstations.

"There are a lot of concepts out there which we will be using to educate Barbadians. We will bring the technology that hopefully will empower both the educator and student towards achieving their goals; whether that is to better their grades, create ideas or mould more visionaries in the society," Corporate Sales Manager, Stephen Williams noted.

He sees the Ministry’s technology exhibition as another marketing channel. stressing that Promotech would be setting out to stimulate decision makers, Mr. Williams said: "We will be letting them know what we do and that technology is the way to take us to the next level like first-world countries."??

Online learning service provider, EzLearner Inc., will be bringing four learning applications (apps) to the BTEC exhibition.?? "These are ComputeTM for practising mathematical concepts, ComprehendTM for developing critical thinking skills, ComposerTM for improving grammar and writing skills, and Story ReaderTM, which is a social network feed that features stories published by students," Managing Director, Troy Weekes explained.??

He added: "The ezLearner suite is likely to grab the attention of educators and students who stand to benefit most from the use of the online learning apps and social network," he said, while explaining further that ezLearner was developed to provide a sustainable 21st century platform for lifelong learning.?? According to him, that company expects within the next five years to "significantly accelerate the learning and teaching processes within Barbados.????????????
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"EzLearner, through online technologies and culturally relevant learning materials, intends to enhance the quality of education and increase access to education within the Caribbean region, and it expects to introduce its online learning service to as many patrons as possible at BTEC," Mr. Weekes stressed.

Noting that the local exhibition could likely stimulate those patrons, who were interested predisposed in using technology, he said: "These individuals will be able to survey the educational technological landscape, not only for purchasing but for future technology development."

There will be a give-a-way called the Free Brain Boost!, which is an online assessment for students, teachers and parents. Visitors to the Illuminat (Barbados) Ltd. booth will be treated to SMART technology solutions, educational software and hardware. The company is a key sponsor of BTEC, and anticipates that the interactive technology on show would pique the interests of visitors.??

Team Leader, Brian Lashley, acknowledging that the Ministry’s exhibition was timely, noted that he envisaged it would bring about a higher awareness of technology solutions for schools and homes. He said: "This BTEC symposium will highlight exciting technological changes occurring within the industry, thereby making patrons mindful of the IT solutions that are available.??

"We would like to see IT fully integrated into the local learning environment to provide for an enhanced experience that allows students the ability to acquire and analyse readily obtainable information. Another sponsor, LIME, is expected to showcase products aimed at wooing patrons, including 4-G technology.

BTEC is being held under the theme Transforming Barbadian Education: Learning Powered through Technology. Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, will officially open the conference and exhibition on Wednesday, March 14, at the LESC, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael at 7:00 p.m.

The exhibition, which runs from Wednesday, March 15 to Saturday, March 17, will give school children and the general public the opportunity to view technology from 9:00 a.m. daily.

The conference and exhibition have the support of Microsoft Caribbean, Inter American Development Bank, Promotech; CIBC First Caribbean Inc; Illuminat (Barbados) Ltd; LIME; JP Marshall Associates; Atlantic Computers; SLAM; BarbadosToday; the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation;?? Caribbean Academy Online and IGM Stage Lighting Inc.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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