St. Leonard???s Teacher Introduces Online Maths Programme

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Chief Education Officer, Laurie King (FP)

The introduction of the online Mathematics programme, ConquerMaths Caribbean, to Barbadian teachers, students and parents has been credited to Mr. Winston Cumberbatch, a visual arts teacher at St. Leonard’s Boys’ Secondary School.

Mr. Cumberbatch, who also created the game Calculink that won the island’s National Innovative Competition in 2004, spoke at the programme’s official launch yesterday at that school.

He noted that it was from then that he sought innovative ways for people to grapple with mathematics. Stating that the ConquerMaths was just one means "that takes learning to young people’s point of comfort", he said:?? "We have a problem; many of our children develop a phobia for Mathematics, from a very early age, resulting in a pretty high failure rate in the subject".

As he alluded to figures given by Chief Education Officer, Laurie King, on Mathematics, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ConquerMaths Caribbean added that his organisation’s aim was simply to make Mathematics fun and readily accessible from as early as Reception. "This is through a medium that children are comfortable using such as the computer and rewarding them for their efforts," Mr. King said.

The vision, he added, "was to enrich the teaching and learning of Mathematics?? throughout the region from the primary stage?? of education?? to the tertiary?? stage through the integration of information and communications technologies within the Mathematics curriculum at school and at home."

Disclosing that the organisation had devised the Caribbean Mathematics Enrichment Project, with its theme Every Child Counts, he said the aim was to make tutoring accessible at a reasonable cost regionally and through partnering with entities such as Education Ministries, principals of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, Parent Teachers Associations and Corporate sponsors such as CIBC First Caribbean International Bank.

Explaining that many of these alliances had already been formed, the CEO noted sponsors and ConquerMaths Caribbean would reward enrolled primary and secondary students who had demonstrated a determination to conquer the subject by studying the most ConquerMaths lessons and gaining the highest scores over a period of five months – from April 1 to August 31, 2012.

Meanwhile, Marketing Manager of CIBC First Caribbean International Bank, Donna King, in commending Mr. Cumberbatch, said the programme for which her organisation was a major sponsor was "a perfect fit" since, over the years, the Bank had shown a "definite leaning towards projects that involved our young people".???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? 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were also urged "to always work to the best of your ability, to conquer Maths and to strive for excellence and make your parents proud of their efforts."

ConquerMaths was showcased earlier this month at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre during the Ministry’s inaugural Barbados Technology in Education Conference and Exhibition.?? It was launched yesterday with several students receiving certificates for work already done online.?? The launch also saw the start of a Top 5 PTA Drive, a contest where the top five performing students in primary and secondary schools will receive $100 each and a year’s free enrollment in the online maths programme. One top primary and secondary student will also win a Samsung Tablet.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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