Instructor Ronnie Carrington explaining the features of the digital camera to his class during the Edutech Summer Workshops.
Several primary and secondary school teachers are now more prepared to integrate technology into their lesson planning, having participated in the Edutech Summer Workshops organised by the Ministry of Education and Illuminat Barbados.
The workshops, which were conducted in July and August, were held at Queen’s College, Husbands, St. James and explored many topics. Among them were: Foundations in Educational Technology, Resource Development, Technology Leadership, and Academic Software in Primary Education.
The teachers were introduced to innovative software packages including ‘Smartboard’, which allows users to manipulate items on the screen with the touch of a finger. They also participated in discussions on Cellular Phone Technology and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP).
Programme Director for EduTech, Paul Murphy, said participants responded well to the workshops. “The teachers were extremely excited about the training they received and wanted more…They have said that the training has been very useful and has provided them with new methods of teaching,” he said.
Mr. Murphy explained that the software purchased for schools was identified by the EduTech and Curriculum Officers at the Ministry of Education and tutors of the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College. Themes ranged from Science to Special Needs.
Teachers "showing off" their digital photography skills after participating in the Digital Photography Class of the EduTech Summer Workshops.
English and Art teacher at the Springer Memorial School, Patricia Bourne-Nurse, who has attended several EduTech workshops over the years, pointed out that many children were ‘technologically savvy’, therefore, she had already begun the practice of using the software to teach her students. The educator explained that the software was ‘interactive’ and providing ‘samples’ which assisted students with their poetry and prose writing.
The EduTech Summer Workshops are offered every year to the island’s educators, free of cost.
Stating that IICA collaborates with the Food and Agriculture Organization and the USDA on several projects, she underlined: “I think we have realised now that we have to work together towards this one goal of improving agricultural health and food safety in the region. As a result, there has been quite a bit of this kind of capacity building activity going on. The awareness has increased, both in terms of the technical persons (scientists) and the policy makers. So, we are finding increased capacity in the region.
The three-day workshop was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in collaboration with IICA, the USDA, Florida’s Department of Agriculture and the University of Florida’s Southern Plant Diagnostic Network. It attracted over 20 participants from Barbados and the OECS.