|Minister of Education, Ronald Jones, officially launching BTEC with the assistance of Acting Deputy Chief Education Officer, Joy Gittens. (C. Pitt/BGIS)|
With over 2,500 persons having, thus far, visited the exhibition component of the Barbados Technology in Education Conference (BTEC) at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Chairman of the Planning Committee for BTEC, Paul Murphy is calling it a resounding success.
Stressing that yesterday’s (Thursday) start of the exhibition in the Frangipani Room saw large numbers of students and teachers from both primary and secondary schools, he said: "This made exhibitors feel satisfied, they have praised the inaugural BTEC and are generally happy that persons are passing through and showing interest in their products and services. And, most importantly, they are willing to come on board again."
Acting Senior Tutor with the Division of Computer Science at the Barbados Community College (BCC), Debbie Best, stated that she was happy with the interest shown in all the Divisions and would participate again. She said "students were impressed with the Solar Tracker developed by the Division of Technology, as a system to help householders reduce high electricity bills."
Aries Manager, Gillian Hassell, said the Ministry was onto a "big thing" and it was "good that children and teachers were exposed to the technology". Explaining that most of them showed interest in a game which tested their knowledge on the 11-plus
examination, she noted, "They also took favourably to a Promise Card, which called on them to vow to do their best and work to their full potential".
Conquer Maths Caribbean Director, Winston Cumberbatch, who is also a teacher at St. Leonard’s Boys’ School, said the questions children had asked showed that they were "thinking people". Disclosing that several parents had signed up for his online Maths programme, which was directed towards students from Reception to?? ???A’ Level, he stressed that the Ministry’s exhibition showed what was possible for education in the future.
A booth which kept students, teachers and parents active was Komik Kraze. This was due largely to its highly interactive Xbox and Playstation games. In praising the Education Ministry, Manager, Nadia Corbin-Babb said:?? "We are looking forward to being part of this event next year or whenever… We had a lot of visitors moving [through] including a representative from Microsoft as well as our teachers, some of whom were playing the games in ???high heels.’
Illuminat (Barbados), a key sponsor of the Exhibition, also noted that it was "exciting" to see the students and adults involved. Representative of Illuminat Education, Marva Kirton, pointed out that "anything that was interactive kept their interest". According to her, these involved the digital camera, Smart Table and Smart Board, the latter two providing both games and educational activities.
Another key sponsor, LIME, indicated that its online learning tool was a "hit" with children. Account Manager in the Corporate Sales Department, Joan Marshall, while stating that the exhibition could only "get bigger and better", said: "A lot of the children who came to our booth were keen about our tool because it is a cartooned based Mathematics programme."
Mr. Murphy, in agreeing with the sentiments and praise showered on the BTEC exhibition indicated from his interaction with the over 25 exhibitors; the students, parents and teachers that it was clear the inaugural event had been "satisfactorily graded by all".
He said: "This too is borne out in the evaluation sheets which I have seen so far. The comments are stimulating and I believe we can only get better…We have to do this again."