The Erdiston Teachers’ Training College (ETTC) has repositioned all of its systems to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the delivery of teacher education in Barbados.
Management of the College explained that the virus created a “new norm” which required protocols such as social distancing and the adherence of curfew hours.
This, they said, called for an immediate change from traditional face-to-face teaching to remote teaching and learning.
Online learning is not, however, a novel concept for the ETTC. A number of programmes such as the Postgraduate Diploma in Education Leadership, the Bachelor of Education Programme and the Diploma in Education Secondary Programme have utilized platforms for the “asynchronous facilitation of classes” for a few years now.
Additionally, over the past year, the College accessed grant funds through the Organization of American States (OAS) to support online teaching and learning.
As part of the grant, 23 full-time and part-time staff members received training from the Barbados Institute of Management and Productivity (BIMAP) in the use of blended and online modalities in the teaching of their courses.
With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the College said it moved “with alacrity” to ensure that all 53 members of its full-time and part-time staff were trained in the use of the Google G Suite for Education platform to deliver instruction to students in the online environment.
Management of the ETTC explained that they made the decision to allow tutors already using other platforms, such as Trident and Edmodo, to continue to do so to facilitate teaching and learning. And, by March 30, 2020, all continuing programmes were facilitated using the online modality.
The College also announced that it had introduced its first online coding workshop for teachers at the secondary level. While it has been offering coding and robotics workshops to principals and teachers since 2016, this is the first time that coding workshops will be offered entirely online.
“This initiative has the full support of the Government of Barbados and has the potential to revolutionize education by providing the nation’s children with the skills needed for the new world which is evolving,” management of the ETTC stated.