Teachers have been told that as valuable and critical as technology is, it cannot replace the preparation and work which they are expected to put into the classroom.
This was expressed today by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Senator Harry Husbands, as he thanked Aldas, a newly authorised Apple reseller in the USA, and the Montclair Kimberley Academy, the institution responsible for donating 45 iPads to Barbadian schools.
The handover was held in the auditorium of the Media Resource Department at the Ministry’s headquarters, Elsie Payne Complex, Constitution Road, St. Michael. The technology would aid students in the Khan Academy Maths programme.
Senator Husbands stressed that teachers could not arrive at class unprepared, use computers or tablets and expect to deliver a productive or meaningful lesson. He added that teachers still had a critical role to play in preparing, motivating and guiding the young minds of students.
“So, while we welcome the technology, we are mindful that the central role in the educational system and in promoting good study habits and good learning habits and competencies, especially in Science…. a large part of that is due to the work and the input of teachers.”
While stating that Barbados was fortunate to have a very professional core of teachers in the private and public sectors, the Parliamentary Secretary pointed out that the presentation of iPads was in keeping with the Ministry’s desire to highlight Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
And, he believes that the more STEM young people know, the better their quality of life would be in the future. “Because most of the jobs available will demand some level of knowledge and competency in those areas,” Senator Husbands said.
Meanwhile, Senior Education Officer, Fernando Carter, in sharing similar sentiments, said working together with Information Technology coordinators in the school, principals, teachers and parents, the teaching and learning environment of Mathematics could be reinvigorated by utilising any additional tool.
Over the past year and a half, the Education Ministry also received a donation of 60 laptops for schools from JetBlue. These were sourced with the assistance of Khan Academy Ambassador Alex Eiden.
Speaking at the handover, Mr. Eiden noted that from 2013, when contact was made with the Ministry of Education here, there had always been “a pretty positive reaction”.
Mr. Eiden, a student at Montclair Kimberley Academy, conveyed his principal’s pleasure saying: “We are pleased to share with the students in Barbados our commitment as an Apple distinguished school to enhancing learning through a technology-infused education.”
While principals and teachers were presented with the iPads, two outstanding students, from last year’s Khan Academy programme, were recipients each of an Apple iPad Pro.
They are Destynee Walkes of Ellerton Primary, and Karlton Holligan, formely of St. Luke’s Brighton, and now a pupil of Harrison College. The two had received 1,031,273 and 724,370 energy points, respectively.