Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Harry Husbands

Teachers who utilise technology in the classroom when instructing students are making an "intelligent move".

This was underscored last evening at the Savannah Hotel, as Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Harry Husbands, addressed the opening of the 6th Annual Conference of the Barbados Association of Reading (BAR), on behalf of Education Minister, Ronald Jones.

Pointing out that students were now more technologically savvy and capable of manipulating more devices than some teachers, Senator Husbands said: "Such devices capture children’s interest, so learning takes place, as they become involved in the

application of these tools. If the teachers want to have their students deeply involved in the subjects in the curriculum, then employing the use and applications of available

technologies would be an intelligent move to make in this technologically aware climate."

Teachers also heard that it was important to be ready "in order to fully prepare today’s youth to thrive in this digital world" and Senator Husbands cautioned that failure to "get on board" would see them "left behind" with students being "the ones in charge of the educational process".?? Conceding, however, that there was no evidence yet to indicate that this had happened, he said: "Our society has always believed in an orderly classroom devoted to learning and we are still promoting this idea."

He noted that students should be taught the basics not only academically but morally, ethically and socially and added: "These can only come with wise, mature heads imparting these values."

And, teachers were urged to equip themselves with the requisite tools, knowledge and passion to embrace technology on their job. "They should be able to demonstrate a sound understanding of technology operations and concepts, be able to plan and design effective learning environments and experiences supported by technology, and implement curriculum plans that include methods and strategies for applying technologies to maximise student learning," stressed Mr. Husbands, himself a former teacher.

It was noted that technology was one of the areas constantly changing and impacting lives. "We need to learn how to accept and adapt to change. With this in mind, we will have to embrace technology in all of its facets to continue the process of learning. This includes using it in the classroom for our students," Senator Husbands said, adding that computers, the internet, digital cameras, MP players, cellphones, tablets and personal digital assistants were used daily.

The conference, which is being held under the theme Developing Literacy Through Technology, was deemed timely by the Parliamentary Secretary. Reflecting on the theme, he queried whether technology contributed positively to student achievement. Using research findings Mr. Husbands stated, among others, that "computer technology provides abundant opportunities for students to build or modify their personal knowledge through the rich experiences that technology affords.

He added: "Research also mentioned that many slow learners flourished in the environment where technology was used to develop literacy. Boys were in their element with the use of the various technologies and much of the concern about their educational development was muted if not completely abated. With the inclusion of technology in the classroom there is hope for many of our boys, who have been lagging behind the girls, that they will keep pace with and in some cases outstrip girls…’"

The Parliamentary Secretary commended BAR, a non-governmental organisation, for coordinating the conference, which he noted complemented the Ministry of Education’s vision "to firmly entrench the application of the various forms of technology in the teaching and learning environment".


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