Fri | Dec 4, 2020

Internet at last for Wood Hall Primary

Published:Saturday | October 31, 2020 | 12:06 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer
e-Learning Jamaica handed over tablet computers to students of Mocho Primary and Infant, Rock River Primary and Wood Hall Primary at Woodhall Primary in Clarendon on October 29. The students who received the tablets are (from left) Darnell Smith (Mocho Pri
e-Learning Jamaica handed over tablet computers to students of Mocho Primary and Infant, Rock River Primary and Wood Hall Primary at Woodhall Primary in Clarendon on October 29. The students who received the tablets are (from left) Darnell Smith (Mocho Primary & Infant); Jacaughn Campbell (Woodhall Primary) and Amoya Briscoe (Rock River Primary).
Darnell Smith and his Principal Tina Reid-Green of Mocho Primary and Infant School in Clarendon display the tablet handed over to the student by e-Learning Jamaica on October 29.
Darnell Smith and his Principal Tina Reid-Green of Mocho Primary and Infant School in Clarendon display the tablet handed over to the student by e-Learning Jamaica on October 29.
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Wood Hall Primary School Principal Elisa Craig was on vacation but could not miss Thursday’s historic event to celebrate her institution finally getting Internet service after years of waiting.

She could barely contain her excitement as the service, courtesy of ReadyTV and enabled by Member of Parliament Robert Morgan, got going.

“I have been just looking forward to this for years now. The Wood Hall Primary School, my alma mater, [our dream] has finally come true,” she said. “To get the school to this level and to witness it now is just too much for me to put into words.”

The elation

Craig, who is also pastor of the Wood Hall Church of God of Prophecy, said it was double the elation knowing that Morgan, a son of the soil whose family worships at her church, was the one to bring it to fruition.

“[It’s] something I have been anticipating for years. Wow! Learning will be so much more fun for the students,” she said excitedly.

Acting Principal Dianne McFarlane was also overjoyed, pointing out that the 64 PATH students from grade four to six had received their tablets.

PATH – the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education – is a state-welfare initiative.

“The challenges that we had was that they were using their parents’ phones in order to access the Google Classroom, and what you find is that they go in, mark their names in the morning and be engaged,” she said.

By mid-morning, however, they would be out of the classroom as their parents headed to work with the devices.

This posed a significant problem as although they had been marked present, they were not engaged in the lessons, and all their assignments would be marked late as they only got to do them when their parents returned home with the phones.

With satellite Internet at their doorsteps, McFarlane said that students without access at home would be invited to partake in lessons and complete assignments, using the school’s service.

“It will not be a crowded situation as students will be assigned specific times to download from the Google Classroom the sessions posted by teachers and return home so as to adhere to the protocols of the health department and the Ministry of Education,” said McFarlane.

While grateful that students could continue learning during the pandemic, Morgan admitted that there was no true replacement for face-to-face classes.

“The biggest issue that we have faced is regardless of what we say, the most tried and true test method of education is face to face,” he said. “The ability of a teacher to look at a student and understand whether that student understands or not ... or the ability of a teacher to reassure a student just by sitting beside him or her, holding his hand, teaching him how to mark a letter, that cannot be replaced by a tablet.”

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