Mon | Mar 1, 2021

Full STEAM ahead for JC - St Andrew-based school envisions fresh approach to lessons

Published:Thursday | January 28, 2021 | 12:23 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer

Born out of Principal Wayne Robinson’s vision to change the method of teaching as some students were not being engaged in classes, Jamaica College yesterday launched its US$500,000 (J$72 million) STEAM Infusion Project.

STEAM is an educational discipline which encompasses science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics.

The project, which was financed by JC old boy Dr Joseph Tait, is the single largest investment in academics by a past student since the school was founded in 1789.

JC systems administrator Dawn MacGregor-Bromfield said that the provision of resources and linked training are crucial to raising the academic bar.

“We have infused STEAM throughout the campus. Every block can feel STEAM, every subject can use STEAM, and every subject is supported with STEAM infrastructure, products and equipment that have been put in place,” she explained.

Among the infrastructure are two science laboratories; a lab incorporated in the school’s museum; and an audiovisual room equipped with a SMART board, which is to be used mainly for teacher training.

ICT UPGRADE

As part of the upgrade, JC has improved its ICT infrastructure by installing fibre across the school and increasing its bandwidth.

“We have upgraded classrooms, and one of them, we have retrofitted to a mini theatre. It has the ability to bring in all subjects because every subject can have role-playing,” MacGregor-Bromfield said, adding that the room also features green screen panels.

Mathematics and modern language rooms have also been upgraded with smart TVs, surround sound and access points for Internet connection. An AUTO CAD lab for technical drawing, auto mechanic workshop and a digital information centre are among the other improvements.

Benefactor Tait yesterday said that he was experiencing three emotions – pride, excitement and gratitude – all of which he felt when he entered the gates of the institution in 1948.

“I feel a certain amount of gratitude because this little country boy from the backwoods of Clarendon was able to do this for his college and his country,” the businessman and entrepreneur said.

Tait pledged support for the construction of a theatre garden, a recent proposal made by the school’s systems administrator.

Education Minister Fayval Williams said that she was heartened and encouraged that there were individuals who recognise the significance of investing in the education sector.

“The STEAM infusion project is in line with the thrust at the Ministry of Education to enable our students to have greater access to the technology and the resources needed to thrive as 21st century learners,” the minister said.

Williams added that STEAM has been gaining traction in Jamaica and draws upon the commonly accepted notion that scientific pursuits benefit from artistic understanding, and vice versa.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com