Technology will boost learning outcomes
THE EDITOR, Sir:
In 2016, the Ministry of Education introduced the National Standards Curriculum (NSC) to grades one and four. On the face of it, this new approach uses a trajectory that involves science, technology, engineering, (aesthetics) and mathematics (STEAM/STEM) to formulate and deliver subject content.
Behind that is a variety of methods to have students engage, explore, elaborate and extend knowledge in an interactive environment created and facilitated by the teacher. A full roll-out is projected for the academic year commencing September 2017, and consequently, workshops were held in the month of July to inform and train teachers of grades two, three, five and six. The aims of the NSC are "successful lifelong learners, confident and productive individuals and Jamaican identity and citizenship".
Various resources, technological and otherwise, will become more critical to the process. A more practical, hands-on approach is being adopted, requiring all hands on deck. Smartphones, computers, tablets, electronic calculators and other technologies, along with the traditional books and other learning aids will be integrated into everyday learning. Students and teachers will be expected to be more creative, expressive and experimental.
The concern will not be getting an 'A', and coming out ahead of the class, but rather to produce a rounded child who learns to think critically, develops life skills, becomes artistic and expressive, culturally aware, learns the basics of a second language (Spanish) and even to be excellent team players as more often than not, activities will require grouping of students.
Student assessment will be continuous and project-based so that the child's performance is not determined solely based on a test score, whether it is favourable or not.
It will not be business as usual, and parents/guardians, stakeholders, students, et al are to be sensitised on a wide-scale basis so that timely and substantial investments can be made to provide the relevant equipment and materials to facilitate the successful implementation of the NSC.
T L. SIMMONDS