Port Royal Primary goes SMART
With a vision to enhance the education of their students through exposure to digital technology, the leadership of Port Royal Primary and Infant School embarked on a journey in November 2018.
Their research led them to the SMART Board technology, but generating funds to purchase the product proved difficult.
Yesterday, more than a year later, an interactive SMART board was officially installed during a ceremony attended by education officials, staff, parents, and students.
Principal Nicola Jones said they went “beyond the shores of Jamaica to mobilise the required resources”.
With a slim probability of being successful, the school approached PayPal, an American company that facilitates online money transfer.
Jones said the company’s representative indicated that the school’s vision aligned with PayPal’s business philosophy.
Acknowledging his instrumental role in preparing the project proposal and other documents requested by the donors, Jones said she was grateful for the assistance from Everton Spencer, a friend of the school and former public-sector executive.
Approval was granted for the US$10,000 (J$1.3 million) grant, but there was more work to be done.
“For the grant to be disbursed, we had to get approval as an equivalent United States public charity through PayPal GIVES,” the principal recalled.
PayPal GIVES is a corporate advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
The school’s charity status qualifies it to request funding for the next three years.
The newly installed SMART board joins the computers and tablets in the school’s computer room.
“It will give us as teachers the flexibility to include different forms of illustrations, games, and videos. Teachers are able to take typical lessons and provide creative instructions, which is a unique experience,” the principal said, adding that the SMART board was already engaged by teachers and students in a recent training session.
The ceremony was highlighted by a demonstration of the SMART board, and Roxine James, a grade-six student, beamed with excitement.
“We are doing PEP (Primary Exit Profile) next month, and we need the boost so we can go to the school of our choice,” the Wolmer’s Girls aspirant said.
The excitement was echoed by Garena Ricketts.
“It’s more technology for us, and it will make it easier for us to learn. The whole school is happy. Thank you to PayPal for giving us this,” said the grade-five student.
Owen Speid, president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association, said he fully endorsed the use of technology in the classroom.
“It will empower the teachers in such a way that imparting knowledge is incumbent on how well and how far we go in the use of technology,” Speid said.