Technology can improve learning, say specialists
Education specialists believe that should the Government better incorporate technology in the learning process for students, Jamaica could see a significant turnaround in the performance of many students deemed poor performers.
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, in his first few weeks of assuming office, said one of the plans of his ministry would be "to bring a renewed emphasis on using information technology to improve pedagogy to the school system".
Speaking at a Gleaner Editors' Forum on Wednesday, head of clinical services/special educator at The Mico University College Child Assessment and Research in Education (CARE) Centre, Salomie Evering, said the move was long overdue. She said incorporating technology in the teaching process should be something that is embedded in the school curriculum.
"A number of primary schools are now getting their computer labs and people are now being trained to use technology. What we need now is for this to be a part of the curriculum because unless it is mandatory, some things are not going to be done," she said.
Some teachers moving ahead
She added that already there were some teachers who have seen the need to incorporate technology in the process and are moving ahead of the time.
"I find that when you visit some schools, some younger teachers, they will go on the Internet and you have interactive tools on the Internet that they will use to make teaching interesting."
Psychologist Claudine Hyatt, who heads the department of psychology, counselling and allied services at Mico CARE, agreed that there were a lot of benefits to be derived from this. She added that in particular, incorporating technology could be one of the strategies used to engage boys.
"It could enhance lessons. In a lesson, we can pull up a clip from YouTube, when we can have webcast and podcast and students sitting in Jamaica can interact with students sitting in Trinidad via Skype and discuss a lesson, I think that makes it far more engaging and will appeal to the male students as well," she said, while adding that the majority of teachers within the system are equipped to embrace this new method of teaching.