My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Ministry of Science and Technology signs four Contractors in March 2014 to procure Tablets - Test Pilot Project in September 2014 means Teachers can monetize e-books

linkbucks

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ministry of Science and Technology signs four Contractors in March 2014 to procure Tablets - Test Pilot Project in September 2014 means Teachers can monetize e-books

At long last, we have Contractors for the Test Pilot Project for Tablets for the JA$800 million E-learning Project II involving some 30,000 Tablets as had been reported initially in the article “E-Learning Jamaica Accepting Bids for Supply of Tablets”, published Friday, 05 July 2013 08:34 By Douglas McIntosh, The Jamaica Information Service.

A Contract for this Test Pilot Launch of Tablets was recently signed on Tuesday March 11th 2014 with four (4) Contractors at the PCJ (Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica) as stated in “Contracts Signed for Tablets in Schools Pilot”, published March 12, 2014 By Jamaica Information Service.

This is a Test Pilot project to launch the JA$800 million E-learning Project II to supply 400,000 Tablets to a select number of thirty five (35) High Schools in the Inner City over the next five (5) years as explained in my blog article entitled “Minister Paulwell gives Parliamentarians and 20,000 Students in 30 Schools Tablets- Future in Science and Technology now rescued Indiana Jones and the Palace of Doom”.

E-learning Project II Test Pilot – Plane and Pilot miss Academic Year 2013/2014 Launch

There are a few interesting changes to take note of. According to this latest report, the number of Schools has been increased from 35 to 38 over the next five years.  The Schools are broken down as follows:

1.      13 Primary Schools
2.      6 All Age and Junior High Schools
3.      11 High Schools
4.      6 Infant Departments
5.      1 Teacher’s college (possibly MICO University College)
6.      1 Special Education Institution

This involves some 728 Teachers in Schools yet to be named. This is possibly to avoid any claims of Political alliances between Principals and School Administrators and the Government in making them the Guinea Pigs for the Test Pilot Project for Tablets for the JA$800 million E-learning Project II.  If the Test Pilot Program succeeds, it'll expand islandwide to reach all of the 38 Schools and some estimated 600,000 students and Teachers.

Also, the Four Technology partners will be initially supplying a mere 27,000 Tablets, close to what I’d predicted when I’d thought these Tablets had already been disbursed in September 2013 as stated in my blog article entitled “Ministry of Science and Technology yet to announce Tablet Contractor - 400,000 Tablets for E-Learning II Project in 5 years as Test Pilot to end June 2014”.

The Contractors for supplying the Tablets are as listed below with their respective quotas making up the 27,000:

1.      10,500 Tablets from Innovative Corporate Solutions
2.      5,500 Tablets from Digicel Jamaica
3.      5,500 Tablets from Productive Business Solutions 
4.      5,500 Tablets from GeoTech Vision Enterprises Limited

Apparently they hadn’t been disbursed, as the Contractors had yet to be identified up until November 2013 when I’d originally penned that article. These now newly signed Contractors are apparently tasked with not only supplying the Tablets but also providing the CMS as well as the installation of the Wi-Fi Modems to facilitate Internet Access to the Tablets in Class.

The Contractors for the Test Pilot Project are in fact also supplying the following:

1.      Tablets
2.      Accessories e.g. Headsets, Cases with Keyboards
3.      DMS (Device Management Solutions) e.g. Tracking Stolen Tablets and locking them down when stolen
4.      CMS (Content Management Systems) e.g. Website Tracking and Blocking Tools

Developing Educational Content may require a separate Contract to be announced later by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining in collaboration with the Ministry of Education as suggested by the article “Tablets in Schools project to open doors for local animators”, Published Saturday March 1, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Most likely, it’ll involve Animation Studios and Educational Institutions, as it’s unforeseeable that the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining and the Ministry of Education would allow anyone who isn’t politically aligned with either Ministry to make money from supplying Content to Tablets!

Thus it’s clear that Contracts to procure the Tablet and the relevant Support Systems, now officially signed, is off to a late start, as it was never started in Academic Year 2013/2014 which starts September 2013 and ends June 2014.

Currently June 2014, counting from the current signing of the Contract with the Four (4) Contractors in March 2014, is a mere three (3) months away. Thus it’s clear that they’re gunning for a start in Academic Year 2014/2015 which starts September 2014 and ends June 2015.

Tablets to be sourced by Contractors – Low-end Google Android Tablets from China and Haiti

Back then, I’d thought it was a case that the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining and the Ministry of Education had already found and purchased the Tablets from the Chinese as I’d predicted some time ago in my blog article entitled “Apple iPad vs Huawei MediaPad & HP TouchPad - Hackers say this is As Good as it Gets” and “Asus Transformer & Asian Tablets vs Apple iPad - Vybz Kartel's Straight Jeans & Fitted Big Trouble in Little China”.

Being as most of the Parliamentarians are over 50 years old, back then I’d assumed that the Tablets would have most likely been the Microsoft Surface or any other Tablet running Windows 8, as they come with an attached Keyboard as explained in my blog article entitled “Minister Paulwell gives Parliamentarians and 20,000 Students in 30 Schools Tablets- Future in Science and Technology now rescued Indiana Jones and the Palace of Doom”.

I also assumed that they were merely looking for a Contractor to retrofit them with educational software, CMS (Content Management Services) and DMS (Device Management Solutions) to distribute to the High Schools.

That now appears not to be the case; the Contractor was to do ALL of that, both procure the Tablets and retrofit them with CMS (Content Management Services) and DMS (Device Management Solutions) to distribute them on behalf of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining and the Ministry of Education.

The Contractor(s) would then get the Government Contract that would see them subsidizing the cost of Tablets that typically cost between JA$9000 (US$90) to JA$20000 (US$200) at the high-end for a Huawei MediaPad Lite 7 Tablet as described in my blog article entitled “US$200 Huawei Media Pad 7 Lite from Digicel compared to the Apple iPad 2 and the Google Nexus 7 - Excellent Tablet choices to avoid the Delivery Man this Christmas” down to prices as low as JA$5000 (US$50) per Tablet!


Transmissive to Interactive Learning – Potential for Teachers to work with Programmers to monetize e-books

The aim of the Tablets in Schools under the JA$800 million E-learning Project II is also a little clearer as well. The aim is to familiarize students with Computers as a tool for Research as well as Work. Tablet Computing is really the wave of the Future as their current design represents the evolution of the early Basic Design since the Apple iPad launched in 2010.

Over time the Technology is expected to mature and by introducing Jamaicans children to the Technology from early; they are expected to be able to improve in their cognitive analysis and Research skills through the use of Online Database e.g. Google, Yahoo and be ready to work anywhere in the world.

Via the appropriate CMS, these Tablets empower the Teacher with a Tool that will allow them to transform any Classroom from a Transmissive Medium to an Interactive one, with the Tablets being able to show Video and Audio Clips of Material being learnt.

It will also allow them to teach home-bound students via Interactive Videos that can either be downloaded or Streamed live from the Classroom as well as send work to Students via Email. Students can’t say the dog ate your homework again; now you gotta say the Dog swallowed your Tablet or ate your Internet Modem!

Most importantly, for the truly dedicated Internet-savvy Teacher, it'll allow them to create content from which they can make money such as e-books and other learning material as described in my how-to blog article entitled “Crowdsourced, Teleworking Flex-work Publishers needed for UWI and High School Students with Tablets in 2014 - How Jamaican Writers can make money via ePub Publishing Books” and How to become an e-book Publishing House via e-book Piracy - Tablets in Schools sets the Stage for Rampant e-book Piracy”.

This has the potential to reduce the amount of books that Students currently carry to School, thereby reducing the cost of books; all thanks a subsidized JA$5000 Tablet. Who knows, maybe in the next five (5) years, Jamaica will develop the capacity to build Tablets like Haiti, as if they can do it, so can we.


In the meantime, these Contractors are tasked with procuring the Tablets and creating the CMS and DMS to prevent abuse of the system by Students, provide Maintenance and safeguard them against Theft. Exciting Times in Education and Technology are coming by September 2014 when Tablets will roll out in Schools across Jamaica!
Post a Comment