My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: TIS Project a Success with Boys - JA$9000 Subsidized Tablets, 600,000 Students getting e-books come September 2015

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

TIS Project a Success with Boys - JA$9000 Subsidized Tablets, 600,000 Students getting e-books come September 2015

“Already from the four weeks of operation we are seeing tremendous improvement in attendance, and the level of interest, especially from the boys. We are seeing already some improvement in the reading skills of our students, so we believe that this project will have to be enlarged (and) in enlarging it we have to establish some cost sharing”

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell speaking at the Official Opening of the Canterbury Homework and Computer Lab at the Redemption Chapel Church in Montego Bay on Saturday November 1st 2014

Despite reports of a male students figuring a way around the security features built into the Tablets given to students under the JA$1.4 billion TIS (Tablet in Schools) Project as I'd reported in my blog article entitled “Male Student hacks TIS Project Tablet as Distribution Expands - Tablets Problems require Creative Jamaican solutions to deliver Lessons to the Learners We Teach”, the TIS is off to a great start!

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell has now confirmed that the Tablets being distributed across some thirty (30) schools in Jamaica in a TIS Test Pilot is having a marked effect on the students, particularly the males as noted in the article “Parents will soon be asked to pay for tablets”, published Tuesday, November 04, 2014 BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer.


He made mention of this while speaking at the Official Opening of the Canterbury Homework and Computer Lab at the Redemption Chapel Church in Montego Bay on Saturday November 1st 2014 which now boast a Computer Lab with 22 Computers funded by the USF (Universal Service Fund) to the tune of JA$4.8 million.

He remarked during the presentation that early indications are that the High and Primary schools involved in the Test Pilot are seeing the following improvements:

1.      Increase in attendance
2.      Improvement in Reading
3.      Improved interest in School work
4.      Increased interest in School overall being shown by Male students

But it was during that presentation he dropped a bomb that I'd been expecting foe some time, that being the cost of the Tablets as noted in my blog article entitled “Tablets in Jamaican Schools by September 2014 – e-Learning Project II Public Education Campaign needed to be successful”.

The Tablets rollout over the past four (4) weeks has been a success with some 30,000 Tablets now being distributed free to some thirty (30) schools under the TIS Project Test Pilot! That bit should have the doubting Thomases at the MICO University College who though it would create work for idle hands taken aback.

Rather than being a distraction, it has basically proven some of the very Theories about Learning Styles relating to Boys to be true, that being that they are mostly Kinesthetic and Visual learners (Dunn, R., Dunn K., & Price, G.E., 1985) who learn best by watching what other do (Bandura A., 1977) and to have their hands occupied.

This was the argument I’d used in my presentation entitled Profile of the DC Sniper and a Recommended Learning Style Inventory on Tuesday November 4th 2014 in my Professional Studies Group Class, the Learners We Teach.

TIS Project a Success with Boys - JA$5000 to JA$9000 may be what parents will pay for the Subsidized Tablets

Yes, you read that caption right.

That the price I’d originally estimated that parents would pay for the Tablets being provided by the Four (4) contractors based on the cost of a typical low-end Chinese Tablet, the US$200 Huawei MediaPad Lite 7 Tablet as mentioned in my blog article entitled “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”.

Having parents part-pay for the Tablets which were basically subsidized initially by a JA$800 million loan from the USF (Universal Service Fund), the Telecoms Cess that the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) collects to fund the E-Learning Program is an eventuality as described 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”. 


To quote Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell, the ballooning costs of the E-Learning II Project being implemented under the TIS Project Test pilot, if successful, will require that students pay at least a portion of the costs for the Tablets and the content if it is to go islandwide, quote: “We recognise that this project is very costly and when you think about the pilot only being able to deal with approximately 30,000 tablets and we have about 600,000 students we have to find a way to enable the full roll-out of the project for the entire country and to minimise the cost”.

Minister Paulwell noted that PATH (Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education) will continue to get the Tablets and the associated Content i.e. E-book and access to the E-Learning Platform and the CAP (Community Access Points) free of cost, quote: “We will as a Government continue to fund the softer side of the business. So for example the books; all the E-books we will pay for those. We will also pay for free Internet access and it is broadband technology. But we are thinking that apart from those PATH students who cannot afford the tablet, and who we believe we need to assist, we will have to ask parents to contribute towards the acquisition of the tablets”.

TIS Project replace all School books and Texts with e-books - Full rollout come July 2015 to some 600,000 Students

Just that everyone else will have to pay. But it's not as bad as you think.

The eventual plan is to replace all School books and Texts with e-books available for download as well as via Web Apps and E-Learning Certified Websites and Webpages as predicted in my blog article entitled “Ministry of Education Select Content for Jamaican TIS Project - How Tablets will Empower Interactive Learning and make Students Aim High”.

Definitely an opportunity for Teachers with a knack for creating content in e-book as well as on interactive websites built by animators and Video Game designers, a concept endorsed by Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites as noted in my blog article entitled “Prof. Joseph Saulter's Digital Game Design and Development Conference - US$112 Billion Video Gaming Industry may be Jamaicans Next BPO”. 


Those cost savings come 2015 when the TIS Project is rolled out across the island will mean that parents will no longer need to buy books, saving that can be instead spend on acquiring a single Tablet that can be used for their children in different Grades of School.

To quote Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell: “I think the families now have to become real stakeholders in some of the funding. We won't be able to provide the tablets free of cost and I believe that if the parents are able to save, and they will save substantially from the books they will no longer need to purchase, then that could be an investment in the tablet for the children. So I believe with that we could roll out the project much faster than we would otherwise if we have to provide the tablets for the 600,000 students”.

July 2015 can't come fast enough when the TIS Project will end........and the Full Assessment Report published and made available to the Press to gauge how well this Project has succeeded.

Hopefully by then when September 2015 rolls around for the new School Term, parents will not mind spending JA$5000 to JA$9000 on a Tablet that would otherwise cost upwards of JA$20,000 just to get their children, especially boys, excited about going to school, even if it is to hack the Tablets!

Here’s the link to my project:

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