My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How Teachers' Colleges getting TIS Project Tablets heralds Projectors and Interactive Whiteboards for Engaging Teaching

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How Teachers' Colleges getting TIS Project Tablets heralds Projectors and Interactive Whiteboards for Engaging Teaching

Great news for Teacher attending Teacher College; free tablet are coming your way.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell has declared that the TIS (Tablet In Schools) Project is being expanded to all Teachers’ Colleges as reported in the article “Tablets In Schools Programme To Be Extended To Teachers' Colleges”, Published Tuesday January 19, 2016, The Jamaica Gleaner.   

Minister Paulwell made this declaration while delivering the keynote address held on Friday January 15, at the MICO University, in St. Andrew.

This was during the presentation of certificates to 350 teachers in the e-Learning Jamaica MCE (Microsoft Certified Educator) Training Programme as reported in the article “Tablet in Schools Project for all Teachers’ Colleges”, published January 18, 2016 by Garfield L. Angus, The Jamaica Information Service.

During that MCE, teachers were assessed on technology literacy/competency in six (6) context areas:

1.      Education policy
2.      Curriculum and assessment
3.      Pedagogy
4.      Organisation
5.      Administration
6.      Professional development

These six context areas are aligned to the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) ICT Framework for teachers. 

Apparently the Audit of the TIS Program had gone down well and Minister Paulwell was merely keeping his promise to extend it until June 2016 with some new schools as noted in my blog article entitled “Audit of Jamaican TIS Pilot Project - Why Minister of Technology, Phillip Paulwell extended to June 2016”.

So why does this need to include Teacher’s Colleges at this time when Maths and Science Teachers are fleeing the classroom as noted in my blog article entitled “Why JA$100,000 Salaries needed to STEM Mathematics and Science Teacher shortage in Jamaica”?

Teacher College to get TIS Project Tablets – Digital Whiteboards and Projectors needed in Schools

It's good to see that Minister Paulwell hasn't forgotten the Teacher's Colleges.

Originally the Tablet had been distributed to 24,000 students and 1,200 teachers as follows:

1.      6 six pre-Primary Schools
2.      13 Primary Schools
3.      5 All Age and Junior High
4.      12 High Schools
5.      1 Teacher’s college
6.      1 Special Education Institution

He's now shifting gears, focusing on Primary Schools as noted in my blog article entitled “700 Tablets for East Kingston and Port Royal Primary Schools - Why Raspberry Pi Zero Great for Jamaican Secondary Schools” as Teacher colleges will finally be getting training to use Tablets 

Since December 2015, some seven hundred (700) Tablets have been distributed to some East Kingston and Port Royal Schools under the TIS Project.

The shift in focus is as a result of the High School students abusing the access to the internet via their Tablets and circumventing the security protocols to visit banned websites as explained in my blog article entitled “GOJ can’t stop TIS Project Tablet Hacking – How to Access Blocked Websites using Browsers, VPN Apps and Custom Cloud Drives”. 

Perhaps Raspberry Pi mini computers would be more up their street, being as how they're focused more on programming and can only be used once connected to a HDMI Television set as noted in my MICO Wars Blog article entitled “Why the US$5 Raspberry Pi Zero is perfect Programmer’s Gift for New Year’s 2016”.

So will this make a difference to the delivery of lessons in the classroom? 

Tablet Training for Teacher Colleges – Improved classroom environment makes for engaging Teaching

As for the teachers studying at the Teacher colleges, they'll receive training on using and integrating the Tablets into their lessons as reported in the article “Government to expand Tablet in Schools programme to teachers’ colleges”, published Tuesday, January 19, 2016, The Jamaica Observer.

Quite fitting, that as I’m currently doing my Practicum at Spanish Town High School that I’m also doing a course called MTI (Methodology of Technology Integration) which is supposedly to equip teacher with the ability to use Websites, blogs, powerpoint presentations as well as other multimedia software and hardware to deliver lesson in the increasingly modern classroom.

Now if only the Ministry of Education could install some Digital whiteboards and Projectors at the Spanish Town High School along with a Special Room for the Tablets in School Project!

This would help to hold on to the Math and Science Teachers, as the lacklustre teaching facilities is one of the complaint I’d made in my plea for bigger salaries for Math and Science Teachers in my blog article entitled “Why Educate Jamaica says JA$250,000 monthly for Ministry of Education Mathematics and Science Teachers”.

If they did, then not only would that make teaching easier but my MTI training would be more useful in my TP (Teaching Practice). Tablets have already been demonstrated to engage even boys, whom I've observed are easily distracted in class; more technology in teaching would make teaching Mathematics and the Sciences easier.

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