GREAT BAY – “Young people are into technology, and if you want them to be stimulated and interested in learning, then you need to offer the possibility where they can incorporate technology because that’s what the world is becoming now – cell-phones, tablets, computers – everything is technological,” says Romayne Benjamin, English teacher and coordinator at Milton Peters College.
“Technology lessens the struggle for teachers because the students can work independently, it makes it more fun, and it encourages them to do much better. We also get easier access to information and no longer have to scroll through a 600-page-long encyclopedia attempting to find what you’re looking for. With technology, all the information is there – just a click away. So it saves time and instead of looking at a still picture, you have the ability to watch a video of what’s going on and it’s as if you’re experiencing it yourself. Now nearly every class has a beamer, a whiteboard and internet access. Even the teachers use laptops. As an English teacher, when we do poetry, I introduce the students to people reciting poems on YouTube.”
At the opening of the school year, we had a symposium on the 10th of August where the gentle man, Mr. Alan November, showed the teachers of various schools different techniques to use technologies in class, and how to make the work load less in order to have more time for different students. We even have two I-coaches here in school tasked with training the teachers on how to incorporate technology into the lessons.”
According to Sjorensly Valies, one of the older members of FTW gaming, “The main function of technology is to enhance the process of learning – not meant to be a substitute for learning, or something put in to replace our growth. For instance, if you’re supposed to do a certain amount of projects in a trimester, and these projects gets you your grade for you to pass, technology is supposed to help you get through that faster, which gets you more time and space to learn more.
The world we are living in is highly embedded in technology – everyone has a smartphone – this wasn’t the same about 30 years ago. Our means of communicating, coordinating, and doing things communally has increased exponentially. But, in most school on the islands, students aren’t allowed to bring their devices to school and everything is restricted to the classroom environment, but if we keep everything bottled up whiles all the information is outside, what are we really learning? How are we progressing with the learning process? So technology is supposed to be a bridge towards expediting the learning process.
One example that I know – a story presented at the symposium – is one of a kid in college who was caught breaking into the school’s computer room. He wanted to borrow a computer so he can complete assignments for the trimester. The teacher caught him and asked why he was trying to get the computer, when the boy explained the teacher let him borrow a computer and told him if he can bring it back at the end of the week with all the assignments done, he will consider the incident as water under the bridge. The kid brought it back with all the assignments done and it was more than the teacher expected.
The teacher realized that the learning process as we know – sitting down and absorbing information – doesn’t work anymore, because information flows so quickly back and forth every day. What we have to do is make technology available for all kids at all times. If they want to study further, faster or ahead of the standard, allow them to do so, because kids are passionate about what they’re passionate about, and we shouldn’t stop them from growing.”