Significant improvements are expected for the administration of the Tablets in Schools (TIS) Pilot Project as it enters its second academic year in September 2015.
Issues such as inconsistent Internet service, students accessing inappropriate content, and greater accessibility to educational resources on the tablets will be addressed in the new school year, stakeholders involved in the project said recently.
Principals and administrators of the Project in the pilot schools, representatives of e-Learning Jamaica Company (e-LJam), the Ministry of Education and the Universal Service Fund (USF) participated in the workshop in early June for a review of the Project to date and discuss plans for the new school year.
Under the game-changing TIS Project, some 25,000 tablet devices were successfully distributed to students and teachers in 38 educational institutions across the island.
So far the Project has received widespread commendation from students, teachers, principals and parents. Many schools report students showing greater interest in school, improved attendance, more involvement by parents and teachers show more interest in training.
However the Project has had expected teething pains including, a few instances of tablets being damaged or stolen; students accessing inappropriate material; the need for more consistent internet service and the need for more educational apps.
Speaking at the workshop Hugh Cross, Managing Director of the Universal Service Fund, underscored the importance of the Project to Jamaica’s development.
“This intervention is needed to advance the education of students in schools and beyond. We operate in a global village, and many countries are now approaching 100 per cent broadband penetration in homes. We must find a way to make it easier for our people to access technology; for our people to compete and win”, Mr. Cross said.
Noting that the USF is providing “a few billion dollars per year” to the TIS Project, Mr. Cross promised that the wifi networks to access the Internet in the project schools will be ready by August, once the USF received the list of schools in time.
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