"e-Learning is Free Learning" | Government of Jamaica 

Tablets in Schools (TIS)

1.   Overview of the Tablets in Schools Pilot (TIS) Project

 

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The Government of Jamaica is utilizing technology to improve the educational levels of its citizenry and move towards a fully connected and knowledge-based society. The Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM) with the responsibility for Information and Communication Technology interventions and solutions in Jamaica, is desirous of utilizing tablet computer devices to increase learning opportunities for students in all approximately 1000 schools in Jamaica, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MOE).

MSTEM has requested the e-Learning Jamaica Company Limited (e-LJam) to collaborate with the MOE and Universal Service Fund (USF), to develop and implement a pilot, e-Learning Tablets in Schools (TIS) project in the first instance, with a view to rolling out to all institutions within 4-5 years.

The pilot project will provide approximately 25,000 tablets to students and teachers in 38 pre-primary, primary, all-age and junior high, as well as high, special education and teacher training institutions island-wide. Most of these institutions have been selected based on the need for improved performance, while the inclusion of others with satisfactory to high performance will facilitate the study of related variables. The Centres of Excellence established by the Ministry of Health have also been included in the sample. The pilot will distribute the tablets free of cost, but the full roll out will utilise a cost-sharing mechanism.           `

The project will also provide other information and communication technologies, internet connectivity, relevant e-content, and the training of teachers, instructors and facilitators at the various learning centres/access points in the surrounding neighbourhood of the selected project schools.

The implementers of the TIS Pilot Project are partnering with other government ministries and agencies as well as non-government organisations including the Jamaica Library Service (JLS), the Child Development Agency (CDA), the Jamaican Foundation for Life-long Learning (JFLL), the Social Development Commission (SDC), and the Jamaica Constabulary Force to ensure:

  • Full incorporation of the project into the targeted institutions and community
  • Increased access to e-learning materials
  • Increased use of technology in carrying out daily activities, fostering entrepreneurship and moving towards digital citizenship

 

Preparatory work commenced in May 2013, including in-depth research into the use of tablet devices in education world-wide. The lessons learned have informed the project design and implementation strategies being employed. Formative and summative evaluations will be conducted on this project to determine the impact of the introduction of the tablet devices in the project institutions, and the best strategies for roll-out of the project to the other Jamaican public schools. Emphasis is being placed on the safety, security and proper use and care of the devices by the custodians, parents, guardians and the wider community. It is expected that the tablets will be distributed by August 2014 and the pilot project will be conducted over a full school year period at a cost of approx. $1.4billion.

 

 

2.   Objectives and Scope of the TIS Pilot Project

 

 

No of Institutions

No of  Students

No of        Teachers

Total Tablets

Pre primary                        

6

1,255

71  

    1,326

Primary 

13

5,975

236

                 6,211

All Age and Junior High      

2,132

       112

2,244

High 

11

          14,043

759 

14,802

Special School                      

1

127

17

144

Teachers College                 

1

250

                   50              

300

TOTAL   

               38

23,782

   1,245            

25,027

 

CAPS  

15 

 

95

 

JFLL Centres                       

14 

 

      47

 

 

The main objectives of the project are to:

 

    • provide children in the selected educational institutions with appropriate tablets, based on agreed guidelines for e-learning devices
    • provide the pre-primary and primary schools with appropriate technology, appropriate e-content and training of teachers in technology integration
    • assist teachers in all selected schools to acquire an appropriate e-Learning computing device
    • provide learners at Libraries, CAPs, JFLL, state homes and other learning centres in the neighbourhood of the selected schools with access to relevant e-Learning content
    • ensure that teachers in selected schools and persons at the neighbourhood access points who are charged with the responsibility, have the necessary skills to facilitate  learners accessing online resources
    • provide ubiquitous internet access to school campuses and access points
    • provide technical and implementation support to the schools and access points
    • educate the school community in the use and importance of the tablets and other technologies to job creation and community economic development
    • support student and teacher research and increase homework completion rates increase interest in school
    • increase willingness to read for leisure
    •  foster improved parent/guardian /child relationship build competence in the use of tablets

 

3.   The Technology Deployment Strategy

 

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This will include:

    • Internet access provided by USF and telecom companies.
    • One tablet device per registered student in the selected schools, appropriately sized and configured to allow access to online e-learning content and pre-loaded with content and applications related to the learning objectives of the grade level of the student, and to enable tracking of the device if stolen or misplaced.
    • One tablet/computer device per teacher appropriately sized and configured to facilitate the integration of technology into instructional delivery.
    • A range of e-learning computer and multimedia devices provided to pre-primary and primary schools, for children and youth to include mobile laptop kits, desktops, bank of tablets, interactive white-boards/projectors, scanners, printers and other technological devices to support teaching and learning

 

4.     Expected Impact of the TIS Pilot Project

 

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The e-Learning TIS pilot project will therefore

 

    • Allow learners in and outside the classroom to collect, analyze, consider, synthesize, evaluate and communicate ideas and information from a pool of available resources, and apply this to complex and practical real-world problems
    • Change the teaching and learning process over time with students assuming more responsibility for their learning and teachers becoming facilitators  rather than a repository of  knowledge in the classroom
    • Augment the e-Learning High School Project and support the roll-out of an e-Learning Primary School Project as students and teachers in designated communities will have the means of accessing e-learning content at home or at community centres, libraries and other designated access points.
    • Reach students and adults who are outside the school system – for example, school dropouts, children and youth in state institutions, and adults seeking literacy/numeracy skills or high school equivalency certification

 

2.      Learners (Children and Adults) will

    • Have the opportunity to work on computers at school, at home, and at various learning centres/access points in the community.
    • Be encouraged to access e-learning content by means of a range of public relations strategies, including edutainment.
    • Improve their ability to work productively outside the classroom, with homework assignments uploaded or delivered by mobile phone, with hotlines or Facebook pages for accessing help rapidly, and with quick feedback from teachers (grades and comments) as necessary.
    • Show measurable benefit from use of e-learning content, improving weak areas, producing improved research projects; equipping themselves with the information needed for class discussion and analysis.
    • Be encouraged to protect computer devices, following guidelines for care, and reducing computer down time due to mishandling.

3.      Teachers/Instructors/Facilitators will

    • Have the technological access and support including access to content, device, and connectivity.
    • Become increasingly comfortable with integrating technology into the teaching/learning process.

4.     School/Centre Administrators will

    • Be encouraged to use technology for management, communication and administrative purposes.
    • Be supported in impacting school discipline with respect to punctuality and attendance as well as students’ attitudes and  attentiveness to learning
    • Move towards e-maturity (effective use and management).

 5.     Parents will

    • Be encouraged to be more involved in the child’s education, with increased responsiveness to communication from teachers and administrators.

 

6.   Components of the TIS Pilot Project

 

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i.                   Project Set-Up

    • Establishment of project management team and facilities
    • Baseline survey of schools to determine teacher capacity, building layout, WiFi requirements, general e-readiness of schools
    • Survey of surrounding neighbourhood to identify potential access points and possibilities for WiFi hot spots (1km in urban areas, 10km in rural areas)
    • Sensitization of schools, parents and wider school community
    • Development of Tablets in Schools Policy Guidelines and Operations Manual
    • Signing of agreements between parents and schools in the proper care and use of the tablets and sanctions for misuse, including procedures for maintenance, return of tablets, etc
    • Establishment of Technology Implementation Management teams  and Advisory groups to include  community stakeholders
    • Production of radio drama and animated mascot, town hall meetings and other marketing tools to advise public and mitigate against theft and personal harm to students carrying tablets
    • Prioritisation of school implementation based on e-readiness

 ii.               Provision of Tablets and Broadband connectivity

    • Determining  minimum e-learning specifications for tablets for various grade levels
    • Procuring  tablets (preloaded with content), including agreement to deliver, stock replacements, and provide managed maintenance and technical support services
    • Providing insurance coverage for theft or loss
    • Assisting teachers to own an appropriate computing device by providing subsidy vouchers equal to cost of tablets.
    • Providing broad-band fibre and/or WiFi internet connectivity to classrooms and other specified locations  in project schools as well as to learning centres and hot-spots in the surrounding communities

iii.              Technology Infrastructure to pre-primary and primary schools

    • Procurement of additional technology including computers, smart tables, smart TVs, interactive projectors, mobile computer kits, manipulatives, etc

iv.               Content Management and Delivery

    • Identification  and acquisition of relevant school e-books and applications for each grade level
    • Preloading of tablets where appropriate
    • Population of central repository with relevant e-learning content, including content relevant to the economic focus of the community – farming, tourism, business processing, telemarketing, fishing etc

v.                  Training

    • Training Needs Assessment
    • Development of customized training programmes
    • Training of principals in preparation for the required culture change
    • Training of all teachers in the use and care of the tablets
    • Training of teachers in pre-primary and primary schools in basic ICT skills and integrating the technology in instructional delivery
    • Training of instructors and facilitators in libraries, CAPs and other access points in facilitating learners who utilise the facilities to access e-learning content
    • Monitoring the level of adoption/application
    • Providing ongoing professional development as required

vi.               Implementation Support

    • Providing focused technical and project integration and monitoring support to principals, school boards, parents, teachers, students, community leaders, to ensure successful implementation and sustainability of the project

vii.              Project Monitoring and Evaluation

    • Conduct baseline study to establish entering characteristics of stakeholder groups—learners, teachers, parents, community, on the dimensions of the knowledge

 

– Schools in the Tablet in Schools Pilot Project