As part of its efforts to address a shortage of teachers, the Ministry of Education just recently decided to introduce smart classrooms. With this feature in place, it is expected that a teacher would be able to deliver
sessions from a classroom in Georgetown and have it transmitted simultaneously to another classroom in a remote area, providing that internet access is available.
Already benefiting from this technological feature is the North Ruimveldt Secondary School which just last week was elevated to an ‘A’ List school. The interactive feature has the capacity of making just about any wall suitable for delivering lessons with the aid of E-Beam, which has the capacity of making a room a dynamic learning environment. Added to this, whatever is taught can be recorded for subsequent viewing.
The smart classroom feature is also slated to be introduced at the Government Technical Institute and another three will be installed at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE), according to Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand.
The aim of introducing the smart classroom at the level of CPCE, she revealed, is to ensure that each teacher leaving the training college is capable of using such features in the schools to which they are placed.
“The benefit of this is easy to see…if we have a shortage of trained teachers in various places that can produce a whole host of domino effects on our results…for example, if we don’t have teachers who are trained, it is unlikely that we will have the number of students graduating that we would like to see with five or more CXCs that can go into college and can come back and teach,” explained the Education Minister.
She went on to point out that with the aid of a smart classroom, the education system could take advantage of a Master Teacher who can deliver a specific subject to students in multiple locations. “We can hook up 10 schools and have that Master Teacher teach all 10 at the same time, especially 10 schools in the hinterland that have access to this kind of teaching resource; that’s what we can possibly do with this technology,” said the Education Minister.
According to Terrence Sukhu, Chief Executive of Digital Technology, the smart classroom has the capacity for video conferencing integration whereby persons from a remote location can interact with the Master Teacher who might be located in Georgetown. The smart classroom, according to Sukhu, functions similarly to Skype video conferencing. An added feature is that it can also offer private messaging between the Master Teacher and individual students and even has the capacity for annotation by teacher and/or students.
Speaking of the smart classroom, Yoganand Indarsingh, Head of the Ministry of Education’s Management Information Systems Unit, emphasized the importance of information technology in the school system. Through this means, he noted, students can be easily prepared for the world and further studies and communications, as he emphasized the laudable interactive ability of the smart classroom.
With the introduction of the programme at the North Ruimveldt School, Indarsingh said that this puts them ahead of the other public schools in the country, as this programme has not yet been introduced nationally but is slated to expand.