St. Maarten -The Asha Stevens Campus of the Hillside Christian Schools in Cay Hill has been chosen for the pilot project for DigiKidz. This project came out of the 4C Foundation which was described as a very comprehensive project that should be open to all primary schools, said Jose Sommers.
It was mentioned that one of the reasons for the pilot project was that they will be able to “learn so much from each other” and it is their hope to be able to expand it to more schools, Sommers went on. She explained that the DigiKidz project is not one where you purchase hardware and do this type of project since there are a number of examples where things really went wrong.
She pointed out that in a similar project in Los Angeles, one billion dollars were spent and it went very wrong because the organizers forgot to train the teachers first before starting the project. She mentioned also that a project such as DigiKidz must be in line with the curriculum of the school and global standards.
She noted for a program such as this to be successful the management of the school must be high and there is also the need for a good network (wired and wireless) in all the schools where there is a good internet system. Although the school has been equipped with several computers and the teachers have their own laptops, what is most important said Sommers, is the professional development of the teachers. She further explained that because the teachers have to integrate the curriculum with technology and work with the students, said Sommers.
Minister of Education Patricia Lourens in her remarks felt that information and communications technology has reached such levels in the 21st century and each year there is new advancement in this technology. “ITC technology has made a profound and continued impact in the societies across the globe.” She mentioned that the introduction of ITC in the school system is a considerable development for the country and it paves the way for other schools, including the public schools to be completely outfitted with computers for every child.
She said that this pilot project is a leap forward in preparing all of the young people to be relevant and acceptable in our ever evolving scientific world. “These young children must be equipped to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century and as a result it has become our responsibility as a business community and as policy makers to see and make this happen,” said Lourens.
She stated that ITC enhances the learning and the teaching process since it is our responsibility to be competent in using the technology by equipping the students with the necessary skills and stimulating creativity and thinking skills that will prepare them for lifelong learning. It was also said that with the introduction of computers in education via this pilot project it is transforming the students learning environment.
“We are not throwing the books out,” said Lourens, but adding to the possibilities and the different learning skills of kids. She indicated that presently government is moving forward with their one laptop per child program. She said that government fully endorses this program and is working on a policy of IT in education which should be ready in two weeks.
With government looking to introduce the project into the public schools she is hoping that she will be able to get the 4C foundation along with the DigiKidz to assist in the implementation of that plan. She expressed her gratitude to the businesses that have contributed to this project and looks forward to their continued support.