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Connecting the classroom

Realising the promise of technology in education
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Technology Matters
Photo courtesy NorthGate College

It’s class time and a Math teacher connects her laptop to a multimedia projector and begins streaming the day’s lesson from the Internet for her eager students. When the lesson is finished, she provides instructions for her students to download the video from the Internet along with the related lesson notes. 


In the adjacent class, rowdy students are playing a game. The ringleader is not a recalcitrant pupil, but the Biology teacher. And the game is being played from a tablet as students submit responses that appear as video and text on screen.


Down the hall, the Digital Media class joins an online video conference with other students and experts from Jamaica, the United States and Africa to collaborate on digital photography and mobile app development projects.


In the staff room, teachers use a high-speed Internet connection to upload the videos they have just created. They joke about their less than Hollywood-style performances while trading ideas for improving their work to increase student participation. Each video, along with supporting digital textbooks, reading resources and lesson-plans, forms part of a growing online library that can be accessed by students and parents.


As the bell rings for the noon break, students whip out laptops, tablets and phones to surf the web over the school’s wireless network, as they eat lunch. 


They aren’t part of some imaginary “smart school of the future" or a foreign, developed-country, model school. They are in NorthGate College, a secondary school in St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. NorthGate, through a special Jumpstart initiative, is building a practical, digital pathway designed to deliver to students the class of the future, today. And it hopes others will follow. 


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