Iere High School and Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College in St Augustine are the 2 schools that were selected to participate in the ‘Samsung Smart Schools’ pilot project in Trinidad and Tobago which commenced in December 2013 and is sponsored by Samsung Trinidad and Tobago.
With the 3rd anniversary of its project approaching, the technology giant is looking to share the lessons learned in the process of introducing and fostering ownership of technology for education in the classroom for improved learning and better opportunities for children and youth.
“Our teachers and students love to use the ‘Samsung Smart School’ because it is a very beneficial type of classroom tool. It keeps the students interested by breaking the monotony of the regular school week. It also enhances the learning environment by bringing the classroom more alive because it appeals to the children’s love of technology. We are very grateful to Samsung Trinidad and Tobago”, these were the words of Sumintra Ramnarinesingh, the Vice Principal of Iere High School in Siparia.
Information and communication technology (ICT) in education is still a dream for many, but Samsung aims to make our schools relevant to the current and future needs of the next generation by having ICT and virtual classrooms incorporated into the teaching and existing learning methodologies nationwide.
Adriana Sookraj-Dipchan of Samsung Trinidad and Tobago explained “Research has shown that ICT has a significant and positive impact on student achievement and skills development and Samsung firmly believes that our technology can create new learning possibilities for students. The goal of the ‘Samsung Smart Schools’ is to help the youths of Trinidad and Tobago with learning and development for both today and their futures, and to ultimately help them make a positive contribution to society.”
The virtual classrooms are used from forms 1 to 6 at both Iere High School and Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College for various subjects on the curriculum, including art, music, violin, drumming and dance.
They feature the new educational model that uses ICT and the most modern technology in the classroom to improve the performance of children at school by facilitating live, creative, interactive, and time-saving educational techniques. In addition, the learning methodology of the Smart School model also contributes to the development of the skills identified by the international education community as necessary for students to thrive in a rapidly evolving, technology-mediated world. These skills referred to as “21st Century Skills” include critical thinking, problem-solving, persistence, collaboration and curiosity
Each school was fitted with 1 teacher’s tablet, 31 student tablets, full internet service, a 65-inch smart TV and educational content. Teachers receive training on how to use technology in the classroom in an effective way and guidance on how to design an interactive class using freely available educational content.
The Smart School platform connects the teacher and the students so they can follow what the other is doing and conduct class exercises in real-time.
The Foundation Glasswing International, an NGO with the purpose of assisting kids across the Caribbean and Central and South America, did the installation of the virtual classrooms, the training required for the teachers and students and manages the classrooms for Samsung Trinidad and Tobago. Glasswing also assists with Smart Schools in 11 Central and South American countries, as well as Aruba, Guyana and Jamaica.
Sherry Dubarry-Jaggernauth, Glasswing’s Caribbean Coordinator said “The ‘Samsung Smart Schools’ pilot has been a huge success in Trinidad and Tobago and in every other country which uses it. Reports from the teachers show that the impact has been immense. Technology is something that kids are comfortable with, so they respond very well to it. The teachers have seen an improvement in the attention and grades of the students, especially for boys. The results are phenomenal everywhere, including in Trinidad.”
Jason Ifill of Samsung Trinidad and Tobago thanked the pilot schools, Iere High School and Lakshmi Girls’ College, for embracing the ‘Samsung Smart School’ project and for their successful utilization of the state-of-art technology and assured that Samsung would continue to support educational development through the use of its technology in the local market.
He added “With our Smart Schools, we aim to contribute and improve the educational practices of the country, to develop the acceptance of technological tools in the classroom environment and develop interactive digital content to enhance the current methods of teaching and learning.”