Above: Mr. Devanand Gosine, Acting Vice Principal of Naparima College, image courtesy TSTT.
“Students in a small economy like Trinidad and Tobago may not be exposed to many of the experiences that students in first world countries have, but through a partnership with TSTT and the benefits of the advancements in technology this brings, our students will be able to gain this kind of global experience,” said Dr. Michael Dowlath, Principal of Naparima College.
“Our smart school concept will empower our students, teachers, parents and stakeholders by affording them access to educational opportunities beyond what happens within the traditional classroom.”
Dr. Dowlath was speaking to an audience of students, staff, alumni and other stakeholders at the schools’ annual Founders’ Day celebrations at the school compound on February 8th, revealing plans for the country’s first Smart School by April this year.
Gervon Abraham, Manager Government Sales & Services, Enterprise, TSTT, commended Naparima College for its pioneering efforts and commented that TSTT looks forward to the day when smart schools in Trinidad and Tobago are no longer a novel concept.
“At TSTT, we believe that not only is life on, but life is constantly evolving and to meet the demands of tomorrow’s world, we too must adapt and adjust accordingly,” Abraham said.
“Naparima College and TSTT are cut from the same cloth. We respect tradition but value the power and promise of innovation. TSTT is proud to partner with Naparima College as you transform into Trinidad and Tobago’s first ever Smart School. As the only full-service, locally-owned telecommunications provider, we are deeply committed to shaping the future by investing in Trinidad and Tobago’s greatest assets: the future leaders and decision makers.”
The Smart School will go beyond the concept of a Smart Classroom by incorporating modern technology into many more elements of the school’s environment and will benefit all the school’s stakeholders, including the 875 students, 52 staff members, alumni and PTA.
TSTT is in the process of completing a campus local area network (LAN) via Wi-Fi and fibre to provide internet access for the whole school compound. The LAN will support the Smart School elements of interactive classroom boards and projectors; ICT smart rooms for CXC and CSEC Courses; an E-Library; a virtual learning management system using Google Suite, Schoology and Blackboard Learn; school administrated software; a VOIP, messaging, P.A. and alert notification system for students and parents; I.P. cameras and CCTV System; and smart and solar power to reduce the school’s energy footprint.
Acting Vice Principal, Devanand Gosine, added that the smart school will include the use of an instructional model called ‘Flipping the Classroom’ which reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering online instructional content outside of the classroom.
“We often feel that we must give the students the information ourselves. So traditionally, a teacher provides information inside the classroom, the child takes notes and goes home and does homework. But there is so much information out there.”
“Why not let the child use the internet and learn at home? When they come to school, the teacher can now use that time to apply their expertise to guide the students’ deliberations on the topics and give the students a much deeper appreciation for the content they learned at home. In a Flipped Classroom, the homework is now done at school and schoolwork is done at home. What this does is make the student a lifelong learner”, he said.
“Our vision is for our students to become globally competitive so they will be able to work in any part of the world and achieve whatever goals they have after they graduate,” Dr. Dowlath said.
“It means that our infrastructure and technology must come up to first world standards similar to educational intuitions globally. Our present students and graduates, through the Smart School concept, will be exposed to advanced technology and we are very thankful that TSTT has understood and supported the vision we have for Naparima College.”