New approach to education

Advanced placement students at the
Cayman Islands Further Education Centre’s new Year 12 programme are getting
extra help with their exam preparations this year.

They’ve been selected to
participate in an Education Department pilot project, testing one-to-one computing.

Though Cayman students already have
a favourable student-to-computer ratio when compared to other jurisdictions,
this pilot programme is designed to give older students – in the midst of college
or employment preparations – more time with the technology.

In much the same way as an annual
text book rental, each student will be assigned a Netbook computer, which they
can take home throughout their 12th year. The computers will be returned at the
end of their studies.

 

Advanced placement

Advanced placement students were
selected because they are preparing for US education testing services advanced
placement exams in May.

The computer assignments will
complement their studies, according to education officials.

Chief Education Officer Shirley
Wahler said: “This approach closes the digital divide between those students
who have PCs at home and those who don’t, giving all students equal access to
the digital world and its resources.

“We want our students to become
independent learners, thinkers and researchers, as these skills prepare them
for success beyond the secondary level,” she said. “Advanced placement students
are expected to take on a great deal of independent study and research, and Netbooks
are a cost-effective tool to achieve this.”

Another benefit of the pilot
programme is expected to be reduced costs associated with sourcing, purchasing,
shipping and storing expensive texts, she said.

Advanced placement students will be
able to read books and other study materials online at no cost through sources
such as the Project Gutenberg digital library.

Safety

Officials said measures have been
taken to ensure that students use the technology appropriately.

Mrs. Wahler said all school
networks are equipped with safety features to prevent access to improper
websites.

Participating students are also
required to sign agreements that set out standards for computer use.

Additionally, the new machines will
be checked periodically. Students who are found to have misused their PCs will
immediately lose their privilege.

The 20 machines, secured at a
reduced cost with the help of Priced Right Managing Director Woody Foster, cost
the Education Department just under CI$8,000.

A free on-campus service, donated
by LIME, also gives students web access between classes and outside of school
hours.

Education Minister Rolston Anglin
extended his thanks to Mr. Foster and to LIME for their contributions.

“It’s always a good thing when
members of the private sector step up and give back to the education system
that’s moulding our future leaders,” he said. “I’m grateful for their generosity
and look forward to the continuation of our mutually beneficial relationships.”

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