Experts say teachers' response to IT training remarkable

Guyana Chronicle
June 9, 2001

TWO international consultants who recently trained local teachers in the use of computers have said the response was "very remarkable".

The experts commented at the end of a vigorous in depth 14-day training course on Information Technology (IT) which ended last Friday. Both of them, Dr Clifford Block, from California, United States (U.S.) and Mr Steve Boyce, from Barbados, were loud in praise of the enthusiasm displayed at the conclusion of the first session.

Three teachers from each of four pilot schools got hands-on exposure at Rama Krishna Primary School laboratory, where they were coursed in `Introduction to Computers', `Use of the Internet', `Basic trouble-shooting' and introduced to Microsoft office tools for teaching word processing, spreadsheets and data base.

Primary Education Improvement Project in IT for primary schools is introducing computer software and Internet use to primary schools countrywide and laying a foundation of human resources needed for expansion of the education network.

This pilot scheme will also develop the procedures for the most effective educational usage of computers here and explore software to enrich the character of learning and teaching in science, the environment and other areas.

It would also show how computers can best be used to enhance basic literacy and numeracy, Guyana Information Services (GIS) reported.

The stint at Rama Krishna also involved teachers from Anna Regina Multilateral in Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam) and St Aloysius in Region Six (East Brbice/Corentyne), who, in turn, would train children in their respective schools.

Block told GIS the teachers responded remarkably, taking into account their limited background on computers.

He said the trainees are now versed in Data Base and Microsoft, among other systems and are capable of producing their own material. They can use the software to teach children, as well. Highlighting the enthusiasm demonstrated during classes, he said, several times, teachers would be two hours late for lunch because of their reluctance to leave the computer during their break period.

He said, while the training is continual in phases, the teachers have achieved a higher level of ability to integrate, with the children, what is happening on the computer. The programme covers every level in the primary department and Block expressed confidence that it would be a complete success.

Boyce said it is important to get the teachers on board and he lauded the selection process in each of the four schools, saying it has identified the keenest and those who can work as a team.

He said he was impressed with the teachers' approach to their work. "... every morning, they were there to ensure the computer laboratory is up and running and they also made sure everything is properly shut down at the end of the day.

"The reception from them is an indication of willingness to learn," Boyce said. He said their attitude speaks much and is pivotal to the overall success of the project as they bring a range of talents to the table.

Boyce explained that each core group, of three teachers, had a head who was involved in technology with responsibility for the laboratory and, in addition, was exposed to three extra days of technical training.