The OECS, through the “10th EDF Economic Integration and Trade in the OECS” project is taking another step towards the development of the Eastern Caribbean Institute of Tourism (ECIT), a virtual learning institute for hospitality training across the states that make up the organization. From May 30th to July 11th, the OECS Commission through its Tourism Desk, has embarked on preparing all participating colleges and hospitality institutes in the OECS for the integration of Information and Communications Technology within the curriculum.
To this end a three-day workshop in “Media and Technology in Education and Training” for teachers and trainers, and administrators in each contributing territory has gotten underway. The Monserrat leg of the training is being held at the Monserrat Community College on Monday July 4th and Tuesday, July 5th, 2016. Additionally, an online portal has been developed for the training. The goal of this portal is to provide the essential resources to improve teachers’ and trainers’ competencies in using ICT in instruction, and to foster a community of practice among educators within the OECS.
Specifically, the training is intended to enable educators and trainers to:
- Make effective use of learner Management Systems and Web 2.0/3.0 tools to instruct, collaborate with, and assess learners.
- Design digital instructional content.
- Use digital tools to effectively engage learners.
- Use digital tools to measure and evaluate the impact of instruction.
The endeavor has gotten some excellent feedback from participating territories. Hospitality educators and trainers in Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, as well as Grenada, all stress the importance of the training in helping to alleviate some of the barriers to successful ICT integration in education and training in the region. Mrs. Marlene Abraham-Finlay, Dean of the School of Applied Arts and Technology at T. A. Marryshow Community College in Grenada explained that participants are “very appreciative of the training as it brought to light the many tools that are available for use in the classroom. Many are excited to utilize a blended approach to the delivery of their courses in the upcoming academic year.”
Additionally, the participants are very excited about using the training portal. Some have indicated that the portal will support their attempts at ICT integration because it provides an always available and growing resource that they can look to for support.
Head trainer, Royston Emmanuel, has highlighted the importance of on-going professional development in ICT integration as a critical element to successful use of Information and Communication Technologies in the classroom. “One-off workshops do not work. Teachers need to feel that they can always get support for their instructional practices. Furthermore, the technology landscape changes so quickly. That it is likely to force teachers to give up attempts at integration since they feel that they cannot keep up with the technology and their students. This is why we have created the training portal. We want educators to know that they are not alone and that help is available when needed.”