Photo Credit: Choiseul Secondary School
The vision of the Choiseul Secondary School in Saint Lucia is to promote excellence in all spheres of human development, while expanding student capabilities to meet the challenges of society in the 21st Century.
In spite of COVID-19, the resilience of the school and the commitment of teachers to navigating changes allowed them to maintain this vision and ensure continuity of learning in an online environment. All of Choiseul’s teachers possess basic training in the use of technology – but increasing unemployment and the exacerbation of the digital divide in Saint Lucia due to COVID-19 means there is a need to improve their skills to better prepare students for the 21st century.
In July 2022, five teachers from Choiseul participated in training through the Saint Lucia ConnectEd Activity where they learned and practiced ways to leverage technology in the classroom and curate digital activities using EdTech tools through World Education’s EdTech Maker Space process. ConnectED is a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded project which builds digital educational skills for students and educators in the primary school system.
One of these teachers came back to the school, and together with the Vice Principal, stressed the importance of participating in the training and pitched the idea of using the opportunities provided by ConnectEd to get as many teachers trained as possible.
The goal of making sure every teacher is competent in digital skills instruction is now an official part of the school’s action plan. Using a “whole school approach,” they have enrolled 23 teachers in the training. Mrs. Lyian Joseph Defreitas – the school’s Vice Principal and ICT champion – is also participating in the training so she can mentor the teachers.
Our greatest challenges are lack of student motivation and engagement. We are hoping that this new opportunity in technology training will be the catalyst for change in our Teaching strategies and by extension student performance.” – Mrs. Defreitas, Vice Principal, Choiseul Secondary School
Thanks to the training, Choiseul’s teachers have increased knowledge and skills in using EdTech tools to create learning resources, including the ability to animate and create educational videos. They are also more aware of the variety of open source and free online learning resources that they can adapt for their classrooms.
Students of Choiseul Secondary School applying digital skills in the classroom. Photo Credit: World Education
With more and more teachers participating in digital skills training, the use of technology throughout the school system is increasing. Teachers are also benefiting from the built-in analytics features of these digital tools which allows them to better analyze and provide feedback on student learning, pinpoint misunderstandings, and provide remediation.
Students are also showing improvements as a result. Teachers have noticed increased interest, motivation, and interaction from students when using engaging, firsthand, digital platforms and digital tools that provide immediate feedback.
Other schools in Saint Lucia participating in the ConnectEd Activity are on this same path to getting all their teachers training in digital skills instruction. By continuing to hold training on the use of EdTech tools, providing access to digital books, increasing connectivity in classrooms, and updating classroom equipment and devices (laptops, projectors), we can make this a reality and ensure young people are ready to tackle the future in an ever-changing digital world.
The Saint Lucia ConnectEd Activity is funded by USAID and implemented by World Education in partnership with Sir Arthur Lewis Community College and the Saint Lucian Ministry of Education, Sustainable Development, Innovation, Science, Technology and Vocational Training.
Thank you to the staff of Choiseul Secondary School for sharing their experiences.