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USP Training for Primary Teachers on Use of Laptops Underway

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USP Training for Primary Teachers on Use of Laptops Underway

OLPC Trainer and Consultant, Mr Ian Thomson explains the use of the digital laptop to a Fiji Times journalist while Mrs Shika Raturi, Assistant Lecturer School of Education looks on

USP Training for Primary Teachers on Use of Laptops Underway

In an effort to promote education and keep in par with technology, The University of the South Pacific (USP) in partnership with the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Fiji with the support of the Bank of the South Pacific (BSP) has embarked on the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) training for the three pilot schools’ teachers began this week. 

The training which was formally opened on Monday (20/08) by the OLPC Trainer and Consultant, Mr Ian Thomson at the Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture and Pacific Studies (OCAC) performance space on Laucala campus, is being organized by USP’s Faculty of Arts, Law and Education’s (FALE) School of Education (SOE). 
Conducted at the USP Teacher Educational Resource and E-Learning Centre and facilitated by Ian Thomson, 38 primary school teachers will be trained during the two weeks school break on how to use the digital laptops. 
OLPC will open up new learning opportunities for Fijian children, introducing them to the Information Society and the world of Information Communication and Technology (ICT). There is a rich source of world class education resources available through the laptops and the Internet which will prepare our students for the future. 
USP’s Dean of FALE, Dr Akanisi Kedrayate said there is a need for teachers to move into ICTs and e-learning from just using blackboard and chalks. 
She said this is the first systematic training that is being conducted in the region because the Government of Fiji was able to submit a well developed and detailed plan on the provision of laptops to the primary school children in the country.  
“The Ministry of Education has produced a very good plan on how children of Fiji will be provided with a laptop each as well as how teachers and students will be trained to use the laptops,” Dr Kedrayate said. 
Dr Kedrayate acknowledged the support of the Bank of South Pacific (BSP) in providing 1000 laptops as part of their corporate social responsibility to the Ministry of Education. 
The training follows the Ministry of Education’s plan to start the OLPC trial projects in Draiba Primary, Navesi Primary and Nabua Primary schools’ this year. 
Senior education officer and MOE representative present at the official opening, Mr. Narain Sharma said the Ministry has presented the concept of OLPC through papers and power point presentations at divisional school board meetings. He said the concept was also presented at the last Education Forum which is an advisory forum for the Minister of Education, Hon Filipe Bole. Mr Sharma thanked USP especially the School of Education for their contribution and support to this project and is thankful that USP is hosting teachers for the use of its resources and facilities. 
Training facilitator, Mr Thomson said, the laptops are designed specifically for children’s use and understanding. Digital laptops such as these, he said were first produced by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States of America and now there are more than 2.5 million deployed around the world.
He said the training is designed around the OLPC Australia Teacher Training framework to empower teachers to self-learn using the main training resource, called the Manual, via the school server. However, he stressed the training will be a time of learning as well as sharing as the teachers will themselves determine how they are going to use the laptops with the current school curriculum. 
“The purpose of the training is to firmly establish the OLPC Pilot project in the three pilot schools through discussion and agreement on goals, strategies and implementation between the teachers and school officials, the Ministry of Education and USP. It is about getting teachers at a stage where they are comfortable with technology and with the use of laptops,” said Mr Thomson. 
As part of the Training, Dr Bibhya Sharma from the Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment will make a presentation on m-Learning and Dhiraj Bhartu from the Centre of Distance and Flexible Learning on Moodle. 
Mr Thomson said that at the end of the two week training, the primary teachers are expected to document an agreement establishing and running the OLPC pilots to the current school curriculum, be sufficiently trained to commence the pilot projects and understand the partnership and roles and responsibilities of everyone involved in the project. 


This news item was published on 23 Aug 2012 08:51:03 am. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email communications@usp.ac.fj


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