Sunday 12 July, 2020

IGT supports online learning for students in Jamaica

Ricardo Callum (left), Field Service Representative of International Game Technology (IGT), had the full attention of youngsters of the SOS Children’s Village of Stony Hill who were using IGT’s After School Advantage (ASA) Centre when it was established at the Village.

Ricardo Callum (left), Field Service Representative of International Game Technology (IGT), had the full attention of youngsters of the SOS Children’s Village of Stony Hill who were using IGT’s After School Advantage (ASA) Centre when it was established at the Village.

Jamaica continues to face a range of ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 virus.

The education sector is one of the critical areas where children are most negatively affected, and in particular, those most at risk.

IGT Jamaica is playing its part in assisting educators and parents, who are working hard to develop creative ways to communicate with students and to continue their education through technology.

After School Advantage (ASA) Centres, which are fully equipped computer labs donated by IGT Jamaica, are enhancing online learning for students at this difficult time. A number of IGT ASA computer labs in residential homes for children offer a range of e-learning options available, filling the gaps while schools remain closed.

One of these centres is at the SOS Children’s Village in Stony Hill, founded in 1984.

Acting Manager of the children’s home Hilary Nembhard agreed that the ASA computer lab has “added a lot of substance” to the learning experience of their students.

With the current school closures, Nembhard said, they try to ensure that all students benefit.

Online learning activities and assignments, such as quizzes, educational games, and practice sheets at different levels are printed from the ASA computer lab for students to work on.

“We have printed past papers that are available online, for those students who are preparing for Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams scheduled to begin in July. They are using the ASA resources and they understand the opportunity that has been afforded to them,” Nembhard pointed out.

“The children are very much impacted by school closures. However, at the ASA computer lab, they are able to log on to online platforms such as Edmodo, a collaborative educational online networking tool, and EduFocal, which offers online practice exams, to access additional educational support.”

"I currently have youngsters who use the computer lab for making corrections to their school-based assessments (SBAs) to submit to their respective teachers,” Nembhard continued.

Team members of IGT Jamaica, Trevor Thompson, Marketing Research Manager (left), Rochelle Brown, Account Development Rep (centre) and Nicholas Spence (second right) , Sales Manager, interact with the team from the Mustard Seed Communities, Darcy Tulloch-Williams, Executive Director (right) and Suzette Dixon (second left) , Administrator of the Jerusalem! Home at a tree planting exercise held at the Home in May 2019.

At the Jerusalem! home operated by Mustard Seed Communities, Centre Manager Suzette Dixon stressed that the students “enjoy being in the space.”

Since the home’s 172 residents (“from babies to age 51”) are especially vulnerable with a number of underlying conditions, it is important for them to learn more about COVID-19 and how to protect themselves, she added.

The “COVID learning sessions” are an additional educational component for both students and caregivers at the ASA computer lab.

Those students at high school, primary, and basic school level who would normally attend school outside or at the Jerusalem! school total around 94 children.

According to Dixon, they look forward to attending classes at the ASA computer lab, where teachers are on site. Dressed in their school uniform, students follow a school schedule, including regular breaks and outside activities.

Dixon noted that one student with behavioural problems now “lights up” when it is his turn to attend the ASA computer lab.

General Manager of IGT Jamaica Debbie Green is delighted that ASA computer centres are providing this vital resource for the children.

“IGT Jamaica’s goal is to provide access to computers for at-risk children who are left behind in today’s increasingly digital society because they do not have the means to access computers at home. In these challenging times, we are all recognizing, more than ever, the increasingly valuable role of technology in education and in the overall development of our young people.” 

“Whether it is the increased use and range of virtual learning platforms due to COVID-19, or developing a range of online skills, there is no doubt that the ASA computer centres are making a positive impact on Jamaica’s young people, by providing them with an opportunity for continuous learning,” concluded IGT Jamaica’s Debbie Green.

She extended her best wishes for the safety of caregivers and students at all the organisations IGT partners with through its ASA programme during this time, urging them to adopt routines that will encourage them to stay healthy.

For these vulnerable children, “the ASA computer centre helps them to release tension and anxiety” in these challenging times, added Dixon at Jerusalem!

IGT Jamaica has been the online lottery technology provider to Supreme Ventures Limited since 2001. All IGT After School Advantage locations are supported by upgrades and maintenance.

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