~More technology, more creativity, more local and international input~
PHILIPSBURG – The first installment of the Caribbean Technology and Education conference in 2015 was a resounding success. Building on that achievement, the C-TEC organizing committee proudly announced that the 2016 conference will take place in the Hillside Christian School (Asha Stevens Campus) and the adjoining NIPA building, October 23-25. The initiative for the C-TEC conferences springs from the activities of the Foresee (4C) Foundation, a project organization aimed at bringing 21st century learning to St. Maarten classrooms.
On Sunday, October 23, the conference will feature an open day for the general public. Parents and grandparents, students and professionals, business people and stakeholders will have an opportunity to sample and get acquainted with the newest educational technology on offer. Exhibitors from local and international education-tech companies will ply their trade, while all visitors can attend general information sessions about the upcoming conference.
The first conference day, Monday, October 24, will be dedicated to technology in secondary education. All St. Maarten secondary school teachers are invited to lectures, interactive sessions and workshops dealing with ways to integrate web 2.0 applications into their curriculum, like blogs, wikis and even social networks. Specific sessions will be offered on how to integrate modern media into each school subject, from social studies to mathematics.
The second day, Tuesday, October 25, is for primary school teachers. This day’s program is geared towards remodeling the way of teaching by integrating on-line tools. This is known as “blended learning” or even “flipping the classroom” if the focus of the teaching process shifts to interactive, on-line content, giving the teacher an entirely different – digital – toolbox.
The core of the presenters and facilitators will again consist of local educators who will exchange their own experience with modern technology in the classroom with their colleagues from different schools, many of whom have pledged their renewed cooperation already. Building on last year’s experience, an even wider circle of Caribbean and international experts are invited to present their best practices and bring educational professionals up to speed with the frontline of 21st century teaching.
Among the confirmed contributions are University of the West Indies (UWI) Cyber-learning expert Cheryl Peltier-Davis (Trinidad & Tobago), Web 2.0 specialist Tamara Pradel (Anguilla), Digital Skills educator Pauline Maas (Netherlands), Blended and Personalized Learning professional Gail Lambert (USA).
Throughout the conference, more time and space will be dedicated to exploration and creativity. The concept of a “Makers Lab” is introduced, where students work hands-on with different technologies to learn, to explore and to create. Gamification, the packaging of educational content in games, digital storytelling and digital tools to enhance writing skills are part of the program as well.
The C-TEC organizers are grateful for the excellent and enthusiastic cooperation with the Hillside Christian School (Asha Stevens campus) and the neighboring NIPA. Both campuses will jointly host the conference with a wide array of rooms, all equipped with smartboards, plus several PC and multimedia spaces. Both buildings together offer a unique and fitting infrastructure and ambience for technology and learning.
Moreover, partnerships with government and private sector are extended compared to last year. Government has again agreed to make it possible for all teachers to attend by closing the primary and secondary schools for a day each. Furthermore, local communication companies have pledged to provide the venue with the kind of internet bandwidth needed for such a technologically ambitious event. More local and international businesses, as well as publishing houses and providers of educational materials will attend than last year. Funding agencies as well as sponsors from the private sector have committed their support, bolstered by the success of the 2015 edition of the conference.
These favorable conditions taken together with the positive feedback from last year’s event, give the C-TEC organizers the confidence to look forward to yet another successful conference.