~UTS partnering with provision of high speed internet~
SOUTH REWARD – DigiTeenz, the new Technology in Education project will start changing the educational landscape of the two largest secondary schools, Milton Peters College (MPC) and St. Maarten Academy.
Foresee Foundation, through extraordinary funding with well above six figures, will make a change for 1,500 students and over 150 educators with the project DigiTeenz.
After the successful implementation of DigiKidz with international and local community investments, MPC and St. Maarten Academy are on an exciting journey to bring integrated technology into their schools. As government subsidies do not provide funding for investments in closing the backlog in ICT infrastructure, both schools were excited to hear about the possibility of writing an integrated technology project proposal outlining their vision and practical implementation on how their schools will keep in pace with modern educational developments.
The program will be funded by Windsong Foundation through Foresee Foundation, who also coordinates the project being the grantee.
In 2015 both schools started writing comprehensive project proposals after establishing DigiTeenz Tech committees, which consist of enthusiastic ‘tech savvy’ and committed staff members. They outlined and budgeted the different components of this large scale project.
The total investment of both projects is over US $1 million and emphasizes the importance of including all factors that determine the successful implementation of integrated technology.
The first important component is the IT core infrastructure and consists of a long-term reliable wired and wireless environment, including fiber optic and CAT 6 cabling within the school premises. Work is currently done by local businesses CaribWork and CaribTech.
The DigiTeenz teams are grateful to Glen Carty of UTS, who recently confirmed that UTS will become a full partner in this project by bringing fiber optic high internet speed into the two pilot schools. UTS’ role is very important as the connectivity is a core requisite for any investment made in IT infrastructure.
This infrastructure is built in such a way that both schools will allow students to bring their own devices, called BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). With strong management software, MPC and St. Maarten Academy will manage the use of the student and teacher devices, hence allowing ample opportunities on the use of online educational and communication resources. Provisions will be made to also cater for students who cannot afford their own device. Teachers will be supported with the latest technology by installing digital interactive flat screen panels.
As this will involve huge investments, the project is divided into three phases, where phase one, the installation of the core physical infrastructure recently started and will be completed within the next two months.
In the meantime, both schools and Foresee Foundation are preparing for phase two, which entails a large fundraising drive. They are inviting the business community and social organizations to partner. With the support of Foresee Foundation, both schools will create full ownership among teachers, parents and students by organizing their own fundraisers as well as assisting in financing the purchase of hardware devices.
Besides this technical part on devices, the components of preparing management, staff and students in terms of the use of ICT and social media, the selection of software, the development of ICT and user policies, assessment of performance and the training of staff and students is well under way and will reap its fruits during the course of this year.
After the full implementation of phases one and two, both schools are looking forward to set up some specialist technology based facilities where students can make use of Learning Resource Centers for general and vocational studies.
Foresee Foundation, St. Maarten Academy and Milton Peters College are proud to work together and are looking forward to making a change for St. Maarten and its secondary school students, paving the way to exciting educational opportunities.
Interested businesses and organizations are invited to partner in this project and can contact Foresee Foundation or one of the schools, which in turn will offer a detailed presentation on the ins and outs of the DigiTeenz initiative.