Encouraging and supporting Catholic Board of Education (CBE) teachers to develop learning resources or strategies in technology to advance student engagement is the goal of a competition which challenges teachers to use their summer break to develop innovative projects that are culturally relevant and tailored to current curricula.
“CBE Innovations in Education Competition”, which is open to all CBE primary and high school teachers, was launched on Wednesday, June 16.
Primary school teachers attended the launch at Fusion Superplex. It was also livestreamed to accommodate virtual attendance of educators from Aquinas College; Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Academy (Grand Bahama) and St. Francis de Sales School (Abaco).
As the 2020-2021 academic school year closes, the challenges and uncertainties that the COVID-19 pandemic presents for educational systems around the world continues to loom.
In March 2020, schools throughout The Bahamas closed and shifted to online and remote learning. This forced many educational institutions to quickly adjust and address barriers such as teacher preparedness, access to online resources and devices, and student support at home.
CBE officials said presently, there are still many unknowns about the upcoming 2021–2022 school year, but that what is certain is the continued importance of the integration of technology and education to improve student learning.
The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) has conducted extensive research on best practices in the integration of technology and education. ACER concludes that supporting students during periods of remote learning is not just about technology, it is about teaching.
“Best practice in the integration of technology and education is where pedagogy is at the forefront,” according to ACER. “While there are many low-cost and scalable ‘off the shelf’ education solutions available, these may be unsuitable for the specific needs of education systems and negatively impact effective practice. For technology to be effective, teachers must first understand how to use it and then be involved in planning how it will fit with instructional needs.”
Key speakers for the launch of the ‘CBE Innovations in Education Competition’ were Tyler Tarver, dean of Northern Lights College (NLC) and a global educational speaker, who virtually spoke to teachers on the topic, “Differentiating Instruction Using Google Forms”; and Wynette Bethell-Hanna, Bahamas National Teacher of the Year 2019 – 2021, who spoke on the topic, “It’s All About Teaching – Technology is Just the Tool”.
Sponsors of the CBE Innovations in Education Competition include Aliv, Cable Bahamas, Fusion Superplex, Kanoo, Tarver Academy Honor Roll Member Group and Post Boxes Etc. Kendika Campbell-Moss, Aliv marketing operations manager, said Aliv lent their support to the competition because the company believes in the progression of technology and education on all levels.
“We believe that we are pioneers in innovation and must always remain cutting edge,” said Campbell-Moss. “The exploration of education and technology is our base, and we are honored to partner with the Catholic Board of Education on this innovative and vital initiative.”
CBE is the largest private educational system in The Bahamas. CBE schools are located on the islands of New Providence, Abaco, and Grand Bahama. The CBE family of schools includes Aquinas College; Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Academy (Grand Bahama); St. Francis de Sales School (Abaco); St. Cecilia’s School; Sts. Francis & Joseph School; St. Thomas More School; Xavier’s Lower School, and Every Child Counts (Abaco).
According to recent findings from 48 countries in the OECD’s Teacher and Learning International Survey, only 60 percent of teachers have received professional development in the use of internet and communication training, while close to 20 percent of teachers reported a high need for development in this area. As such, CBE officials said it is therefore of utmost importance to support differentiated approaches to learning in the future.
The final day of registration for CBE’s “Innovations in Education Competition” is June 30; submission of innovations deadline is September; presentation of innovations to judges take place in October 2021; and the winners are selected in October/November.