Garden Hills Virtual Learning pilot project.

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education cancelled face-to-face learning and mandated that all public schools use the Learning Management System (LMS) on the island of New Providence. We are now witnessing single parents and students struggle with the sudden shift to virtual learning at home.


Consequently, the Bahamian civil society and government has mobilized to provide tablets and computers to all students at accredited educational institutions. These efforts are encouraged as access to education is fundamental to empowering a dynamic and prosperous Bahamian society.


However, supplying our educators and youth with the necessary hardware to succeed doesn't mean that they are completely equipped to manage the shift. There are many other factors like software incompatibility, learning difficulties, poor or no study space/conditions, poor or no WiFi/printing services, poor or no technical support/training etc.

 

Therefore, as a mentor with Senior Technical Advisor work experience, I opted to dedicate these final few months of 2020 to personally assist, and even learn from, the young bright minds in my community by facilitating an in-house virtual learning centre.


The aim is to provide a program for students taking into account:

  1. Any missed learning during the crisis; and

  2. The workload of the school’s curriculum.

Unfortunately, due to the recent increasing confirmed cases, the extension of the state of emergency, the uncertain lockdown restrictions and a lack of testing, I have decided to postpone the official community-wide launch of the pilot project to 2021 and only tutoring lessons, at this time.

 

In the interim, I make the following recommendations with regard to the virtual learning mandate at home.

  1. Ensure that each student in the public and private student is provided with a device to properly access the LMS OR improve the LMS' compatibility with other devices;

  2. Improve training for teachers and students on how to better navigate through the platform - a revamped orientation program in January is highly recommended as well as improved LMS chat and helplines;

  3. Coordinate free monitoring personnel and even technological tutoring programs at schools or other government approved facilities for venerable students and households (i.e. single parents, learning difficulties, poor conditions or no WiFi etc.);

  4. Improve access to free WiFi services within community public spaces; and

  5. Explore the feasibility of the hybrid learning approach, and, if COVID-19 infections are high, a regular testing strategy for students in 2021.

Persons are still welcomed to make a donation to support virtual learning pilot project in the Garden Hills constituency. The funds aim to support tutors and students by maintaining students’ activities, tech resources, and COVID-19 (free) study spaces. Let this small step turn into a giant leap for the next generation.

STUDENT REGISTRATION FORM

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/11qGep7La6NB5avK_NTNpOeN5wh0dKhMYatBePoB_06M/prefill

MENTOR APPLICATION FORM:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe1TqPzE3vhrfa4l6yzOs0y4kge2zpIA4E74M7RoH-sCEzWAQ/viewform


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