By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
INSTEAD of her usual place in front of the classroom, Bahamian educator Ramona Davis-Wells changed positions and roles when she enrolled in an eight week course with a focus on technology trends used in classrooms globally.
After being awarded a professional development scholarship from the Organisation of American States Ms Wells enrolled in the course “Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers with Web 2.0 Tools and 21st Century Skills”. The OAS offers professional development scholarships to citizens of OAS member states.
“The courses aim to expand or refresh participants’ professional expertise in areas of specialisation related to the priority development areas of the OAS. The training and educational opportunities help to meet the development needs of OAS Member States by providing a vital investment in human capital,” said Ms Davis-Wells, who is the business studies coordinator at C.H Reeves Junior High School.
“My particular field is business studies with a focus in computer information systems. Many of my lessons are being transformed into interactive and engaging ones. The students are conducting project based learning discoveries and with the interactive whiteboards students are no longer reluctant to participate in the classroom. With the new tools I am learning, I intend to expand my students learning, by having them establish blogs and wikis, which can assist other students throughout the Bahamas that may be having problems in any subject area.
The levels of collaboration needs to be increased throughout our islands and there are many tools that can allow for this “out of the box” classroom learning,” Ms Davis-Wells told Tribune Woman.
In the past decade technology has drastically changed the delivery of information in classroom, making it more engaging, interactive and appealing to students with various learning styles.
“We must always be willing to expand what we already know and be willing to share it with others. This course in particular allowed me the opportunity to learn about the new technology trends that are being used in education globally and give me the skills necessary for training my fellow colleagues about the ICT advancements and how to integrate them in the classroom,” said Ms Davis-Wells.
In May Ms Davis-Wells was also awarded a trip to Pennsylvania to attend a course hosted by Carlow University in conjunction with the Teacher Education Institute. She was the only international attendee to receive the Most Outstanding Student Award at the end of the course.
The three and a half week course covered classroom collaboration, technology integration and curriculum instruction.
“Our students at C.H. Reeves Junior High School are some of the brightest students that I have interacted with. Most importantly I love the “ahh-ha” moments that I receive. When a student in the classroom finally gets the content or finally discovers how to complete a task is the most rewarding feeling. The student that makes those discoveries rarely forget that moment and they are very appreciative to the teacher for leading them to the knowledge they gained,” said Ms Davis-Wells.
“My most reoccurring challenge as a teacher is when I come across a student who is not motivated to learn or who feels as if school is not important,” the educator said.
“When this challenge occurs, I tend to sit and encourage students. I ask them questions about their future goals and plans and then I remind them that in order to achieve the career they want an education is important. I also let them know that education can take them anywhere. I also inform them that I am a product of the public school system, but I had a desire to teach children to the best of my abilities, so that when they graduated they knew more than what I knew. I find that a lot of our students just need to be encouraged, to know that sometimes a subject or topic may be hard, but never to give up,” Ms Davis-Wells said.