BVI: Parents & students welcome digital textbook -digital textbook to be distributed next week to grades 7 & 8 students

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ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Students in Grades 7 and 8 in public schools throughout the territory will benefit from the use of digital textbooks in the classroom beginning this month.
The digital textbooks are authored by FortunaPIX in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture and include curricula for Mathematics, English Language, Social Studies, Physical Education, Science and Spanish.
The digital textbook is designed to work completely offline ensuring that all content within the tablet can be consumed without the use of the Internet. In addition, the online feature of the solution provides teachers with the ability to create digital question banks, use such banks to test those students on-the-go, and generate instant results and analytics; thus allowing teachers to spend significant time in working with students on learning and intervention.
The digital books will be monitored with the help of FortunaPix, the Department of Information Technology and the Ministry of Education’s ICT Unit.
Honourable Myron V. Walwyn (AL), Minister for Education and Culture said the digital textbook will be free but there will be an annual fee of $125 for the use of the tablet and the other technological advances that go along with it.
All parents will be required to sign a contract on receipt of the device for accountability purposes.
Meanwhile, hard-copied textbooks for students in Grade 9 are now available for purchase at Island Services and there are no issues surrounding textbooks for Grades 10 through 12 as the same textbooks are used for the senior programme, according to the minister.
“It is a good and bad idea” – Anthony A. Liburd
When our newsroom spoke to some parents and students about their thoughts on the digital textbook being introduced in the classroom, they shared the same sentiments.
In an interview with Anthony A. Liburd, a parent of a student attending the Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) told our newsroom that the digital textbook is a “good and bad” idea.
He said, “It is good in terms allowing the students to advance their learning and also relieving the book load that they use to bring. Now, it’s bad because they will want to use it to do other things but they say they will monitor what is being done on it.”
In an invited comment, a student attending the ESHS in grade 8 expressed that she is excited about using the digital textbook because it would make things a little easier.
“It will make searching for information quick and we do not have to worry about bringing textbooks. For me, sometimes I forget to bring one of my textbooks because you have to change for a different subject for the next day,” said the ESHS student.
“For me, I like the idea of it but I’m just concerned about who and how will the device be monitored to make sure that what the students are doing on it, is for school. We know that this is a technological era and these children are very advance and they can find ways of getting around things,” said a concerned parent, Brenda M. Johnson.
Meanwhile, Ms Monique L. Mullings said, “Once the device is properly used and also taken care of, it will definitely be a benefit for the students as well as the teachers.”
Ms Mullings continued, “It will allow the teachers to better focus on students that are struggling or basically students that need a little more attention. Now, the teacher can give assignment specifically to fit that student. Again, I believe it is a good initiative once used correctly.”

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