Screen time

John Simmons | Feb 20, 2018

Jamaican students learn to use Kiwanis-donated tablets.

The package was relatively small, but the celebration surrounding its delivery to Golden Grove Basic School in Jamaica was a big one.

CVM television was there, along with a representative from the Jamaican Parliament. Members of the school board also were in attendance, as were officials from the Early Childhood Commission.

Golden Grove is in St. Ann, the largest parish on the island of Jamaica. And this past September, the crowd had gathered to see 10 tablet computers being donated to the school by the Kiwanis Club of Moneague St. Ann, with funding provided by the Kiwanis Foundation of Jamaica and the club itself. As the tablets came into view, recalls Charissa Williamson, Golden Grove’s training teacher, students became elated.

“Their smiles grew, and the excitement that was given off by them was breathtaking,” she says. “For days after, they would come to the school and ask, ‘Teacher, can I get my tablet, please?’”

That’s exactly what Williamson wants to hear.

“In our technological world, it is crucial that students begin learning about technology at a tender age. Children learn best through engagement, and what better way to engage them than through the use of tablets?”

The Moneague Kiwanians agree. 

“Different children also learn things differently,” explains Yulanda Coombs, the club’s secretary. “The tablets make it possible for us to adapt to three very different styles of childhood learning: auditory, visual and kinesthetic.”

Still, she adds, more was needed.

“We realized the school lacked a facility to promote the use of technology in teaching and learning. Providing the tablets was phase one of addressing this need.”

Phase two involved creating the E-Learning Center at Golden Grove by renovating a corner of one classroom.

“We painted the area in a bright royal blue and a golden yellow, then branded the walls with a big Kiwanis International logo,” says Coombs. “As many students rushed to marvel at the bright colors used to paint the area as rushed straight to the tablets.” 

The tablets are the latest example of the partnership between the Moneague club and Golden Grove. Past projects include donating desks and fencing, planting shade trees and providing school uniforms, books and tuition to families needing  financial aid.

“To the Kiwanians, we say thanks,” Williamson says. “Thanks for choosing our school and allowing our students to excel.”