Miss, turn up your internet

Just before the close of the school year last June, students in grades 2-5 at Chateaubelair Methodist School each received a laptop netbook courtesy of the Venezuelan Government in collaboration with St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ministry of Education. Delivery of these netbooks to the North Leeward region marked the culmination of the first phase in rolling out this “one laptop per child” initiative.

Many criticisms were voiced in response to this program – lack of teacher trainings in technology to make full use of the netbooks as educational aids, propagating an already materialistic-driven society and externally-influenced culture, poorly identified technical support, and so on.

On the other hand, this was an inarguably fortunate time for the youth and their families. Instantly these children became active members of the information age through state of the art and age-appropriate technology. With internet connectivity they can make contact with the world beyond their island communities and become self-directed and independent learners on any conceivable topic of interest.

The potential returns on this intra-national investment, however, are difficult to conceptualize and widespread evidence of the benefits may not be detectable for a number of years.

For the meantime, here now in this tiny island nation are children whose access to information have expanded exponentially, and whose developing worldviews can be influenced by the click on a trackpad. Development of their technological awareness takes place as internet hunting joins the ranks of summer break pastimes such as skip rope and backyard cricket. The strength of my wi-fi signal may not reach beyond the property lines, but a technology revolution certainly has…

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Copyright Β© 2010-2012 Camille Aragon

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