BVI News

Walwyn rolls out digital textbooks for grades 7 and 8

Education Minister Walwyn speaking at the official launch of the e-Book system for grade 7 and 8 students.

It’s official. Chalkboards and textbooks which have long been used as instruments of pedagogy inside the territory’s classrooms have been replaced with digital textbooks.

Well, at least in grades 7 and 8.

The eTextooks which form part of the Virgin Islands Digital Education (VIDE) program, was officially launched at the New Testament Church of God Worship Center in Baugher’s Bay yesterday.

Speaking at the launch, Education Minister, Myron Walwyn described the move as a milestone achievement for the territory, noting that it will not only ensure students are prepared for e-Testing by the Caribbean Examinations Council in 2019 but ensure they are workforce ready.

“In taking these steps in the classroom, we are not only fulfilling our education sector strategy, but also our international obligations. We are also getting our students prepared for e-Testing in light of the Caribbean Examinations Council’s goal to fully launch e-Testing in 2019.”

“Why should we have blackboards, chalk, and dusters in classrooms at this stage to teach young people who will be working on computers and the internet in the workplace? This is why we are moving so aggressively with the use of technology. The education system must prepare young people for life after schooling,” Walwyn remarked.

Premier, Dr. D Orlando Smith who also addressed the launch, said the device comes at a critical time.

“The digital textbooks are timely and comes at a time when it is critically important to our youth. I am also pleased to know that the digital technology can provide equal learning for our varied types of students who may experience learning differently. This is important in a diverse society.”

Parents at the official launch yesterday.

About the eTextbooks

The eBooks are expected to create a multisensory approach to the traditional way in which information is presented to students.

The features include written texts, interactive activities, videos, virtual labs, quizzes, editing options for teachers and feedback for students in Mathematics, English, Spanish, Science, Religious Education, and Social Studies.

It has been revealed that the eBooks were specifically created for the BVI by a company based in Nashville, USA with a development center in India called Fortunapix.

Parents and guardians are required to sign a user agreement, taking responsibility for replacing the device or any damaged part. An annual usage fee of $125 has been imposed. The overall cost of the device is $199.

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