The OAS professional development courses and CXC CSEC SBA projects
Immediately I saw the Teachers' Professional Development courses being offered by the OAS, I thought of the CXC CSEC School Based Assessment (SBA) projects.
I see so many students here complaining about the SBA projects; so many with not a clue what to do. It's kinda tragic in some ways that a project that is worth 20% or more of a student's final exam mark is so poorly understood by them.
The problems with CXC CSEC SBAs are not only obvious on this website, professor Griffithof UWI, Jamaica and Peter Maxwell, a noted Jamaican educator have both talked about CXC CSEC SBA problems. Seems that SBA projects are not only hard on the students, they are hard on the teachers as well. Some schools recognize the importance of SBA projects for students to do well on the CXC CSEC exams and they make it a top priority.
It seems somebody at the Organization of American States (OAS) was listening to the problems that CXC CSEC teachers were having (I am guessing here!). The OAS got together with Intel Corporation (makers of the Intel computer chip) and are offering these courses to Caribbean teachers. Sweet!
The courses on project based learning andresearch and data collection are very, very relevant to teachers preparing CXC CSEC students to complete SBA projects. It gives them strategies and guidelines to help them manage students' SBA project development.
Both of the free (yes free, can you believe?) courses train teachers to manage project based learning projects in the classroom. One course focuses on the whole project based learning process and the second course deals with the process of guiding students to conduct research and represent data.
To me, these courses are just what is needed by newer teachers who are just getting into the process of managing groups of students who are completing SBA projects. The courses are also good for more seasoned teachers who may want to find out the latest techniques in project based learning and doing research with technology.
Now, after some research, I can tell you that while these courses are free, they are not easily available. For them to be available in a country or region, Intel has to agree to work with a "sponsoring organization"; in the case of the Caribbean, that is the OAS.
So, I recommend these courses unreservedly to all teachers who will be supervising CXC CSEC SBAs in the future.
Full disclosure: I am currently involved with this OAS initiative.