As Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders prepare to discuss, among other matters, the future of Information Communications Technology (ICT) in the region, a group of Caribbean Professionals has rolled out an application to help students learn Mathematics at the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) level.
Surendra Dhanpaul, founder of AcuExam (www.cxc-exam.com) said though the app is in no way affiliated to the Barbados-headquartered CXC, the app allows students to answer multiple choice questions in preparation for a CXC Exam and will soon offer problem questions with answers in keeping with the Math syllabus. The app is free to use; however, the company is accepting contributions. The yearly contributions to the app, he says, can be paid for by debit or credit cards, PayPal or by cheque.
The app is available on Google Play Store. For persons who are unable to download via the Play Store, you can download from www.cxc-exam.com/cxc.apk
Dhanpaul hopes that the Caribbean can take the production of apps more seriously calling it “the new cottage industry” having the potential to earn the region significant foreign exchange. “Apps and building apps is somewhat of a new export product. Wherever it is that you are sitting, you can have an idea for an app, you can build your apps where people in other parts of the world such as North America and Europe can purchase it or earn revenue from ads,” he said.
Pointing to a University of the West Indies (UWI) study that highlights the importance of technological mobility in teaching-learning, Dhanpaul reiterated the importance of mathematics, but figures show a declining performance in recent years. “Mathematics is a subject that every single student must take and there is a consensus within the Caribbean that students are finding it increasingly difficult to grasp concepts in mathematics and being able to pass the exams with high rates,” he said.
Regional leaders are expected to approve the Draft Road Map for CARICOM’s Single ICT Space when they hold their mid-term summit in Guyana on 16-17 February. Sources said the Road Map would pave the way for the formulation of a work plan that would embrace app developers and jump-start much needed interest among political directorates across the Caribbean.
“I am not sure that the applications economy is really in the minds of Heads of Government yet so that they understand the benefit and the role of those important people,” said another well-respected official in Guyana’s ICT sector.
The founder of CXC-Exam.com called on teachers and students to leverage mobile technology such as computers, smart-phones and tablets as effective mathematical teaching-learning tools. “Use your smart-phones smarter. Download educational apps such as this one. The smart-phone is only as smart as the user and it is the future of learning, it is the future of taking exams and it is the future of a lot of things,” said Dhanpaul.
He assured that the randomised math questions and answers currently total 3,000. The special system has the capacity to generate thousands more accurately and following the CXC’s syllabus as well as the related profiles of knowledge, application and interpretation. The team includes a Grenada-based Standards Consultant who has reviewed the questions and ensured they are on par with CXC standards.