Continued from previous page Along Came a Pandemic In March 2020, as official shutdown loomed for Barbados due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we would all be forbidden to leave home on most days. It quickly became apparent that while the use of some technology all along had certainly been useful and commendable, it was only possible thus far by having physical contact with devices located on BVTB premises. The small I.T. department of the BVTB therefore set about making the required configuration changes to multiple servers, firewalls, and mobile devices to ensure that the most critical staff could work from home and had access to their files. The use of virtual meeting software, and electronic documents and signatures became more widely adopted and administrative functions continued without major interruption. There was a contrast in the area of training because almost all classes were brought to a halt. There were a few classes which were technology-based or had a broader base of theory involved, and those instructors were able to complete some requirements using meeting software. However, for the most part it was impossible to continue the courses which had very technical elements such as auto-mechanics, carpentry, steel-bending and the like without face-to-face instruction. This was understandable given the limited use of available technology in the training arena. This presents the BVTB with its greatest challenge as a vocational training institution – finding ways to impart technical knowledge in a remote setting. We have recently implemented a G Suite domain designed to facilitate remote learning through the Google suite of products. This involves issuing logon credentials to staff members and students in the Skills Training Programme. G Suite comprises several Google products such as: Gmail – School-wide email used to exchange secure emails. Drive – Store and organise assignments, documents, or class curriculum securely and access them from any device. Classroom – Simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments in a paperless way. Google Meet – Connect with students virtually through secure video calls and messaging to keep learning going outside of school. Docs, Sheets and Slides – Collaborate with students in real time on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Forms – Create forms, quizzes, and surveys to collect and analyse responses. Jamboard – Sketch and collaborate on an interactive canvas – Google’s cloud-based smartboard, on the computer, phone, or tablet. Continues on next page 7

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