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Easy Skanking. Reggae and ICT to enhance literacy
UNESCO and the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) supported the development of a new educational tool called Easy Skanking an educational software with interactive literacy course for young Jamaicans.

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Easy Skanking. Reggae and ICT to enhance literacy

20-02-2007 (Kingston)
Easy Skanking. Reggae and ICT  to enhance literacy
Image of interface for the software
UNESCO and the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) supported the development of a new educational tool called Easy Skanking an educational software with interactive literacy course for young Jamaicans.
The project started in late 2004 with follow-up support in 2006. An Internet version was released in January 2007. It was specially designed for Jamaica and the West Indies and includes a brand new interactive literacy course targeting young Jamaican adolescents and adults, between the ages of 14 to 35

The new computer software features a young animated man that speaks to the students in simple words without the use of any jargon. A strong emphasis has been made on positive reinforcements, simplicity and fun. The interactive Literacy Book included in the software features hundreds of photos of Jamaica and songs from Bob Marley and other reggae and dancehall icons.

The student interface looks and feels like a game interface rich in sound effects and Jamaican popular music. According to the developer of Easy Skanking, Fabrice Menoyot, “Children in Jamaica know dozens of songs before they are 5 years old. It’s fascinating to see the constant presence of music in Jamaican life. Today’s technology has no problem dealing with music. I knew from the start that Jamaicans would have no difficulties learning anything as long as it’s jamming!”

Easy Skanking v1 offers an Editor interface that allows teachers to create any interactive course, based on the model of the Literacy Book included. The Editor can produce quickly and easily very attractive interactive lessons and training courses that bring together music, video clips, sound effects, digital pictures, animations and games. The Editor is extremely simple to use and comes with an integrated help feature that talks to the user whenever it’s called.

The initial version comes on a regular computer CD that can run on any computer with sound capability and a colour monitor. The program also works on local network. An Internet version has been released and can be viewed on the author’s website here. The course can be done online but requires high speed Internet connection. The hope is to allow the development and supervision of new educational courses and programs nationwide, regionally and inter-regionally.

In Phase 2 of the project, the Literacy Book will be expanded to include government forms such as driver license and passport applications, tax forms and cultural sections about Jamaica and the West Indies, as well as computer training rooms that teach anything from basic computer functions to installation of memory chips, video cards, networking, Internet, e-mail and web surfing. Students will also learn how to use mobile phones and send and receive Text Messages. “This is a programme specially designed for Jamaicans. It’s full of sound effects and music. It talks to you, even uses patois (Patois is the Jamaican Creole) at times. There is nothing like this anywhere else!” explained Mr. Menoyot. The software can however be easily customised to fit other regions, cultures and languages.

The project was supported jointly by UNESCO’s Education and Communication Information Sectors and was done within the framework of the Education for All (EFA) Goal No. 4, Achieving a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults as well as UNESCO’s priority to use ICTs to Enhance Education Science and Culture.

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  • This item can be found in the following topics:
          · Jamaica
          · ICT in Education: News Archives 2007


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