Q and A with St. Mary's College (Trinidad) Computer Society

When was the club formed and why?

The St. Mary's College Computer Society was founded in 2010 under the guidance of Mr. Louis R. Ramdhanie out of a need to provide IT assistance to teachers in the classroom at the College. Since then, it has evolved into a lunchtime meeting of gamers and computer enthusiasts sharing their experience and knowledge with each other.

What is the aim of the club?

The primary mission of the society is, "To encourage and promote the use of the latest technology in and out of the classroom to enhance the education process."

St. Mary’s College has always been a leader in the use of information technology, being one of the first secondary schools in Trinidad and Tobago to have its own website - stmarys.edu.tt. To date projectors have been installed in most classrooms and high speed wireless internet now covers over 90% of the premises. Plans are in place to eventually equip all classrooms with projectors and provide internet access for everyone at the College including students.

What sort of activities does the club get involved in?

The Computer Society and its members work side by side with the IT department to help maintain the computer labs and equipment around the College. This way, our members gain valuable real world experience in the Information Technology field. We experiment with new technologies and develop ways to integrate it into everyday College life.

Meetings are held lunchtime every Wednesday in the Computer Lab.

Members of the society assist with quite a bit of stuff at the College from running the audio booth in the Centenary Hall during assemblies to videography and creating websites for the various student organistions in the College.

What technologies are taught in schools these days?

The Computer Science syllabus is somewhat restrictive and there is little time to stray from the basic productivity tools and programming.

What technologies are used at St. Mary's college? (Any smart classrooms?)

At the College we do not have any full "smart" classrooms, in part due to the fact that teachers require proper training, relying heavily on the limited IT support at the College (hence the creation of the Computer Society). A few teachers use the projectors in the classrooms and some have their lessons online.

What sort of innovations are in the computer lab?

Currently we are in the process of introducing quite a number of innovations in the computer lab. We have just installed the Amazon Echo and we are using it to control the lights for the lab. We plan to obviously expand its reach to controlling as many devices as we can at the college!

We have also purchased a few of the Wonder Dash Robots and the Ozobot for use in Forms 1-3, where with the assistance of the Computer Society, we will introduce them to programming.

We are also in the process of acquiring a few Lego Mindstorms Kits to introduce them to the world of robotics.

The lab is also equipped with a 40ft wall which the boys can write on and use like a dry erase board when working on various projects. They really love that!

Is the Computer Olympiad still running locally?

Not sure. With the amount of projects we are involved in and the restraints of the curriculum it has been difficult to fit that into our schedule.

Anything else you would like to add?

We are always looking for sponsors!