Monday, December 15, 2008

Text/SMS language does not ruin spelling

Instead, it requires users to have sound knowledge of sentence structure and grammar.

More on this at this article.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Private sector gives P4B for education

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Private sector assistance in education has been gaining ground with more than P4 billion so far given this school year, Education Secretary Jesli A. Lapus said on Wednesday.

Mr. Lapus said the Education department is asking for more participation from business chambers, nongovernmental institutions and corporations in the program.

The Education chief was here for the inauguration of the rehabilitated Gabaldon building at the Zamboanga East Central School.

"We solicited assistance from the private sector through the adopt-a-school program with the government providing 150% income tax deduction as an incentive," he said.

Mr. Lapus, who has spent more than two decades in the private sector before joining the government, said most of the private sector assistance went to rehabilitation of schoolbuildings and acquisition of text books, chairs, computers, and even medical care for public school students.

He added the P4-billion assistance from the private sector proved the success of the department’s networking program.

"It takes the entire community to build and support a school. It’s a community effort," Mr. Lapus noted, adding that the support in education has to be consistent.

He said strong private involvement in upgrading public schools was shown during the "Brigada Skwela" (school brigade) where participation doubled in rehabilitating schools nationwide. The program is conducted before the opening of the school year.

In the 2009 budget, the Department of Education allotted P167.94 billion, a 13% increase from 2008’s P149.25 billion, for school rehabilitation, but Mr. Lapus said the amount is still "inadequate."

The growing support of the private sector and international donors has offset the fund lack, he added. "Denying the children schooling is denying the human being a fighting chance for the future," he said.

Meanwhile, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has allotted more than P6 million for training programs of out-of-school youth in Western Visayas.

Buen Mondejar, TESDA regional director, said the program will start this month.

"The funds will be equally divided among the 18 congressional districts in Western Visayas, amounting to P330,000 each," Mr. Mondejar said during the opening of the sixth Aklan Product Showcase held in SM City Iloilo.

Some 50 out-of-school youth will benefit from this project. The agency will train the qualified applicants, provide allowances and other expenses, Mr. Mondejar said.

He added the project is part of pro-poor and livelihood programs. TESDA Director-General Augusto Syjuco was assigned by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to spearhead the pro-poor and livelihood programs in Western Visayas.

TESDA was tasked to formulate a comprehensive development plan for middle-level manpower based on the National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan. — Darwin T. Wee and Harthwell C. Capistrano, BusinessWorld

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Edu 2.0 The Future of Education

Edu 2.0 is a free online learning management system. There are a number of free learning management systems, but Edu 2.0 looks promising, as it combines learning management with social networking features. It was pretty cool exploring it, as it is quite user-friendly.

The CICT was privileged to have hosted a workshop on Edu 2.0 facilitated by no less than its founder, Mr. Graham Glass. The workshop participants were mostly from the public high schools. I believe that Edu 2.0 can be a useful tool in implementing ICT in education, without the attached cost! I really hope that schools use it. :)

An article about Mr. Glass's visit was published at

Edu 2.0 founder: E-learning is evolving
By Izah Morales
First Posted 15:20:00 11/13/2008

MANILA, Philippines –In electronic learning environments, you are both a student and a teacher.

E-learning is evolving. But one of the more common trend is that it has been used to automate how classes run, said Graham Glass, founder of Edu 2.0, as he discussed trends in e-learning.

E-learning, he added, does not necessarily involve distance learning. It also involves automating grading and assignments and messaging. E-learning also gives parents access to their children’s performance, said Glass.

Edu 2.0 is a social network designed for students and teachers.

The service allows anyone to teach and learn by combining the power of blogs, online classes, automated grading, online quizzes, lessons, e-mail, games, forums, calendar, instant messaging, among others.

E-learning, however, becomes crucial when teachers want to reach people in the provinces, added Glass.

“E-learning makes it very easy for teachers to create a class and teach children wherever they are in the world,” he said. E-learning allows interaction among teachers and students.

Edu 2.0, for instance, allows online interactions through various Internet tools like chat discussions groups, blogs, community billboard and interactive games.

Glass said e-learning allows students and teachers from different schools to interact and exchange resources, while discussing common lessons.

“When you set up a school within our website, you have to follow a set of policies that can be customized. When you select a ‘walled community,’ then students within that school can only interact with each other,” said Glass.

The Edu 2.0 has 24,000 members. Filipino professor Joel Yuvienco who has been a member since February 2008, said he uses the e-learning system to teach special children.

“[E-learning] has empowered both learners and teachers,” added Yuvienco.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

eSkwela at Loyola Heights

Another eSkwela center has been opened recently in Barangay Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Read article below. Taken from

CICT opens new e-learning center in QC
By Anna Valmero
First Posted 10:35:00 11/11/2008

QUEZON CITY, Philippines -- The Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) has opened its seventh e-learning center in Loyola Heights under its eSkwela project.

The CICT through its Human Capital Development Group (CICT HCDG) launched in 2005 eSkwela to provide disadvantaged youth with educational opportunities to help reduce the digital divide and enhance their capacity to be successful participants in a global and knowledge-based economy.

The Loyola Heights center received an enrollment of 55 learners, mostly aged below 20.

The eSkwela project hopes to provide opportunity for Filipino out-of-school youths and adults (OSYAs) to go back to school.

According to a 2004 study by the Department of Education, there are 15 million Filipino out-of-school youths and adults. A major cause of this is poverty. Instead of going to school, children from poor families start working at an early age to help provide for their families.

According to the Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS), public education in the country is free but the poor find it difficult to cover transportation, food and allowances cost of going to school.

Angelina Malabanan, mobile teacher at the new center, said the site will offer the opportunity of alternative education for more OSYAs in the area.

Malabanan was fielded by DepEd’a Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS) as a mobile teacher.

“Under eSkwela, we call the enrollees as learners compared to students in formal schooling; we teach them based on their own pace,” said Malabanan. “We employ interactive topic modules to teach them the five learning strands geared to help them develop basic skills in preparation for employment, vocational courses or tertiary education.”

The five learning strands include communications, critical thinking and problem solving, productivity and sustainability of natural resources, development of self and sense of community, and expanding one’s world vision. The modules include audio and text materials in English but for discussions, learners can use Filipino or English.

Since eSkwela is a play on Filipino terms “iskwela” meaning school and “kwela” meaning fun, the five strands uses BALS-based interactive modules which learners can access via the Internet.

Malabanan said this strategy helps students develop computer literacy while studying the modules.

Malabanan added that they also encourage peer-teaching, in which fast learners help slow learners in some topics. “This gives learning a community experience,” she said.

Amy Mosura, eSkwela project staff, said they are continuously expanding as more communities learn about and adopt the program.

“Communities contact us to seek guidance on how to set up an eSkwela center. Since this is a “bayanihan” effort, the local community helps provide a room or a center to house the learners and the computers to be used. Then, mobile teachers are fielded and teach at the center.”

The community in which the eSkwela center is located manages the center.

Mosura said the local community, which includes LGUs and local DepEd or civic organizations, are oriented about their responsibilities to maintain the sustainability of the project and become stewards of development for their learners.

Mosura added that they are gaining enrollees as more learn about the benefits of the eSkwela program: ICT-based learning and flexible schedules.

She added the program also eliminates awkwardness for adults to learn in a formal school environment.

She cited as example a 40-year-old who gave up schooling in Grade 6 due to being bullied for her physical disability. She enrolled at the eSkwela center in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, took the accreditation exam and ranked eighth among examiners in the area.

“The current education system is a one-size fits all program but for some reasons, it cannot work for some people -- like the young who start work at an early age and those above 30-years-old who feel awkward to go back to secondary school. We cannot keep them marginalized because they are assets of the country towards development.”

But there is a long road ahead for eSkwela.

According to Amy Mosura of the eSkwela project, challenges for operations and further expansion include lack of mobile teachers and funding. Budget for eSkwela comes from CICT and grants from foundations, such as the APEC Educational Foundation, mainly provide budget for eSkwela’s operations.

In the Loyola Heights center, lack of desktop computers is a big challenge since all 55 learners share the five computers available, said Malabanan. To address this, learners have limited hours of computer use and were divided in morning and afternoon shifts.

The new center is the second e-learning site in Diliman, the first is located at Roces Avenue. Provincial centers are located at Bulacan, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Ormoc and Zamboanga.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

DepED's ICT4E Strategic Plan

Last September during the 3rd National ICT Congress in Cebu, Secretary Jesli Lapus announced the 5-year Information and Communications Technology for Education (ICT4E) 5-year Strategic Plan. Its vision is about enabling 21st Century Education for All Filipinos, Anytime, Anywhere. Consultative workshops have been conducted among the various education stakeholders (teachers, administrators, DepED management, students, parents, other government agencies and the private sector) in the formulation of this plan. While I believe in this plan, I think it is about time that we have this plan, I am quite concerned on how it will be operationalized. The DepED has eyed quite a big budget for this, which is hoped to get approved by our legislators. While this is still being awaited, projects with the DepED will continue. Today, we learned that Oracle will expand its online learning project, called ThinkQuest in partnership with the DepED. For us, a fellow government agency, will continue the iSchools and eSkwela projects.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

eSkwela ICT camp

I have always been interested in the use of information and communications technology (ICT) for teaching and learning. I have always believed in its potential to make learning more relevant, innovative, fun and exciting for learners.

I'm glad that through the eSkwela project I have been able to organize an activity where ICT can be used creatively and innovatively. It is somehow reminiscent of my old job, and of the activities that I used to do there. We're trying to do a similar activity, but in a much smaller scale. Nonetheless, I hope it will be as fun and exciting.

The eSkwela project targets the use of ICT for creating projects in the form of desktop publications, websites, videos, photo albums, etc. It is part of eSkwela's overall pedagogical approach of teaching and learning. At the ICT camp, participating learners and instructional managers from the eSkwela centers will be trained in the effective use of computers, the Internet and open source software as tools for learning, design and collaboration. At the ICT camp, participants will be studying e-Learning modules and deepen their learning through the creation of ICT-based projects.

For more information about the ICT camp, you may visit

For more information about the eSkwela project, you may visit

Monday, October 6, 2008

House Bill No. 4300 / Senate Bill No. 2546

These are the bills enacting the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) to become the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

Looks like we're progressing quite fast on this bill. A letter from Pres. Arroyo has been sent to the Senate to immediately enact the bill (please see related article here).

It has been predicted that once it is enacted, we're looking at having the DICT by early next year.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

Computer Clubhouse in East Rembo featured in the Inquirer

Article from

MANILA, Philippines--The children of East Rembo in Makati have access to the information highway and have become dotcom kids, thanks to the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network that is housed at the Mater Dolorosa Parish church.

Many of the kids on the afternoon of the Philippine Daily Inquirer's visit were girls. The boys were probably out playing basketball. After all, every barangay has a basketball court, courtesy of Councilor This or Councilor That. It seemed nobody cared where the girls went after-school or what they did, nobody that is until Intel opened the clubhouse where girls are welcome to play with the computers and exercise their brains same as boys.

The East Rembo community is, to be politically correct about it, underserved. The streets are narrow and the homes are ramshackle compared to the wide avenues and high-rises of neighbor Fort Bonifacio. Chances are, without the ICCN, these kids would not have been introduced at their tender age to the skills that they will need to succeed in this digital age.

In addition to being a center for creativity, the ICCN is a warm community of learners. The 80 members, ranging in age from 10 to 17, are mentored by the staff and 21 registered volunteers in the use of technology for creative expression, for recreation and for more serious school work.

Supportive learning environment
The supportive learning environment within the computer clubhouses enables young people to express their ideas, build skills as well as self-confidence.

The ICCN in Mater Dolorosa Parish also caters to the youth of nearby areas in Makati, Pateros and Taguig.

It is open 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., but closes for an hour's lunch break from 12:30-1:30 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday. On Mondays the staff and volunteers meet for training sessions. Sundays are reserved for maintenance. The Mater Dolorosa Parish church is now mainly responsible for the project.

At the ICC, young members are taught hands-on how to use various software creatively.

The software programs are top of the line: Adobe Premier, Movie Maker and Ulead Video Studio for making their own movies; Flash, Dreamweaver, Swish Max and Adobe Image Ready for designing their own websites; Photoshop, Corel Photo Paint and Painter for editing and manipulating pictures; Microsoft PowerPoint, Movie Maker, Photo Story and Microsoft Publisher for showing off their pictures; Microsoft Word, Publisher and Adobe Pagemaker for publishing; RPG Maker for designing their own games; Sierra Home Architect for home designing; Pico Blocks and LEGO Mind Storms for robotics.

There's also the Intel Play Microscope where they can view minuscule objects like a real microscope, capture them in the computer and proceed to edit the image.

As much as the kids would like to spend a lifetime at the Intel center, they are limited to three-hour sessions to give other members a chance to get their hands on the computers. Paul Christian Rosales is clubhouse coordinator; Amy Baldoz is his assistant.

The clubhouse is also a safe place where student members go for help with school projects that require technological skills, including surfing the Web to do research, e-mail, even chat.

Anniversary mural
The day of the Inquirer visit happened to be Intel's 40th anniversary, a milestone that the microprocessing giant had chosen to mark with the launch of a global digital mural.

Children around the world have been working with Intel volunteers on murals depicting what computers will bring into their lives in the next 40 years.

For obvious reasons, the creative collaboration is called The World Mural Project. Using computers, kids from 20 countries, such as Brazil, China, Mexico, India, Israel, Ireland, Russia, South Africa and the United States, have been hard at work (or hardly working, considering how much fun this is for the digitally-inclined) to create the online global mural.

The World Mural Project is a web-based digital art piece that includes visual and written contents from 70 Intel computer clubhouses throughout the world.

More than 500 young people in 21 countries submitted graphic design "tiles" that were incorporated into an overall mural design. The project links together the individual submissions into one expansive and exciting digital mural that speaks to the youth's creativity and passion about technology.

Renowned digital muralist Favianna Rodriguez has shepherded the World Mural's creative process.

Common themes represented in the mural include the trend toward smaller, more mobile computing; green technology that improves our environment, more responsive technology in health care and education, and virtual travel.

Through the project, the youth of the world have expressed, in so many strokes and words, that they expect computers to change the world in positive ways for the next 40 years and beyond.

"As an industry, we have a responsibility to fulfill these expectations," said Bruce Sewell, senior vice president for corporate social responsibility at Intel.

Intel researchers are already working on a number of technology areas that are similar to what some of the youth have envisioned, including energy-efficient, affordable mobile Internet devices, high-performance visual computing solutions, and low-cost personal computers designed to meet the needs of first-time computer users in emerging markets.

"Intel has a 40-year history of serial technology breakthroughs and innovation," said Intel CEO and president Paul Otellini in an anniversary statement. "Over the next 40 years Intel technology will be at the heart of breakthroughs that solve the big problems of health and environment. For Intel this is just the beginning of its journey."

The sense of pride is understandable since Intel can take credit for introducing the "brain" of computers, the microprocessor. At that time, Otellini said, no one knew that computer sales would exceed 350 million units a year.

Investments in education
In the past decade alone, Intel invested $1 billion to improve education worldwide and is now investing more than $100 million annually to help teachers teach, students learn, and universities around the world innovate.

In addition to the learning benefits derived from computer clubhouses by kids, Intel has also trained more than five million teachers through its Intel Teach program and funded the world's largest pre-college science competition called Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF).

The Intel Higher Education Program brings cutting-edge technology expertise to universities through research grants, technology entrepreneurship forums, and mentoring by Intel technologists.

In the Philippines, there is another Computer Clubhouse and it is located at the Computer Training Center in Barangay Pinagtipunan, General Trias, Cavite.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

2,000 public high schools to receive computer labs

Article from

The Department of Education is targeting to equip more than 6,000 public high schools in the country with computer labs this year.

More than 3,950 high schools have so far been given PCs and other equipment, said Paul Soriano, DepEd technical services director.

"We are targeting the remaining 2,000 this year and we have already rolled out more than 6,000 since the year started," Soriano told in an interview during the launch of the website, a collaboration between Intel and DepEd.

DepEd's computerization effort is partly dependent, however, on the Department of Energy's program to provide electricity in remote areas, according to Soriano.

"Most of the regions are already represented," he said, when asked which areas will be covered by this initiative. "We are already moving to fourth- and fifth-class municipalities."

DepEd's goal is to equip all public high schools with PCs in line with a directive from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself.

DepEd has been allocated funds for this project although other agencies such as the DTI and CICT have pitched in. Computer labs were also donated by several private sector groups such as Ayala-led GILAS and Smart Communications, the latter through its Smart Schools.

Partners like Intel have also donated PCs and likewise provide content that enhance learning using technologies such as the Internet.

"DepEd is now trying to integrate providers and harmonize content coming from them so that all high schools will benefit," Soriano said.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Intel's Skoool now has a .ph!

Intel has contributed greatly to education worldwide, especially in the Philippines. Their contribution to education includes hardware deployment, teacher training, content and promotion of educational excellence, that spans from K up to Higher Education. They likewise support community education, and one of which I had a privilege to be part of.

Yesterday, Intel has launched Skoool, Philippine version. Skoool features interactive multimedia resources for the enhancement of math and science education. I have previously seen (Ireland) and (Thailand), and was impressed by its content. And now, Filipino students and teachers will have their version of online content through This project was made possible in partnership with the Department of Education.

More about the launching in this article.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What do students need to learn


A fundamental question for everyone involved in education — administrators, teachers, parents, and students — in this time of rapid change is, "What do students really need to be learning today in order to be ready for an unpredictable future?" Some believe that the best thing we can teach them is how to teach themselves. This requires that students become not only literate, but also able to use that literacy within their personal information environment in order to succeed now and in the future.

The challenge to us as educators lies in keeping up with an information environment that has changed dramatically in the past 10 years, a decade during which the very nature of information has changed in appearance, location, accessibility, application, and communication. Thus, it is crucial that when teaching literacy to our students, we emphasize skills that reflect the information environment of the present, not the past.

Whether we like it or not, with the information age comes a whole new set of basic skills. Following, we will take a look at how the traditional 3 Rs, naturally and out of necessity, evolve into 4 Es to define literacy in an increasingly, and soon to be exclusively, digital and networked world.

Reading → Exposing Knowledge

Most of the readers of this article were taught to read what was handed to them. Textbooks were given to us by our teachers, reference books by librarians, and magazines and newspapers by publishers. If we could read and understand the text handed to us by such recognized authorities, it meant we were literate.

Today, our students typically begin their information experiences in front of a global electronic library of billions of pages of information (the Internet), where materials can be published by just about anyone, on just about anything, and for just about any reason. If our students have been taught only to read and understand this information, they could be in serious trouble, possibly even in danger. Accessing information in an increasingly digital and networked world requires a range of skills of which decoding text is only a small part. Basic skills for today's students include the following:

1. Finding information: Locating relevant information not only from a local library or newsstand, but also from the Internet. Literacy includes the ability to identify needed information, use Web searching tools to find it, and employ research strategies that expose the best information.
2. Decoding information: Beyond decoding text, literacy requires reading deeply for meaning in multimedia content.
3. Evaluating information: It is critical that students learn to evaluate the information they encounter, and also identify its value in terms of their goals.
4. Organizing information into personal digital libraries: A key strategy for handling the overwhelming amount of information available to us is the construction and cultivation of personal digital libraries. When we create and organize information that is relevant to our ongoing interests and goals, then we can handily find answers to our questions.

Arithmetic → Employing Information

Before the proliferation of personal computers, most information was merely consumed. We purchased and then read text, listened to audio, viewed images, and watched video. Numbers, on the other hand, were used as a way of precisely measuring our environment and the laws that governed it, and to manipulate that environment and its laws in order to add value to our lives.

Today, just about all information is expressed in the universal language of numbers. Multimedia content is stored and communicated as ones and zeros, otherwise known as binary code. Since information is expressed in numbers today, and personal computers are available for interpreting and modifying those numbers, it becomes raw material that can be analyzed, altered, and improved in pursuit of a goal. It becomes just as important to be able to use a computer to process the invisible numbers behind images, audio, and video content as it is to be able to add, subtract, measure, count, and calculate the visible numbers.

Learning to process any and all information requires:

1. Basic mathematical skills: As always, students must know how to add, subtract, count, measure, and calculate numbers. They must also understand the fundamental laws of numbers and how to use these concepts to answer questions, solve problems, and accomplish goals.
2. Computer-aided processing of numbers: Of the numerous exabytes of information that will be generated this year, only a small percent of it will be printed. The rest will require a machine to read it. Students, while they learn the basic skills of processing printed numbers, must also learn to process large quantities of digital numbers using computer spreadsheets and other data processing tools.
3. Processing media: Because of affordable digital cameras, scanners, MIDI music devices, and the vast array of multimedia content available on the Web, obtaining or creating the picture (or sound) is no longer the final outcome. It is merely a part of the process. All formats of information can be moved into powerful graphic, sound, and video processing software and altered to communicate in a more precise and compelling way. Students must learn to use these software tools in order to add value to information. It's all about numbers, but also about using computers to process those numbers in order to improve the delivery of information and accomplish goals.

Writing → Expressing Ideas Compellingly

In a world bursting with information, we can use only the information that successfully competes for our attention. In the information age, content competes for our attention in much the same way as products on a store shelf were designed to in the industrial age. The information we select will be what looks the most appealing, seems to communicate itself most effectively and efficiently, and appears reliable and authoritative.

Writing will continue to be a core skill for all students, because some information is simply communicated most effectively in text. However, other information might best be expressed using pictures, sound, animation, or video. Students must master a range of practical and technical skills involved in expressing ideas effectively and compellingly.

1. Writing effectively: Students must learn not only the mechanics of writing, but how to use text to communicate knowledge and ideas more efficiently than ever.
2. Communicating with multimedia: Students must also learn to match their message with the medium that best communicates it, and then use the appropriate tools to create and or modify it in order to attract the attention of an audience.

Ethics: Right and Wrong Online

As information becomes increasingly important to our economy and culture, it also becomes more powerful — able to accomplish enormous good and great harm. This is why it is essential that at the same time we teach our students these prevailing information skills, we also teach them the ethical use of that information.

1. Information reliability: Students must learn to assess the accuracy of the information that they access and use, and it is equally important for them (and for all of us) to provide evidence of the accuracy and reliability of the information products they assemble.
2. Information property: In the information age, we are all information property owners. Most of us will make our living by producing information products. It is important that students gain an appreciation of information as property that needs to be respected in the same way that we respect each other's material property.
3. Information infrastructure: Today, we depend on the computers and networks through which our information flows to no less degree than we depend on our roads, rails, waterways, and airports. Planting a virus on a network is just as destructive as planting a bomb under a bridge. Students must realize the importance of our information infrastructure and how critical it is to our success in the future.

By Sara Armstrong and David Warlick

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Support for Open Source Software

Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua III, Chairman of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), told today that Open Source Software (OSS) should be supported and promoted as an alternative to proprietary software. Filipinos need to be aware about OSS and its benefits, as they are cost-effective, secure and relatively easy to use. I believe this is a better option than using pirated proprietary software. No to piracy!

CICT leads in the promotion of OSS by advocating and promoting OSS in its projects such as the eLGU, iSchools and eSkwela.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

iLearn Portal

The iLearn portal features interactive educational resources and tutorials with a Filipino flavor. It's good to know that there is an online education resources localized for the Philippine setting because most educational technology resources that I find are from the United States. There are even resources written in the local dialects!

The portal was developed by the Commission on Information and Communications Technology and several state universities and colleges.

To know more about iLearn, visit their website at

This blog has now been approved by PayPerPost!

I heard about PayPerPost through a friend who also earn from blogs. I thought this seems to be like a good opportunity. I've always looked at blogging as something I want to do to practice my writing skills and write about my advocacies. But now, through PayPerPost, I'll have an opportunity to get paid for blogging! Really, really cool! :)

I intend to save the money I earn from blogging.

blog advertising

Sunday, June 15, 2008

House OKs bill splitting DoTC, creating new IT dept


House OKs bill splitting DoTC, creating new IT dept
First Posted 12:44:00 06/15/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill proposing to install a totally new department that would look after and advance the country's information and communications technology (ICT) sector.

Under the bill, the new Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) would be spun off from the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC).

All existing DoTC offices dealing with communications would either be built into or attached to the DICT. These include the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the Philippine Postal Corp. The National Computer Center, now assigned to the Department of Science and Technology, would also be ceded to the DICT.

"The DoTC's administrative and jurisdictional foundations can no longer cope with the rapid advances in ICT. Thus, the need to establish a wholly new, full-grown department to deal with ICT matters exclusively," said Catanduanes Representative Joseph Santiago, chairman of the House committee on ICT, in a statement.

Santiago's panel, together with the committee on appropriations chaired by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and the committee on government reorganization chaired by Zamboanga City Rep. Erico Basilio Fabian, previously endorsed the bill.

Under House Bill 4300, Santiago said the new DICT would "ensure the provision of strategic, dependable, and cost-efficient ICT infrastructures, systems, and resources as instruments for nation-building and global competitiveness."

Santiago, former chief of the NTC, said the new department would "promote a policy environment of fairness, broad private sector participation in ICT development, and balanced investment between high-growth and economically-depressed districts."

He said the DICT would likewise be mandated to ensure:

* The accelerated development of convergent networks of ICT facilities;

* Universal access and high-speed connectivity at fair and reasonable cost;

* Ample ICT services in areas not sufficiently served by the private sector;

* Widespread use and application of emerging ICT;

* A strong and effective regulatory system;

* Adequate consumer protection as well as free and fair competition;

* Abundant human resources for ICT development;

* Incentives to grow ICT industries;

* Protection of the right to privacy; and

* ICT support for culture, education, as well as public health and safety.

The bill defines ICT as "the aggregate of all electronic means to collect, store, process, and present information to end-users in support of their activities."

ICT consists of computer systems, office channels, and consumer electronics, as well as networked information infrastructures, the components of which include the telephone system, the Internet and satellite/cable television.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

June is National ICT month

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has signed proclamation number 1521 last May 28, 2008 declaring June as national ICT month. My organization, CICT will be the lead in this celebration.

For more info, click on this article.

The State of Philippine Education

From GMANews.TV

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

Nine Excellent Reasons for Technology in Education

Taken from an article of the same title by John Page

Nine fundamental reasons why I think technology is important in education. Hopefully, they can act as the rationale for technology plans in schools.

Reason 1. Expansion of time and place
In a typical high school a student has access to a teacher for one hour each day. That means she has access to the teacher approximately for 6% of a 16-hour waking day, and even that time is shared with 25 classmates. But she has access to the Internet 100% of the time. That's a lot better — some twenty times better. Yes, technology is no substitute for an inspiring teacher. However, on-line materials are FAR more available. As shown above, some twenty times more available.

Using the traditional textbook + classroom approach, the places where learning can occur are limited. A portable wireless computer has access to the teacher's course material and the entire Internet almost anywhere. And this is a vastly larger resource than can be practically carried on paper in a backpack.

Bottom line: information technology allows learning anywhere, anytime; not just in one particular classroom for one hour a day.

Reason 2. Depth of Understanding
Interactive simulations and illustrations can produce a much greater depth of understanding of a particular concept. When virtual manipulatives are used in a classroom setting they can go far beyond chalk and talk. Using a projector, the teacher can conduct onscreen investigations and demonstrate concepts far more easily than with just words and arm-waving. For example see Subtended Angle. Combine this class demonstration with access to the same tools over the web, and the student can reinforce the ideas by playing with the simulations themselves, any time, any where.

Reason 3. Learning vs. Teaching
Technology allows the tables to be turned. Instead of teaching (push), students can be given projects that require them to learn (pull) the necessary material themselves. Key to this is the ability to get the information they need any time anywhere, without being in the physical presence of a teacher. This project-based pull approach makes learning far more interesting for the student. I have seen firsthand how students cannot wait to get out of regular classes to go to the after-school robotics project.

Reason 4. New media for self-expression
In the old days, students could write in a notebook, and what they wrote was seen only by the teacher. Using modern technology, they can: make a PowerPoint presentation, record/edit spoken word, do digital photography, make a video, run a class newspaper, run a web based school radio or TV station, do claymation, compose digital music on a synthesizer, make a website, and/or create a blog.

Reason 5. Collaboration
A vital skill in the new digital world is the ability to work collaboratively on projects with others who may not be physically close. This can best be done using modern computer tools such as the Web, Email, instant messaging and cell phone. Rather than laboring alone on homework, students can work in small groups wherever they happen to be and at any time. They are doing this already – it can now be formalized and taught as a vital skill. Many university projects are undertaken by teams spread around the world. Your students need to be prepared for this.

Reason 6. Going Global
The worldview of the student can be expanded because of the zero cost of communicating with other people around the globe. The internet permits free video conferencing which permits interaction in real time with sister schools in other countries. From an educational viewpoint, what could be more important than understanding other cultures through direct dialog and collaboration?

Reason 7. Individual pacing and sequence
Students are, of course, all different. Information technologies can permit them to break step with the class and go at a pace and order that suits each student better. Without disrupting the class, they can repeat difficult lessons and explore what they find interesting. With time, it will become more like having a private tutor rather than being lost in a large class.

Reason 8. Weight
Three textbooks and three binders easily weigh over 25 pounds. A laptop computer weighs about 5 pounds and provides access to infinitely more material via its own storage and the Internet. A 40Gb hard drive can hold 2 million pages with illustrations; the Web is unfathomably large. Right now, students are getting back injuries lugging around a tiny subset of what they need in the form of black marks printed on slices of a substance not all that different from the papyrus used by the ancient Egyptians. And it's just static boring text.

Reason 9. Personal Productivity
Students need productivity tools for the same reasons you do. They need to write, read, communicate, organize and schedule. A student's life is not much different from that of any knowledge worker, and they need similar tools. Even if they are never used in the classroom, portable personal computers will make a student's (and teacher's) life more effective. To cash in this benefit, schools need to go paperless.

In summary, if education is about knowledge and intellectual skills, then information technology lies at the heart of it all. We have only just begun this transition. School will eventually look very different. Get ready.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Students as Lesson Evaluators?

In order to be effective in delivering lessons through the use of ICT, student opinions are worth considering.

Carrie A. Calloway presents in her article the guide questions for a survey that can be used and administered to students in order to gather information about how ICT can be effectively used in teaching. Here are the questions:

  1. Do you think the lesson made effective use of technology? Explain.
  2. What portions of the lesson did you feel worked well and were easy to comprehend?
  3. What portions of the lesson did you feel were not beneficial in understanding the content presented?
  4. What would you change about this lesson?
  5. How would you rate the overall delivery and design of this lesson?
  6. Were the instructions clearly outlined and easy to follow?
  7. Did the lesson offer opportunities for interaction with the teacher and other students?
  8. Did the lesson build upon your prior knowledge (i.e. were real-world examples utilized)?
  9. Were you involved in hands-on learning opportunities during the lesson?
  10. Did you find the lesson motivating in such a way that you would like to further explore the topic presented?
  11. Would you recommend the teacher use this lesson again in the future?
  12. Additional comments...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Alternative Learning System: meeting the Philippines’ Education for All (EFA) Agenda

Alternative Learning System: Transform existing non-formal and informal learning options into a truly viable alternative learning system yielding more EFA benefits

Action: Cost-effective alternative learning options for achieving adult functional literacy in first language, Filipino and English are defined and propagated. National government funding is provided to finance the integration of these alternative learning options for the effective acquisition of functional literacy of adults as an essential and routine part of every public, private and civil society socio-economic development initiative reaching disadvantaged persons and communities. Adult literacy organizations work more closely with organizations already involved in community development and poverty alleviation.

Over the years, many non-formal and informal learning options emerged initially as remedial responses to meeting the basic literacy needs of people that the school system had failed to equip with the necessary basic education competencies. Meanwhile, it has been increasingly recognized that diverse educational needs of different groups of people in society are both legitimate and urgent to meet. Yet the mainstream public schools, even in the best of circumstances, are largely unable to meet these educational needs even as effective nonschooling methodologies for meeting these different needs rapidly developed. Thus, the country now aspires to evolving an alternative learning system (alternative and complementary to schools) that is organized and governed in order to provide choices for learning not just as a remedy for school failure but as an addition even to good schools.

This evolution is envisioned to unfold in three over-lapping stages to enable everyone to obtain school-equivalent competencies and, if so desired, school-equivalent credentials through learning processes within as well as outside schools. The first and most urgent stage is to make fully functionally literate the core population of adults and youth outside schools who do not yet possess essential functional literacy competencies. As this stage progresses to cover all those who are functionally illiterate, second stage interventions have to be implemented that serve the wider population with other educational needs that require learning options in addition to those provided by good schools. This population includes legitimate minorities, such as differently abled children who can best achieve their learning goals outside schools and children from ethnic communities who want to acquire basic competencies desired by all Filipinos while preserving their own unique ethnic identity and culture. The successful implementation of these two overlapping stages, i.e., meeting the needs of the functionally illiterate and serving the educational needs of minorities, would eventually converge towards a third stage which involve the emergence of a true, coherent and organized system for lifelong learning that will include, but will extend beyond good elementary and secondary schools.

Two specific strategies in developing the alternative learning system will maximize its contribution to the attainment of EFA goals. First, the most cost-effective alternative learning interventions for achieving adult functional literacy would be integrated with the wide variety of socio-economic and cultural programs reaching disadvantaged people who are also likely to be educationally disadvantaged. Second, a parallel delivery system dedicated to providing alternative learning programs to those who cannot meet their needs through schools would be evolved. As the school system improves its efficiency and effectiveness and the large pool of youth and adult illiterates shrinks, the diverse educational needs of various groups in society assumes greater importance and visibility. Meeting these needs would become the impetus for the emergence and organization of the alternative learning system. Finally, as good schools meet the common needs of most children, the parallel alternative learning system grows and develops to meet the special needs of different groups of children and adults. This alternative learning system initially focuses on meeting basic education needs of all but eventually serves other education needs even beyond basic competencies.

The specific actions to be undertaken are the following:

1. The existing Bureau of Alternative Learning System of DepEd and the Literacy Coordinating Council should be developed, strengthened and mandated to serve as the government agency to guide the evolution of the country’s alternative learning system. Among BALS functions should be to promote, improve, monitor and evaluate but not necessarily deliver alternative learning interventions for functional literacy of out-of-school youth and adults, for ethnic minorities and other groups with special educational needs that cannot be met by schools, and for desired competencies that are part of lifelong learning. Such an agency for ALS should be able to harmonize and assure the quality of programs by various service providers. It should also be able to contract with or provide grants to providers of non-formal education, define and set standards for adult literacy programs, accredit and recognize providers meeting standards, and monitor and evaluate adult literacy outcomes among individuals and populations.

2. Public funding made available for ALS programs of various government and private entities should be subject to the policies and guidelines of the proposed ALS reconfigured structure. Public funding for basic literacy of out-of-school youth and adults should be allocated in order to integrate adult literacy interventions into the most effective socio-economic programs already reaching many communities of educationally disadvantaged people. A survey should be made of socio-economic programs most likely to be reaching communities with high concentration of educationally disadvantaged or illiterates. Such a survey should cover national and local government programs, as well as programs of the private and non-government sectors. Programs should then be assessed in terms of their potential for integrating adult literacy interventions such as their current reach among illiterates, level of demand by illiterate potential clients, and opportunities available for integrating adult literacy in program operations, among others.

3. Effort should be made to build and develop a constituency for ALS development. There are many groups and persons who already recognize the value of non-school options for meeting education needs. They may not readily step up and advocate alternative learning system because of the dominance of schooling in education. Positive examples and promising initiatives in alternative learning should be recognized and given greater appreciation. Media as an alternative and potent source of informal education should be strengthened.

4. The actual form and structure of the delivery system for alternative learning is still not yet
clear. Research and development work will be needed to test cost-effective options for delivering high quality and reliable alternative learning.

5. The ALS agency should undertake an inventory of available resources in localities for adult literacy interventions outside schools. Service providers, course-ware, teaching materials, and facilities with special usefulness to adult literacy programs should be identified for potential use by various welfare and poverty alleviation programs. Available local capacities for high quality non-formal education for adult learners should be promoted among managers and operators of socio-economic programs reaching the poorest households which also likely to have members who are illiterate or educationally disadvantaged.

From Functionally Literate Filipinos: An Educated Nation Philippine Education For All (EFA) 2015 National Action Plan

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Directory of Online Learning Tools

The Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies has compiled over 2,300 online tools for learning, which are classified into two main sections:
  1. for creating, delivering and managing learning and performance support solutions
  2. for managing your own learning and productivity, and sharing resources
To view the list of tools, click on this link.

Monday, May 26, 2008

One to one computing

In the 2008 America's Digital Schools Report, One-to-One Computing was cited as one of the key educational technology trends, according to this eSchool News article.

But is one-to-one computing truly advantageous? This techLearning article presents a review of literature on effective digital environments, with a focus on one-to-one computing.

In the Philippines, most schools do not enjoy one-to-one computing. This is more of the ideal rather than the norm. But even with limited technology resources, effective technology integration is possible. Read about this from one of UNESCO's Innovative Practices on ICT in Education Winning Entry from the Philippines.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Online Journals

Technology is used to facilitate easier research. One of the many ways that made this possible was through the Open Journal System. You can find here free access to journal articles that can serve as references for your research.

There is also a Philippine version called the Philippine Journals Online. While this is still under construction as of this writing, you can already find some journal articles here.

Wikipedia now a teaching tool

Read this article from Ray Schroeder's Educational Technology blog: Once shunned by academics, Wikipedia now a teaching tool (AFP).

What I liked about Wikipedia recently, and this was also mentioned in the article, is that they now have a Featured Article page. For one's Wikipedia entry to be included here, one has to have thoroughly discussed the topic and backed up by many references.

I remember at a thesis seminar that I attended (the thesis seminar was a requirement before enrollment to thesis direction), we were told that we can site online sources except Wikipedia. But according to Jon Beasley-Murray, who was quoted in the article, Wikipedia entries seem to be academically sound. I wonder if my school will now allow its students to cite Wikipedia as reference for academic papers...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Open Education

Doing research on and getting exposure to the alternative learning system made me appreciate flexible and open learning. I love learning and I believe in the power of education. Through technology, learning not only becomes flexible but easily accessible. Premiere universities of the world have made available their educational resources online, for free! These universities are part of the Open Courseware Consortium.

Here are some of my favorite open courseware (OCW) websites:

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology OCW
2. Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative
3. University of California Berkeley Webcasts
4. Utah State OpenCourseWare
5. Annenberg Media - contains teacher resources for basic education

More open courseware websites can be found at the websites of Open Courseware Consortium and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

St. Isidore and Free Rice

St. Isidore was born in the year 1070 at Madrid, Spain. He spent his earthly life as a farmer. His was a remarkable life for he cared for the gifts that he had and shared them to the most needy. He is the patron saint of farm workers.

In the country such as mine, the Philippines, a lot of people live through agriculture. Just recently when we started to feel the rice crisis, I particularly remember today the rice farmers who have toiled our lands long and hard every day so that we'll have something to eat for our meals. Filipinos are rice eaters. The rice crisis tells us that our food resources are not keeping up with the growing population, which will in turn result to more people going hungry. The environment likewise affects rice production for it is becoming harder to plant and harvest food because of the environmental changes. Moreover, agricultural lands are becoming less and less because these lands are being used either as residential or commercial areas. I pray that like St. Isidore, we will value our resources and be more concerned of our people and our environment.

And it is fitting that on St. Isidore's day that I found this game called Free Rice. It is a vocabulary game that promises donation of 20 grains of rice for each word that you get right to the United Nation's World Food Program. I played it myself, and I was able to donate 500 grains of rice. Maybe I should play this game more often!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Web Search Tool

Another way to search for Wikipedia articles is through this website:

You can even type your inquiry in question form :)

Monday, April 28, 2008

How to use ICT for education

"The problem with all of what we currently do in the general scope of education is that we, the educators, hold on to how we learned and how we process information and knowledge rather than thinking through the realties of how new students and future students think and process and the challenges they will bring to our courses. Even those most innovative 'early adopters' among us struggle to discover effective uses of technology in education but do not really understand how our students perceive what we do or how they process the content we give them. All of this is further challenged in the delivery and distribution of learning. At present enough is not known to establish conclusions about which is better, but we know enough through our own experience to realize that things are different. New technology has challenged the way in which education is delivered, but newer technologies are now challenging how people process information and what they expect to be able to do with that information."

- Ruth Reynard, Ph.D.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Encyclopedia Britannica now free for bloggers

Encyclopedia Britannica is now trying to catch up with Wikipedia. Admittedly, Wikipedia has been a choice for many people doing research online. For more details, click on this article.

Anyways, if you are a blogger and are interested to free access of Encyclopedia Britannica online, click on this link.

Can you live a day without using your PC/going online?

Shutdown Day is a global experiment to find out how many people can go without a computer for one whole day, and what will happen if we all participate. This will happen on May 3, 2008.

If you check out the website you will see some interesting answers on what they'll do on Shutdown day.

As for me, I'd probably bike, or eat! How about you?

Sign up na!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

ICT integration in Classroom teaching

This photo is from a class in an ICT High School in the Philippines. This school is under the Department of Education, a public high school.

It prides to have a special ICT curriculum for teaching and learning, and has the necessary facilities for implementing its curriculum. In fact, in this particular class, they are using a laptop and an LCD projector to present lessons.

Wow! This school seems to be special.

I particularly enjoyed observing this class because the students are very active (I hope they are consistently active in their classes and not just because there are observers), and that the teacher is very skilled in facilitating classroom discussion. But I was sad because the projection of the lessons through an LCD projector seemed like a 'glorified blackboard.' Which means, the lessons can actually be written on the blackboard and would have the same impact on the students.

Through this incident I have become more curious on what ICT integration in teaching and learning in the classroom is all about. What are teachers' ideas on ICT integration? How can we say that a class that utilizes ICT is really able to integrate ICT in teaching and learning? Was this class that I have observed practiced ICT integration?
Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 28, 2008

The eSkwela Project

I am now involved in a project that uses ICT in education in the alternative education setting. It is called eSkwela. It is a project of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) and the Department of Education (DepEd).

eSkwela prides to have produced several digitized e-learning modules for the use of out-of-school youth and adults (OSYA) in the Alternative Learning Systems (ALS). I think ICT is a great way to bring education to the OSYAs because it allows for flexibility in studying and learning among OSYAs. The flexible entry and exit component in the ALS program is one of its unique features that differentiates the delivery of education in the formal setting.

What I also liked about this project is the advocacy on the use of open source software, such as Edubuntu. Edubuntu is an example of open source software that was made by educators and technologists to suit the need of schools. The software contains very nice educational applications that can be used to teach lessons in a more interesting and fun manner. Having the computers, Edubuntu software and digitized modules truly helps improve the learning of the OSYAs that are enrolled in the eSkwela program.

The eSkwela has been recognized by the UNESCO through its ICT in Education Innovation Awards. It has received a Certificate of Commendation for the Non-formal Education category.

It makes me proud to be part of this very noble endeavor. What I like most about this project is that it has given attention to the alternative education sector, which hardly receives much attention from local officials and the private sector. Even the DepEd provides a very minimal budget for ALS while it caters to about 20% of the population that are out-of-school. I hope that as we go along with the project we would be able to further enhance the delivery of education, especially to the OSYAs.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Blog changes

I may hardly be able to talk about GILAS anymore, as I am moving to another job. But the job will be similar, as I will still be able to continue my advocacy on ICT in Education.

'Til next blog entry!

GILAS in Pampanga

GILAS has arrived in Pampanga! Orientation among the principals of the public high schools transpired last September 2007, and 7 schools got connected last December 2007 - January 2008. GILAS training took place at San Roque Dau High School in Lubao last January 23, 24 and 25, 2008. 30 teachers attended the training.