Technology-aided instruction and learning were at the forefront of discussions at the "2nd Digital Education Conference: K to 12 and Teaching & Learning with Technology" last May 20, 2013 at the HRD Auditorium of the Philippine Normal University (PNU) in Manila, Philippines.
Organized by PNU, Vibal Publishing House, Inc. (VPHI), and Vibal Foundation, the two-day conference and workshop featured talks and workshops by some of the most distinguished names in the field of education, dishing out lessons and pointers on how to make technology work for students and teachers.
Integration of technology in classrooms
In her opening remarks, Dr. Ester B. Ogena, president of PNU, admonished the participants to adapt to technology and be part of the shift in 21st century educational landscape.
Mr. Benjamin G. Quito, ICT specialist in education from the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), followed suit with a comprehensive look at the ways technology is being used in classrooms across various Southeast Asian countries. In his presentation entitled “Mobile Devices for Teaching and Learning,” Mr. Quito provided the necessary impetuses to ensure the successful integration of technology in basic education curriculum: high penetration rate of mobile technologies, fast migration to the digital learning environment, and the enhancement of 21st century competencies as well as higher-order thinking skills.
One of the organizations that have been actively addressing these issues is Khan Academy. Originally conceived by Samuel Khan as a basic platform for learning made easy through video tutorials, the organization has grown by leaps and bounds, providing access to teaching and learning materials for free to millions of users around the world.
During the event, Bilal Musharraf, dean of translation of Khan Academy, emphasized that “data is key” to achieving the organization's vision of developing materials that are “mastery-based, personalized, and interactive.”
Mr. Musharaff also laid bare the organization's recent partnership with Vibal Foundation, the philanthropy arm of Vibal Group of Companies, to translate Khan Academy's library of educational materials to Filipino, Cebuano, Kapampangan, and Ilocano, among other local languages. This partnership is founded on both organizations' thrust to promote learning using the most effective and up-to-date resource materials that have been proven to yield positive results.
Dr. Ogena got up behind the podium once more for a discussion on “Teaching with Technology.” The PNU president stressed the need to “develop an intelligent culture” by ensuring that content materials, teachers, students, and technology tools are all properly addressed.
In line with this, the introduction of the new K to 12 curriculum for basic education presents timely opportunities to integrate ICT in classrooms. In her presentation entitled “K to 12 Curriculum and Technology Integration,” Dr. Rosalina Villaneza, chief of curriculum of the Department of Education's Bureau of Elementary Education, discussed the basis for ICT integration and provided the imperatives for the K to 12 curriculum. She said the principles for inclusive education negate “flexibility and differentiated learning system” as well as “balanced learning experiences.”
A subsequent presentation by Br. Dennis Magbanua, former president of De la Salle Santiago Zobel and now president of College of St. Benilde, and Ms. Amy Galang, principal of La Salle Green Hills, showed both schools' experiences in integrating technology in their classrooms. As pioneers in the use of tablets and e-textbooks in the country, both schools have had their shares of challenges and rewards in the course of the implementation of their programs. Relating their experiences starting from planning to actual implementation all the way to assessment, the two school administrators provided insights to other participants looking to replicate their program in their own schools.
Capping off the day's series of lectures was Dr. Marilyn Balagtas, director of PNU's Research Center for Teacher Quality, who engaged the participants through her presentation on “Assessment and Technology in the 21st Century.” Dr. Balagtas provided the plenary with initial findings from her still ongoing study that reveal ICT literacy of instructors in the country.
VSmart’s Offline/Online e-learning solution unveiled
The conference culminated with the launch of Vibal’s latest technology product, which encapsulates the effective synergy of mobile technologies, social networking, and digital text. Vibal president and CEO Gaspar A. Vibal said the pioneering project aims to “revolutionize teaching and learning.”
V-Smart represents a leap from the traditional modes of instruction and learning, spawning an ecosystem for digital learning that presents a comprehensive suite of solutions including an integrated e-textbook reader, classroom learning management, social learning platform, and classroom and mobile device management system. It is anchored on the core principles of digital literacy, instant feedback, social learning, and gamified learning.
The “K to 12 and Teaching & Learning with Technology” conference was organized with support from tech companies Apple, Microsoft and Samsung. # # #