Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Will tablets soon invade Philippine classrooms?

Back then, students were asked to bring out a pen and a sheet of paper whenever a teacher announces a pop quiz, whether it’s about Math, Science or Filipino.

But in a school in Batangas, second-year students are able to take a quiz using tablet computers, and get their scores right after they submit their answers.

Diwa Learning Systems, a Philippine educational resource provider, recently held a special demonstration of its newest product, the YoPad, at First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities (FAITH) in Tanauan, Batangas. Teachers can put anything in the seven-inch Android tablet, from lectures to digital textbooks and magazines.

Since the YoPads are connected to each other via Diwa’s Internet-dependent classroom management software, teachers can also create a multiple-choice quiz for their students, see which of them are already done answering, and compute their scores.

“The teacher is able to track in real-time if the students are doing the quiz, and if they are done. Right away, the teacher will know what the scores of their students are,” Diwa’s executive director Brian Belen told ABS-CBNnews.com.

The YoPads can also be used during lectures instead of notes written on Manila paper, with the teacher able to effectively manage the flow of the discussion by controlling the shift from one PowerPoint slide to the next.

Diwa will offer the device to schools across the country this coming academic year, with the tablet priced at around P10,000. High school students at FAITH, in particular, are targeted to use YoPads by May of this year.

“We already accepted orders from schools as far down as Mindanao, some also in northern Luzon and Metro Manila,” he said.

Tablets are already used in a number of schools in Metro Manila, such as La Salle Green Hills in Mandaluyong City and selected public schools in Makati City, but these are only used as replacements for bulky textbooks.

Belen stressed that unlike these, the YoPad comes equipped with Diwa’s other educational products to make sure that these are used by students for learning and not just for games.

He added that teachers in partner schools will also be regularly trained how to use the device so they can “keep up” with today’s tech-savvy youth.

Immersed in technology

The main idea behind the YoPad, said Belen, is for schools to be able to adjust to the changing needs of students, who are now heavily immersed in technology. He noted that children as young as two or three years old already know how to use tablets and smartphones, whether for learning or for play.

The YoPad complements Diwa’s flagship e-learning product, Genyo, which is a learning management system for basic education. It is pre-packaged with lessons in major subject areas such as Math, Science, English, Araling Panlipunan and Filipino, and adhere to the standards of the Department of Education.

Launched in 2008, Genyo is used by over 150 schools across the country.

“For Genyo, the content is a tie-up between Diwa and Singapore groups,” Belen explained. “We make sure the content is appropriate for the Philippine curriculum and, specifically, appropriate for K to 12. All the content within Genyo, which will run in the YoPad or any other device we’re working on, is already suited to the Philippine setting.”

Tablets over books?

With the success of Genyo and the rolling out of YoPads in the coming months, will tablets soon invade classrooms in the Philippines and outnumber the traditional printed materials?

Belen said that while this is what they want to achieve, the country has yet to reach this stage, citing problems with Internet access, among others.

“In an ideal setting, that would probably be the case. But what we see now is that it’s difficult to have a setup where there’s absolutely no books,” he explained.

“It’s not that easy because what we have to understand is since you’re dealing with hardware that comes with content, you have to develop an entire ecosystem within the school for these devices. So it entails setting up Wi-Fi hotspots and understanding how the students will charge their devices inside the school," he ended.-ABS-CBN News (February 26, 2013 4:05PM)

No comments: