Getting Schooled, 21st Century Style

Manila Bulletin, May 10, 2013 | Go to article overview

Getting Schooled, 21st Century Style


The fast pace of social and technological evolution is already transforming the way our classrooms look in the future.

In highly developed nations like Korea, Japan and the Scandinavian countries, learners need only to be in front of computer monitors or television screens as their teachers conduct lectures via video-streaming sites. Notes come in the form of electronic files available for download on learning sites or sent directly through emails. One can even put marginal notes on paperless textbooks that a student can read on his digital tablet, complete with multimedia content, links to websites and other what-have-you's.

This is how the forward-thinking Brazilian industrialist Ricardo Semler envisions the schools of the future - borderless, infinitely filled with possibilities, and probably teacher-less; to use his own words, "teaching without teachers." But in a country like the Philippines, where progress in educational innovation are measured in baby steps, there are schools that nevertheless strive to be at par with some of the world's best by adapting the innovations available to them, inventing their own strategies for improving student learning, or a combination of both. Some have harnessed technology as their main tool for upgrading teaching strategies, and while technological innovations involve a great deal of money, some make the most out of the meager resources they have and still come up with a showcase of best practices that even the most advanced academic institutions can learn from.

This is what the schools of the future can offer, and the 2nd Excellence in Educational Transformation Awards (EETA) has chosen to highlight how technology and ingenuity can bring out the best of schools as they compete with the rest of the world in terms of providing quality education to their students.

"What educators of the 21st century must realize is that yesteryear's teaching methods should rapidly give way to the warp speed of new technologies for learning. They must completely change their paradigms about teacher-student dynamics," explained Dr. Eduardo A. Morato Jr., chairman of Bayan Foundation (BF). "Twenty-first century learners will learn how to teach themselves."

Organized by BF together with Rex Book Store Inc. and Knowledge Channel Foundation, the 2nd EETA ceremony was held recently at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel. The theme of this year's competition is "Towards a 21st Century Education."

"Education in the 21st century is going to be a mind-boggling rocket ship ride, and educators must brace themselves well for the G forces of intense change," Dr. Morato said. "The EETA is more than just a competition - it is an opportunity for schools to share success of their transformation. The winners have learned that they can utilize modern technology for teaching."

The eight winning schools have shown that technology and uncanny strategies can lead to unprecedented results. Of these, six learning institutions - Singapore School Manila, Statefields School Inc., Don Bosco Technology Center - Cebu, La Salle Green Hills (Grade School Department), Southville International School and Colleges, and the Diocesan Schools of Pagadian - were recognized for excellence in exceptional innovations in their school systems, which covered aspects like curriculum design, learning materials, learning methodologies, administrative systems and processes, and learning spaces and places. The institutions, represented by their heads, received a trophy and P300,000.

On the other hand, two schools - Dr. Yanga's Colleges, Inc. and Navotas National High School - stood out as the most transformative schools for learning effectiveness and school efficiency. They received a trophy and P400,000 for their groundbreaking take on uplifting their institutions, defying obstacles and becoming paragons to other academes.

SCHOOLS OF THE FUTURE

La Salle Green Hills (LSGH) is one of the first schools in the country that introduced electronic textbooks to its classes. …

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