Beyond technology, partnerships key to education improvements — Smart exec

Published January 18, 2018, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

“Technology is often romanticized as the cure-all for problems in the education sector. People think that if they just had the best technology, the most advanced computers, then all their problems would be solved. But it’s really not about technology per se, but how we use it to achieve our goals,” said Smart public affairs senior manager Stephanie Orlino at the National Literacy Conference held recently in Albay.

Stephanie Orlino, Public Affairs Senior Manager, Smart
Stephanie Orlino, Public Affairs Senior Manager, Smart

Orlino shared that Smart has partnered with experts inside and outside the circle of education – government agencies, nongovernment organizations, foundations, individual scientists, and other companies – to develop tools that can improve the education of Filipinos.

“For instance, to develop an app that teaches the Arabic alphabet, numbers, and prayers, we partnered with local Department of Education offices and ALIVE (Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education) teachers who produced localized educational content. This was turned over to college students who digitized the content. The digital assets were then turned over to Smart and a developer partner who created a mobile app out of these,” Orlino said.

“Everyone brought to the table their own expertise. It is true that it takes a village to raise a child. We cannot do it alone. It is important to work with partners to extend our reach and impact.”

Other localized literacy apps being developed by Smart and its partners include a Cebuano app, applications in different IP (indigenous people) dialects, and an app for Muslim children in conflict areas in Mindanao.

Smart and its partners have donated learning packages called the TechnoCart and School-in-a-Bag to underserved public schools all over the Philippines, with special focus on remote areas without electricity.

These packages contain devices like tablets, computers, and solar panels, and other digital learning content and teacher training.

With the help of corporate and individual sponsors, Smart has turned over TechnoCarts and School-in-a-Bag units to about 80 schools, which led to increased student activity.

Those interested to donate a TechnoCart or School-in-a-Bag may email [email protected]