By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
As the advent of digital technology surges through all spheres of life, the Department of Education (DepEd) underscored the greater need to balance technology with humanities by strengthening the teaching of good manners and right conduct among learners.
“Good manners and right conduct and technology make excellent partnership,” said Education Secretary Leonor Briones in a press conference of the DepEd Cyber Expo™ – a three-day conference at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
For Briones, there is a need to recognize the importance of balancing the social sciences and ICT knowledge among 21st century learners. “We have to balance this because we have to learn how to be polite. And we are going to strengthen the teaching of good manners and right conduct,” she said.
Undersecretary for Finance and DepEd Spokesperson Annalyn Sevilla also emphasized the importance of empathy. “Technology without good manners is a disaster,” she said. “This is why empathy, compassion, [and] humanity are very important because we cannot pick this up in an online or a technology-driven pedagogy,” she explained. “It is also equally important that we invest on teachers who interact with the students,” she added.
Digital Rise of PH Education
DepEd, through the Office of the Undersecretary for Administration and the Information and Communications Technology Service (ICTS), spearheads the DepEd Cyber Expo™ – a three-day conference at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
From March 12 to 14, the Cyber Expo brings learners, educators, stakeholders, and government officials together to “revolutionize” the digital learning curve of the Filipino learners towards academic excellence with the theme, “DRIVE 2019: The Digital Rise of Philippine Education.”
Briones delivered the keynote address where she emphasized the importance of technology and the digital rise in transforming the department which – she described – as a “huge, difficult, and lumbering bureaucracy.”
“It is not a luxury that we can perhaps dream about as we did during the 1960s, the 1980s, when all these developments were already predicted,” Briones said. “But it is here and now, and we and the Department, as well as the learners, our officials have all these facilities, these tools, these equipment at our disposal,” she added – noting that DepEd is “now in the process of transforming its information and public financial systems.”
Aside from recognizing the achievements of learners in the various fields of technology; the Cyber Expo also aims to “demonstrate the latest methods and approaches in education technology; facilitate learners’ exploration of technological solutions to problems affecting their local communities; link the Fourth Industrial Revolution to learners’ career paths and their sensitivity to local and community issues; and discuss technological innovation and strategies that help improve the teaching-learning process.”
According to Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua, there will be a yearly DepEd Cyber Expo to “cap and showcase the continuous learning and development of the entire DepEd community in the quest for digital excellence and transformation, to support and sustain the requirements of the K to 12 curriculum.”
The DepEd Cyber Expo was attended by around 5,000 delegates and featured plenary and breakout sessions facilitated by top-calibre practitioners and experts in the field of ICT. The plenary and breakout sessions include three learning areas: Explore and Ignite (digitization of teaching-learning materials for a stronger ICT integration in curricular instruction); Excel and Collaborate (global digital citizenship, professional learning community engagement, and nurturing millennials in an innovative classroom environment); and Excite and Transform (curriculum integration of drones, mechatronics, 3D printing and design principles, and artificial intelligence).
Pascua said DepEd’s vision for the Public Schools of the Future (PSOF) is expected to “include and level the playing field for the Last Mile Schools.” He noted that the digital rise for this vision considers the “upskilling of public school teachers, provision of digital boards or interactive screen displays, continuous capacity building for DepEd’s Information Technology Officers (ITO)” and the establishment of techno hubs. “It also envisions public Science High Schools with Innovation Hubs, and as centers of excellence in the fields of Cyber Security and Industrial Robotics,” he added.
Pascua shared that DepEd “maximizes the use of available technology to transform education to facilitate governance and to enable all its constituents with the proper digital skills.” He also cited the DepEd Enterprise Resource Planning System (DERPS), DepEd Wide Area Network (DWAN), DepEd Mobile Apps, and partnership with international industry players, as part of the Department’s “efforts to deliver quality and future-ready resources for the benefit of learners, teachers, and administrators, as well as the entire DepEd community.”