Online education

Published August 27, 2020, 10:00 PM

by Fil C. Sionil

A colleague’s handy-lady is sending her child to school in the province. But because of her dire circumstance, she cannot afford to purchase the required gadgets for online education. My colleague had to shell out P12,000 for an android cell phone and a pocket prepaid WiFi as requested.

It turned out, however, the android cell phone is inadequate because of its small size that strains the eyes.  My colleague again dipped into her pocket to buy a pre-used laptop or a tablet and another pocket WiFi from another Internet service provider (ISP) for alternate use. 

If  this problem comes up in a highly urbanized second-class city, what more in other parts of the country, particularly in fourth-class and fifth-class municipalities. Here in the metropolis, Manila City is subsidizing the gadgets for both students-elementary and high school students, and mobile WiFi, and teachers.

We’ll take a closer look on the subject of the ISP once all schools open this October. Although, some private schools already started online classes, public schools will start this October yet.

“It’s just like we’re going to school on a regular basis because we’re required to wear school tee and jogging pants. We should be well groomed and promptly be on time,“ Nathanne Rafaille ‘Pangga’ S. Acosta answered me when I questioned her if there’s any particular preparations this school year.

Additionally, students are required to have zoom, menti, Google classrom online apps. Different schools have different  choices in learning apps. An incoming senior high at St. Pedro Poveda, Pangga’s classes started Wednesday.

Curious, I asked around about  the experience of a child educated through home school.   Gerry and wife Grace they took this road less travelled way back in the 1990s.  

They had their daughter Bea educated in a  traditional “home school,” because at the time, they  couldn’t find an academic institution that could fit theirs and Bea’s need.

The regimen for traditional home school and the current online learning system is the same. The student must be ready each school day at 8 a.m. and be seated at the designated “classroom” space at home.

The  home teacher (in Bea’s case, her mom) was physically present supervising subject work every school day. Materials for each school year were ordered abroad. The kit, at that time worth roughly around $850 contained everything-books, guides, CDs and other paraphernalia required for the year, and teaching guidelines.

At the end of the term, students had to take validation tests in an educational institution in Pampanga, internationally recognized to certify that the home-schooled student is ready for advancement to the next grade level.

As the education sector today designs hybrid learning programs to enable students to continue their studies amid the global health crisis, there are vital aspects to managing schools that educators need to address.

An IT expert tells me this is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) as well as smart algorithms come-in. It’s not only notable IT schools like AMA and STI that have come-up with the algorithm and computer-based info systems. One educational technology start-up, which is a grantee of the Department of Science and Technology, is Edusuite.

It offers a management system that moves operations to the cloud so schools can manage student information and grading, scheduling, online enrollment, statement of accounts, faculty load, and clearances. It has partnered with Ateneo High School, Benedictine International School, International British Academy, King’s College of the Philippines, Sacred Heart Academy in Pasig City and University of San Agustin in Iloilo City.

The Duterte administration supports start-up businesses as part of the MSMEs, which comprise a big chunk of the domestic economy.

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