Philippine schools are not ready to deliver online learning. Though the head of the Department of Education is sure that schools will open in August 2020, she has not explained how.
I got this from reading newspapers online and interviewing friends who are teachers.
Our schools are not ready.
But this does not mean that we cannot do anything in a month or two. There are changes we should have done ten years ago that we can do now.
There are simple and easy solutions.
All our government leaders need to do is ask the people.
Human-centered solutions, in combination with each other, are out there. They are less expensive than the kind of education we know in the Philippines.
It will not take another four years for teachers to study online learning. Teaching principles are the same. Teachers can readily adapt to the new platform. The platform requires a new approach that is simpler, faster, cheaper and is more exciting than the traditional method.
Apply Flipped Learning. Teachers do not need to be on stage all the time.
Teachers can record what they ought to teach. They can upload it online so students can learn anytime and anywhere. Most mobile phones have recorders and cameras. They can produce lectures in audio (mp3) and video (mp4). They can create files in pdf, in blog posts, or slides.
The Department of Education can do all of these. But even if DepEd won’t do this, teachers can.
Parents won’t have to worry about buying tablets for each child. They will learn when they can access knowledge.
I can put all of these in online learning communities.
Teachers, students, and parents can access information and interact with each other in one place. Yes, something like a school. But online.
Teachers will be able to create online courses. They can create snackable courses divided into lessons that students can learn in under three minutes. They can include practice exercises and quizzes.
They can categorize these snackable courses based on subjects and difficulty (if they want to personalize learning).
Students will find it easy to navigate. I can help a school create Sections (say, I-Sampaguita) where students can find all the courses and reference materials.
Students can find all the courses categorized based on the subjects (Math, Science, English, et cetera). They will monitor their progress and get reminded of the assignments they must submit.
In I-Sampaguita, students may join discussions meant only for their section. They can ask questions, and teachers can answer them. They can share experiences. We need to give more opportunities to share experiences outside of Facebook or Tiktok.
Students of I-Sampaguita can join the discussion forum for the first-year level. They can participate in discussions accessible to every user. And all of these discussions are hidden to those not granted access.
Parents can help. But they need help too. For students in the lower level, schools must educate parents on how to guide their children. A few online courses may help them. Please tell them that they don’t have to do the assignments of their children.
Whatever the students enjoy, parents may enjoy them too. You can provide parents access to courses, assignments of their children, and forums for parents.
I am not an IT guy, but I can do all of these for schools who need my help. I thought of the online learning community as a solution because I want to help. I am sure that teachers and school principals can do these too.
I am sure that the best and brightest of the Department of Education can do these better. But they need to do these now.
So, if you are a parent, a teacher, or a school principal — I offer to you my help. Amidst the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, we can bounce forward.