Due to the influence of COVID-19, schools in the Philippines are required to utilize information and communication technology (ICT) to provide education beyond physical classrooms. But is the Philippines ready for online and distance E-learning?
In the Philippines, e-learning is not new at some schools, such as international schools attended by wealthy children. Tools for online lessons, such as Google Classroom and Edmodo, are used in many schools. In addition to online lessons, these tools are used to send submissions such as homework and come with the ability to alert students to deadlines.
Social media such as Facebook and Messenger are also used. Not everyone has an account, so face-to-face communication is the norm, but you can ask questions directly to your teacher.
While these online educational tools help provide what you need, they cannot replace the benefits of face-to-face communication. The government is looking at ways to complement the lack of contact with people. In this way, schools that have the means to offer online lessons use Zoom and Skype to offer lessons.
In order to prepare online distance learning, factors such as users, tools, and environment need to work together well.
“Users” are teachers and students. Teachers need to adjust their lessons to suit online lessons. Students need to set aside time at home to suit their current situation. Awareness of them is divided by school, family responsibility, and personal growth.
“Tools” are ready to go, but it will be difficult to provide these tools (online tools, software, applications, and physical devices) to all users. Both teachers and students need devices to send and receive information and perform tasks. The most realistic and cheap device is a smartphone. You can call and you will receive your message. You can also install the application.
“Environment” is the most difficult problem. The Philippines is made up of many islands, and it is difficult to build equal infrastructure everywhere. So there are no mobile services or internet in many places.
In an interview with ABS-CBN’s DZMM (Philippines Radio Station), Assistant Secretary of Education Nepomseno Maraluan maximized television and radio to provide lessons to students in restricted mobility areas. I said that I would make limited use. Still, it goes back to the tool issue again. Do all homes have a TV or radio? Do you get TV and radio signals? Also, can those tools be used in such an environment?
It becomes even more complicated in specialized education that requires practical skills and practice. How do you score if the professor cannot oversee the student’s actual abilities? ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.
The picture above is a screenshot from a video of student Franz Berdida watching a laptop in the dark. She had to climb the mountain to submit her homework late at night. “It takes about 30 minutes to an hour to climb a mountain,” he says. (* In the Philippines, especially in the countryside, the internet infrastructure is not sufficiently developed, and radio waves may come in when going to high places. People try to get good radio waves by climbing the roof without climbing the mountain.)
There is no doubt that the Philippines is not ready for online distance learning yet, but I think that the teachers and other stakeholders need to proceed with the lessons. They may want to resume class and solve the problem immediately. However, many are not wealthy families and they may be left behind by advancing distance learning.