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High school students find learning exciting with use of iPads

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SOPHOMORE students of the Foundation University High School learn through e-books as Victor Vicente Sinco, FU vice president for finance and administration, (2nd from left), the main proponent of the iPad program, observes. Alex Pal

Imagine a Philippine classroom where students do not anymore use thick, paperbound books. Instead, before each student and the teacher is an iPad.

No, this is not a picture of a classroom of the future. It’s happening now at Foundation University (FU) in Dumaguete City.

The iPad is Apple’s revolutionary handy tablet computer, which has become a popular platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games and web content.

Through this device, sophomore high school students are learning through digitized Philippine textbooks from Vibal Publishing House Inc., which also started producing e-books for this school year.

“It was a wonderful coincidence,” said Victor Vicente Sinco, FU vice president for finance and administration.

The university prepared to start the program this year where only Math, English and Science would be taught using the iPad. But in the process, one of the students stumbled upon Vibal Publishing’s latest innovation.

The university then asked Vibal Publishing permission to be the first Philippine school to use their e-books for iPads. The company immediately sent their software experts to Dumaguete to brief the teachers on how to use the e-books.

Hawon Roh, 14, a Korean student, said he was excited with the touch-screen features of the iPad, which he says makes learning more exciting.

Filipino teacher Venicar Eltanal, on the other hand, said the interactive features of the e-books make students more interested in class.

Mac users

Foundation University, a 62-year-old nonstock, nonprofit, nonsectarian institution, is no stranger to technological innovations being the largest Mac user outside of Manila.

“We easily have 300 machines for students only, not counting the offices. To count the total number of Macs at FU, either university or personally owned units, would easily top 400,” Sinco said.

Sinco, whose love for Macs started when he was an associate at AM Partners Inc. in Hawaii in the mid 1980s, said the university is removing PCs and replacing them with Macs, just like what President Barack Obama did when he first entered the White House.

The iPad has been a great help for Sinco, an itinerant architect and educator, who spends half of the year in the Philippines and the other half in Hawaii.

“I primarily purchased it for mobility. In the beginning, it was good for e-mail but I found out that I could edit architecture designs on the iPad and e-mail it back to the office. No time was lost.”

Educational apps

Educational applications on the iPad are also on the rise.

“I also discovered all the apps like TedTalks. If you have a 3G connection, you can access these webinars everywhere. As a tool for continuing education for professionals, it’s valuable because you don’t have to be in the classroom.”

Sinco also makes it a habit to check the blogsites of computers daily.

“There were more and more articles from people realizing what kind of valuable tool the iPad could be in education and I would e-mail all these articles to the faculty here at Foundation so that awareness would grow.”

“We have a whole year of experience and each experience solidifies our conviction that an iPad is a good tool to have, to a point that we think: where would we be without it?”

Sinco brought the first iPads in Dumaguete last year, giving them to administrators on soft loan to experiment with learning tools.

They found that using the iPad was more convenient than the laptop computer.

Sinco’s mother and FU president, Mira Sinco, was so excited with the new device that she stayed up until 2 a.m. on the first day to explore its capabilities.

Since then, Foundationites saw more and more iPads being used by their teachers, classmates and friends. Even the university carpenters have one iPad among themselves to enable them to watch videos to improve their craft.

So convinced was the university about this program that it actually braced itself for a drop in enrollment because of this new requirement.

“I told the teachers not to worry if enrollment went down. We had to make this work to prove to the parents that their children would actually become smarter through the iPad program,” Sinco said.

True enough, a lot of concerns had been raised by parents of the sophomore high school students who, apart from paying tuition, now found themselves having to fork out around P27,000 for an iPad.

Surpassed expectations

Mary Rose Acupanda, high school principal, said the administration answered the questions during a PTA meeting last month. “In the end, they saw the wisdom of using the iPad, which was one of the requirements for enrollment.”

The university was later surprised to learn that enrollment actually surpassed expectations.

In a local cable TV talk show in July where the university explained the iPad program, inquiries were sent by SMS inquiring if they could still enroll their children at FU.

Jane Borromeo, a mother of first year student Ma. Antonette, said she and her husband Glenn were easily convinced about the iPad program that they got their daughter an iPad on her first year so she could familiarize herself with the device.

With the initial favorable reviews that this program has been getting, the plan is to expand the iPad program to the sophomore and junior high school students next year.

Sinco said the program could be expanded to other grades if the PTA wants it.

After all, with a whole lineup of textbooks available from kindergarten to Grade 12, making the shift toward total e-learning could simply happen with the push of a button.


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Tags: Dumaguete City , Education , iPad , news , Regions , Visayas


  • http://joboni96.myopenid.com/ joboni96

    commercial para sa apple ito

    sa tingin mo ba
    kayang tustusan ito ng mga estudyante at magulang?
    sa developed countries nga
    hindi kaya ito

    best solution
    gumamit ka ng free libre open source software
    tulad ng bayanihan linux ng dost asti at 
    gumamit ng surplus hardware

    yan ang pwede nating kayanin
    pero ang mga i.t. experts kuno
    sa gobyerno ay clueless
    worse
    ahente ng mga
    software and
    hardware companies

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LILBHPK4SWJ55TRDT466HIT7BM guardian

    Gumamit kana ba ng Mac, or any apple item? I am an IT by profession and long long time PC user recently tried Macs and guess what? never want to go back to PC Soon.

    If makaka less ng burden ito sa mga students especially carrying a lot of text books sa bags nila, and if this make the student more interested in reading books why not?

    Kung ito ay commercial lang para sa apple apps then ano ang contribution ng PC tablets or netbooks? wala naman dba?

    this innovation is for improvement, and I support this.

    well relax kalang hinde pa naman sa lahat ng subject cover eh, bigyan natin ng chance itong system nila.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TUECVYDNLWFV2GPD5ORRB6GBEQ allen

    pwede bang i take home ang ipad???

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MI43MUZVVPUPSCSE3Y2KAJX364 Michelle bernadette Adriano

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MI43MUZVVPUPSCSE3Y2KAJX364 Michelle bernadette Adriano

    My opinion, this is only an advertisement for Mac.

    This is a clear photo opp scenario!
    Unless you show REAL PROOFS that iPads are used in the classroom
    I’m still skeptical about it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MI43MUZVVPUPSCSE3Y2KAJX364 Michelle bernadette Adriano

    Sinco’s mother and FU
    president, Mira Sinco, was so excited with the new device that she stayed up
    until 2 a.m. on the first day to explore its capabilities.

    Since then, Foundationites saw more and more
    iPads being used by their teachers, classmates and friends. Even the university carpenters have one iPad among themselves to enable them to watch videos to
    improve their craft.

    So convinced was the university about this program that it
    actually braced itself for a drop in enrollment because of this new requirement.

    True enough, a lot of concerns had been
    raised by parents of the sophomore high school students who, apart from paying
    tuition, now found themselves having to fork out around P27,000 for an iPad.



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