Future teachers prepare for digital education

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DIGITAL ALLIES From left: Maria Lourdes Agustin, PNU Center for Teaching and Learning principal; Dr. Leticia Catris, PNU Center for Educational Technology and Distance Education director; Vibal Group of Companies president Gaspar A. Vibal and chair Esther A. Vibal; and PNU president Ester B. Ogena

Teachers in training can now keep abreast of the latest in digital technology and educate themselves in effectively integrating the use of high-technology gadgets in their teaching.

The Philippine Normal University (PNU), the National Center of Teacher Education of the Philippines, partnered with Vibal Publishing House

Inc. (VPHI) for the establishment of the Center for Digital Learning (CDL) to promote the use of technology in Philippine education.

Sharing the goal of improving teacher training and enhancing educational materials, the institutions inaugurated recently the CDL’s main facility at PNU Orata Hall, as part of the university’s monthlong founding anniversary celebration.

The center is an air-conditioned classroom with at least 20 personal computers and tablets donated by VPHI. It will be used to create educational materials, develop proficiency in technology across disciplines for both teachers and students, and as venue for the annual PNU-Vibal Summer ICT (information and communication technology) Training program.

Online courses

The center will also offer online courses for teachers starting school year 2013-14.

VPHI president Gaspar A. Vibal said the facility aimed to “bridge the gap” between “digital natives” and “digital immigrants.”

Vibal noted that children were learning faster than parents or teachers.

VPHI also handed over a V-Smart Classroom Mobile Cart to the PNU Center for Teaching and Learning (formerly the PNU Laboratory School). The customized cart has tablets, a built-in charging station and space for a laptop and a projector.

The donated tablets contain Vibal interactive e-textbooks in all subject areas and will be used to teach Grade 1 pupils. The V-Smart Classroom system is powered by Vibe Technologies, Vibal’s technology arm.

“Vibal is no longer just a content provider but also a tech provider,” said Vibal.

THE CENTER for Digital Learning PC-Tablet classroom and the V-Smart Classroom Mobile Cart (below) Stephen Norries A. Padilla/Contributor

Last year, VPHI donated to PNU a 1-terabyte hard drive containing the Massachusetts Institute of Technology OpenCourseWare, with more than 30,000 course materials.

The project is part of VPHI’s advocacy for digital education and PNU’s commitment to the advancement of teacher education through the use of technology in all learning areas as a means for “promoting greater interactivity, widening access to knowledge that will enrich learning and developing skills in accessing, processing and utilizing information.”

PNU president Ester B. Ogena said with the center, the “dream is now a reality” and promised VPHI “we will take care of it.”

The partnership between VPHI and PNU started in May when they collaborated on a seminar called “Teaching Powered by Technology: Digital Education Conference” and on a tablet classroom workshop that provided a glimpse of the “Classroom of the Future.”

The workshop-conference showed how students and teachers could take the “digital route” to make learning more fun and engaging.

More joint initiatives

VPHI and PNU also signed a memorandum of agreement that provides for joint initiatives for the establishment and management of tablet classrooms, teacher training in technology, curricula and module development, and interactive digital content development for basic and higher education in PNU.

Under the agreement, VPHI will allocate funds for the digital education projects of PNU (under the Center for Digital Education program and within PNU’s Digital Education Development Plan) for teachers and students. There will also be a digital education conference that will bring together educators and technology experts to discuss integrating technology into teaching and learning.

VPHI and PNU will engage in active information exchange, coordination and collaboration, and establish benchmarks or measures of effectiveness for ongoing programs, as well as refine terms and conditions of specific initiatives.

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