In today’s busy world, it has become a challenge for people to keep up with the rapid changes in society. Speed, convenience, and accessibility have become important factors when performing any task. This is especially true in the education sector.
For this reason, the government of Valenzuela City partnered with Exakt, Inc. in providing 200 Samsung tablet units to the students of the Valenzuela City School of Math and Science (ValMaSci) to help students and teachers keep up with the world as it moves forward to a future of technology.
“What will set this school apart is its tech-savviness,” Mayor REX Gatchalian said during the launch of the e-tablets held on January 21, his birthday. “We cannot deny that our world is different now. Back in those days, we used typewriters, then we used desktop PCs. Now it seems everyone is using handheld personal devices.”
Mayor Gatchalian believes that the e-learning approach is a way for students to become more independent problem-solvers.
“Through this, we’re giving the teachers the role of challenging the students to find the solutions for themselves,” he said. “The students have the materials so they can find the solution themselves. All the teacher will do is to check the answers. That way, we are really making sure that the students are always on their toes when it comes to learning.”
Students are also expected to be more creative in solving problems, given the accessibility of information online. According to Valenzuela City Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Wilfredo Cabral, the device is a resource for students to think out of the box.
“We want our students to learn to think,” he said. “With the tablet, the computer and all the facilities that we have, our students have the access to information highway. They can use Google and find answers to every question under the sun. But the main purpose is to answer the question ‘why’ and ‘how,’ not only the ‘what’ and the ‘who.’”
Education and Learning Management Application (ELMA) Software
However, the convenience and accessibility of using tablets for learning makes it prone to abuse and misuse. Randy Sison, head of Valenzuela City Information and Communication Technology Office, acknowledges the distractions that students might face in using tablets for studying and researching.
“When using a tablet, the tendency is for a student to open Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media apps,” he said.
Hence, the e-tablets are installed with Education and Learning Management Application (ELMA). The software only allows the use of relevant apps while blocking unnecessary ones, ensuring that educators and students maximize the educational benefits of the tablets.
“ELMA lets you focus on the management of the tablet, on how you can supervise the students on using the technology,” he said. “It’s not like the normal tablet where the students can use other apps like Facebook, which can distract them from learning.”
Challenge to Educators
For their part, the students are grateful for the e-learning tablets and promised to use the device wisely and with care.
“We are very glad to receive this kind of opportunity,” said Bern Irish Arguelles, the President-Supreme of the Student Government. “This e-tablet will greatly help us in our studies in order for us to fulfill the mission and vision of ValMaSci. This gift shall be used wisely as an expression of gratitude in our goal of academic excellence.”
While there is no doubt that the arrival of the device will greatly benefit the students, Cabral also challenged the educators to keep up as the landscape of education shifts into a digital form of learning.
“I believe that there can be no substitute for a good teacher,” he said. “Given all the learning resources, the learning facilities, the learning materials for the students, if the teacher is absent in the process of teaching and learning, those things are meaningless.”
It is a challenge the educators of ValMaSci are up to, according to ValMaSci Principal Dr. Jameson Tan.
“(The arrival of the e-tablets) means specific demands for us to begin improving our teaching and learning approach to meet the needs of our students,” he said. “We want to give (the students) not just better, but the best, education.”