I JUST read a summary of Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Briones’ on a program called Digital Rise that aims to use information and computer technology (ICT) to support the learning of information, media and technology skills of students.
The program has three main points. The first tackles the subjects “needed” by students. Productivity Tools taught in Grades 4-6, Basic Programming in Grade 7, Multimedia Skills in Grades 8 to 10 and Vocational courses such as Computer Servicing and Call Center Services in Grades 11-12.
The second point involves providing all teachers with laptops preloaded with e-Learning resources -- 7,842 learning materials from the DepEd Portal, 1,566 materials form Ched, 7,000 videos and 20,000 interactive exercises from Khan Academy, and 5.8 million articles from Wikipedia Offline -- “all accessible offline and mapped to the curriculum so that teachers will be guided on which resources are ideal for teaching a particular subject and competency. Teachers will no longer need to use manila paper to prepare visual aids when they have access to e-Learning resources that they can project in their classes.”
The third point involves “providing each learner with a tablet or laptop they will use to access the e-Learning resources that will be available both offline and online.”
While all this sounds lofty, grandiose and ideal, I would argue that they are basically a huge waste of budget and resources (even if such were readily available, which they are not) -- DepEd has been doing this wrong, and they’re still at it.
The first point alone shows that we are off on the wrong foot. Mandatory classes in programming? Computer servicing? Multimedia skills? Some adult somewhere is saying, “Oh everything is becoming computerized. Everyone ought to learn programming,” which is as absurd as saying that there are cars everywhere so everyone ought to learn how to drive, or that those who learn how to drive also ought to learn how to be car mechanics.
Kids (and people in general) being what they are, will naturally have different interests and tendencies. While it is true that people can barely survive these days without a computer of some sort (yes even our phones and watches are computers now), people will use them for different purposes, and yes, some will opt not to use them at all. Going back to the car analogy -- some will like big 4x4’s, some will like sports cars, some will like motorcycles, others will prefer to take the jeep or bus or taxi, while some would rather bike or just walk. It is nobody’s business to dictate to others what vehicle he or she ought to be taking.
Education’s purpose is not to curate or worse, ram down certain topics into everyone’s throats, but to ensure access of information to those who need it.
So do points 2 and 3 cover it? That’s what I’ll deal with next week.
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