Young volunteer has visited over 100 schools to provide mobile-based learning intervention

Cagayan de Oro public elementary schools 100% connected to Text2Teach  

Karen with Ayala Foundation President Luli Heras - de Leon. Karen has been volunteering for Text2Teach since 2011.

Karen with Ayala Foundation President Luli Heras – de Leon. Karen has been volunteering for Text2Teach since 2011.

As a volunteer, Karen Jagape, 23, sometimes has to travel long distances just to reach public elementary schools located in some of Mindanao’s deepest areas.

She remembers: “One school we visited was in South Cotabato. The school was really far. We had to ride a motorcycle, then walk, ride a raft, ride the motorcycle again. And we rode a horse! The road was pretty steep too.”

It took her and other volunteers about half a day just to reach the school.

Karen is a volunteer for Text2Teach, a comprehensive mobile learning package that uses Nokia mobile phones, which can download more than 300 educational video materials on grade 5 and 6 Math, Science, English, and Values Education. It comes with a Globe Telecom BridgeCom prepaid SIM card and a 32-inch LED Toshiba television. It allows teachers even in remote areas to access educational materials to supplement their lessons.

Karen is just one of the many volunteer “School Validators,” who go on field, validate data, and check schools before Text2Teach is implemented in a school. They check if the school is suitable for a Text2Teach set-up—checking phone signal coverage, security, school population, and other important factors that allow a school to be selected for Text2Teach.

“We go to all schools in a certain area and we interview the principals and the teachers. We have an interview form that we follow. We check on the school and see how they are doing,” says Karen.

Karen has been volunteering for Text2Teach since 2011. As a graduate of Business Management from Xavier University, what drew her toward volunteering for Text2Teach was her interest in teaching.

“I always wanted to be a teacher, or in one way or another be connected to the Department of Education and teach. This was a good opportunity to do what I wanted to do,” says Karen.

Her interest in teaching came from her high school days, when one of her teachers showed her that teaching was fun. Karen also spent part of her high school years volunteering as a tutor in some of the rural areas in Mindanao.

Karen and Text2Teach volunteers use a raft to help them reach one of the schools in Mindanao.

Karen and Text2Teach volunteers use a raft to help them reach one of the schools in Mindanao.

Karen has since visited over 100 schools in the provinces of South and North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur, Cagayan de Oro, and Zamboanga Sibugay. While all the traveling and work can be taxing, Karen says it’s has been all worth it.

“There were students who were with us on the raft as we were traveling to the school (in South Cotabato). It is inspiring to see that these students travel every day by raft just to go to school. That inspired us to really go to these schools and see how we can help,” says Karen.

Karen is one of the many volunteers who help implement Text2Teach across the country. On March 27, Text2Teach will hold a community launch with project stakeholders in Cagayan de Oro City, to celebrate the connection of 39 schools in the area. Earlier in February, Text2Teach launched the project in 31 public elementary schools in Cagayan de Oro. This now brings the total Text2Teach schools in Cagayan de Oro to 70, making Cagayan de Oro 100% connected to Text2Teach.

Text2Teach is implemented in partnership with the local government unit of Cagayan de Oro and other local stakeholders such as teachers, parents, and barangay officials to ensure its sustainability and community ownership.

Official turnover of Text2Teach to the community. 39 schools will be connect to Text2Teach. CDO is now 100%-fully connected to Text2Teach.

Official turnover of Text2Teach to the community. 39 schools will be connect to Text2Teach. CDO is now 100%-fully connected to Text2Teach.

As of February 2014, there are 165 schools already connected to Text2Teach in Mindanao. By the end of 2014, Text2Teach hopes to have connected 335 schools in Mindanao.

Nationwide, there are 959 public elementary schools with Text2Teach.

Text2Teach is the Philippine name of the global BridgeIT program conceptualized in 2002 by Nokia, Pearson, the United Nations Development Programme, and the International Youth Foundation. It is being implemented locally by an alliance composed of Nokia, Globe Telecom, the Department of Education, Pearson Foundation, and Ayala Foundation.

Text2Teach makes use of a full cellular platform using a 3G-enabled device such as the Nokia mobile phone equipped with an application called Nokia Education Delivery (NED).NED allows teachers to download and choose educational videos on Math, Science, English, and Values Education specifically developed for the project, providing a highly effective visual aid for teachers and creating an interactive, student-focused learning environment in the classroom. New videos, funded by Pearson Foundation, were produced for the Text2Teach project, which is now on its fourth phase.

Students watch the videos using television sets, which are part of the Text2Teach package. The lesson plans were created to meet local education guidelines and standards, and are fully integrated with the DepEd basic education curriculum.

The Text2Teach mobile phones are also configured with another Nokia technology called Nokia Data Gathering (NDG).NDG enables Ayala Foundation to design, send, receive, and analyze surveys sent to the Text2Teach-recipient schools’ mobile phones, to be used to gather data on the usage and effects of Text2Teach, for monitoring and evaluation purposes.

Globe Telecom provides free PhP300 monthly load allowance for one year to be used for helpdesk and technical support concerns, and to download new videos on Math, Science, English, and Values Education using their network.

“There are today 11 countries all over the world that actually have a Text2Teach program under a mother program called Bridged IT. And the Philippines is considered a model country by UNESCO for having best practices in the use of mobile technology in education. So if we can mainstream this and make it happen to all of our public elementary school that would be a dream come true,” said Luli Heras-de Leon, President of Ayala Foundation Inc.

Significant steps have already been taken to mainstream the program. the project’s fourth phase is scheduled for completion in June 2014. Phase 5 will be geared toward mainstreaming the project, which will start mid-2014.

Text2Teach does not only demonstrate how mobile technology can be used for education; it also shows how the private and public sectors can work together in bridging the educational and digital divide for students around the world. And with the private-public partnership strategy employed by the project, Text2Teach is reaching more schools in the country, with a target of 850 new schools by 2014.

In celebration of its 53rd anniversary, Ayala Foundation is launching in Cagayan de Oro City projects that encompass its four program pillars—Education, Youth Leadership, Sustainable Livelihood, and Arts and Culture. Text2Teach is one of these projects.

To learn more about Text2Teach, visit www.text2teach.org.ph or www.ayalafoundation.org, or e-mail us at info@ayalafoundation.org

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