Australia supports UP research of tablet technology to raise the quality of public education
27 march 2013
The Australian Government, through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), and the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) are collaborating on a study on mobile learning using tablet computers for public school students.
“Australia remains committed to raising the quality of education in the Philippines. Technology has a lot to offer, and it is important to know how to get the best from the investment. This study will provide conclusive data on how schools can use digital technology for the greatest impact on learning,” said Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell.
UPOU Chancellor Grace Javier Alfonso noted that “UPOU is committed to helping to upgrade the Philippine educational system through the development, testing and utilization of innovative educational approaches and technologies and the tablet study in particular is expected to enable the public schools involved to prepare their students for the challenges of a global and information-based society.”
The study will focus on understanding how digital devices can complement traditional ways of teaching and learning. It will support the Department of Education’s broader thrust of equipping teachers with education technology skills and will complement its program on professional development of teachers. It will also lay the groundwork for AusAID to undertake another study on tablet use that will quantitatively measure the learning gains of students in the three subject areas of Science, Mathematics and English.
AusAID, a strong supporter of practical and policy-relevant research addressing development challenges, has provided a Php24 million (A$546,000) grant to UPOU for the study that will identify strategies for the effective use of tablet computers.
One thousand units of 7-inch Samsung Galaxy tablets have been distributed to nine (9) public secondary schools in the National Capital Region, for use by Grade 7 (first year high school) students in classrooms, as part of the study.
UPOU, an autonomous unit within the University of the Philippines system, specializes in open and distance education and e-learning. It offers online undergraduate and graduate programs, and undertakes research in the use of information and communications technology for teaching and learning.
This research is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to working with the Philippines in improving the quality of and access to basic education. Australia provides around Php2 billion (A$50 million) annually to train teachers, provide educational facilities including classrooms and day care centres, strengthen school-based management practice, improve education planning and management systems, and provide teaching and learning materials.
“Australia’s commitment to the Philippines’ education sector is an investment not only in people’s futures, but in the nation’s development as well. Australia sees education as playing a vital role in the economic development of the Philippines,” Ambassador Tweddell added.