Groundbreaking mobile e-learning program set for mainstream implementation

By Ylexis Kyle-Michael Rualo

With the aim of providing access to educational materials for 38,000 schools nationwide, the innovative mobile e-learning initiative Text2Teach is set to be elevated to mainstream implementation by the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Interior and Local Governance (DILG).

Text2Teach I

The Text2Teach Alliance, composed of DepEd, Microsoft, Globe Telecom, Pearson Foundation, Toshiba and Ayala Foundation, is expected to seal the deal with the program’s 10th anniversary on July 19.

Through the partnership with DILG and DepEd, Text2Teach is projected to connect with the country’s 203 DepEd divisions and all the local government units (LGUs) concerned.

Significant steps have already been taken to mainstream the program into the public elementary school system. Phase four of the project is scheduled for completion within June 2014. Phase 5 will be geared toward mainstreaming the program, which will start mid-2014.

A budget of P120,000 per school for training and gadgets is needed, with the private sector funding 68 percent and the LGUs assigned 32 percent through the special education funds.

Text2Teach is a global BridgeIT program conceptualized in 2003 by Nokia, Pearson, the United Nations Development Program, and the International Youth Foundation. The Text2Teach Alliance is in charge of the local implementation.

The program consists of a mobile learning package that uses 3G-enabled Microsoft mobile phones to download educational video materials on grade 5 and 6 math, science, English and values education to supplement lessons through visual aid.

A Globe Telecom BridgeCom prepaid SIM card and a 32-inch LED Toshiba television come with the phones. The SIM card allows teachers even in remote areas to access the materials, while the television enables students to view the educational videos.

The mobile phones are also configured with Nokia Data Gathering (NDG) to enable Ayala Foundation to design, send, receive, and analyze surveys sent to the Text2Teach-recipent schools’ mobile phones.

The surveys are used to gather data on the usage and effects of Text2Teach for monitoring and evaluation purposes.

Globe provides P300 monthly load allowance for one year to be used for helpdesk and technical support concerns. The load is also used to download new videos on math, science, English and values education using their network.

One of 11 countries all over the world implementing a Text2Teach program under BridgeIT, the Philippines is considered a model for having best practices in the use of mobile technology in education, said Ayala Foundation president Luli Heras-de Leon in a press release.

Text2Teach has connected to 1,054 schools, reached over 300,000 students and trained 3,699 teachers and 755 barangay captains and parents nationwide since its first year of implementation.

Text2Teach II

In Ligao City, which has already achieved 100-percent Text2Teach connection, there is 100-percent promotion rate and zero-percent drop-out rate in elementary schools. The LGUs have also created local policies and included funds in budget planning to ensure the sustainability of the program.

Text2Teach helps motivate pupils to come to school every day because they are very eager to know the next topic and video clip to be watched and discussed. Thus, absenteeism is reduced, according to Busac Elementary School in a statement.

The materials for Text2Teach are in English language but materials to promote the Filipino language will be available in the future. The program is also in the process being adapted to the K-12 basic education curriculum.

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