Gov’t tapping radio, online to deliver STEM education

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The Science Education Institute (SEI), a unit of the Department of Science and Technology, has revealed it is developing supplemental education resources that will allow students and teachers to enrich their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education even when outside the confines of their classrooms.

The science agency said it is collaborating with the Department of Education (DepEd) to enhance STEM learning for elementary students through the “RadyoEskwela sa Siyensya” and for high school students through “TuklaSiyensya sa Eskwela” programs. The programs will be rolled out in time for the opening of classes this school year.

“Learning the basics in STEM at the pre-secondary level is considered foundational in that it serves as the pillars for processing more complex concepts in later years of education,” said Dr. Josette Biyo, director of DOST-SEI.

Why ‘balik radyo’?

Radio remains as the most accessible medium in the rural area, according to the SEI. It has proven to be an effective educational channel in the past when used in combination with classroom learning and/or printed learning materials.

Online learning, it noted, may be feasible to students in the urban areas but this is not the case for the students in many disadvantaged areas in the country who do not have access to reliable Internet connection at home and whose family may not own any smartphone, tablet, laptop. For these students, information comes from the radio, which is considered to be the second most-used media, reaching 85 percent of Philippine households, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

This school year, grade school students can listen to RadyoEskwela sa Siyensya, a radio program which will feature story-based science lessons to be aired by a network of community radio stations, which have been tapped as media partners of DOST-SEI for the project.

RadyoEskwela consists of 20 episodes running for 30 minutes each, produced specifically for early, primary, and intermediate grade levels. The episodes may be replayed by regional stations and offered to the DepEd as learning resource for students who will be in distance learning mode anytime during the school year.

The teachers will also be provided with Teacher’s Guide to help them in integrating the episodes in their daily lessons. These may be downloaded from the SEI website and will also be accessible through the DOST regional offices and Provincial S&T Centers.

TuklasSiyensya, on the other hand, is designed as both a supplement to the traditional learning method for junior and senior high school students and STEM career promotions package.

The modules are designed to help students adapt to the “new normal” and ensure their continuous learning despite the Covid-19 restrictions. Online modules will be produced using the facilities available at the SEI’s science bus nuLab and based on the existing modules developed by young scientists and scholars who will also serve as facilitators.

It will feature presentations by scientist-facilitators, process demonstations, animations, and post-viewing activities to enrich student’s learning experience and inspire them to explore natural phenomenon or know more about a particular STEM discipline.

TuklasSyensya will produce 15 science lessons, each running for 30-45 minutes. These lessons will be uploaded to an online platform, making it available for access to formal and informal learners anytime. Topics include aerospace engineering, geological hazards, oceanography, nanotechnology, among others.

The project also aims to enhance the skills of teachers as they will be provided with 15 Teachers Guide to be published online by DOST-SEI or reproduced as low-cost printed materials by DOST regional offices. — Geraldine Bulaon-Ducusin (S&T Media Service, DOST-STII)

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