The Department of Education (DepEd) and various local government units (LGUs) all over the country have started to set up various facilities to be used in distance learning in time for the opening of public schools on Oct. 5.
The Schools Division Office of Luna in Isabela province, for instance, has partnered with the municipal government in establishing Educational TV (E-TV).
Luna mayor Jaime Atayde reported in a recent press briefing that its E-TV initiative will augment the instructional materials from the DepEd in its conduct of distance learning.
“The concept is to supplement the modules, although additional teaching will also be used here. It’s going to be hard to teach math through modules, specifically science subjects and others. Every teacher in every grade level will have to teach their subjects,” Atayde said.
The E-TV project will also provide instructional videos and live classes that will enable the teachers and students to interact with each other as if they were in a normal classroom setting.
The programs will also be aired through a local TV station partner. There will be two dedicated channels for E-TV: one for elementary and one for high school. Each episode of the programs will run at 1 hour and 30 minutes as will have a fixed time slot for every grade and year level.
According to Atayde, six of their barangays do not have access to cable TV. To make sure that all of the students will be reached by E-TV, 19 Internet towers were installed near the areas with no cable TV. Episodes will be then uploaded online.
Through the coordination of the barangay officials, the Sangguniang Kabataan, and the LGU, they were able to procure signal towers, smart towers, Internet services, radios, and smart TVs in aid for E-TV. They also purchased laptops, cameras, and Risograph duplicator machines for the production of E-TV episodes and modules.
In addition, the LGU also distributed 700 cellphone units to indigent barangays and hopes to upgrade them into tablets soon for a more comfortable learning experience for their students.
As for the Internet connection, the LGU has formulated an “Internet voucher” system that will enable a certain number of students to connect to the Internet for free for a limited period to download and view the E-TV episodes for the day through downloadable vouchers.
Elementary students are entitled to an hour of Internet connection while high school students can browse the Internet for an hour and a half. This system will help evenly distribute the Internet connection while ensuring that all of their 4,230 students will benefit.
“We have to spread the Internet, we cannot utilize it all of the same time. This concept is managing the use of the Internet because the free Wi-Fi in the barangay is not enough if we don’t control the use. None of the students can ever download or watch a video if all of us are watching at the same time,” said Atayde.
The local government of Sarangani, meanwhile, has also partnered with DepEd to introduce Learning Resources on Wi-Fi Hub for Expanded e-Learning (LR on WHEeLs) to help students from far-flung areas.
LR on WHEeLS is a learner package containing an access point antenna, router, cables, portable generator set, and tri-leg pole that could cater 200-500 learners within a 500-meter radius through an e-platform that provides access to self-learning modules (SLMs), videos, interactive activities, and pre- and post-tests even without Internet.
Sangguniang Panlalawigan board member and chairman of the education committee Jess Bascuña said LR on WHEeLS had a successful pilot run for the students.
“After the series of dry runs in far-flung areas with the LR on WHEels, we see the excitement of IP learners and their parents. We conclude then, that education can continue in spite of the challenging situation,” said Bascuña.
Bascuña noted that LR on WHEeLs is a crucial innovation in their locality as 46% of the total enrollment are indigenous people and often reside at the mountainside where telecommunication signals are low or non-existent.
In addition, DepEd-Sarangani, through the partnership with local radio station DXRG, also used radio-based instruction in Radyo Eskwela to provide the latest daily educational updates with a duration of 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Also, a radio station in Tamban National High School was launched, with a reach of 13 barangays in the municipality of Malungon.
To support the radio-based instruction, the Youth Development Council and Panlalawigang Pederasyon ng Sangguniang Kabataan ng Sarangani has started an initiative called “Radyo para sa Baryo” which aims to gather donations to purchase radio units for P800 each and flash drives to the seven Last Mile Schools.
The Division of Sarangani has decided to adopt modular distance learning (MDL) in the province after finding out that most communities, especially those in far-flung areas, do not have access to the Internet, which makes online learning impossible to a majority of learners.