Sure Ways to Change The World for Philipines

"I am Myra Jill Siason, a 26 year old IT and education enthusiast from the Philippines currently connected with the University of the Philippines Diliman Interactive Learning Center (UP-DILC). This organization is tasked to cater to the needs of the University faculty in terms of teaching materials and learning objects creations and we assist the faculty with the use of technology" shares an inspiring Myra, a FOSS Advocate from the Philipines. "We would like to develop University faculty members who are really technology savy by educating them in the proper use and integration of technology in their teaching pedagogy", she says.

"The objectives undertaken by us include making the faculty aware of alternative FOSS software for their use in the classroom therefore we conduct 3-5 day trainings for Open Office depending on the user's needs and specifications. The program is extended to different colleges inviting their faculty to attend the lectures and workshops. The University community will be made more aware of choices they can make in terms of technology. Faculty will also be better equipped to handle the type of learners of today who live in a very digital world. We are also trying to address specific needs of the faculty and as much as possible, compare what they have now and teach them the alternatives. We have conducted some trainings but will be carrying out more during this year as soon as the content as well as the call for training participation has been finalized."

On the collaboration front, the University is redeveloping an Online Classroom Management System developed using FOSS using a Computer Science thesis revising the current system called University Vitual Learning Environment UvLe. Having the project handled by UP-DILC ensures that proper educational theories and practices will be applied to this technology and not just have technology driven software. "The Online Classroom Management System will be deployed campuswide within the entire University of the Philippines system covering 7 campuses all over the country. This can help ensure quality of teaching, integration and collaboration of information including resources. The System will also allow a more acessible way to provide information and enrich learning for the students. There is great need to have a locally developed program to cater to Online Classroom Management Systems so that specific needs of the faculty and students can be accommodated. It is still in the student project beta stage and is waiting funding for campuswide development and deployment from the administration".

"We are also looking forward to conduct appropriate training for specific end-users for Linux. We are conducting trainings for for Junior Linux System Administrators spanned over 2 weeks. We are also holding trainings in coordination with the IOSN ASEAN+3 for LPI certification of the trainees since having more Linux Certified Professionals ensures better local support. It is important to ensure trainees are from almost the same background to ensure proper pacing of the lectures. .  We have conducted 2 trainings already and are planning more trainings for the current year".

"We are challenged with projects as they help the University faculty be better at what they do, which is to facilitate the learning of today's students. I really believe strongly in the importance of teachers awareness of FOSS because they can then impart this knowledge to their students who in turn can make changes when they engage with the business and industry as soon as they graduate that would also lead to a change in the world!"

Myra's stress is on proper and correct education or training is very important for assuring the longterm use of FOSS.  "What is essential is knowing the type of learners and users you will be dealing with and creating material and courseware that would suit them. Also, thank you for this oppurtunity to share what little I know.  Never stop learning!".

author: Fouad Bajwa