‘Laptop per child’ program launched in Mindoro
POSTED: Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
LUBANG Island, Occidental Mindoro — The Department of Education (DepEd), in partnership with Education Kindling (eKindling), officially launched Monday (December 6) the “One Laptop per Child (OLPC) Program to pupils in two public elementary schools here which, in a way, introduces children to the wonders of digital technology.
No less than Education Secretary Armin Luistro travelled all the way from Manila and graced the said launching amidst the warm reception given by Mindoro islanders.
“I would like to tell our students to make the most of this and use this to dream for your future,” Secretary Luistro said as he lauded the DepEd program by saying this would indeed raise the quality of education in the country especially with the use of such modern technology.
The DepEd Secretary also encouraged local officials here and the schools’ teaching personnel to work together and find creative means of addressing problems in the basic education sector.
Mr. Ryan Letada, eKindling executive director, on the other hand, said OLPC is a worldwide project that aims to create educational opportunities for the poorest children of the world by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning.
“When children have access to this type of tool, they get engaged in their own education. They learn, share, create, and collaborate. They become connected to each other, to the world, and to a brighter future,” Letada explained.
For his part, OLPC Philippines’ Susan Abaya noted that the said program is first of its kind in the Philippines and in South East Asia and seventh in the world. “If possible, we want to replicate this not only in the entire province of (Occidental) Mindoro but in the whole country.”
Here, a total of 100 XOLaptops were deployed by eKindling, a Philippines-based nonprofit dedicated to creating meaningful learning experiences by bringing technology-based, educational innovations to children, classrooms and communities across the country.
The XO is considered a potent learning tool that is designed and built especially for children especially those living in some of the most remote areas such as here in Lubang Island. The laptop is about the size of a small textbook and has built-in wireless, unique screen which makes it possible for the children to read even they go outdoors.
Through these extremely durable, brilliantly functional, energy-efficient, and fun laptops, 95 grade four pupils in Lubang Central School and Maligaya Elementary School were introduced to new and joyful ways learning using modern technology. Four units were given to the teachers and one to the technical support for maintenance.
According to eKindling Education Director Tessa Yuvienco, it is very important for children to experience the educational possibilities of digital learning. “We want to show how technologies can provide a meaningful, transformative, and connected education to the children of the Philippines,” she explained.
The XOlaptops that were given to the students during the pilot testing cost $228 or about P10,000 each. The recipients would be able to use it until they finish elementary school. “The students can bring the laptop in their homes and they can do their assignments and even share it with their siblings and parents,” added Letada.
The laptops already contain educational materials developed by eKindling. In the classrooms, educators and students are expected to use the XOlaptops to enhance their learning in English, Math, Science, and Makabayan. “In the course of the academic year, they will also be introduced to new concepts of digital learning that is anchored on 21st century learning methodologies and a constructivist learning philosophy,” Letada explained. (By JUANCHO R. MAHUSAY)