Google Philippines is upholding its commitment to continuously create a positive impact on education especially as the new school year opens amid the new normal. In line with this, the giant tech firm has announced four major programs that support inclusive distance learning in the country to help teachers and students.
“Google is committed to supporting inclusive distance learning in the country,” said Google PH Country Director Bernadette Nacario. “We are grateful to our partners across the public and private sectors and we will continue to work closely with them to bring education within reach for as many Filipinos as possible.”
1. The Distance Learning Fund
The philanthropic unit of Google, Google.org, launched a global initiative to help several countries design a transition plan for remote learning. The Distance Learning Fund made a $250,000 (P12.25 million) to the Philippines through INCO and the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC).
The grant will fund the design of a capacity-building program that will enable educators to deliver distance learning in two modes—online and through the production and distribution of printed modules supported by SMS (text messaging) and regular consultations. This would benefit Filipino students who have no access to modern devices and the Internet for inclusive learning.
AIJC plans to train at least 250 public high school teachers on key areas like Philosophy of Learning in a Distance Learning Setting; Crafting the Curriculum Guide/Syllabus; Pedagogies in Distance Learning; Planning, Production, and Selection of Digital and Printed Teaching-Learning Materials; and Learners’ Assessment and Grading. The same teachers will also receive coaching sessions with distance learning experts. This training program will also facilitate advanced academic sessions for up to 30 headteachers and education supervisors.
2. Nationwide deployment of G Suite for Education
Google PH will closely work with the Department of Education (DepEd) for the national deployment of its G Suite for Education. This initiative will cover at least 22 million Filipino students enrolled in public schools, which are transitioning to distance learning this school year.
G Suite for Education is a set of free productivity tools for teaching and learning. It makes use of several Google services like Hangouts (for video and voice conferencing), Gmail, Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, and Google Classroom.
Under this program, Google PH and DepEd will also work with the National Educators Academy of the Philippines to train regional IT officers to become Google Certified Trainers and Admins to manage and distribute the accounts to the students. School heads will also be trained to fully equip them to lead digital transformation in their institutions. Google Education Certification vouchers (5,000 units) will also be provided to teachers for free.
3. Mobile accessibility to learning tools in collaboration with local telcos
Google PH is collaborating with giant telcos Globe Telecom and Smart Communications to introduce mobile data packs that will make some of its learning tools much more accessible to students. Those prepaid mobile data packs are specifically built for e-learning and can be bought for at least P10 to P11 for 1GB/day. Thus, this can be the most affordable and comprehensive prepaid mobile data offering of Google products so far.
Among the learning tools that can be optimized to be accessible through the data packs are G Suite for Education, YouTube, and Search as well as other resources like Teach from Anywhere (a website that features tips, materials and other materials for distance learning).
4. The launch of EduCreator Camp Philippines
Google has recently launched the EduCreator Camp, a weeklong virtual training camp aimed at accelerating the growth of learning content on YouTube and empowering creators with more resources, mentorship, and a chance to network with other creators across the country for learning and community building. This highlights the important role of YouTube and creators in online learning.
Educators will also receive production techniques and best practices from YouTube creators like Team Lyqa and Numberbender as well as industry experts who can help develop high-quality content on various topics. Initially, there are webinar sessions on distance learning that are available for teachers and parents on Google PH YouTube channel and Facebook page.