Philippine schools show a better way of learning

Tam Noda (The Philippine Star) - June 8, 2013 - 5:52pm

MANILA, Philippines -- Schools in the Philippines that began to use the Google Apps for Education solution expressed satisfaction on the technology and shared their experience in discovering better ways to learn and being more productive.

Several universities and colleges who have transitioned from their old information management system to Google's new computing solution showed on how Google Apps can help Pinoys drive productivity.

The schools even provided guides on how to maximize such productivity tools that includes GMail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, among others. The suite offers collaboration apps like Google Docs, Sheet and Slides.

Do more, save time, and communicate better

Chino Rodriguez, end-user computing manager of Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), said with 30 GB storage capacity available for free for Google Apps users, you can definitely do more and be more productive.

Rodriguez said there's no need to delete messages to free up space. Instead, you can archive old e-mails and organize them with labels and filters. Information are available with the GMail Search function.

He explained GMail isn’t just for sending e-mails. Within it is a set of tools that enables users to communicate with people better. Integrated in GMail is Hangouts, which you can use to send messages and photos as well as set up a group chat or video conference with your classmates or colleagues.

"For busy people like myself, I consider calling as the best way to communicate. Nothing beats calling," Rodriguez said. "That’s why I appreciate calling through Hangouts integrated within GMail." 

Organize your schedule easily

Google Calendar assists students, faculty, and school staff to organize schedules. You can schedule meetings and send invitations to other attendees right inside the Calendar, and it will automatically show up on their own Calendar. You will also see who accepted or declined the invitation, making attendance expectations more manageable.

Finding a common time to meet may be hard but you can also use Google Calendar to find a slot when everyone’s free. 

It can even help ensure that you won’t miss appointments when you enable custom reminders like pop-up alerts in your inbox or desktop or SMS alerts on your mobile phone.

Android smartphone users can sync their calendar on their mobile while others can access their calendar from any smartphone device using a web browser.

Alex Santos, University of Santo Tomas (UST) Department Chair for Computer Science said Google Drive has helped their students.

"Our theses and capstone projects are now stored in Google Drive. We simply shared them with the students by providing links to these files. The students now browse these documents anytime they need to," Santos said. 

Yet for De La Salle University student government president Julie Anne Cabuhat, she finds Google Apps easy to use.

Using Google Apps for two years now for school work and for personal use on both mobile and desktop, Cabuhat shared Google Calendar helps her to schedule her appointments efficiently for the student government work.

The benefits were quick access to files anywhere and anytime. There's even no need for a USB flash drive to have quick access to your files when you don’t have your laptop with you.

Google advices users to maximize Google Drive’s 15 GB free storage, which allows you to store documents, photos, and even audio and video files in one place. You can then access your files from any computer and also share these files with anybody without the need for USB flash drives.

Collaborate and share ideas on one document

Google Drive also allow users to create Google Docs, Sheets or presentation Slides with images, tables, equations, drawings, links, and more.

Multiple users can view and edit a single document simultaneously if the document owner allows it.

Google Drive is considered helpful in group projects, thesis editing, and monitoring student grades.

Dante Dinawanao of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) Department of Science, said Google Docs has helped him as a member of the faculty.

"I supervise research projects, mostly theses of undergraduate and graduate students. Most of the time, holding face-to-face consultation to discuss revisions is tough because of our schedules. With our adoption of Google Apps, things have changed. I am now able to review the manuscripts on Google Docs, edit the papers and leave comments. We can even have a discussion on chat while on the doc. I am also able to talk to my students through Hangouts on GMail. It makes life of every thesis advisor easy," Dinawanao said.

Create and implement surveys fast

For only a few minutes, one can create surveys using Google Forms. One can collect data from fellow students, teachers, colleagues, and even the public by simply sharing the link.

All the responses are recorded in a spreadsheet so analyzing the data and sharing the results become easy.

"I have been a fan since 2007. Surveys and evaluations in five minutes is just awesome. I use this in class to get student expectations and feedback. I use this for course evaluations as well," said Chino of ADMU.

Build a website without typing a single code

In building a Google Site, one doesn't have to be HTML or CSS literate because there's no need for any codes.

You can create a workspace for your club using Google Sites. Uploading and placing documents, folders, videos, presentation, or calendar on pages is like editing a document. To save even more time, Google recommends to choose from hundreds of pre-built templates.

Security is also assured because site administrators manage sharing permissions across the school. You can assign authors and revoke file access anytime.

Maximize productivity

Lakan Bautista, Far East University (FEU) Executive Director and Dean of College said Google Apps for Education enabled FEU to access a secure and reliable service.

"We've been using Google Apps since 2007. The idea was to be able to use a reliable service and making more time for our Systems Administrator to conduct other tasks," Bautista said.

Since 2012, more than 25 universities and colleges have transitioned or are in the process of transitioning from their old information management system to Google Apps.

Government institutions have also decided to go Google. The Commission for Higher Education CHED and Department of Education lead the pack with more than half a million staff nationwide migrating to the suite.

Google said the solution enables collaboration among students, faculty, and school staff. It added that with the Google Apps, the IT team can focus on other important things instead of constantly modifying faulty information management systems. 

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