Google provides P12.5 million  for distance learning
The grant is part of The Distance Learning Fund initiative of Google.org, the philanthropic arm of the technology company, which seeks to help several countries design a transition plan for remote learning.
STAR/ File

Google provides P12.5 million for distance learning

Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - August 22, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Technology giant Google will provide $250,000, or an estimated P12.5 million, to support the shift to distance learning in the Philippines.

The grant is part of The Distance Learning Fund initiative of Google.org, the philanthropic arm of the technology company, which seeks to help several countries design a transition plan for remote learning.

For the Philippines, Google.org selected the project of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AICJ) and INCO Education Accelerator, which will implement a capacity building program that will enable educators to effectively deliver distance learning in the country.

The capacity building program will focus on two modes of distance learning: online and through the production and distribution of printed modules supported by text messages and regular consultations.

Google said the latter would enable students who have no access to devices and internet connectivity to continue their education despite the restrictions on face-to-face classes due to the pandemic.

Initial results of the survey conducted by the Department of Education (DepEd) showed that most parents prefer module-based education instead of other forms of distance learning.

Lack of gadgets and internet connectivity is also a concern for millions of students nationwide.

For the pilot of the program, AIJC plans to train at least 250 public high school teachers on key areas such as philosophy of learning in a distance learning setting, crafting the curriculum guide or syllabus and pedagogies in distance learning.

The program will also cover planning, production and selection of digital and printed teaching-learning materials, as well as assessment and grading of learners.

After the training, the same high school teachers will receive coaching sessions with distance learning experts.

The training program will also be provided to an initial batch of 30 head teachers and education supervisors, focused on topics such as monitoring and evaluation of teachers in a distance learning setting; evaluation and selection of digital teaching-learning; materials produced and curated or accessed online by teachers; and individual and peer group coaching of teachers in a distance learning setting.

“Google is committed to supporting inclusive distance learning in the country. We are delivering on this goal through our technology and support of nonprofits through the Google.org grant, which aims to build the capacity of educators to provide remote learning online and for students who don’t have access to the internet and modern devices,” said Google Philippines country director Bernadette Nacario.

Aside from the grant, Google Philippines has also partnered with DepEd to help teachers and students in public schools transition to distance learning with the national deployment of G Suite for Education.

G Suite for Education is a set of free productivity tools built for teaching and learning, which includes services such as Gmail, Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms and Google Classroom.

While G Suite for Education is free, Google said it will invest time, training and tech expertise for the success of the deployment.

Together with the National Educators Academy of the Philippines, Google and DepEd will also train regional information technology officers, who would then be in charge of managing and distributing accounts to students.

School heads will also be trained to fully equip them to lead digital transformation in their respective institutions.

Google has also launched resources that can help educators, students and their families transition to distance learning.

Among them is Teach from Anywhere, a website available in English and Filipino that features tips, materials and other useful resources for distance learning.

The site also hosts tips for parents on keeping their children safe online.

As access to learning tools is key in online learning, Google also collaborated with telecommunications companies Globe and Smart to introduce prepaid mobile data packs that will make learning tools like G Suite for Education, YouTube and Search more accessible for students.

The technology company also organized a two-day webinar on Thursday and Friday covering distance learning tips and tools for teachers and parents.

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