Tablet computers have replaced heavy books, tabletop PCs and even laptops and netbooks as study tools.
While hundreds of public schools in the Philippines continue to suffer from lack of classrooms, bathrooms, desks, teachers, and supplies, students from some Laguna schools will be the lucky recipients of the first ever tablet computers to be issued by the Department of Education.
The Department of Education (DepEd) will be issuing its first ever tablet computers to students of selected Laguna schools in its bid to upgrade the quality of learning tools for students in the country.
In line with the Department of Education's long term goals of replacing cumbersome books with high-tech educational learning tools, it is following Singapore's lead by providing tablet computers to Laguna students to address the lack of textbooks in the classroom and to improve the level of learning through the use of the Internet.
Department of Education Undersecreary Tonisito Umali further hinted towards the possibility that tablet computers may become one of the long-term projects of the DepEd, effecively doing away with the lucrative million-peso industry in educational textbooks students are required to purchase every schoolyear.
"Sa Laguna binibigyan nila ng tablet ang mga estudyante sa Laguna. Kausap natin si Gov. E.R. Ejercito, yan malaking bagay rin dahil makakatulong yan sa usaping kakulangan ng aklat," (Students in Laguna were given tablet computers. We talked to Governor E.R, Ejercito, and it will be a great help to address the problem of the lack of books.") Umali was quoted as saying during an interview on dwIZ radio.
However, Laguna Governor Jorge "E.R." Ejercito Estregan did not disclose any information on the number of schools and students who will be chosen to be the lucky recipients of these first tablet computers funded by the DepEd.
According to a feature article found on the Province of Laguna's website, the gadgets are slated for distribution to schools on national hero Dr. Jose Rizal's 150th birth anniversary June 19, and will be aptly named eRizal Tablets in honor of the celebration.
According to Laguna Provincial Administrator Leonardo Ragaza Jr., the use the eRizal Tablets would put Laguna in the forefront of educational competitiveness.
To complement the eRizal Tablets, Umali has also disclosed that the DepEd is in talks about the development of online learning modules for use with the tablet computers. "Plano ng DepEd ang pag-develop ng modules, i-upload sa Internet o i-download ng batang may tablet ... dapat pagisipang mabuti," (We have been considering developing online modules that will be uploaded to the Internet, to be downloaded by pupils with tablets. We have to thresh out the details.)
Tablet computers in place of books are part of the government's bid to be "more innovative" and promote the widespread use of computers and the Internet in Philippine classrooms where students are expected to cram themselves 40 or 70 to a room, share dilapidated desks, and learn their lessons under leaking roofs and in poorly ventilated conditions.
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