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A monthly update on research from the Assessment, Curriculum and Technology Research Centre
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Welcome to the ACTRC Newsletter, Issue 5, November-December 2016

Technology in the Classroom

The development of information and communications technology (ICT) is having widespread impact on the delivery of education. In the Philippines, many schools are yet to integrate ICT into their teaching and learning processes but a number of pilot programs have been undertaken to explore the potential uses and benefits of this new technology in the classroom. In 2013, Australian Aid partnered with the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) and donated 1,000 tablet computers for use in classrooms in Philippine public schools. The resulting program was implemented and monitored by UPOU. ACTRC researchers compared the program’s implementation in a selection of public schools with the implementation of similar programs in a selection of private schools. Interviews, focus group discussions and classroom observations were conducted. They found that computers were used for a range of purposes, such as simulating science experiments, creating presentations, conducting math drills, reading e-books and consulting encyclopedias, and that the portability, replaceability and long battery life of tablets gave them some practical advantages over desktop computers. Unlike in the public sector, student ownership and insurance allowed the private schools to use the tablets for homework and other activities outside the classroom. Key factors in the successful implementation of the programs were leadership, vision and school culture, and preparedness for technological innovation. Effective implementation measures included digital literacy classes for students and ICT integration training for teachers.
ICT integration training for teachers is the main focus of another project in which ACTRC is involved. A study is being undertaken by the Basic Education Sector Transformation (BEST) program with the aim of modelling enabling factors for ICT integration. ACTRC is providing technical assistance and support. The study will first establish baselines in the availability of technology in schools, the accessibility of learning resources, the provision of teacher professional development and the support of school leaders for ICT integration. Using surveys and focus group discussions, the initial phase will also aim to identify potentially enabling and inhibiting factors that may have impact on the use of ICT for teaching and learning. These findings will contribute to the design of a professional development intervention by DepEd for teachers, with the aim of enhancing the pedagogical use of ICT. Following the intervention and a period of teaching in which its suggestions are implemented, observations of classroom activities and Learning Action Cells will be conducted, with the aim of identifying good practice in ICT integration. The findings of this phase will be used to refine the study’s conclusions and inform policy recommendations by DepEd for the enhancement of ICT integration in Philippine classrooms.

Transversal Competencies in the Asia-Pacific

In our October issue, we reported on the Philippines' involvement in a study of the assessment of transversal competencies, organised by UNESCO Bangkok through its Network on Education Quality Monitoring in the Asia-Pacific. We are pleased to announce that the regional report covering nine Asia-Pacific countries, written by ACTRC Director Esther Care and ARC Research Fellow Rebekah Luo, has now been published online. The report describes how the education systems of the nine jurisdictions are responding to the implications of the inclusion of transversal competencies in education policies, and focuses on the structures and understanding that are required to support assessment of these competencies. It notes the rich opportunity provided by the sharing of different practices and approaches, and recommends the use of a regional group to build capacity and maximise positive learning outcomes from the diversity of strategies and expertise evident in the region.
This will be the last ACTRC Newsletter for 2016. We wish all our partners and colleagues the very best for the holiday season and look forward to sharing new developments in our research in 2017. Cheers, and a happy New Year to all!
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