Vibe School Tablet
Legacy of life-long learning
By Earl D.C. Bracamonte
Happy school days are here again and the wheels of learning are, once again, turning in full swing. But this year, the quest for knowledge takes a giant leap as products, programs, applications and solutions gain access to the Worldwide Web as part of classroom instruction.
Education is no longer limited to paper books and traditional learning materials like visual aids. In a world faced with the endless possibilities provided by digital tools and the Internet, the education sector is being eased into embracing technology and reaping its advantages for optimum learning.
The Philippine Normal University (PNU), the country’s National Center for Teacher Education, recently conducted a conference billed as “Teaching Powered by Technology: 21st Century Skills and Tools for Teachers” at the campus’ Edilberto P. Dagot Hall. The four-day seminar-workshop was set to train selected participants in the use of Information & Communications Technology (ICT) in the teaching-learning process as well as in identifying, using and promoting appropriate technologies to enhance and support instruction; utilizing appropriate software applications in creating multi-media presentations, publications, Web sites, teacher support material and sharing all these technology-enhanced lessons with their peers in the academe.
The event was also in support of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) thrust towards the integration of ICT in the curriculum. DepEd Sec. Bro. Armin Luistro has issued Advisory No. 212 series of 2012 calling for the participation of school administrators, supervisors, principals, school heads, coordinators and classroom teachers from both public and private institutions from all over the country.
“Education is on the verge of being disrupted by digital technology, which now requires students to have mobile devices; thus, this campaign on tablet usage for schools. South Korea’s self-motivated learning made their high school students to top the global digital reading quiz. Today’s students are digital natives. They figure out how to employ technology to their advantage,” declared Gaspar Vibal, CEO for Vibe Technologies and president of Vibal Publishing House, during the open forum.
The highlight of the conference was the launch of the new Vibe Tablet, the first Philippine tablet specifically meant for school use, and the formal donation and turnover of the open courseware repository of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to the PNU for the use of their teachers and students. MIT is recognized as the leading university in engineering and technology globally.
Currently available in two models, the 10-inch teacher tablet (with Math & Science software) and 8-inch student tablet, the Vibe tablet is designed as an affordable educational tool that can read e-books, supplement classroom learning, as well as offer the flexibility and convenience of a mobile computing device. “The tablet age is upon us. It is used by 30-million students in Turkey, 7-million in Korea and has been brought to schools in Russia as well. In Thailand, there’s a tablet for every Grade 1 pupil and close to a million are being used for that primary level alone. Rotary Clubs around the country will sponsor e-tablets to public schools in their respective areas with international funding counterpart from their overseas headquarters.
“Each Vibe tablet has 4-gigabytes of space that can store up to 50 textbooks. It is not just a device but also a rich ecosystem on its own. Cloud technology powers it on-line and off-line from a school server (V-Smart) that can be easily wheeled from classroom to classroom or from school to school. What’s good about it is it can instantly monitor learning outcomes. We’re targeting a pilot school in Camarines Sur to use the wheel-around school server provided they have the electricity or solar panels to power it. Vibal textbooks are interactive; they’re in print but with pictures, videos and audio attachments,” informed the publishing house prexy.
Vibe also offered the Acer Iconia A200 among its line of education tablets, aside from the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy. “We are privileged to receive the instructional materials first that would eventually be used by all Philippine universities. Digital learning uses the digital textbook platform and the tablets have been deployed to the schools starting June 15th. In Miriam College and La Salle Greenhills alone, there has been a roll-out of 600,000 units,” he added.
In a further collaboration, Vibal Publishing House Inc. has donated a “classroom of the future” (that’s designed like Efren Penaflorida’s CNN-winning kariton school) concept which will serve as the official home of the continuing year-long course with degree units at PNU. The facility is equipped with mobile PC tablets, an interactive whiteboard and LCD projector. The project is also in line with PNU’s objective to enter into a twinning agreement with Columbia University’s Center for Technology and School Change, which has a reputable international technology curriculum. “The on-line site open course is the same as being an enrolled student at Cambridge, Massachusetts. This is initiated by Vibal Foundation through the Philippine Educational Start-Ups Organization (PESO) project,” added Vibe’s chief executive.
This new education platform is a legacy of limitless virtual learning; with young eager minds reaching for the “clouds” from now henceforth.
The ‘Teaching Powered by Technology’ forum was organized by the Vibal Publishing House, Vibal Foundation and PNU, with support from Acer, Apple, Microsoft Philippines and McGraw Hill Publishing.