Building an online academy to nurture 21st century educators adept at discovery, sharing and co-creation

Building an online academy to nurture 21st century educators adept at discovery, sharing and co-creation

Philippines
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Empowering a community of teachers -- who are naturally getting Facebook-savvy* anyway -- via training on the academic use of digital tools. Through collaborative professional development, we help increase the economic productivity of "Education Kindlers" who are globally competitive, albeit coming from a less-developed region where the public school system suffers from a chronic lack of classrooms and books and teachers. * (Note: The Philippine online population is reported to have a 90+% Facebook penetration or roughly about 20,304,000 people who have an account with this popular social network.)
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Lubang is a 4th class municipality in the province of Occidental Mindoro, Philippines. It has a population of 28,000 people. Lubang island is located 75 miles southwest of Manila and more or less 50 miles off the northwest island of Occidental Mindoro and the deep waters of the Verde Island passage, which separates both islands from Luzon. History: When the Malayans arrived in the island they found the original setter’s jointly eating in a family size wooden bowl known as “Lupang” from which, Lubang was lifted. The Malayans introduced government system, cloth weaving, pottery, and manufacturing of weapons. Juan de Salcedo accidentally discovered Lubang on May 08, 1570. A year later, it was placed in a Spanish rule under Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. In 1574 Lubang was annexed to Mindoro as part of the newly created corrigamiento of Bonbon now known as Batangas. In 1896, Lubang joined Cavite, in an uprising against Spanish Government. In terms of trade, Lubang Island is a gateway to Manila. Hence, vessels going to Romblon and other nearly Visayan Provinces drop their anchors first in Tilik port, the last port before proceeding to manila. Lubang Island received international attention in 1974 when Lt. Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese straggler who didn’t know that World War II had ended, emerged from the hills of this Island after 30 years in the forest. He returned to Japan a hero, especially in his hometown of Wakayama Prefecture. That unique historical context gives the Lubang townsfolk a sense of local pride and the openness to collaborate in making a meaningful change in their immediate environment. As shown by the 2009-2010 OLPC pilot launch, the Lubang community of stakeholders demonstrated a very strong support for social development projects especially in education.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

As access to the Internet gets increasingly affordable even in underserved regions, people are devoting more and more of their waking life to online screen time, particularly on social networking sites. This is especially so for teachers who have relatives abroad and thus naturally pick up practical knowledge at tools such as email, chat, and multimedia in order to keep abreast of their friends and relatives worldwide. By the series of trainings on digital tools and social media, we aim to enable the teachers to learn to effectively allocate more of their screen time to building their professional teaching and research skills while enhancing their ability to earn extra income via micro-outsourcing sites such as freelance.com or by setting up independent online teaching or tutorial services.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

A series of ICT for education training that we call the 2D2C of social learning, i.e. discover, disclose, connect, co-create using free and open source software and social media. The modules are reusable and replicable and the face-to-face portion is designed as a training-the-trainers type of workshop with a layer of social networking to expand the community of teachers/learners membership and participation. Below is an infographic on the 2D2C of social learning: http://j.mp/kIfKgS
About You
Organization:
Ekindling
About You
First Name

Ma. Teresa

Last Name

Yuvienco

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Ekindling

Organization Country

, XX

Country where this project is creating social impact

, MIC

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Innovation
What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

The genesis of eKindling (“Education Kindling”) an education and technology initiative in the Philippines revolves around the energetic Ryan Letada, a Fulbrighter and young social entrepreneur who co-founded the NGO in 2009 with Tessa Yuvienco, a passionate educator based in the Philippines.

A 25-year-old Wheaton College alum, Letada’s experiences have taken him through the corporate world to the slums of urban Manila. Letada recently returned back to NYC from a year long venture in the Philippines where he conducted a study on homelessness reduction and resettlement programs under the auspices of a Fulbright grant. He and a few like minded friends worked on eKindling on the side which quickly took up a lot of his time.
Using One Laptop Per Child’s famed XO laptop, eKindling is working with Filipino educators to revamp the country’s education system. Their pilot program is underway in two elementary schools in Lubang, Mindoro where the eKindling team teaches students and educators how to use the laptops. They also provide educational activities and other content to be used with the laptops, having been developed with help from educators.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

The project is building on the initial successes of the 2010 launch of OLPC in Lubang. Currently, eKindling is working with the Mayor on the next round of funding for 110 XO laptops. Meanwhile, the Governor of the province saw the glow in the faces of the Lubang community members, especially the 95 grade school students. A bigger deployment (550 more laptops) in 4 other municipalities is underway.

As Ryan wrote:

“In partnership with former employees of the National Computer Center, the municipality of Lubang and OLPC Friends, eKindling is working towards bringing the transformative benefits of XO laptops and innovative learning practices to the children of Lubang Integrated School and Maligaya Elementary School.

During eKindling's first assessment visit to the island, Tessa Yuvienco and I observed the massive potential and innate talents that each student and educator possessed despite the absence of learning technologies in the classroom.

However, this goes beyond injecting learning technologies into classrooms. According to Mayor Johhny Sanchez of Lubang, this is about developing a "champion mentality" in the youth, the self-realization that they are super-children that can be the managers, leaders, and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

We understand that the XO laptop is a tool, and we need to train the educators on how to facilitate learning with it. Selected educators will undergo a training/support program that will enable them to use the XO laptop and its learning activities to its full potential.

This is part of the bigger picture of community building. Thus, involving the parent-teacher association and other community members early in the process is integral to the success and sustainability of the program.”

How many people have been impacted by your project?

101-1,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

1,001-10,000

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

While the online academy and learning portal would be hosted in http://ekindling.edu20.org, our sights are set on tapping into the expanding global learners and educators by using a mesh of collaborative teaching/learning platforms that interconnect via the social web, e.g. Google Apps, Facebook, edu20.org, ning.com.

Sustainability
What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Prevailing traditional mindsets are a major barrier to efforts that involve technology and education. For example, our team members have entertained inquiries from some representatives of local politicians who have the potential of being powerful partners on a diffusion model for social innovation. They however see this effort as a hardware procurement initiative that could make for good press. The notional benefit could be long on political mileage but short on vision. To overcome this difficulty, we make it consistently clear that this is an educational program. Our message on social media takes care of this.

Tell us about your partnerships

As may be gleaned from a statement by another co-founder, Cherry Withers:

“- Our first OLPC pilot in Lubang Mindoro was sponsored by National Computer Center Alumni association. They donated 100 laptops that benefits three 4th grade classrooms.
- It takes a village to support this pilot so we are in partnership with the University of the Philippines, Diliman, in sending some of their students as interns and mentors. Those students are in turn being mentored by Professor Rommel Feria, who's on our Advisory board.
- We are in partnership with Asia Pacific College and 4 of their partnering high schools for a content creation contest. This is possible with a grant from the Philippine Commission on Higher Education for 100 net books. High school students are being taught Scratch and Etoys programming so they can create content for elementary kids, immediately benefiting our pilot in Lubang.

While we are from an olpc grassroots movement, we are hardware agnostic. The long term goal is to build an ecosystem around hardware with created content that is freely accessible by students, teachers, educators. ”

Explain your selections

Friends from the Philippine National Computer Center were generous enough to allow the use, free of charge, the venue for 4 champion educators, 4 Tech Squad Kids, parents and administrators who were trained on the use of XO laptops in the classrooms, maintenance and repair. Ditto to the session on actual configuration of the first batch of 100 XO laptops.
Inspirational Fundraising: In honor of the Mayor Juan Sanchez of Lubang, Mindoro, a community of National Computer Center employees, successfully raised nearly $24,000 to purchase 100 XO laptop. Through an email campaign and word of mouth, they collected donations ranging from $5-$2000 from over 100 individuals.
As mentioned above: Friends from both Asian Pacific College and University of the Philippines signed up as our first university partners. They will develop new learning activities and tools for the XO laptop and provide technical support when needed. Milbank Tweed also signed up as our legal counsel and Bakitwhy.com became our first media partner, spreading the joys of our work to the world.
TED talks! This past December, Tessa Yuvienco spoke at TedxManila as a TED speaker. What an honor! We do our best to tell our story and our passion to rethink and innovate education for all children in the Philippines.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

In broad terms, we plan more more pitch for support, grant, partnerships. We also plan to extend advocacy to other islands. In more particular terms, we will continue, online and offline, conversations about educating our children. We will continue to use social media as well as traditional media. We will look at aligning with similar educational causes for fundraisers and call for volunteers. We will continue to connect with movers and shakers, CSR programs, or philanthropic organizations.

Challenges
Which barriers to employment does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.

PRIMARY

Lack of skills/training

SECONDARY

Lack of visibility and investment

TERTIARY

Need for regulatory/policy support

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

This initiative is designed to provide a series of teacher training, hence the first barrier would directly be addressed.

As to the second and third barrier, our small success via the first OLPC deployment has caught the attention of major government policy and decision-makers. We would steadily keep the proof-of-concept visible as we steadily demonstrate that this initiative goes beyond “parachuting laptops”. Our efforts could thus positively influence and shape educational policy.

Are you trying to scale your organization or initiative?
If yes, please check up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.

PRIMARY

Leveraged technology

SECONDARY

TERTIARY

Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

Inasmuch as this initiative is mediated by technology, we shall continue leveraging it by being at the leading edge of developments. Hence the partnership with Universities, particularly in the Computer Science and IT departments. In the process, we get ideas from computer scientists and even other social entrepreneurs who are employing technological innovations.

As to geographic expansion, we shall strengthen and evolve the training program, so we could broaden the scope and reach of professional development among teachers locally and hopefully beyond.

Our successes naturally get good press. Hence, as we improve our efforts, so does the attention we get within our sphere of influence especially in our network of educators and policy makers. These are all current activities.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Government, Technology providers, NGOs/Nonprofits, For profit companies, Academia/universities.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

As described earlier, the above partners are natural constituents or allies in the cause around education and empowerment for economic independence of teachers. The gaping holes of the educational space are so evident that it makes full sense to see this problem as every one's problem. Being part of the solution thus becomes a logical motivation in itself. But while huge financial support is not immediately forthcoming, pledges or expression of intent to help are not in short supply. We are continually in talks for support in varying stages of commitment with existing and possible partners.