Outside in and inside out! A place to store ideas about education.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Moving ALS online

Wednesday saw Teacher Angelyn and yours truly at the Barangay Loyola Heights Learning Center brainstorming the movement of ALS to the internet through eLearning.  Thinking about this issue made me realize that this is truly our role as the National University: not to teach students directly, but to help institutions such as the ALS to create quality learning environments online.

I suggested that we come up with a draft proposal first before meeting everyone else for the project, and Teach readily agreed.  The project already has the go signal from DepEd QC, DepEd BALS, and UPOU Faculty of Education, so its a go-go-go already :-)

The Project:
Pilot ALS Online for ALS QC

Background of the issue:

We have to paint a picture of the ALS QC as a big, diverse group of mobile learners with different needs, situations, and abilities.  Within this group is a small cohort of students who are already independent learners with a capacity to use digital technologies for learning.  This will be the target learners for the pilot offering.  To start off, we will set a cap of 300 students, based on student characteristics (how to measure?) and ALS facilitator recommendations.  Having an e-Learning ready student cohort will minimize the need for technical support and allow the ALS Online team to concentrate more on delivery of materials rather than student support (but this is seen as a limitation to the pilot and one which should be considered if eventually offered to a larger number of learners).

Data needed:
1. ALS QC demographics: Learning centers, Institutions and organizations involved, number of students and student demographics.
2.  Need to review the research of Dr. Flor on BALS.

Advantages of putting up an Online ALS for QC, from the POV of:
1.  Learners:  self-paced, access, multimodal, learners community, online portfolio
2.  Parents (if applicable):  can also be included as learners in community, can monitor children's work
3.  ALS Facilitators: Record keeping and follow up of learners, can track learners even if they are mobile, can track and highlight assessments, can add online resources to existing
4.  BALS:  Record of learners and learning process, can study learner behavior, can assess modules and effectivity for online offering, can share online modules and eSkwela learning objects with Bureau of Secondary and Elementary Education.
5.  DepEd QC:  Can benefit from online modules and online record-keeping of facilitators.  Can use Online ALS modules for online and residential classes.

Are there any more benefits?

Draft set-up  (This is actually based on the concept for EdeN Education eNetwork that Profs Aleta Villanueva, Bobby Figueroa, and myself have envisioned last year but have yet to put up for UPOU.)

The ALS Facilitators already have in place a system of taking in learners on a residential basis.  For the pilot, it is practical to keep this residential system in place but with the view of eventually putting up an online system.  Here are some aspects we would like to see online:

A Welcome page where you would find the Login Page as well as news and announcements and links to the magazine.

1.  Online FLT
2.  Online chat-based system of putting up an Independent Learning Agreement and interview for RPL

The RPL and ILA results will be posted on the Student's moodle Profile page.  The Student's moodle Profile Page can be customized for ALS learner particularities.  An area should be reserved for Badges that the ALS Facilitator would give to the Learner once the learner has finished a module or a particular interim or terminal assessment.  There would be no need for grades because the badges will take the place of grades.

A Learning Portal page is the next step where the learner can access any of the four learning environments:

1. ALS modules (one icon for each of the 5 strands) portal
2.  Learning Community Forum
3.  Online ALS Magazine.  Highlights ALS activities, badges earned by students, online and F2F activities, etc.
4.  Learner's Personalized Learning Environment.  The student's blog and website can be part of this page.  This page can also be linked to the student's site.  Google, Twitter, RSS feeds, and FB for learning.  This is not a requirement for the Pilot, but it could follow.

Each icon in the ALS modules portal would lead to the learning strand page.  The learning strand page would ask the student which language they would prefer.  Each language has a particular icon/color code.  Upon choosing the language, the learner enters a clickable mindmap or list of modules available. The student the clicks on a module to enter the module site.  List can be color-coded for Basic Literacy, Elementary, or High school level.  We hope that artwork can also be created for the modules, as well as introductory video to explain what the module is about.

Each module is accessible as a moodle class site.  This is already in place.

Academic support would be offered off-moodle.  There should be a button within the course site for learners to click when they encounter problems with comprehension.  This button can either lead to an online chat session with an ALS facilitator or ALS volunteer (co-learner, parent, whatever), or to the Learning Community Forum for learners or facilitators to answer.

Facilitators can be taught to add resources to the moodle class sites related to the modules.  But they are not required to behave as FICs.  i.e., An NGO working with a particular interest group (i.e., young parents) can put up a forum in the Learning Community, as well as add videos and related material to the modules in the moodle site.  Another alternative is to put up a similar moodle site with materials particular to their interest group.

Eventually, facilitators can also sign up non-Online ALS learners within the online ALS system as a means to keeping track of learner activity (i.e., which modules the learner has already finished, etc.)

Facilitators can have a class list where learners in their Learning Centers are listed, and the facilitator can track learner activity and progress.

Students and Facilitators and the moodle Admin can be trained for online learning by the UPOU through a MOA (should be signed by February 2013).

The Online ALS can be piloted as soon as the important pages have been put up and the facilitators have been briefed and students have been chosen.  A review of the pilot Online ALS can be done 2 months, 6 months, and a year hence.

We still have a loooong way to go, but baby steps will get us there.  For those who want to join the group, please let us know!

Heritage Conservation through the development of Culturally-Sensitive Science Curriculum

Heritage Conservation through the development of Culturally-Sensitive Science Curriculum
Concept Note

Cultural heritage conservation helps a community not only to protect its viable economic physical assets, but also preserve its practices, history, and environment, and a sense of
continuity and identity. Heritage conservation is deeply derived from an appreciation of locally-developed culture and worldview. Part of these worldviews are holistic and integrated systems of knowing and apprehending the natural world which are culturally-congruent. Traditional knowledge and technologies locally-developed facilitate sustainable and ethical use of resources as well as valuation and maximization of materials readily-available to the local population.

However, the current educational system, as well as the current perception of science, and, consequently, science education, are Western-derived and -oriented. While Eurocentric science, with its analytic and positivist philosophical underpinnings, has allowed for the development and elucidation of powerful universal models for explaining natural phenomena and accounting for the unseen.

As we move in to standards-based education using western-derived philosophies, tensions are created between traditional knowledge systems and the new ways of knowing and doing. There is a general tendency for current educational material to disregard indigenous knowledge systems as unscientific, antiquated, and superstitious. The end result is that the two knowledge systems are constantly competing for dominance in the students' minds, and eventually one is accepted and applied, while the other is devalued and discarded. Most times, classroom science is at the losing end of the deal, as it is seen as culturally incompatible. It is perceived as not applicable to life outside the classroom, it tends to contain counter-intuitive principles, and is generally rife with irrelevant information. Thus, science literacy, the ideal outcome of science education in basic education, is not achieved.

The ideal science curriculum then incorporates the best of both worlds and starts with the development of a culturally-sensitive curriculum that validates local knowledge and values while presenting the gains of Eurocentric science as a means of enhancing and improving on local perspectives. This means that one has to expand the definition and construct of science beyond the limits imposed by materialism and positivism to encompass the many ways by which people interrogate and make sense of the natural world. This also means that one has to honor traditional ways of knowledge transfer outside the school system, but still be well-versed in the principles embodied by the worldview and the ways of testing and validating experiences in order to faithfully integrate them into the classroom.

It is in the hope of developing this curriculum, as well as a teacher-training component to ensure its effective delivery, that heritage conservation is taken a step further to enrichment to make it current and compatible with the modern world.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

On the Bucket Reading List

Current Readings in Green
Finished readings in Gray

Sophie's World by Joshein Gardner............ 25%
Sufism by Fethullah Gulen.......................... 10%

Books by Sayyed Hussein Nasr:
Man and Nature
An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines
Islam: Religion History and Civilization
A Young Muslim's Guide to the Modern World

Readings on the Tausug:
Lupah Sug blog
Muslims in the Philippines,

Other books on Islam
Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul, by William Chittick
Islam a Short History by Karen Armstrong
On Islam and Science (recommended by Uncle Ardie)
A Handbook of Islamic Prayers  by Ibnul Qayyim

On Philosophy of Science
Al Ghazali and his theory of the Soul, by Noor Shakirah Mat Akhir
Philosophy and Technology, Carl Mitcham and Robert Mackey, eds
The Practice of Philosophy, a Handbook for Beginners, by Jay F. Rosenberg

On Social Science Research
Ground Rules for Good Research by Martyn Denscombe
Policy Analysis, by Weimer and Vining
What is Critical Qualitative Research?
Locating Instances and Generating Material
Case Study Research in Practice, by Helen Simons
Managing Yourself, Your Ideas, and Your Support Structures

On Malay
Malay for Everyone by Othman Sulaiman.............. 15%

Recommended by Papa:
The Mind in the Making, by James Harvey Robinson
The Principles of State and Government in Islam, by Muhammad Asad

For my reading pleasure:
A Handbook of Islamic Prayers  by Ibnul Qayyim
The Opening Chapter of the Qur'an, by Syed Abdul Latif
Words that Moved the World: How to Study the Quran, by Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad