Digital solutions help typhoon affected teachers in learning recovery: A story from Dinagat Islands
Training teachers on the use of School in a Bag and the Learning Passport
After Super Typhoon Odette destroyed learning materials in their schools, multigrade teachers from Dinagat Islands struggled to get learning back on track.
“We stay up late to catch the internet connectivity or wake up early in the morning just to download learning materials so that students are able to catch up with their learning,” Shiela Morales, 32, a multigrade teacher and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS) coordinator of Catadman Elementary Schools, recounts her experience after the super typhoon.
In January 2023, 129 teachers in Dinagat Islands were trained in the use of the School in a Bag, a portable digital classroom package from Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), which includes tablets for students and a laptop for teachers, as well as learning materials that can be used without internet access. The training also introduced teachers to the Learning Passport, a digital learning platform developed by UNICEF and Microsoft which has learning resources and is accessible online, via a mobile app and offline, to support learners with high quality flexible learning. Every learner has a personalized record of their learning history to track their learning performance.
Supported by Korean National Committee for UNICEF, the Department of Education (DepEd), UNICEF Philippines, and Educo Philippines launched the learning recovery programme to help typhoon-affected children and teachers to mitigate learning losses and expedite learning recovery.
"I have learned the use and purpose of School in a Bag and the Learning Passport – to help teachers provide positive and fun learning for children. This training is a great example of how we can integrate digital materials with our lessons and activities in school," Shiela shared.
"When browsing the offline digital learning contents of School in a Bag and the Learning Passport, we felt we, teachers, were primary learners. We had so much fun playing the games and watching the videos. For sure, my students will like this very much. They are very interested in playing and learning, and the gamified application in the devices is just that. I am excited for them!” Sheila says.
The learning materials in the School in a Bag and the Learning Passport range from gamified learning activity sheets to storytelling videos to digitized self-learning modules that are aligned with the essential learning competencies.
In the Philippines, schools closed for in-person learning for more than 2 years, which was aggravated due to typhoons and other disasters. Digital solutions like School in A Bag and Learning Passport can help in learning recovery efforts, especially for foundational skills.
“Teachers from multigrade schools play a critical role in ensuring the quality of education for children in remote communities. UNICEF is together in this endeavor so that every Filipino child realizes their right to quality education”, Isy Faingold, UNICEF Philippines Chief of Education says.