Smart Communications (Smart) addresses the lack of digital content accessibility in rural communities throughout 2018 with different initiatives under #LearnSmart.
Learn Smart is the wireless services provider’s education program which campaigns the use of technology to enhance learning.
Smart’s flagship project is School-in-a-Bag, a digital learning package that comes bundled with a teacher laptop and student tablets preloaded with educational mobile applications. Fitted in a weather-proof backpack, other contents include a Smart pocket WiFi unit, a projector or LED TV, DVD player, solar panel, and charging station. Beneficiaries also received teacher training on the Dynamic Learning Program and program evaluation from Smart. Donations were made possible through partnerships with generous individuals and organizations.
One of the milestones of this project is the delivery of its 100th unit right before Christmas. The latest beneficiaries were students from Sitio Lipata in Lahuy Island, a small town with no electricity that is accessible via a 1.5-hour boat ride from mainland Caramoan, Camarines Sur. It is home to youth who have to walk up to six hours a day to attend the nearest school.
Five School-in-a-Bag packages were jointly donated by Smart and the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation. The kits will serve as educational materials for Yellow Boat’s Bangkarunungan Program for the Alternative Learning System (ALS). Each of the five (5) boats will transport both the mobile teachers and the bag to the coastal communities.
Mother Tongue educational apps
Smart, in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and academic institutions, also developed several interactive tools to support learning strategies, as well as help preserve and promote local culture and heritage.
Among those who benefited from these apps was Analou Torifel, an elementary school teacher from the small island of Lipayran, southwest of Bantayan Island in Northern Cebu. After receiving their School-in-a-Bag kit from Smart and the Rotary Club of Cebu last September, the Grade 3 instructor emphasized that the curriculum-based learning applications that are pre-loaded in the students’ tablets will make them more excited to learn something new and educational every day.
No learner left behind
Smart also partnered with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), Project Handclasp Foundation (PHF), and the US-Philippines Society (UPS) in the donation of School-in-a-Bag kits as educational support for those affected by the siege in Marawi.
Out-of-school youth under the Alternative Learning System of Valenzuela, Metro Manila also received a School-in-a-Bag package to help them complete their education. The donation was part of the technology package that was awarded to recipients of Synergeia Foundation’s Seal of Good Education Governance, which the highly urbanized city won for the 2nd year in a row.
Smart also supports the improvement of education in the country by implementing relevant teaching methodologies for schools, such as the CVIF-Dynamic Learning Program (CVIF-DLP). First implemented in the Central Visayan Institute Foundation (CVIF) in Jagna, Bohol, the disaster-resilient form of education has reportedly improved the academic performance of students in more than 100 public and private schools nationwide.
Smart emphasizes how strong partnerships with community stakeholders are essential in developing Learn Smart programs. For more information on the different Learn Smart initiatives, visit the Smart Communities Facebook page at www.facebook.com/smartcommunities or email email@example.com.