Radio, online STEM learning package in a new normal

Before the coronavirus pandemic emerges in the first quarter of the year and Extended Community Quarantine (ECQ) is declared to prevent the spread of the virus, many provincial students are learning to appreciate science through the “Science Explorer “And” nuLab “buses developed by the Institute of Scientific Education of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-SEI).

These facilities bring science and laboratory experiments to schoolchildren in different parts of the country.

However, with the current situation, where mobility is limited and personal distance must be respected, these buses will have to be parked temporarily.

But that doesn’t mean that schoolchildren’s learning will also have to stop.

“Learn the basics of science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM] at the pre-secondary level is considered fundamental in that it serves as a pillar for the treatment of more complex concepts in the later years of education, ”said Dr Josette Biyo, Director of DOST-SEI.

Further training resources

To ensure that schoolchildren’s learning will not be hampered by the current national health crisis, DOST-SEI is developing additional educational resources that will enable students and teachers to enrich their STEM learning even outside of their confines. classrooms and, indeed, promote STEM careers.

This school year, elementary school students, especially in remote areas of the country that do not have a reliable internet connection, and high school students who have internet access, will be able to learn science even when they are at home.

DOST-SEI will work with the Ministry of Education (DepEd) to improve STEM learning for primary school students through RadyoEskwela sa Siyensya and for high school students through TuklaSiyensya sa Eskwela programs.

These programs will be launched in time for the opening of classes this school year.

“RadyoEskwela” for primary school students

Radio remains the most accessible medium in rural areas. It has proven to be an effective educational channel in the past when used in combination with classroom learning and / or printed learning materials.

Online learning may be possible for students in urban areas, but not for those in many disadvantaged areas of the country who do not have access to a reliable internet connection at home and whose families may not own tablets, laptops or computers.

For them, the information comes from radio, which is considered the second most used medium, reaching 85% of Filipino households, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

This school year, primary school students can listen to RadyoEskwela sa Siyensya, a radio show that will feature story-based science lessons. It will be broadcast by a community radio network which will be DOST-SEI’s media partner in the implementation of this project for the students.

RadyoEskwela consists of 20 episodes of 30 minute material that are story-based and produced for primary, primary and middle grades combined.

The episodes can be rebroadcast by regional stations and offered to DepEd as learning resources for students who will be in distance learning mode at any time of the school year.

Teachers will also receive a teacher’s guide to help them integrate the episodes into their daily lessons.

The guides can be downloaded from the UTE website and will also be accessible through regional DOST offices and provincial S&T centers.

Some of the topics for the RadyoEskwela include Mikrobyo, Lutang, Insekto, Pagsukat, Tala, Street Food, and Tubig.

‘TuklaSiyensya sa Eskwela’ for middle and high schools

Tuklasiyensya is designed both as a supplement to the traditional learning method for middle and high school students, and as a package of STEM career promotions.

The modules are designed to help students adjust to the ‘new normal’ and ensure their continued learning in the midst of the post ECQ.

Online modules will be produced using the facilities available at nuLab and based on existing modules developed by young scientists and academics who will also serve as facilitators.

It will feature engaging presentations by the scientist-facilitators, process demonstrations, animations and post-visualization activities to enrich the learning experience of the students and inspire them to explore natural phenomena or learn more about a particular STEM discipline.

The results of the project evaluation reveal how the nuLab and Science Explorer modules were able to influence participants in their future career choices in STEM fields.

TuklasSyensya will produce 15 science lessons, each lasting 30-45 minutes. The lessons will be uploaded to an online platform, making it accessible to formal and informal learners at all times.

Topics include aerospace engineering, geological hazards, oceanography, nanotechnology, among others.

On top of all this, not only student learning is enriched. Teachers will also be able to improve their teaching skills as they will receive 15 teacher’s guides which will be published online by DOST-SEI or reproduced as low-cost printed materials by DOST regional offices.

Teachers and students learn by adapting to this online platform.

The country may have been caught off guard by Covid-19, and it is uncertain whether some areas will remain in quarantine. But what is certain is that the first initiatives in the field of S&T education rest on a solid foundation, solid enough that other initiatives can be developed on top of it.

RadyoEskwela and TuklaSyensya are leading the way for students and teachers to not only face but creatively adapt to the ‘new normal’. Géraldine Bulaon-Ducusin / S&T Media Service

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