Globe ICT-trained teacher represents RP in Microsoft regional Teaching Leadership Awards

Thirty-one year old Zamboanga del Sur high school teacher Shateen Seraña had a dream – to educate her students beyond the classroom, hone their skills in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and eventually, encourage them to use what they have learned to give back to the community.

Armed with the desire to make a difference, Serana came up with a mangrove tree-planting project for her fourth year high school students.  “I did some research on what the students can do to help the community and I thought mangrove planting could be a feasible project since it would be beneficial in protecting our coastal area from erosion.  Since none of the students has ever experienced tree-planting before or used the Internet a lot for school projects, then this could be an interesting experiential project for them,” shared Seraña.

Taking a page from what she learned from the Global Filipino Teacher (GFT) program of Globe Telecom, Seraña adapted the Project-Based Learning approach in teaching both Filipino and ICT skills via the mangrove tree-planting project. Seraña was selected by Globe Telecom and  the Coalition for Better Education (CBE) to take part in GFT  last year in Zamboanga City.

GFT is an intensive 54-hour, six-day teacher training program that promotes the use of ICT via online collaboration and project-based learning (PBL) approaches across different subject matters and teachers.

For the project, Seraña asked her students to write proposal letters in Filipino to their local Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), and even to their local communityleaders. “The best-written letter was translated to English and was used as a template for the letter we sent to the barangay, urging them to donate for the project and to join the students.”

Seraña also taught the students  the best way to utilize the Internet for the project. “We created Facebook groups where they updated each other on the progress of the tree-planting project and the tasks they had to do. One group was assigned to document the project online using Multiply. My students became more excited, less passive. Since resources were limited, the team who learned how to use the Internet taught their other classmates what they know. They also asked for donations to purchase a modem and they borrowed laptops from the school to work on the project,” she said.

The Mangrove tree-planting project was recently hailed by Microsoft Philippines as the best project which used IT innovation for 2011 in their 7th Innovation in Teaching Leadership Awards (ITLA). Seraña is flying to New Zealand this month to represent the Philippines in the regional Microsoft ITLA competition.

Wala ako ngayon kung wala ang GFT (I won’t be here if not for GFT),” said a surprised Seraña, whose project bested nine other finalists this year. “I am glad my project was recognized. My students also became more confident because of their newly acquired skills. School is not always about grades but of new experiences and memories,” she said.

Seraña, who has been with Taluksangay National High School in Zamboanga del Sur for only two years, is also pleased that the school has become more appreciative of innovation in teaching after she was chosen as a Microsoft Philippines ITLA finalist. “Even if it isn’t in a formal way, I am happy that I can influence my co-teachers on how to teach better by using technology.”

Seraña, however, is not the only GFT graduate who was recognized by Microsoft Philippines ITLA.

Rob I. Nazal, Head of Globe Corporate Social Responsibility said that this year, eight out of the ten finalists of Microsoft Philippines ITLA are products of GFT. “This speaks a lot about the impact of the GFT program and the training they receive on project-based learning and ICT integration. It demonstrates how ICT can provide teachers and students with more accurate and quicker access to information, tools for easier and faster learning, and a chance to collaborate with the rest of the world.  It was proven that by using ICT, there is increased teacher motivation and improved student memory retention and comprehension of various subjects,” Nazal said. (article from Globe Telecom)