University of the Philippines, Diliman (PHILIPPINES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 7359-7370
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
POOR public education system is common among 3rd world countries such as the Philippines. Based on 2008 statistics from the Department of Education of the Philippines, only 40% of students from local public elementary schools go to high school and 10% go to college. Furthermore, only 2% of the elementary students graduate from college. Lack of a college degree will limit their capability to contribute to their family as well as to their country. Dropping out can be attributed to several reasons including poverty, lack of government funding, inadequate facilities and under qualified teachers. Although most of these are mere manifestations of far more complex issues, some of them can be remedied by training the teachers and providing additional teaching resources. By addressing these elements, public school students may learn more and might be encouraged to stay in school.

The use of handheld electronic readers is aimed at improving the quality of education by supplementing the teacher's skills and serving as an alternative information source. One major contribution of the electronic reader to the learning environment is its ability to use interactive multimedia to capture the student's attention. Each device is equipped with a touch screen panel, speakers and microphone primarily to use most of the student’s 5 senses. Selected topics can also be discussed to students using the device whenever appropriate. Exercises or drills are mostly structured as games to make the experience fun for the student and to garner the most attention. Standard multiple choice questions are modified to become race-against-time situations. Instead of just picking answers, users are asked to catch the falling apples, pop balloons before they fly away or stop bombs from blowing up. Results and answers are provided immediately after completion of the activities. The device also supports other types of activities like voice recording, puzzles, and writing. Topics and examples are kept relevant and timely through software/firmware updates. The cost of these updates will be minimal compared to acquisition of new books.

Initial course content was developed for Grade 3 English, using the Body of Work defined by the Department of Education of the Philippines (DepEd) as basis. All materials were submitted to the DepEd for review and approval. The questions, activities, and color schemes were scrutinized so that they will be most conducive for learning. The system was only deployed after approval from the DepEd.

Roughly around 300 grade 3 students from a public school participated in the dry-run. Around half incorporated the reader to their curriculum (experimental group) and the rest used the existing curriculum (control group). Evaluation is done by giving a pretest at the start of the period, and posttest at the end of the period. The objective is to measure the knowledge gained during the period and compare the results between the experimental and control groups. All of the tests were developed and issued by DepEd. The results show that gains of the experimental group are around 34%, which is higher compared to their corresponding control group that had gains of 21%. It was also observed that the gains of the the below average students were generally higher, averaging at around 39%. Parents and teachers also noticed that students are more eager to learn with the device.
children, education, educational technology, interactive systems, learning.