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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

#thirdworldproblems #unesco #EDCMOOC

"A key principle in using technology in education is to start from the learner's needs, not the teacher's needs." - John Daniel

I live in a third world country. 

And after being in the U.S. since May 2013, I just arrived a week ago being greeted by a storm. Thankfully, the storm did not do so much damage from where I am located at. In the southern part of the Philippines however, the situation is closely defined to a zombie apocalypse where people are doing absolutely anything just to survive even to the point of committing crimes such as robbery, gun threats and the like. Despite growing up in the Philippines, I never imagined that a chaos like that can actually happen. 


A friend messaged me and said she was crying because she has friends in those locations who had to sleep inside their cars with their guns. I haven't watched TV ever since I arrived in Manila, but the situation in my country seem to be really worse to the extent that my friends in America are actually more updated than I am. They extend their concerns towards me and the whole of Filipino community and I would express my surprise that they know what is happening in my country. The state of calamity is world wide news and I am updated via social network rather than media. 


I am multi-tasking myself between reading the UNESCO article recommended by my E-Learning & Digital Culture MOOC class and instant messaging with my friends regarding the situation in the places hit by the storm.


The two things I was doing seemed to be totally unrelated but they had one common thing that couldn't get out of my mind and if I had to make a hashtag to unify these two things it would be #thirdworldproblems.


I just came from a long break living in the United States, a first world country, and the comparison is just extremes. But it helps to experience and be aware of both ends because it also contributes in expansion of our knowledge and be exposed to various ways in addressing different kinds of issues and problems. 


There was a research article I read way back about MOOCs as a solution to helping solve the education problems of developing countries but it turns out that most MOOC users are actually from those countries that are developed already. I think MOOCs is a promising innovation, but it has a long way to go before it fits to be a "utopia". 


The UNESCO article that I was reading talked about how technology contributes to the quality of education. One thought that struck me, is that society doesn't necessarily need to produce learning technologies to contribute in the quality of education but we have to go look further into the needs of the learners.


An example given was about women's need for technology in making housework more efficient so that they would have more time to study


I really liked the article despite an information overload of my brain right now. But I am overwhelmed by how well the ideas are written and shared. My thirst for knowledge grew even more than before (which is why I don't even have time to watch news on TV). I liked the article and the advocacy so much that I actually went to the UNESCO website and checked the "careers" portion because I would love to work for UNESCO. Their mission, their advocacy, their projects, it's a community that I would yearn to be exposed with. 


Amidst the seriousness of the things that are going on right now (and the heavy rainfall that is really distracting and scaring me), there was a part of the article that made me laugh. Shallow may it seems, it felt really good to laugh at a time like this. 


Below is the portion about the donkeys =), very witty:


"Another example of the need for broad thinking about technology comes from Latin America. How do you get children to school in a rural, mountainous region when they live a good way away and you don't want them to arrive at school already tired out? The answer was that you get hold of some donkeys. The problem is that it is difficult to buy donkeys under the United Nations procurement guidelines. These guidelines require performance specifications, tendering and suchlike. The solution is to hire the donkeys as consultants, which is fine under the UN rules. Donkeys also have one great advantage compared to human consultants - they do not write reports."


Those lucky ass. 


*EDCMOOC stands for E-learning & Digital Cultures Massive Open Online Course provided by Coursera

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