by J-Roel Semilla

To provide relevant and timely information on teaching in an Innovative and Flexible (InFlex) modality, the Department of Technology Teacher Education (DTTE) conducts webinar series on technical-vocational education in collaboration with partner universities and TESDA on November 18, 23, 24 and December 4, 2020.

Delivered through Google Meet and Zoom platforms, the department invited competent speakers to share their expertise in skills transfer, competency-based instruction, and research. It was also simultaneously aired in Youtube so that the majority of the participants could attend.

In the first session, Dr. Romeo S. Ebonite, the speaker from Technological University of the Philippines (TUP) Manila, talked about How the Pandemic has Impacted Technology Teacher Education in the Philippines pointing out the main challenges of administrators and teachers such as professional development, resistance to change, new schooling models, delivering informal learning, failures, and personalized learning.

To adapt to these challenges, the speakers told the participants to use the three As: Adapt to the new normal; Adopt strategies most appropriate to the current situation; and, Adept under strategies technologies of modes of teaching and learning deliveries.

The next webinar was about The Teaching of Technology Education Subjects in the Time of Pandemic. Dr. Gaspar S. Gayona, a resource speaker from TESDA Regional Office VI, described an effective educator of the 21st century who is a collaborator, visionary, and one who is culturally-sensitive to provide equity in order to create a highly engaged classroom. She said “Good teachers create an environment of students working together as active learners. Hence, powerful learning demands a well-prepared teachers in and out of the cyberspace.”

Moreover, Dr. Gayona also pushed to infuse the thinking process into the curriculum by utilizing higher-order learning outcomes, increasing the use of project work and in-course assessment, and incorporating a large-scale real-world case study to integrate content, thinking, and other process skills across the curriculum.

For session 3, the topic was about The Role of TESDA on Skills Transfer Among Technology Education Students in the Time of Pandemic with Dir. El Cid H. Castillo. The speaker from TESDA Bukidnon Provincial Office underscored the United Nations sustainable goals which are no poverty, zero hunger, quality education, and decent work and economic growth which are aligned with the long-term vision of the Philippines by 2040.

As a government agency which manages and supervises technical education and skills development in the country, the primary goal of TESDA is expressed in the slogan Abot Lahat. Dr. Castillo said, “We must win the hearts and minds of the people through TVET as a solution in stamping out the cause of poverty, what TESDA does directly impacts on the lives of the people.”

The speaker also promoted the e-TESDA open educational resource and encouraged the participants to avail such a program. The TESDA Online Program (TOP) aims to make technical education more accessible to Filipino citizens through the use of information and communication technologies. It provides an effective and efficient way to deliver technical education and skills development services to a wide range of users at a lesser cost.

In the fourth session, Dr. Paulito C. Nisperos, from Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, discussed Competency Based Instruction in Remote Teaching and Learning. He explained that competency-based instruction is a framework that reconsiders time, space, appraisal, and other central components of training to guarantee all students build up the abilities they need to succeed. Competency-based learning or CBL is custom-made to meet diverse learning capacities and prompt more productive results.

Dr. Nisperos reminded the school-leaders that “as we embark on this journey toward embracing online learning, the school leaders and decision-makers should not forget the students and families who may be put at a disadvantage because of the current problems on equitable access to education and lack of funding.”

He further noted that every child has the right to high-quality education, so the decision to move online should not make high-quality education a privilege only for those students who can access the internet. As educators, his role is to break down barriers that prevent students from accessing and enjoying high-quality education. In this new normal, to uphold the right to high-quality education is to provide multiple pathways to learning that can accommodate every student.

The fifth session was about Design Thinking in Technology Education with Dr. Sasiteph Pitiporntapin, a speaker from Kasetsart University, Bankok, Thailand. Before the fifth session took place, the DTTE department together with the CED Dean, Dr. Amelia T. Buan organized a 2-day consultation with the resource speaker.

Since design thinking is commonly applied in Science and Mathematics, the consultation was done to establish the relevance of applying design thinking concepts in the field of Technology Education through product design and development. A questionnaire was sent to determine the needs, perception and acceptance of the participants about Design Thinking as an approach in the classroom and as a research methodology.

During the webinar proper, Dr. Pitiporntapin defined design thinking as a creative problem-solving process, to create meaningful solutions to prototype, solve complex problems, and understand the users and designer’s tool kit to integrate the needs of people.

He said further that “Since we have experiences when it comes to designs in terms of chairs, toilet, room numbers and even a nonstick frying pan, design thinking is very significant to overcome these problems by allowing us to think outside the box.”

In the final session, Dr. Sarah O. Namoco, a speaker from the University of Science and Technology of Science and Technology – Cagayan de Oro, talked about Research in Technology Education in the New Normal. The discussion went to quantitative and qualitative forms of research. Research objectives and questions must fill in the gap which is the discrepancy between what is known, what should know, and what to answer.

She stressed that the next time when we look at the research, we should not look at it as a puzzle that is difficult to decipher, but instead a problem that needs an immediate solution. Although the time was very limited, her talk was clear and comprehensive.

Overall through this webinar series, DTTE aims to strengthen it collaboration with other higher educational institutions, TESDA, and other stakeholders for future endeavor particularly in instruction, research and extension.