Michelle Casio of Microsoft
by Dr. Leonida Calagui, CHED-ROXI Director
A pleasant morning to all of today’s participants who are here mainly for this gathering. Allow me to convey my sincere appreciation to all, particularly the officials and members of the Philippine Society of Information Technology Education – Region XI Chapter and the Council of Deans for Information Technology Education in Region XI (CDITE-XI) for the continued support willingly shared to the CHED. May we also acknowledge the vital role of these two organizations in their contribution towards helping shape an appropriate paradigm for information technology education in Region XI.
It is my honor that this activity is being initiated in Region XI and is participated in by all regions in Mindanao. It is also my pride that four (4) HEIs in Region XI, namely: ADDU, our host for today’s activity, UIC, UM and UP-Mindanao are identified as Center of Development for Information Technology Education. These are manifestations, indeed, that we are gearing up towards a sustainable IT Culture in Mindanao, as what the theme of this congress conveys.
Bill Gates of Microsoft puts this well when he said that “Information Technology can make many things possible but it is only education that can make things happen”. It is in this perspective that I am going to anchor my inspirational message in relation to your theme: “Gearing Up Towards a Sustainable IT Culture in Mindanao”. Today, in the era of the Knowledge-Based Economy, educational institutions have to respond to the challenges ushered in by technology advancement to achieve relevance and development. Information technology is not a choice but a necessity. Being in the academe, information technology is an integral part of our strategy to survive and, hopefully, to prosper in a complicated world.
As administrators and educators, what then are our roles or contributions and strategies in sustaining information technology culture in Mindanao? What education has to offer in sustaining the IT Culture in Mindanao?
Our contributions in sustaining the information technology culture is narrowed down to the crucial role of higher education institutions to develop human resource with competence in information and communication technology. As such, the training and development of the teaching and non-teaching staff in ICT must come as first priority or in tandem with the procurement and installation of the infrastructure equipment.
According to the survey by Global Index / Meta Group Research of 47 countries, the Filipinos are the top knowledge workers of the world, followed by the Australians, Americans, Canadians, and French. The Filipino IT professional is the man of the hour. Undergoing only perhaps a week-long software / hardware training course, IT companies in any part of the world are willing to immediately hire and relocate him and give him US$ 10,000 or Ph P 400,000 basic monthly salary.
In a changing world, the winners are those who adopt, those who see opportunities that emerge as the world changes, and turn those opportunities to their advantage. New world power centers have emerged-- Silicon Valley for entrepreneural environment, India for software development, Finland for wireless adoption, Singapore for high bandwidth penetration. Ireland is the European e-commerce headquarter, Washington DC has the highest US Internet penetration, Utah is the digital signature capital, what about the Philippines? Are we ready to join the cyber economy? The answer is a resounding "yes!." We are already a part of the cyber economy although we still are at the toddler stage. We are still a "little boy" in the world of the "big boys" key players. This therefore poses a challenge to all of us educators, because we could not forever remain as “little boy”. We are already aware that human resources is our vast capital. It is just imperative that efforts and initiatives should be enjoined to enhance our strengths. This congress is a step in updating ourselves as educators so that in turn we can also give something worthwhile to our students.
A person who seriously wants to get to office or work driving his own car but does not know yet how to drive must first decide to enroll in a driving school before he actually buys a car. For the same reason, school administrators prior or hand in hand with building the ICT educational infrastructure have to plan for and put in place the training program of the users and integrators of ICT in the teaching and learning process.
Let me give you some insights on how we, people in the academe can further geared-up towards a sustainable IT culture in Mindanao.
First, build, understand, sell, sustain, evaluate a mission. It has been said that “…without vision, a people perish.” No doubt, this statement is true as it applies to information technology! Perhaps, though, for greater impact, the statement could be expanded to say, “Without vision, a people elect to perish!” Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times, we have been admonished to create a statement of vision so we could formulate a written testament to the dreams we hold for a particular pursuit. When technology planners and leaders ignore this suggestion, a multitude of beneficial opportunities will go uncaptured. The saddest reality, though, is that the big losers in such a scenario are the children, the learners, the ones we have vowed to help educate. It is as though we are allowing the metaphorical sand slip right through our fingers. Failure to give this generation of youth all the best we can bring them will impact not only their individual lives, but the collective lives of the offsprings they bring onto this planet.
Second, define the use of Information Technology. Three areas were determined as fundamental and essential to the use of information technology – need, scope, and efficacy. The most important indicator may be one of need. Is the technology really meeting the needs of its entire, and intended, audience? Barriers may include proximity of the learners to the providers, schedule constraints, physical handicaps, cost/affordability, learning style, among others. Another important indicator is scope. There is a need to see what, exactly, the current use of information technology is. Is there support for such systems? To what extent do the learners of interest actually rely on the use of computers, video, and telecommunications, not only in the classroom, but in their everyday lives. Is information technology used at the level of a “luxury,” a “tool,” or a “necessary resource”? Efficacy is another important indicator in defining the use of information technology. Consider, and be willing to adapt or revise, paradigms in teaching and learning. Different approaches to education are possible, and we must consider at what point the tools of one approach become the foundation of another.
Third, promote faculty development. In order for all faculty at all types of institutions to adopt and broadly utilize information technology, it is necessary for faculty (as well as graduate students, teaching aides, and other complimentary instructors) to be recognized for their efforts in learning and implementing such technologies. How? By providing recognition and rewards wherein an emphasis on using information technology (and teaching in general) should be viewed not as an additional requirement, but as a shift in attitude in the most professionally rewarding use of the available time. All attempts to utilize more engaging teaching methods should be recognized, and the most effective of these should be rewarded on par with comparable gains in research. Faculty development projects should have improvements to pedagogy as their primary consideration, and focus on teaching/learning processes unique to the use of information technology, rather than creating high-tech versions of the self-same ineffective practices. Another is do not require users to reinvent the wheel. The use of tested and reliable components can simultaneously lower the development costs and increase the quality of new curriculum material and resources. Authoring and development tools need to be more user-friendly and better supported.
Fourth, encourage dissemination through recognition of extra avenues for dissemination. While several mechanisms for disseminating these ideas currently exist (e.g., journals, conferences), the contributions of research in the use of information technology is not widely taken-up. Professional societies should develop the high quality journals (multimedia), conferences, and awards in information technology applications to education. Quality standards need to be developed so that each contribution can be judged consistently.
Information technologies present challenges. School administrators and eductaors grow in their abilities to deal with challenge. Educational systems at all levels are immersed in a metaphorical sea of change. Strong, clear, articulated, and sustained vision is a crucial element that serves as a “pivot point” for all of technology-enhanced instructional designs. We can neither deny the existence of dynamic change in either technologies or in contemporary educational practice, nor can we simply stop the progress. What we can do is to educate ourselves, prioritize what is important, prepare our students, engage all our resources, identify our strengths, and sustain all the things we are doing “the right way.” Certainly, then, the challenge to nurture the information technology culture will be met, overcome, and transformed into a mighty, positive force that improves thousands of lives well into the next millennium.
At this juncture allow me to extend once again my sincere thanks to all of you for considering our Office as one of the major participants and myself to give the inspirational message in today’s activity.
My best wishes to all of you…Good day!