After reading the paper "TECHNOLOGY-SUPPORTED MATH INSTRUCTION FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: TWO DECADES OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT written by Ted S. Hasselbring, Alan C. Lott and Janet M. Zydney in 2006 for Center for Implementing Technology in Education", I realized how much I have wanted to do the same here in the Philippines. Every time I listen to a colleague report about a topic or every time I hear new research about special education and technology, I always wonder how far are we or are we (Filipinos) or are we even at par to the current developments in using multimedia and technology in our instruction?
What do you think? Are we at par? or not? Click read more...
One of my influences for being very passionate in pursuing the use of technology in instruction in my career as an educator is due in part to my exposure to Intel Teach to the Future. I think technology will play a big part in the evolution of education to cater to the changing needs of our students as well. I expect a change in the students’ needs based also from the influences and research I heard from my mentors here in UP such as Dr. Bustos (the need for teachers with SPED background in mainstream schools) and Dr. Camara (Digital Natives).
I support the use of technology as a tool to alleviate the existing difficulties in the supply and demand for quality teachers as well. If currently there is a brain-drain here in the Philippines due to the high number of migrating professionals, then let’s be resourceful and creative by providing the teachers who decided to stay with the tools they can use to maximize their potential in teaching a large number of students with even just a few qualified teachers.
For me all the lessons I have received during my Special Education Masters Program are interrelated which inspires me to create something from the knowledge I have accumulated here in the university. I think its time to think on what works instead of what is not working. A saying I got from the ADHD society puts this in perspective “I know already my garbage, now help me find my gems”. We know what is lacking and that is a big question which requires a bigger answer of “So now let’s find a way to answer that question and let’s not just think of a solution but rather produce something concrete and tangible that we can test and get results.
Let’s take a risk to try out something; do something; produce something; even if it means that we fail on this “something”. What matters is that we learned something. We’ll never know what works until we’ve tried it out for ourselves. Even if it means trying a thousand times at least we know 999 ways that will not work. That for me is learning. Real learning. As Bill Gates said, “success is a poor teacher”. It makes us think we are invinsible. As for me, learning from mistakes is as valuable if not more valuable as learning from successes because failures teach us the importance of values.
I think the problem why there is not much being done in the Philippines compared to the technologies abroad is because we have not cultivated the desire to experiment, to create our OWN technology. There is this thinking that products abroad are better than what we will come up with. But how can we think or even dream of ever acquiring better products if we’ve never even tried to come up with our own prototype.
And so in my thesis, I hope to create a program that is a prototype of something I think will not just help children learn math easier but teach a life skill which is financial literacy. If this program of mine can work for children with special needs then what more for those who do not need special attention? Just as Montessori first developed her program for children with mental retardation as the beta testers at that time. It’s a win-win project for everyone if it becomes successful. The question is if its successful? If its not then I know that my study has provided an inch forward to what could be greater improvements if not from me then for other researchers who would be inspired to do something about the shared we advocacy we have which is teaching the future.