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ASSIST, Google.org deliver technology training for tech-voc centers in PH

TAGUIG CITY, Philippines – More than 50 educators and staff of technical and vocational education institutions in Metro Manila received technology training on Friday, June 16, through the “Educate Using Technology” event organized by the Asia Society for Social for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) and Google.org, Google’s charitable arm.

As part of the ‘Google Serve’ Volunteering Program, the event mobilized volunteers from Google who taught members of the Technical Vocational Schools and Associations of the Philippines (TEVSAPHIL), another partner of ASSIST. They were guided through various Google platforms, which they can utilize to make their work easier.

“This is our first formal joint activity with Google.org under ASSIST’s revamped DigiBayanihan project. This collaboration shows the ardent desire of our organizations to contribute to the education and training of Filipinos, by making them more equipped to harvest the benefits of technology,” ASSIST Managing Director Sreenivas Narayanan relayed during the opening ceremony at the Google Headquarters in the country.

DigiBayanihan is a flagship social actions program of ASSIST supported by Google.org. It is an “innovative digital empowerment movement, supported by a multi-stakeholder partnership with the aim of providing digitally-enabled literacy and digital inclusion amongst all Filipinos”.

The event was attended by Kenneth Lingan, Google Philippines Country Manager, and Dr. Alexander Mercado, TEVSAPHIL President.

Digitally empowered nation

After the morning program, the organizers and volunteers did on-site training sessions in two TEVSAPHIL member-institutions in Quezon City and Marikina City.

The trainees were introduced to productivity-related applications such as Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Spreadsheets.

Napaka-useful ng natutunan namin ngayon… malaking tulong [The learning we acquired are very useful… They would help us greatly],” shared Ian Mer Ceria, an Office Staff at the Cane Town Colleges of the Philippines.

Though the activity was short, he noted how he learned to maximize the collaborative functionality of the tools.

“P’de palang tatlo kaming mag-edit sa isang file, at i-share... Mas mabilis [I did not know that it is possible for three people to work on a file at the same time, and then share it with everyone… It makes the work faster],” he added.

Exchange of knowledge

Because of the interactive design of the training, the 20 Google.org volunteers were quick to realize that it was not just one-way transfer of knowledge.

“I actually learn[ed] from the ‘students’… They [also] taught me a fair bit. It was great, and it was more of an exchange of information,” one of the volunteers, Alex Suarez, relayed.

She also added the observation shared by other volunteers on how technology opens opportunities for learning.

“There are so many things that you can learn online. Many of them are free and that’s a huge gap that digital word can fill,” she said.

These learning gaps are what DigiBayanihan and Google Serve are working to address.

For its part, DigiBayanihan aims to provide free learning modules to children, out-of-school youths and near-employment youth, particularly in the southern regions of the Philippines as it intends to expand to Visayas and Mindanao.

It will also soon feature related platforms such as an Online Career Academy that will empower trainers and partner organizations to reach out and deliver career readiness content, and an Online Test Preparation Portal that will provide students free access to sample college admissions examinations during its initial implementation.

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