(The Philippine Star) Updated
July 06, 2009 12:00 AM
Teachers and students in Davao experience
birdwatching as part of the workshop
MANILA, Philippines - Cultural diversity
makes the Philippines ’ 16 regions and 80 provinces
rich sources of information, trivia and educational content.
Each community has its own stories to tell — some having
been passed on for centuries by word of mouth.
With the Internet, these cultural treasures
can now reach a greater audience: the entire country and the
rest of the world. The key, of course, is to empower communities
to bring their stories to the World Wide Web.
Through its Doon Po Sa Amin (DPSA) project,
Smart Communications Inc. launched a Web content training
last summer for 154 teachers and students from 40 partner
public high schools across the country.
The DPSA encourages teachers and students
to use computer and Internet technologies to generate Web-based
information and educational materials about their respective
communities. Participants came from partner schools under
the Smart Schools Program (SSP), a community service initiative
Five-day training sessions were held in Manila
and Davao to accommodate trainees from Luzon, the Visayas
In Manila , resource speakers discussed a
variety of topics that could aid in content generation. These
“writeshops” helped the trainees identify unique
aspects of their community that they could feature. They were
also exposed to dynamic and effective ways of presenting information
to an online audience.
Fredolina Baldonado, assistant weather services
chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical
Services Administration (PAGASA), and the Philippine Meteorological
Society (PMS) talked about weather forecasting and how communities
have their own “weatherlores” or traditional ways
of predicting weather.
While meteorologists use data gathered by
weather stations and satellites to forecast weather, communities
usually perform short-term forecasting by looking at the moon,
sun, rainbow, etc.
“Communities have their own weatherlores,
which are also useful for PAGASA so we can tie up our warnings
with what actually happens in the field,” Baldonado
Baldonado said in a town in Ilocos Sur, for
example, they can tell if the weather will turn bad when they
hear a rumbling sound in the cove. This sound serves as a
warning for the community and is caused by the rising seawater.
Kring Elenzano, of Flippish.com, the first
online Pinoy video channel, discussed video blogs and how
they can enhance the school websites. A video blog is a dated,
original video made for the Internet and available online.
Video blogs were revolutionized by YouTube.com, a popular
video-sharing site that was launched in 2005.
Video blogs are more compelling compared
to text blogs, explained Elenzano, who writes, directs, produces
and acts in video blogs. “Since videos are both aural
and visual, the audience receives more inputs and the better
the message sinks in.”
“Instead of writing about school events
in the school paper, you can make a video blog of the intramurals,
for example. That would interest your students,” Elenzano
The beauty of video blogs is these can feature
events not usually covered by big TV stations. There is a
shift in power from the big guys in media to the audience,
who can now dictate what should be available online, added
She gave the trainees the basics of creating
a video blog, from conceptualization to editing the video
so they can document their school activities, promote tourism
in their communities and create video news updates.
Catherine Eleguido, who teaches in Tondo,
Manila at the Philippine Christian Foundation Community School,
would like to feature their soccer team in a video blog.
“It’s inspiring to see how these
kids are good at what they do; they train in a field set against
a mountain of trash,” she said. The kids were among
those who competed to qualify for the Philippine Team to the
Milan 2009 Homeless Cup.
Other speakers included Mike Lu and Ana Gonzales
of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines , who enabled the
participants to experience bird watching in Intramuros.
Lu, the club president, and Gonzales challenged
them to write more about the birds found in their communities.
Despite the country’s rich biodiversity, only the Philippine
Eagle and the maya are often written about in school textbooks.
The participants wrote accounts of their
initial bird watching experience, including the descriptions
of the birds they observed in Intramuros.
Lu and Gonzales also showed them their club’s
website and shared how their presence on the Internet helped
the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines to grow.
In the same way, participants from Smart
Schools Partner schools can now also start or enhance their
schools’ online presence now that they are better equipped
to tell stories of their respective communities online.