Tondod Elementary School is a medium school located 13 kilometres away from the city proper. It has a population of 462 learners under the supervision of 17 teachers. Although it is a barrio school, majority of its learners are in the middle class in terms of socio-economic status.
To continue the delivery of education services in the midst of the pandemic, the school offers different learning modalities. The main modality is the purely modular modality. Majority of the students preferred this module at the onset of its utilization during the peak of the situation because they are not aware of the other modalities that can be used.
This modality is the most expensive because of the huge printing costs. To minimize the printing cost, the Schools Division of San Jose City provided four learning packages. The first package is modular and Video Lessons, the second is the combination of online and module, the third one is the combination of book DepEd TV Episodes, and the last is the combination of module and book modality. So, this school year, the school is promoting the online modality to the students because it has a lot of advantages in terms of instructional effectiveness compared to purely modular set up, not to mention the lesser printing cost of modules.
Online learning is any learning experience or environment that relies upon the Internet/World Wide Web (WWW or Web) as the primary delivery mode of communication and presentation (A.Subhashni, 2008). This modality has been present even before the pandemic started. Several studies have shown the positive effects of e-learning from the insights of learners or students (Gautam and Tiwari, 2016; Martínez-Caro, Cegarra-Navarro and Cepeda-Carrión, 2015; Chang, 2016). For instance, E- learning allows to observe much flexible learning ways to go for classes with much reduced need for travel. Learners are allowed to get deeper insights of the information through activities that are carried-out in the classroom through interactive video facility (Gautam and Tiwari, 2016; Martínez-Caro, Cegarra-Navarro and Cepeda-Carrión, 2015). This allows learners to respond promptly toward the activities.
Unfortunately, only a small number of students preferred the new blended learning introduced. In the child mapping and assessment survey that was conducted before the beginning of the school year, 206 pupils responded that they have access to the internet connection at home. Among these 206 pupils, only 50 (24.27 %) of them have laptops that can be used while the 156 (75.72 %) learners have only mobile phones to be used for online learning. This factor became a hindrance why they did not choose blended learning. The Learning Management System (LMS) being used by DepEd, the Google classroom, requires a laptop or a tablet and a stable internet connection. Although it is free since all teachers in the Department of Education were provided with an exclusive g-mail account, by nature, google classroom requires high skills in ICT to be able to navigate its features. You also need to open various learning tasks through the assignments that are being posted by the teachers. To submit requirements, students really need a laptop to use all the features of the google classroom. Based on our interview to the parents of the children, they are very much willing to choose the package if mobile phone can be used as this is the only gadget available at home. Having this situation, the only solution to cater these students who have access to internet connections but no laptop available is to come up with a Learning Management System that is applicable to mobile phone and will not also require a high ICT skill.
As a response, the school media team gathered and came up with an innovation which is a School Based Learning Management System. The innovation was entitled PROJECT TOPPED (Teachers Online Portfolio for Pupils Educational Development). With this appropriate Learning Management System, the students can join the online class. It is very important that an LMS is really suited to the availability of resources of the learners. A learning management system (LMS) provides the platform for the web-based learning environment by enabling the management, delivery, and tracking of learning. LMSs are often viewed as being the starting point of any learning program. A good LMS should be 100 percent web-deployable and requiring no additional client applications. (Cavus, Uzonboylu and Ibrahim 2006).
Description of the Innovation :
This project answers the problem on the issues mentioned in the earlier paragraph. The innovation involves the following:
a. Intensive Training of Teachers on the Use of Google Based Applications.
This process will equip the teachers on how to prepare their self-developed LMS. Applications like google sheet, google forms, google slides, google drives, jam board are the key applications for the development of an effective Learning Management System
b. Preparation of Lessons/Content of the LMS.
The teachers will be preparing the content of the LMS/Site based on the Most Essential Learning Competencies (MELC)- the current curriculum being used by DepEd in the Philippines.
c. Quality Assessment of the Content of the LMS.
All presentations, video lessons, evaluation materials that will be posted on the site must first undergo quality assessment by the School Quality Management Team (SQMT).
d. Monitoring of the Learning Management System /Site
In order to maintain the quality, timeliness and effectiveness of the content of the site, the SQMT will monitor the content of the site quarterly.
Timeline of the Implementation
The innovation started on the last week of November. The program owner first prepared a Project Proposal. The project proposal contains all the significant details about the Transformation Action Plan (TAP). The project proposal was then presented to all the teachers of Tondod Elementary School and also to the parents. After the presentation of the proposal, a Project Team was created to spearhead implementation. The planning conducted series of meeting to come up with Plan of Activities with corresponding Timeline.
The first activity under the Project TOPPED was the assessment of Google Based Application Skills of Tondod Elementary School Teachers. An intensive and real time assessment was done by the School ICT Coordinator. This assessment helped the project team to develop a training program for Google Based Applications. After this, a virtual 2-week training on the use of Google Based Application was conducted. Included in the training topics were google site, google forms, google sheet, google slide and other applications that will be needed in developing a Learning Management System. This was conducted on the 1st week and 2nd week of December of 2021.
The second activity is the preparation of materials or content of the site and the development of site per grade level. It was done on the last week of December 2021 up to the 1st week of January 2022. After developing the site and uploading all the lessons (PPT Slides, Video Lessons, Evaluation Materials), the School Quality Assessment Team head by the school principal evaluated the quality of the lessons provided in each site per grade level. A series of trainings of parents on the use of the sites was conducted also on the 3rd week of January. Finally, on the last week of January, the school developed Learning Management System named as Teachers’ Online Portfolio for Pupils Educational Development was finally launched to the learners.
Evidence of Transformation
The development of the Learning Management system created an impact on both the teacher’s professional development and to the learner’s involvement in the online learning. Although it is still on the initial stage of the implementation, this transformation project produced positive results on the following areas:
A. TEACHERS ICT SKILL DEVELOPMENT
The training of the Google Based Applications helped the teachers to master the different features of Google Site, Google Meet, Google Sheet, Google Forms, Google Slides and other game-based applications like Mentimeter, Kahoot and many more. Since the training is intensive and they are immediately applying the skills they are learning in developing a Learning Management System (Site) they were able to master the different features of each applications.
The ICT trainings during School In-Service Trainings or termed as Professional Learning Community Activities in other countries helped a lot in improving their skills. According to Huffman and Hipp (2003), PLCs are a way of working; “a school’s professional staff members who continuously seek to find answers through inquiry and act on their learning to improve student learning”.
Aside from the school organized trainings, the teachers also employed self- directed learning to help themselves master all the needed applications. They watched you-tube tutorials on how to use the different applications and applied it. Self-Directed Learning (SDL) is the ability for a person to formulate a plan and identify the tools, resources and strategies needed for one's own learning. Behaviors and characteristics associated with self-directed learning are related to intrinsic motivation, integrity, agency, diligence, perseverance and grit (C.Mc Coid, M.Beil, S.Hesslein, T. Mulvaney and L. Niesz 2020). SDL is one of the training strategies that is being introduced in DepEd since the beginning of the pandemic. It is more applicable in the pandemic settings since we are always having a problem in internet connectivity when conducting asynchronous sessions.
Table 1. Before the Implementation
Application No of Teachers Zero Basic Advance
Google Applications 17 10 5 2
Google Drive 17 10 5 2
Google Sheet 17 10 5 2
Google Google Forms 17 10 5 2
Google Meet 17 10 5 2
Google Classroom 17 10 6 1
Jamboard 17 10 7 0
Google Docs 17 10 6 1
Table 2.Status of Teachers Skills in Using Google Based Applications After the Implementation
Application No of Teachers Zero Basic Advance
Google Applications 17 0 10 8
Google Drive 17 0 10 8
Google Sheet 17 0 10 8
Google Google Forms 17 0 10 8
Google Meet 17 0 10 8
Google Classroom 17 0 10 8
Jamboard 17 0 10 8
Google Docs 17 0 10 8
Table shows the ICT Skills of Teachers before the implementation of the program. It shows that 10 (58.52 %) of the teachers are still in the Zero Level but after the implementation, 0% or no teacher is in the Zero Level, and they improved to the next higher levels. It also notable that from only 2 (11.76 %) advance teachers, it improved to 8 (47.05%). These data are evidences of the impact of the Project TOPPED to the ICT development of Teachers.
B. ENGAGEMENT OF LEARNERS ON ONLINE MODALITY
Project TOPPED attracted learners to shift from purely modular learning to modified online modality. The table below shows the increase in the number of pupils under the modified online modality.
Table 3. Before the Implementation
Total No of Enrolment Pupils with Access to the Internet but only have phones No of Pupils joining Online Modality
462 206 50
Table 4. After the Implementation
Total No of Enrolment Pupils with Access to the Internet but only have phones No of Pupils joining Online Modality
462 206 205
After the implementation of Project TOPPED, the number of learners ballooned to 205 (44.37 %) learners from only 50 (10.82 %) before. This major shift of modality also helped the teachers in assessing the real learning condition of learners because the discussion became more interactive. In terms of reading, they were able to evaluate the reading abilities and comprehension during the synchronous sessions. The same scenario happened in Mathematics where the numeracy of the learners can now be checked through the actual evaluation by the teachers. The parents became more engaged on the learning activities of their children since they monitor and supervise their children during synchronous and asynchronous sessions.
For the part of the teachers, checking of output became easier because of the use of the google forms. The laborious checking of papers is now replaced by just harvesting the results by extracting excel files from the site. This also gave them more time to prepare for the lessons to be delivered online and prepare materials to be posted on the sites.
C. REDUCTION OF PRINTING COST OF MODULES
The shifting of learners from modular to online contributed to the goal of the school to lessen the huge printing expenses of the school. Prior the implementation of the program, the school was spending 0.60 centavos per page for the printing of Learners Activity Sheets. Since the LMS already offer evaluation materials using the google forms, the expenses for the printing of Learners Activity Sheets decreased. The table below shows the amount saved by the school after using the LMS.
Table 5. Printing Cost of LAS
Subject No of pages of LAS per week Amount per page Printing Cost
MATH 4 P 0.60 P 2.40
ENGLISH 4 P 0.60 P 2.40
FILIPINO 4 P 0.60 P 2.40
SCIENCE 4 P 0.60 P 2.40
TOTAL 32 19.20
TOTAL SAVINGS P 3,936
Since the Learning Activity Sheets in the 4 major learning areas were not printed anymore because of the use of google forms, the school saved P 19.20 per pupil and P 3,936 per week.
Moreover, the time being spent by the teachers in assorting the LAS was also lessened due to the use of the LMS developed by the teachers.
The implementation of the innovation really challenged not only the project owner but the whole Tondod Elementary School community. There are a lot of new things discovered, lessons learned, and strength unlocked. Here are the significant lessons learned in implementing the innovation:
1. Technology is created to make things easier; it is not developed as an additional
One of the greatest challenges we encountered in the implementation of this transformation plan is the willingness of the teachers to cooperate and sacrifice for the sake of our learners. Along the way of our implementation, there is a resistance to embrace the technology. The major barrier of the implementation of ICT Programs was the teachers’ belief as the teachers are the person who implements the change in their teaching and learning process (Duedeney 2010 ). For some teachers using ICT is an additional task for them. But when they started to understand the use of the different applications, and the importance of this in delivering quality education to the learners, they began to embrace ICT as a tool to make things easier. The training on creating a Learning Management System helped them to simplify things that like preparing quizzes via Google Forms, creating powerpoint presentations and many more. This program made the teachers realize that, indeed, it is a part of the teaching-learning process today. It is not just an option in delivering lessons just like before. Although there was resistance in the beginning, the love for teaching and for the learners pave way for the Tondod Elementary School teachers to embrace the challenges of ICT Development in the teaching profession.
2. Parental support is important in performance of learners
The support of the parents was also felt by the teachers during the implementation of the program. They were able to guide their children on using the LMS and gave feedback to the teachers in order to improve the LMS for the sake of the learners. As suggested by Jeynes W.H (2017), parents’ involvement increases students’ achievement, and that is why parents should try to provide an environment at home encouraging learning, communicate reasonable but high expectations regarding their children’s future and get involved in students’ education at home, school and community. In addition, parental involvement should be promoted by educational policies and practices
The assistance of parents on the use of the LMS that were developed by the teachers became instrumental in the positive results of the program. They became very active in giving comments and suggestions to all the teachers on how to improve the content of the LMS.
3. We need to teach the learners the way they wanted to be.
The shifting of many pupils from modular to online learning proves that our learners today are technology motivated. This is their generation. This is their world, and, as educators, we realized that we must be able to provide our learners with a learning environment that is close to their nature and interest. A part of PROJECT TOPPED is using different game-based application like kahoot and mentimneter. This application made the lessons interactive, and the learners really enjoyed it. After the 1st week of implementation, there was an evident improvement in the response of the learners. According also to some parents, their children are always excited to the next lesson that will be posted on the site. The integration of the knowledge of the teachers in technology, in content and strategy became the backbone of the Project TOPPED.
Future Plans for PROJECT TOPPED
Project TOPPED is still on its initial phase. Since it was just launched last February, the Project Team is still assessing the full impact of the program. The sudden spread of the COVID virus also delayed the full implementation on the first week. But after the final launching the project is already working smoothly as learners were able to use the full features of the LMS developed by the teachers. The team still has a lot of plans to improve the project.
On the aspect of training of teachers on ICT Based Applications, the team will continue to conduct trainings to be updated on the latest development in ICT. During INSETs and SLACs the topic of ICT will always be included. Since the program is using google based applications, the main goal for the next trainings is to apply for Google Certification in order to have more access to latest updates of Google Workspace.
With all these LMS benefits, we believe that there are still a lot of rooms for improvement. In order to provide quality lessons, the team will continue to create lessons based on Technology, Pedagogy and Content Knowledge (TPACK) as this really made a mark on the part of the learners. The sites that were created will be sustained by being continuously monitored by the team. We will continue to enrich the site with informative lessons that will clarify least learned lessons. One of the targets is to add tutorial videos to all the lessons that are difficult to understand. This will help struggling learners to cope up with the flow of the lessons. The site can still be used even if we are already going back to the normal face to face classes. This can become a site for remediation and source of additional materials for the learners.
The impact of the LMS in terms of the academic performance is yet to be discovered in this article. So, to achieve this, a post test will be administered for the learners to check the improvement in their academic status. Another step for Project TOPPED is to conduct research regarding its effectiveness in improving the academic performance of the learners of Tondod Elementary School. It will also serve as basis for the improvement of the LMS developed by the teachers.
Finally, after improving the LMS, the project owner is also willing to share this to other educators and learners. In this way, the project will be more enhanced.
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