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Technophobic educators learn new things from cyberspace
Many public school principals do not yet know how to use the Internet or the computer. It is no surprise that many computers donated to public schools are left underused, if ever they are switched on. The teachers’ excuses were almost the same: “We might break it and we don’t know how to fix it." Basically, it is out of fear of technology that prevents old teachers and principals from learning how to computers.

Luckily, teachers and principals are starting to learn the ropes when it comes to computers. Laure Natividad, principal of Bayabas National High School in Cagayan de Oro, is one of those educators who have little knowledge of computers. But she is getting a crash course on information and communications technology through a five-day seminar provided by Smart Communications. She is joined by 30 other principals, teachers and public school IT coordinators for the training.

Natividad, who has spent much of her professional life as a public school teacher, admits that she barely touched a computer nor has she ever browsed the Internet prior to the Smart training seminar. However, she still yearns to learn how to use a PC not just because the younger teachers were already familiar with it, but rather to help her in administrative work.

Then again, it wasn’t easy for her. She still laughs at her own relatively slow progress, though she promised that she will learn how to use a computer by the time she goes back to work.

“For the first few days of the seminar, I got familiar with opening documents and doing spreadsheets. But there were so many terms to learn that I tend to forget the previous terms. It’ll take practice," Natividad said.

Like Natividad, Misamis Oriental Comprehensive High School Principal Pedro Montejo said he only learned how to use computers much later in his professional life in the academe. But since his school was a recipient of the Department of Trade and Industry’s PCs for Public Schools Program, he said he and some of his teachers had to start learning computers. It was hard at first since they were not given proper training though they received formal training a few months back through a private sector initiative.

Incidentally, Montejo said their school’s first Internet connection came from the students’ own pockets. Through an existing telephone line, the school got a basic connection that students paid for every time they used it. Montejo said it was the students who became mentors to some of their teachers when it came to the Internet.

“The teachers were learning as much as the students were. I’m glad that some of our teachers are learning how to use the Internet because eventually, we’ll be integrating computer-based teaching into our curriculum," Montejo said.

Smart Communications Spokesperson Ramon Isberto said the five-day seminar was conducted to bridge the digital divide between technology and school principals and teachers. Since all of the attending teachers during the training were members of their Smart Schools project, it was but natural to give them training, particularly those who were not familiar with technology.

“In the end, it’s really the people who matter. We’re focusing our efforts in giving teachers relevant training and access to online content so they can make the most out of the Internet as a learning resource," Isberto said.


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