Xavier School FIT 2016: Future Ready

By: Julio De Nosta and Nastashja Bianca I. Melevo, Grade 5 Filipino and English Teachers

Last April 6 – 8 , 2016, Xavier School held its 3rd FIT (Frontiers and Innovations in Teaching) conference with the theme, Future Ready. Teachers from all around the country, and even from other parts of the world, attended the said conference.

The event started with the opening remarks from Mr. Exxon Yu, Xavier High School Assistant Principal for Academics. Mr. Yu invited everyone to be participative in the sessions and to make the most out of the seminar. He also encouraged participants to apply what they learned in their own schools, especially through their own personal projects.

What’s new in this year’s conference?

This year, aside from the yearly Keynote speeches and breakout sessions, the seminar had Lightning Talks conducted by students and professionals, breakout sessions by the students, Industry Talks, Playground Sessions and planning for each participants’ personal projects. The seminar proved to be true to its theme of Pupil Power as students also conducted breakout sessions and lightning talks which the participants all attended.

Lightning Talks: Student Edition

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Enrico Yao-Bate, an incoming Grade 6 student from Xavier School and one of the youngest speakers in the conference, talked about programming and realizing one’s own dreams. Enrico’s love for video games and his dream of making one someday take him further by learning how to do programming on his own. He argues that programming teaches him life skills such as creativity, problem-solving skills, and teamwork.

Blaine Atkins, a high school student from Brent International School, was also one of the lightning talk speakers and he talked about his own personal project called Tech For Teaching, where he and his team collected and fixed old computers and distributed them to public schools in Laguna.

Lightning Talks: Faculty Edition

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Mr. Mark Plaza shared his experiences in Mindanao. He says that although Mindanao has been widely published as a very dangerous place in our country, that is not all that they have to offer. He shares that he belongs to a group of teachers that help other teachers in Lanao to develop better lesson plans. He argues that even though they do not have the same technology that we have, the students and teachers are still very engaged in their learning. Mr. Plaza shared that, despite the negative conditions they are subjected to, teachers and students are hungry for learning, they are innovative and show a high level of love of learning. He argues that in order to be innovative, students and teachers do not need to have very expensive technology; all they need are the tools freely available for us, such as Google Apps.

Ms. Edmarie Querubin started her talk with saying that 92% of children use the internet nowadays. She reaffirms that technology is now part of the world we live in, that’s why we should use technology to our advantage. She brings up Learning Management System (LMS) like Edmodo, Moodle, and Google Classroom. She asked her students why they are on social media, and the students said that they want to connect with each other using that platform. We teachers most of the time do not see what the students want to tell us. That is why she uses these LMS to be a homeroom page for us to connect with our students. She only has one rule for her students, they can post anything on the page but they should never forget to respect each other. Through social media, she says, we are able to see the students’ interests and what they want to tell you. She argues that technology should be used as an outlet for students to express themselves so that we, as teachers, get to know our students better. We should now ask ourselves “How have we affected our students through the use of technology?”

Industry Talks

Industry Talks were talks conducted by several industry practitioners in different fields. Why did the organizers see the need for this? The FIT organizing committee acknowledges that teachers are molders of the future industry practitioners, and what better way for teachers to help their students than by knowing and helping them realize the paths they are about to take.

Mr. Alemberg Ang is an educator, filmmaker and producer, known for films like Gayuma and Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa. He shared about important things to consider in film production. Participants learned that skills in analytical thinking, decision making, research, foresight, discipline, and collaboration are necessary for someone who wants to engage in filmmaking.

Mr. Benson Lim, Vice President of Marketing of CEO Group of Companies, talked about how Brand Houses now not only sell clothes but also the sensory attractions inside. He goes on and talks about how the quality of salespeople are deteriorating every year. He says that 10 years ago, the calibre of those applying to be salesmen were better than they are now. He compares the shopping experience before and now and argues that this should be improved because customer service can make or break the shopping experience.

Ms. Liz Lanuzo, founder of ProjectVanity.com is a successful beauty and fashion blogger. She says that the first question she asks when someone wants to create a blog is “Why do you want to create a blog?” But to make a difference, your blog needs to have quality content, traffic and influence. She says that the best resume right now is Google, “You have to be out there.” She claims that there are certain elements of successful blogs, such as clean writing, beautiful photos, a user-friendly interface, a relevant and useful content, a personality and a consistency in posting.

Playground Sessions

Zeteo 7D: One would think that this is just a normal bus, but upon entering it, one would get a feel that this isn’t a typical bus ride. The bus has several screens inside the bus, and when the ride starts, one would get a smorgasboard of sensory experiences. It took participants on a trip to space, exploring and explaining planets and its features. The ride makes use of Augmented Reality Technology that makes the experience more realistic for the participants. Aside from taking one to outer space, one would also get to explore Underwater World and Global Warming.

Click Click!: The speaker introduced the use of an i-clicker. It is a small white clicker that can be used for motivation, for discussion and even for closure. But the speaker reminds the participants that the clicker is just a tool. The teacher is still the craftsman of learning. Participants are reminded that the teacher is irreplaceable, but this tool helps you with some teacher clerical work. One practice that a teacher finds very taxing is recording the correct answer of students, with this clicker, you save time and have results right away!

Online teaching and learning: Through technology, teaching can cross boundaries, figuratively and literally speaking. A concrete example of this is an online teaching experience led by 51Talk, an online English Language Teaching (ELT) platform in the Philippines and an online English learning platform in China. Through their program, you can teach, learn and earn at the comfort of your home. Check out 51Talk.com/PH for more information on how to be a part of their growing team.

Personal Project

Something new in this year’s conference is for participants to create their Personal Project, where they get to plan on how they would concretely apply what they have learned in the conference.

Precious Daluz, a student of the Philippine Normal University, shared her personal project of using her Art Blog as a platform to discuss current educational issues that affect students like her. An editorial cartoonist and freelance artist herself, Precious aims to use her talent in art and what she learned in XSFIT 2016 to raise awareness and promote discussions to help improve the state of education in the country. You can check her art blog at chalk-nut.tumblr.com.

Happy campers go home full of hope

As FIT 2016 came to a close, participants shared what their takeaways were from the three-day conference. A few teachers emphasized the importance of teaching students to be responsible in using technology. Participants highlighted the crucial role of teachers as formators even in the virtual world because of the numerous technological advances we have today. Also, some teachers noted the need for educators to embrace technology and to keep themselves up to date with current trends in technology to build and strengthen authentic connections with 21st century learners.

Participants also got to showcase their talents as they grooved to the beat of their class cheers. The energy was still high during the closing program, and FIT organizers hope that participants will be in high spirits too as they share their insights and apply what they have learned in helping their schools and communities be #FutureReady!

Fr. Pierre Tritz ERDA Tech Institute, says thank you!

During the last day of the event, Mr. Ernie Chua, Assistant Principal of Fr. Pierre Tritz ERDA Tech Institute expressed his gratitude to all the participants of XSFIT 2016 as all the proceeds of the conference will support the scholars of the institute.

For a more comprehensive insight on the said event, please visit http://www.xsfit2016.weebly.com

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