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Teachers gather to learn to teach 21st century learners at PICTE 2016

To understand the 21st century learner better and learn to teach them better in the celebration of Teachers’ Month this September, thousands of educators flocked to the very first Philippine International Conference on Teacher Education (PICTE) at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, Pasay City to learn about the shifting roles of educators and the new ways to teach the 21st century learner more effectively.

“The problems that we have with the current system are that we are still using strategies and structures that go back a hundred years—the classroom, where students are sitting, sometimes very passively.  The 21st century learner needs more challenging, more complex methods and content. With the technological advances, brick-and-mortar schools might not be fully effective anymore in the next decade for these types of learners, that we have to take a look at content very differently.” said Dr. Robert Marzano, keynote speaker and author or more than 30 books and 120 scholarly articles on education and classroom engagement.

Dr. Robert J. Marzano delivers his keynote address "Evaluating 21st Century School Effectiveness: Teachers' Roles and Instructional Practices" here at#PICTE2016
Dr. Robert J. Marzano delivers his keynote address “Evaluating 21st Century School Effectiveness: Teachers’ Roles and Instructional Practices” here at#PICTE2016

The education conference highlights talks and discussions by international and local education experts and scholars on new approaches and angles in engaging the 21st century learner.   Among the topics are the effectiveness of teaching in the 21st century, meeting the challenges of the digital era, understanding new generations of students, knowledge management, the psychological aspects of learning, and many more.

#PICTE2016 is back for the afternoon sessions! Prof. Marc Helgesen of Miyagi Gakuin Women's University presents "Engaging the Brains of 21st Century Learners: Implications of Mind/Brain/Education of Teaching Practice.''#PICTE2016 is back for the afternoon sessions! Prof. Marc Helgesen of Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University presents “Engaging the Brains of 21st Century Learners: Implications of Mind/Brain/Education of Teaching Practice.”

In the Philippines, however, the types of learners are divided by the technology they use to acquire knowledge.

“I would see at learners [in the Philippines] at two levels: the formal level, where I would see young people enrolled in the K-12 program, those at the baccalaureate level, and the young professionals; and in the informal level, younger toddlers who would learn from the recent technologies like tablets, smartphones, and who are able to really learn in a tacit way because it is experiential for them,” said Dr. Ester Ogena, president of Philippine Normal University and author of various educational textbooks on mathematics, science and gender education.

Exhibitors at PICTE 2016 include Abiva Publishing House
Exhibitors at PICTE 2016 include Abiva Publishing House

Ogena said that the technical panel of the Commission on Higher Education (CHed) is now reviewing the curriculum for Education majors. While in the Philippines, Educational Technology is a subject in their curriculum,  in most Asian countries it is not. “In other countries, teachers who understand technology are able to use softwares  in their subject areas. A lot of countries will be going that way, making sure that their faculty members are knowledgeable about technology and use it to its full extent to facilitate teaching and maximize learning for their students teaching their subject matters,’’ Ogena said.

Dr. Ogena also explained that 21st century learners, which include millennials, are more active, visual, interactive, and technology-oriented compared to previous generations before.

“What is important is what the learners learn, and that technology is used to its full extent to facilitate that learning.  On the part of teachers, I believe that government must support their training and transition as well in order to be aligned with these new technologies,” said Dr. Ogena.

Marzano said that teachers are a part of a delivery system which facilitates learning to students, and that teachers must also improve with technology while the current contents for learning improve as well.

“The teacher, who is able to utilize technology, would facilitate learning covered in his own subject area more fluidly.  A lot of other countries would be going that way, to ensure that their faculty members are knowledgeable about the technologies for their own disciplines.” Dr. Ogena said.

Dr. Ogena also highlighted new roles of the 21st century teacher as not only an educator, but also as a facilitator, and inspiration, and a  guardian of students in searching for online content, researching and learning on their own, and in guiding them in acquiring verified and useful information.

“Our objective [in PICTE 2016] to bring all the best in the field of education under one roof, so that attendees, who are teachers and educators would be able to get a glimpse of whatever they may have to learn and to apply them in their respective institutions and to make learning easier and more effective.  And that we should act fast now in this digital age because we do not know when the next big shift will arrive,” said Jorge Abiva Garcia, president of Abiva Publishing House, Inc.

Slated to run from Sept 13 to 15, PICTE is made possible through the efforts of Abiva Publishing House, Inc. and is supported by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and theDepartment of Education (DepEd).

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