The San Juan City local government partnered with leading fiber broadband provider Converge ICT Solutions Inc. to help students, families, and educators in the city adapt to the learn-from-home environment amid mobility restrictions during the pandemic. A culmination of their efforts is the activation of free fiber optic connectivity to the digital learning platforms for over 12,000 public school students in 6,000 households.
Through this partnership, students and educators may access the Learning Management System in three different platforms, namely, the DepEd Commons which is a database of learning modules, Makabagong San Juan Learning Management System, San Juan’s dedicated learning portal, and the chat facility called Makabagong San Juan Learning Communication System. These platforms allow students and teachers to experience better and more seamless learning through lectures, exams, and overall coordination.
Over a month after the system powered by Converge’s free intranet connection was launched, several students and teachers shared their experiences with the all-in-one app and how it has changed their everyday learning:
The LMS app provided a big aid for the students despite the challenges brought upon by distance learning. According to them, they are satisfied with the program as it addresses the challenges during the transition from face-to-face classes to online.
Grade 11 student Lanzel Lazarte during her Personal Development class through the LMS app.
Furthermore, they highlighted specific features of the app such as the raise of hand, emojis, and chatbox which helps make communication a more seamless experience. Despite the absence of face-to-face interactions, the app offers a great substitute to increase participation from the students. This initiative by Mayor Francis Zamora and Converge is a step towards providing a better future for the students of San Juan, allowing them access to the education they deserve.
Ms. Susan Gohil conducting online classes through the LMS app
On the other hand, teachers are reaping the benefits of the LMS app as it eases their role as teachers. Not only students are faced with challenges due to distance learning, but teachers also find it difficult to communicate to multiple students with limited access to the right tools. Ms. Sheila Mae Mariano from Salapan Elementary School said that the Makabagong San Juan Learning Management System has enabled them to provide continuous education despite the pandemic. When used together with the free intranet and tablet, the LMS app can motivate more students to attend online classes, according to Mariano.
Ms. Sheila Mariano showing a sample of a house to her students during distance learning using the LMS app
The user-friendly app offers a more convenient system for conducting lectures, exams, and overall communication. Students and teachers are now able to communicate better and more efficiently with video conference and messaging features. To further engage their students, visual materials are now easier to present through slide decks, worksheets, modules, webpage, and other learning materials. In addition, the function of uploading photos, decks, modules, and worksheets provides a better experience in encouraging the students to increase virtual participation.
San Juan City is the pioneer city to provide a free internet connection to all of its public school students. Converge CEO Dennis Anthony H. Uy is happy to be one of the driving forces behind this feat. “We are glad to be the pioneer in aiding the distance learning experience of public school students and teachers in San Juan. These first-hand experiences are a testament to Converge’s dedication to providing underserved Filipino communities access to fiber technology,” Uy shared.
Mayor Francis Zamora of San Juan City shared, “I am grateful for the hardworking team behind this program, for constantly creating ways to serve our underserved students and teachers. We take pride in being the first city to provide a free intranet thanks to our friends at Converge. The LMS app is only the beginning of our efforts to bring seamless connectivity to our people.”
Together with the 12,500 tablets, 1,000 laptops, and 1,000 pocket Wi-Fis turned over by the Department of Information Communications Technology (DICT), the free intranet connection, and the Learning Management System, the San Juan City local government and Converge aim to support students and teachers in making online education more accessible.
“Nag papasalamat sa ating Maasahang mayor na Si Mayor Francis Zamora sa walang sawang pag suporta at pag tugon sa mga pangangailangan naming mga estudyante ng San Juan city tulad ng Makabagong San Juan Learning Communication System na libre namin magagamit para maka attend sa aming online class at hindi kami napag iiwanan. Salamat din po sa pagpapahiram ng tablet at pag papakabit ng libreng intranet ay malaking tulong para sa aming mga estudyante,” said Lanzel Lazarte.
“Sa opinyon ko po ay maganda po itong gamitin at madali lang po. Napakadali din po maginteract kasi nga po may mga raise hand, emojis, at chatbox. Ang maganda po rito, kahit hindi face to face man, nakakapagturo po ang mga guro ng maayos at natututo po ng maayos ang mga bata. Sa platform po na ito ay napakathankful namin dahil pwede pong gamitin na napakaorganize po. May mga subject po at nakadivide na po yung mga school work. Ito po ay napakaganda at napakadaling gamitin. Sobrang komportable po ako,” said Kata Cadayona.
“Through our own Makabagong San Juan Learning Management System, we are able to provide continuous education despite the pandemic. This platform helps track the progress and performance of our students. It also collects important documents and records from the students. In addition, thanks to the free intranet connection and tablet, it is possible that more students will be convinced and encouraged to take online classes. The biggest drawback of using a LMS is that it doesn’t provide the expertise that many roles require. An LMS might not always be able to accommodate all the various learning designs. Learning management systems are designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a school’s learning process. However, they are also prone to being overwhelmed by large projects,” said Ms. Mariano.
“The advantages of the Makabagong San Juan Learning Management System are the following: It has good security features because only registered users basically teachers and students from San Juan City are allowed to access the courses; it is good for synchronous class because it has video conference application and messaging application wherein the teacher can conduct real-time online class; it is also good for asynchronous class wherein the teacher can upload the images of the slide decks, worksheets, modules, webpage and other learning materials; the teachers can also create quiz, assignments that can be accessed by the students and they can answer directly in the learning management system and the teacher has the only access to view the answers of the students,” said Mr. Alad.