TEACHER CORNER | A call to support DepEd Commons

by  Joanie Rose B. Lozañes

Philippine education has been changed by the novel coronavirus disease/COVID-19 pandemic.

In the face of the unprecedented situation and the introduction of the new normal, DepEd continues to focus on its primary mandate of instilling quality basic education to our Filipino learners.

DepEd Sec. Leonor Magtolis Briones, who personally had to grapple against the disease, made a statement that DepEd is willing to push boundaries and explore new paths, so that education can continue.

One of the initiatives is DepEd Commons.

DepEd Commons is an online platform for teachers to support distance learning modalities.

It was designed as a direct solution to give access to online review materials and Open Educational Resources (OERs) during class suspensions and other similar circumstances.

In the era of the new normal, this platform is seen to be utilized for an expanded Alternative Delivery Mode (ADM) implementation, not only in public schools, but also in private schools.

As Sec. Briones says, “”Education must continue even in times of crisis whether it may be a calamity, disaster, emergency, quarantine, or even war.”

DepEd Commons contains online review materials and Open Educational Resources (OER) authored by public school teachers who are experts on their respective subjects.

According to DepEd, the platform allows teachers to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute the content by blending it with a learning management system to deliver a distance learning modality.

At present, there are many challenges to surmount as regards this platform.
Many schools have poor Internet access and connectivity, if at all.

As DepEd says, however, it is about time that we start to work towards a situation where all teachers and learners can access these new resources.

The government and the private sector have both signified their commitment to supporting this endeavor.

In fact, when Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones spearheaded the call for support from telecommunications comapies in providing free access to DepEd Commons, some responded positively.

With the support of Globe Telecom and cooperation with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), learners and teachers can now access the online learning platform without incurring data charges.

Much more support, however, is needed for this initiative to work, and the call for assistance continues to resound.

All of us, whether we are currently sending students to school, or have long graduated, are invited to help Philippine education continue.

Let us remember that what is at stake, ultimately, is our welfare, as a community, as a nation, and as a world where education is necessary to survive and succeed.