UP partners with Apple to address shift in pedagogy

Twenty-first century teaching needs to engage learners—and digital content can support this end.

For UP, drawing on innovative technologies is also “a way for us to market ourselves, to be with other universities in the Philippines and around the world,” said eUP’s hardware & network team leader Rommel Feria during the iTunes U and iBooks Author Training Workshop on 15 July 2015.

eUP in cooperation with Apple organized the workshop for the UP faculty as a follow up to the training given earlier to the technical staff of the Information Technology Development Center.

Apple’s National Development Executive Joe Sibayan emphasized how education at present is taking a strategic turn toward creating individualized learning environments.

The problem with packaging content in books and CD-roms, he said, is that access to them can be hindered by geographical and temporal limits. With digitization, however, content can reside in a device that can be accessed anywhere at any time. In other words, it breaks down such barriers to learning.

iTunes U is a service offered by Apple under its digital content store iTunes. It adds mobility to university and college lectures and teaching materials, with the option of making them available only to students and not to the general public. Also useful for faculty members is iBooks Author, a free tool that makes the creation of e-books easier. E-books built from iBooks Author will benefit from its easy-to-manage multimedia enhancements.

Sibayan added that digital content influenced pedagogy too, thereby changing the purpose of classrooms. Because information can now be accessed at any time, the classroom has become a space for more meaningful work and collaboration between students and teachers (e.g., for solving problems) instead of being a venue for merely imparting information.

Participants and organizers pose for a souvenir photo after the one-day training at Vidal Tan Hall in UP Diliman (Photo by eUP)

Around the world, top universities have resorted to iTunes U to publish educational content. The workshop then aims to encourage the UP faculty to populate Philippine-made Filipino content for learning.

“You’re part of the whole process of what it means for UP to be a teaching university,” Sibayan told the participants from UP Diliman, UP Manila, UP Los Banos and UP Cebu.

While the hands-on training generally elicited positive reviews of the services, those in attendance also raised some concerns. These included access of students and teachers to the required devices (iPads and iMacs particularly) as well as problems with connectivity–in the Philippines in general and in UP in particular.

It has been informally agreed that the training will be brought to the different constituent universities to accommodate bigger groups.