The Udalo Watershed Pilot Project is a unique programme run by a coalition of local & International organisations in a pristine corner of the municipality of Abra de Ilog on Mindoro island in the Philippines. One of the aspects that makes it unique is that, unlike the usual interventions of NGOs and charities from the ‘developed’ world 'doing good' in ‘underdeveloped’ countries’, this project is more about what we can learn from a community that is rich in so many ways that the Modern world has lost sight of.
In other words, it is about understanding, valuing, exchanging and pooling resources between local, national and global communities.
One important strand of the project relates to education as a platform and stimulus for this exchange of knowledge.
As the future ‘arrives’ at Udalo with the road that is currently being built connecting the region to the wider world, so too will the Internet. In an environment that does not have television and has marginal mobile phone coverage, this is both an opportunity and a threat.
Our challenge is to support the education already taking place in the communities in this region to ensure it is enhanced by technology, not, as can be the case, negatively impacted by its sudden arrival.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
"It is about facilitating the natural curiosity of children to explore the dynamics between the richness & depth of the natural world and the diversity & extension of the virtual one."
Philippe Couture, Udalo Watershed Pilot Project Designer
To further enhance the nature of the education system and processes in the Abra de Ilog region through the introduction, exploitation, assimilation and embedding of Internet-based learning technologies.
The Western model of education draws little distinction between school – a building or series of buildings; schooling – the assimilation of young people into an educational system taking place in the school; and education – a wider goal that not only prepares young people to survive and thrive in the world around them and beyond into the future but also helps them learn about themselves whilst enjoying their time as children.
In Udalo Barangay there are four schools, yet much of the education the children experience takes place outside of the school buildings. It is an education that interacts closely with their wider natural environment in a way that is inextricably linked to the on-going well-being and survival of the community as a whole.
It is our task to work with that community to ensure Internet-enabled learning technologies enhance, rather than harm, this balance.
In the developed world, the debate has not yet been resolved about the benefits or otherwise of introducing Internet-enabled learning technologies into schools. There is a tension between existing systemic practices (classrooms, subject-specialist teachers, paper-based and knowledge-based assessment processes etc.,) and the educational possibilities thrown up by having the sum total of all human knowledge at our fingertips through a computer or portable personal device.
"For the current exam system to work it has to deny the existence of the Internet."-
Educational pioneer Professor Sugata Mitra
The project at Udalo/Abra de Ilog, therefore, throws up three potential areas from which it is hoped the educational community can learn a great deal:
Keeping the Balance
How to introduce Internet-enabled learning technologies into a technologically pristine environment in a way that retains the existing community’s natural balance and harmony.
The World Wide Web
How to use Internet-enabled learning technologies in a non-school setting and the implications of this for supporting children and young people out of school around the world due to external factors including crisis, poverty, illness or forced migration.
How to Make it Count
How to introduce Internet-enabled learning technologies in a meaningful way to enhance existing educational practices and outcomes in traditional school-settings.
At a time when the speed of technological advancements are matched by the rate of deterioration in the environment, in community cohesion and in societal and personal well-being, this project offers us the opportunity to explore and understand more fully how technology can be used to enhance and improve our connection with ourselves, or communities and the world around us. As such it is a very important project. We have a great deal to learn and not much time to do it in.
Discover more here:
See the magic of Udalo in the province of Abra De Ilog and where the project is based...
Education Without Walls/Ecole Hors Murs
is a unique collaboration to redefine what we mean by progress.
Supported by the World Wide Education Project