In the recent years, technology continues to evolve and improves its capability affecting every individual’s daily routines. Technology has impacted the different facets of life and certainly changed and redefined the way we live (Oak, 2011). One of the most common technologies used by people around the globe is computer. According to International Telecommunications Union or ITU, in 2010, the ratio of Filipino computer users over the Philippines’ population results in 29,700,000 over 99,900,177 or 29. 7% of our population.
The users of computers vastly increased and prospered since it was invented. Nowadays, computers in any form become an integral part of our lives due to its functionality. The purpose of computers has engaged into complexity which made everything possible beyond our thoughts. Since there was a wide-range of computer usability, one of the emerging areas of computing is software development. Software varies with application depending on the contents and purpose. One way to implement good software amongst series of development is electronic learning or simply e-Learning.
Rapid e-Learning is an ongoing trend which enables flexible and cost-effective creation of learning materials (Pforte & Stolzenberg, 2007). One of such obvious transformation and enhancement that will greatly affect the living standard in the future is the revolutionized technology being implemented in the education section (StudyUp, 2010). Technological development in the 1990s and 2000s appears to be beneficial to education. Currently, technology improvement follows Moore’s law which states that computers become twice as efficient approximately every two years (Lebedev, 2010).
Education has changed significantly in the last twenty years. One of the main reasons education has undergone so many changes is because of technological development (Lebedev, 2010). Learning across the world is changing and bringing about this change is the use of information and communications technology (ICT) or simply, computer, which has advanced the access to information and is providing a richer, more immediate and relevant opportunities for those who have embraced it (Famor, 2011).
The use of ICT for education is revolutionizing the traditional classroom and encourages learners to progress outside of the four walls of classroom, is more personalized and has become powerful motivational tool; the use of ICT in education is greatly helping developing countries to catch up with the education race becoming a great equalizer and providing access (Famor, 2011). E-Learning develops into different phases which targets not just higher education and adults but also children. The case of collaborative learning becomes available for children as a computer user (Crook, 1998).
Kids and computers are nearly inseparable these days (Heiting, 2011). A recent study on Internet Access and Use by Filipino School children showed 74 percent of the children respondents use the computer or internet and 34 percent started between 2-9 years of age (Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication, 2009). The statistics showed that computer becomes more popular not only for adults but also for children. Our children’s lives are already influenced by the technology (Indian Child, 2011). Computers are an important (and virtually unavoidable) part of your child’s life and education (Heiting, 2011).
The introduction of technology in the educational field has made the process of learning and knowledge sharing, an interactive and fun-filled activity (Oak, 2010). A positive and effective combination of education for children and technology could be a good impact on the advancement and preparation on Filipino children’s learning process providing with parental guidance. PROJECT CONTEXT According to the human capital theory, the economic development of a nation is a correlation of the quality and quantity of its education (Okemakinde & Olaniyan, 2008).
Economic development of a nation corresponds with the number of educated people. “The modern world in which we live is often termed a “knowledge society”; education and information have become production factors potentially more valuable than labor and capital. Thus, in a globalized setting, investment in human capital has become a condition for international competitiveness (Meinardus, 2003)” The Philippines education system faces different problems causes for the quality of education in the Philippines to take risks. As Cruz stated, our country needs 10,549 new classrooms, 1.
22 million additional seats, 67. 03 million new text books, and 12,131 more teachers for 2006 and summing up to 11. 30 billion in Philippine currency which is impossible to solve (2006, January 22). Another potential problem reported from DepEd Fact Sheet for Academic Year 2002 to 2007 gives the following education data: Teacher : Pupil (Elementary Students) Average Ratio is 1:36 while Teacher : Student (High School Students) Average Ratio is 1:41 ( Jobo, 26 March 2009). Population growth in the country is 2. 3 percent annually which results to 1.
7 millions of babies born every year and probably claims their educational provision but as a conflict with gargantuan problem, our country only has few resources, lack of facilities and too many students (Meinardus, 2003). With what reality reflects, Mainardus states that the quality of Philippine education has been declining continuously for 25 years agreed with the statement from senior department of education that schools are failing to teach the competence the average citizens need to become responsible, productive and self-fulfilling (2003).
The mission of DepEd is to provide quality basic education that is equitably accessible to all and lays the foundation for life-long learning and service for the common good (Department of Education [DepEd], 2011). Ironically, the problems stated and the mission of DepEd seems to contradict with each other. Since the computers continue to grow and the users continue patronizing it, e-Learning could be a complement in eliminating problems concern with the education issues. The problem in education remained unsolved for years but through technology, the problems might be reduced.
New technology can support learning; in particular, computers can be a medium in which material can be rendered accessible through creating visible and manipulative representations (Crook, 1998). I-Turo is an electronic learning tutorial software application especially made to nurture minds of young generation. I-Turo provides teaching and tutorial methodologies for young learners between 3-6 years of age. It responds with the need of our society in terms of early education and parental tutoring both accessible at home and based on Philippine context.
It answers the needs of e-Learning software for a child which is purely based on the standardized Philippine curriculum. The Software application satisfies the interaction between parents and children in a convenient and educational way. From the software title itself, I-Turo, a Filipino word meant to teach and to give knowledge is the main concern of the aforesaid software. From manual teaching, I-Turo requires the integration of teaching electronically through computers. I-Turo centers contents based upon Philippine curriculum for pre-school education while contextualizing the Philippine culture and environment.
As differ with e-Learning, the software is not intended to be learned alone or even distance learning but to be a medium for educating children with the guidance of the parents. PURPOSE AND DESCRIPTION A. PURPOSE The primary purpose of I-Turo is to enrich the knowledge of young Filipinos on the pre-school level which is the foundation of fundamental knowledge combining different elements of teaching from the creative interfacing that captures the interest of the child into the valuable contents. Cognitive development is the focus of the software to help young learners to cope up from the possible impact of education crisis.
Cognitive development includes development of communication skills, sensory-perceptual and numeracy concepts and skills. Communication skills refer to competencies in expressing ideas and feelings both in English and Filipino such as oral expression and basic readiness skills of listening, pre-reading and writing (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization [SEAMEO], 2003). Sensory-perceptual and numeracy skills refer to the ability to observe, discriminate, compare and classify, and to understand, count, read and write numbers (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization [SEAMEO], 2003).
Pre-school services in the country is 19. 5 % over 11. 5 million children aged 0 to 6 years (Education Encyclopedia, n. d). As concluded, pre-schools in the country only served few children under the aforesaid ages. It shows that more than half of Filipino children doesn’t go to school for nursery and kindergarten which logically results to more than half of children population spend their pre-primary learning at home or might not experience this level of learning. Since pre-school level is compulsory, I-Turo provides an alternative way to experience early childhood education which is important to child’s cognitive development.
Early childhood education showed benefit and positive outcome on child’s intellectual Quotient (IQ) development and fewer social or behavioral problems (Ellis-Christensen, 2011). Some long-term benefits of early education in pre-school learners are greater parental involvement, fewer referrals to special education or remedial services, higher grades, better social skills, greater ability to focus and even less likely to commit illegal acts (Ellis-Christensen, 2011). Computers and software titles increases in numbers and targets young children progressively (Indian Child, 2011).
Nowadays, children learns to read and write with computer games becoming a child’s learning tool instead of traditional flash cards and other materials (Indian Child, 2011). With the following computer usage, pre-school children today spend hours in front of computer everyday (Heiting, 2011). These evidences purposely support what the software aims which is to apply information technology into education that can lessen some problems. Pre-school education consists of nurseries and kindergartens that cater children under the age of 3-6 (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization [SEAMEO], 2003).
Children 3-5 year of age are developmentally ready to use computers and a best opportunity to let them control and explore computer and software (Education Encyclopedia, 2011). On the other hand, children ages 5-7 are ready to begin using computers for more directed purposes, which includes communication, information gathering and skills development (Education Encyclopedia, 2011). Research suggests computer use among pre-school children might actually improve their readiness and academic achievement (Heiting, 2011).
In a study, children who worked on computer at home and at school using educational software performed better on measures of school readiness and cognitive development rather than children without computers (Heiting, 2011). I-Turo aims to provide a quality early education with the help of parental tutorial. The software application does not intend to replace the pedagogical and traditional approaches but to be a supportive education to add up on the learning experience of a child. Since numerous problems were discussed in the Philippines quality of education, it is the time to make necessary action of both parents and child.
Parental involvement is a great factor influencing child development which benefits positively into child’s growth. The Importance of parental involvement is reinforced with the increase of effectiveness of the education the child receives (Hornby, 2000). Parent involvement at pre-school was a major component and tends for more success and achievements of a child. As Hornby states that greatest gains are made when parents are more directly involved such as when they act as tutors with their children (2000).
Perry preschool project in the USA concluded that children who had undergone with parental tutorial had significantly higher IQs, increased academic achievement, decreased need for special education placement, and less unemployment (Hornby, 2000). Some parents rely with computer for learning process of their children applicable for interaction, which is one important learning step (Indian Child, 2011). As a part of I-Turo, parental involvement would help in shaping child’s intellectual growth with tutorial system. Early childhood education is general term that describes a diverse range of programs (Ellis-Christensen, 2011).
Since preprimary education is not compulsory, the software can provide the needs for education in convenient way with unlimited access (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization [SEAMEO], 2003). Software can provide compilation of programs for early childhood education and tutorial in less expense with more parental bonding, peer interaction while learning. Parents who commit to an “at home” education, need to commit to being creative and engage in raising their children (Ellis-Christensen, 2011). The software could enhance child’s progress through different methods of learning and new form of material for teaching.
Most experts agree that early childhood education works best in low pressure, social and very friendly environments (Ellis-Christensen, 2011). Another purpose of the software application is to support collaborative learning with multi-users. Through different set of knowledge and activities, the software could inform children with knowledge according to their need, from basic up to moral values. The software also intends to uplift and popularize the values and Philippines-based knowledge to the eye of Filipino youth at an early stage.
I-Turo pursues to educate the children as a home learning experience with the parents since the ratio of teacher and students continues to increase and the focus for each student directly lessen affecting the learners progress. The pre-school level of education is not a requirement to basic education, through the software application children could learn providing with guidance and interaction between parents and child or with other users. Through considerations on different factors influencing learning, the purpose of the software could successfully integrate technology in form of education.
Thorough explanation of I-Turo is provided in the description. B. DESCRIPTION B. 1 What is I-Turo? I-Turo is an electronic learning tutorial software application primarily intends to support pre-school learners and provides basic knowledge for cognitive development. The software caters early childhood education and parental involvement through tutoring system. The software is designed base on the needs, interests and applicability for child’s knowledge progress. The software is a supplement for educational tools and another medium to impart basic information in a new set of material that would match the interest of the children today.
It will not be a new form of technological invention but an enhancement and upgrade on the existing educational software across the globe. It will add innovative and interactive ways of implementing tutorial software to the child by the parents and new input device depending on the child’s capability. It will also include multiple users on a single computer for parental tutorial interaction and even parent to children tutorial which means of tutoring children simultaneously and interactively.
Cooperative work skills and language skills develop through working with others on computer through cooperative activities (Education Encyclopedia, 2011). B. 2 The Software users Since I-turo is designed for children at age of three (3) to six (6) years, parents and child are the target users of the software. Children at these stages enjoy interacting with active links and areas on the screen, discovering the effects of clicking different choices (Education Encyclopedia, 2011). At an early stage of 3-6, children need guidance from an adult.
Parents play an important role into the child development process that will depend on the proper way they interact and support their children on their cognitive progress as a part of growth. The software requires minimum of two users, one would be the tutor and another would be the child. The tutor will be the master educator, most probably the parent to work with the child at early stage who will guide the child on the over-all process of tutorial and education with the help of the software.
The tutor does not need to be professional, as long as he or she knows basic knowledge o ncomputer literacy, the software will guide user in the flow of tutorial process. The second user will be the child who acts as the preprimary learner. The child should be at 3 to 6 to appropriately imbibe the information on the software. The tutor could also handle simultaneous users with maximum of 4.
The software could accept additional children users each time ranges up to 4, while additional new mouse is compulsory every time new child user is associated with the group. B. 3 Multi-pointing Technology The software applied one of the latest innovations technology to date which is Multi-pointing.
Multi-pointing technology can handle multiple mice synchronously without any error or confusion on the computer. Every input mouse on the software has its own identity and does not affect the cursor movement of another. Multi-pointing improves the interaction for multi-users in the software which mainly a subject in providing parental involvement in tutorial software such as I-Turo. This technology helps the software to establish advancement on early education and parental tutoring software with the increase on access of possible users and reduction on the cost for additional personal computers.
It supports collaborative learning between children and reduces time framework on the tutorial session of different child which can be done in one certain time concurrently with the children. Through the use of this technology, the objective to handle 5 users in one software application could be implied successfully. According to Crook, technology could be used in collaborative learning effectively (1998). B. 4 The Software contents The contents of the software are the most important aspects in an effective learning experience for pre-school learners through technology.
The software development is intended for children under 3 to 6 years of age. This supplement or tool for early education and tutorial is base on the contents suitable for the children. From the top approach, the design of I-Turo is graphically friendly into children’s eye view. It combines good color combination and intermediate graphics resolution to hinge on children’s visual capability. The color scheme of the software consists of primary colors, soft textured colors, and light and bright variety of color combination to introduce children to different colors.
The appearance of the software targets to accommodate the appropriate design for children’s interest and attention which affect learning through visual implications. The software is also composed of sounds and music to boost the enjoyment and to carry on children’s focus. It also shows graphic images such as different objects to reflect the reality into the software. The category of knowledge for tutorial is divided into different subjects such as English (language and reading) and Filipino (Wika and Pagbasa) based on the curriculum. Each “Unit” included in the software’s contents covers knowledge for cognitive development of a child.
Each “Unit” also consists of lectures, activities and assessments. Lectures are managed by the parents, tutor to be precise to educate children from the software contents. Lectures are purposely designed for exiguous interaction to inform the child relaxingly by the tutor little by little. Lectures acquire small mice movements from the tutor and child/children to embark the knowledge into their minds. Activities follow variety of methods to enrich their minds actively on what have they learned and as a practice and application.
Activities might be done interactively with peers and tutor or a choice of alone depending on the preference of the tutor or the child. Assessment is done through testing and examinations in a friendly environment. Every assessment is graded right after to see the progress and can be easily evaluated. The lectures and activities are fixed in format while assessments come randomly for the number of mice involved in a session. All the contents can handle 1 tutor and children up to 4 users as long as the tutor can work smoothly with these children.
Each level also has sub category of subjects to organize certain information accordingly. The subjects of each all level are similar on the field but differ in scope and difficulty. The subjects of the system are based on the Philippine curriculum prescribed by the Department of Education for preschool students or pre-primary learners. All information is based upon books referred and preferred by the Department of Education, educators, and other professionals. All the contents are assured to be relevant, related, and accurate.
The methods of implementing information undergo with psychological approvals and referrals from the child psychologists and come also from researches and documentations by the professionals. I-Turo is contextualized from Philippine based context. It adds moral values and guidance tutorial for childhood good manners and right conducts. Since the software is designed for Filipino children, it promotes Philippines not just graphically but also some lectures and activities which mainly involve Philippine literature, culture, values, and other country based facts.
The design of the software such as objects is mainly a part reflected by the Philippine’s context and reality applicable for kids. B. 5 The Hardware The hardware of I-Turo is composed of any computer as the main that can install software based on software requirements. The Compact Disc would be the default storage of the software installer for computers. The I-Turo is designed for kids hence, the input device of the software should respond with children’s capability in interacting with computers. Handling normal mouse is an issue on ease of use for children under 6 years old below.
One way to solve difficulty in handling interaction with computer is to produce a child-friendly mouse which can accommodate children’s capability in convenient manner. The design of USB (Universal Serial Bus) cabled mouse is bigger than the normal size and shaped circularly to easily and comfortably hold it. The mouse has equal and proportional shape to easily notice the middle button by the users. The design is proportional to cater not only right-handed but also left-handed. The mouse is big enough to support children’s hand and navigate the mouse through optical sensors.
Since children took a hard time to understand the dissimilarities in clicking the left click and right click, a new design of mouse is implemented to handle software application for kids. The mouse only has a one click functions as the usual left click of ordinary mouse. The right click is not necessary to be a part of input device of the software so; right click is removed to eliminate confusion of children between left and right click. The left click is placed at the center as one and only press button for inputting or clicking.
In terms of physical design, the color of the five mice varies with different colors such as blue, yellow, green, pink, and purple to showcase variation of colors. The mouse is rounded, soft edged, and lighted with simple yet creative designs to capture the attention of children. Since computers is limited with a few number of USB ports, the mouse will include USB port hub to provide access on the five mice simultaneously. The hub has 6 ports, 5 for the mice and 1 as an extra. The hub is designed with soft color and child-friendly structure.
The computer, installer, hub and mice work together as one to be a medium of tutorial and education through the use of technology today. The proposed design of the mouse without the hub is shown in the figure 1. Figure 1: Sample computer mouse proposal without the hub (actual size and design may change). B. 6 Implementation Numerous computers spread out in different places, with different forms and versions but, most of it functions exactly the same. Since computers are everywhere, the implementation of the software would be easy.
After completing the hardware requirements, the software should be compatible to the operating system of the computer also based on the system requirements set by the software developers. Installation of the software to the computer would come next. Possible implementation of the software works with only 1 tutor, 1 computer and differs on the number of children and mice depending on the number of users. Different implementations are shown in the following figures. a. Figure 2: 1 child, 1 computer, 1 tutor, and 2 mice b. Figure 3: 2 children, 1 computer, 1 tutor, 3 mice c.
Figure 4: 3 children, 1 computer, 1 tutor, 4 mice d. Figure 5: 4 children, 1 computer, 1 tutor, 5 mice I-Turo does not influence young learners to concentrate on computers which pessimistically affect and ruin the normal life of a child. On the other hand, I-Turo lends technology to be an aid and tool for educating children without affecting the bond between parents and child. Through a good foundation of education, Filipinos could be highly competent around the world. Providing good sources for education, students can be highly knowledgeable even at early stage.
OBJECTIVES GENERAL AND SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES
I-Turo entailed development on an electronic learning tutorial software application for childhood cognitive development containing effective lessons based on Philippine context. The primary objectives of the project beyond accuracy, reliability and effectiveness were: (1) To develop a computer-based software application engaging into maximum usability solving problems related in education focusing on childhood cognitive development and moral guidance stages between 3-6 years of age through e-Learning technology and based on Philippine educational curriculum; Specific objective as follows:
•to design a software application catering its usability and applicability for more numbers of people in the society •to create software concerning with Philippine based context such as traditions, history, values, Filipino language, epics and etc.
•to include information from basic level into kindergarten level lessons (English (language and reading) and Filipino (Wika and Pagbasa) ) for home study purposes and thorough understanding •to focus on the information intended to be learned during the childhood mental development stage as a good foundation of knowledge •to integrate good manners and right conduct in the software contents •to categorize subject content into different level of learning and understanding depending on the applicable knowledge for each age based upon the curriculum.
(2) To improve and enhance the knowledge of young Filipinos through introductory and exploratory learning with computers as a positive, effective and easier way of collaborative learning experience; Specific objective as follows:
•to introduce a well constructed graphics for early education that could interest young learners •to provide an accurate and efficient information and software contents applicable for young learners (3) To implement a new form of input device and interactive tutorial medium responding on the needs for parental tutoring, early education preparation and assistance for child’s progress and knowledge updates. Specific objective as follows:
•to implement the breakthrough on Multi-pointing Technology supporting on multi-users for mouse control handling •to create an application satisfying parenthood guidance for young learners •to support interaction between multiple user such as parent-child, parent-children, parents-child and parents-children •to ease the use and access of educational medium such as cards, posters, books, charts, and other more and transfer it in a computer-based software as one tool.
•to engage young learners into early education with the use of technology corresponding with parent-child bonding while learning at a convenient manner •to maximize the use of computers for teaching young learners with different methods •to guide every progress on children’s accumulated knowledge through testing and examination •to implement new form of input device under children’s capability for ease of use SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS
This project will focus on implementation of computer-based software application designed for childhood tutorial and early education for cognitive development and integrating moral values guidance. The project will mainly cover Philippine based curriculum corresponding on the knowledge needed by young Filipino learners approved by professionals such as psychologists, educators, guidance councilors and government agencies and its officials. The contents would be guided by accurate information which undergoes with studies and supported by certified books applicable for young learners referred by professionals. The project will target learners under the age of three (3) and up to age of six (6), to be general, pre-school learners.
Even though the application will be designed for normal learners, special cases of learners with disability or disorder might be also guided by the software but it does not assure that the software could give an effective feedback on the user’s learning process since it does not undergoes with a study for special cases. Moreover, the application efficiently caters relevant knowledge based upon studies for tutoring and early education for pre-school. Fundamental information regarding on different subjects and context will be applied as a further investment on child’s cognitive development. The application will include school subject’s references such as Language, Reading, Wika, and Pagbasa with integration on Values Education. Other information related on Philippine history, culture, traditions, tales, epics and other important facts are also included for exemplifications or activities.
All the contents are limited only the curriculum provided by Department of Education for pre-school. Thus, different levels of learning will be categorized based on subjects and ages for understandability and different type of strategic teaching and learning methods will be featured. Every subject on each category covers lecture, activity and assessment or testing and examinations. As a part of child’s improvement, the application will address a progress status of a child and analysis of performance during the assessment period done after lecture and activities. The application will adopt the latest Multi-pointing Technology which utilizes its function for handling multi-users.
Through Multi-pointing Technology, the application can support parent and child tutorial interactively. It does not just provide a single human –computer interaction but can also be used by more than one (1) user up to five (5) and may also be depend on computer mouse availability. In the process of learning, parents will participate in tutorial with the computer and child. The parent will be the tutor, the child will be the student and the application will be the medium and source of education. The software recommends parents to guide their child for electronic learning tutorial. It also encloses collaborative learning with parent and with peers or other students simultaneously and interactively.
One (1) tutor and one (1) child are the basic user requirements and can add up limited into four children (4). In terms of the software development, the contents of the software is limited on the information provided by professionals, study or research and from pre-school books which is fixed on the system. Since the application will contain Philippine based-curriculum, the subject would only be effective for young learners in the Philippines. The application will be limited on usage because it is not accessible on the internet and works only with a computer and software installer. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE/SYSTEM EARLY CHILDHOOD The developmental period that extends from the end of infancy (3 years old) to about 5 to 6 years of age.