Educate, innovate, create
MANILA, Philippines – “Technical knowledge is just the beginning of innovation,” said Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University, more than a century ago. The vision of Stanford led to Stanford University’s becoming the center of innovation in the fields of science and technology and to what is now called Silicon Valley.
But technical knowledge leading to innovation needs a strong foundation in the sciences and mathematics in basic education.
Innovation has become the buzzword in the two related worlds of business and education. Innovation creates new products which, in turn, create new businesses. And business provides jobs.
It is the right kind of education that prepares people to innovate or to function productively in their jobs, whether in manufacturing, finance, law, agriculture, science, engineering or technology (now needed in most services).
Without innovative thinkers, there cannot be new processes such as 3D, new procedures such as medical surgeries, or new products such as android phones or LED TVs to address evolving consumer needs and expectations, to meet new challenges brought by extensive urbanization or by the world’s growing population in a world of limited resources, to cure complex diseases that can easily become pandemics through travel, or to compete globally in a world where movements of people, products and capital happen every minute.
Innovations in the fields of science and technology started decades ago with the mapping of the human genome and the invention of the Internet. These led to the expansion of the role of genetics in medicine, to the development of the Internet and digitization that has made communication faster and wider, and to the development of nanotechnology that has made mobile gadgets smaller and faster and that also has made possible the implantation of medical micro-devices in one’s body. These further spawn more innovative products that continuously change how we live and function.
One need not look far in the area of individual consumer needs. Nokia, the ubiquitous mobile phone 10 years ago, has been replaced by Samsung as the latter moved on to the touch screen and to a more advanced phone which functions as a text and talk gadget, a computer, an alarm clock, a notebook, a camcorder, a photo album, a record player and even a flashlight!
YouTube and Google have replaced the usual audio-visual aids, the libraries and archives for documentary films on reels or videotapes and the multi-volume encyclopedia.
Countries all over the world today face a wider array of challenges: environmental concerns such as stronger typhoons, more severe flooding, growing disease-bearing insect populations or extinction of certain species; health concerns brought by pandemics from new viral strains, aging population concerns brought about ironically by longevity due to better nutrition and medicine. All these will need experts in science and technology to solve the issues in the way solar, wind and ocean energy are now the alternative to fossil fuels.
With the large volume and the dizzying velocity of knowledge being generated every day, and with the growing speed of the Internet, a person’s technical knowledge can be outdated within three years. It has also been said that “what can be connected will be connected.” From jet engines and cars to home appliances, Internet-enabled machines allow for unlimited connectivity. Therefore if a child does not learn how to study independently early on in his youth, he will have a hard time coping with the fast moving changes in his field of training or in the way the world around him works. This is why the business world has sounded the alarm for educational institutions – that jobs get obsolete because skills become obsolete. Skills become obsolete when a new software or technology take over the process or task that a trained individual did in the past.
Job requirements evolve due to new technology. And it is not seldom that the right person to do the job cannot be found. Business leaders describe this labor market development as a mismatch between job requirements and educational training. Or is it rather that the schools are behind in their curricula or are not applying the right methodology in the way they teach students for jobs in the 21st century?
Any teacher aware of all that is happening will readily reach the conclusion that it is becoming imperative to teach more creatively and to develop skills as well as their intellectual curiosity so students can level up their skills and keep up with changes – a big challenge when a class is big.
Thus the Department of Education is now strongly pushing horizontal learning – multi-disciplinary learning or learning across subjects – as a solution to developing multi-skills in the midst of constant change and to develop innovative thinking in the classroom.
This is not really a new approach. It has been used by many teachers in various disciplines for the past half century. In the field of arts for instance, one cannot enjoy a novel unless he knows the context – the history of the setting, its social environment, the national political atmosphere and other social or cultural factors in place. In effect, the reader can learn about a place or a period in history through literature, thus enriching his lessons in history, sociology and the arts.
These days, a class in robotics trains grade 8 to 10 students to connect knowledge in general science, physics and computer science. The Internet and digital-related jobs now growing in demand require good foundation in those disciplines.
There are schools which, aside from worrying about enrollment numbers and survival, now spend time and precious resources to implement horizontal learning and to deepen the substance of knowledge more than before: i.e., improving teaching skills in imparting knowledge, the so-called “knowledge transfer,” to develop a child’s ability to do independent learning and develop lifelong learning skills.
The challenge for innovation may perhaps be better addressed by small schools like Pax et Lumen International Academy. It was established in Angeles City within the context of “the new normal” brought by climate change and technological leaps. It continues to work on getting the right mix of subjects under a basic concept: that strengthening the academic skills of young children in science and math will prepare them for any profession and, more importantly, to adjust to any job.
Its administrators know that an average student who will not study for a specific profession (and perhaps even those with a definite profession) will face the probability of moving into more than three jobs or taking over more than five functions in a particular job in the future. Developing nimble skills and acquiring the ability to learn outside the classroom environment have always been a goal of teaching.
Pax et Lumen administrators take it as a certainty that more and more of the jobs of the future will not be similar to what they were at the beginning of the 21st century, and that young students now should learn how to build on their thinking and evaluation skills as they prepare to take on the yet-to-be-known jobs or functions in the future.
Pax et Lumen’s teachers are taught that everything that a student learns at a particular grade level is to be connected to the previous and upper grades. Innovation and creativity take root when a child develops the intellectual habit of “connecting the dots.” Moreover, if students are taught early in their basic learning years to connect concepts in one lesson with those in other lessons, then these students will see that the universe and the world are held together by unifying principles and physical laws.
In thus learning and discovering through the years that the whole world is connected in its natural laws and that man is interconnected with his fellow beings and Nature in the cycle of birth, death and re-birth, the maturing students will develop not just a working knowledge on how nature works but how these principles and laws can be put to good use to benefit mankind. Somewhere along the way, the maturing child could hopefully and ultimately also develop an awe towards the process of creation, a deep respect for the sacredness of God’s creation and a connection with the Creator. Then a child’s soul can sing: “How great Thou art!”
Perhaps, hopefully, parents who believe in a child’s learning in small classes will see their children become productive global citizens contributing to the planet’s sustainability and the well-being of their fellowmen instead of just becoming mere consumers who can afford new products produced out of the earth’s limited resources.
Parenting is a skill that is not as easy as instinct. Otherwise there would not be children with challenges at home or in school.
Parents with many children also know that their children who were brought up under the same circumstances still turned out differently. Children are indeed imbued with different personality traits!
Pax et Lumen, in cooperation with its Parents- Teachers Association therefore held a seminar on how to be a better and effective parent. Through this seminar the PTA and the school hoped to help Pax parents bring out the best in their children and to develop a better parent-child relationship at home. Moreover, the school believes that a happy child at home learns better and behaves better in school.
The parenting seminar was held on 26 September, Saturday. It was an interactive one which enhanced the learning experience of the parent- attendees.
The seminar covered the following topics:
1. The difference between discipline and punishment
2. The three styles of parenting
3. Identifying one’s parenting style and improving one’s parenting skills
4. The right discipline for the right age
Rated ”’excellent” by those who attended, the basic parenting seminar may be held again this school year if there will be at least 24 parents who will be interested to attend. Friends of Pax’s parents will be welcomed to attend. The school will once more help invite the parenting consultant or expert and will provide the venue.
And for those who attended this first seminar, a follow-up seminar may be planned in the near future.
Effective parenting is indeed one objective that cannot be taken for granted, and it can lead to happy and successful adults in the future.
APEC Senior Officials’ Chairperson Ambassador Laura Q. Del Rosario (our Pax et Lumen President) chairs meetings on APEC 2015 priorities at the Senior Officials’ level.
Mrs Del Rosario is looking forward to being more involved in Pax et Lumen’s future academic and co-curricular work when she leaves government service at the end of the current administration. Pax’s objective to improve the learning environment will continue to deepen and expand through the years.
Pax Et Lumen students in the junior high school (grades 7 to 10) are given the rare opportunity to study robotics as part of their computer science, physical science, and math-related classes.
Starting June 2015, Robotics is taught to ALL the students without exception once they step into Grade 7. Through this course the students learn to brainstorm solutions and test them; gain experience in measuring distance, circumference, rotational speed, coordinate systems, convert between decimals and fractions, program and control input and output devices, use new wireless communication technology, investigate transfer of energy, force, speed, power relationships, the effect of friction. In short, Robotics bridge the knowledge learned in mathematics and science through technology.
Pax et Lumen hopes to build a small robotics laboratory through the years.
In April, Pax started its renovation and addition of new classrooms, a big laboratory, and a Home Economics kitchen / canteen, in the third floor and improve the gym in the fourth floor. It has also started to renovate its facade with red bricks. Soon the windows of the classrooms will be changed to tinted sliding windows to allow more air conditioning efficiency and light usage.
The management of Pax wishes to thank the parents, the faculty, and the students for the inconvenience that they are going through. Photos of the new classrooms and facilities will be posted on Facebook in due time.
Korean students of Oksu School, a partner school of Pax et Lumen in Seoul, Korea tasted Philippine puto and pancit prepared by Consul General Iric Arribas of the Philippine Embassy in Seoul.
Pax et Lumen International Academy have been exchanging letters with students in English of Oksu School in Seoul. In one of the exchange of letters, their teacher requested for a recipe of a Philippine dessert. Thinking that a “puto” recipe would be easier to follow, Pax et Lumen students sent it.
The recipe was tried, but the students did not find it tasty enough. Maybe they put too much baking powder as it had a bitter aftertaste, they said. Nevertheless they displayed the “puto” recipe in the lobby of the second floor.
One day last May, Consul General Iric Arribas visited the school and saw the recipe poster. He also learned of the unsuccessful attempt to cook puto. So he asked his cook to prepare” puto” and pancit for the students! The students enjoyed the “puto” as each one asked for “one more, please” until all the pieces of “puto” were all gone. They liked the pancit, too, and tried to compare it with other noodle dishes. It was their first experience to eat the Filipino version of the Chinese inspired noodle dish.
Consul General Arribas extended an invitation to the Oksu students to visit Angeles City and to sit in the classes of Pax et Lumen and be with their Filipino pen friends from the school.
As part of its mission to train dedicated educators and future administrators, on a three- year rotating basis ( with special extended terms), the president of Pax et Lumen has designated Teacher Genesis Vital as Assistant Academic Provost in charge of coordinating admissions, grading standards, and scholarship awards starting SY 2015. Teacher Monica Vital, on the other hand, was designated as Academic Records Administrator, Student Activities Coordinator, and DepEd Liaison Officer.
Teachers Saldi Amador and Petewell Abad will continue their functions as Science Curriculum Development Coordinators, and writers- editors of Pax’s own Science Laboratories’ Manuals for Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Teacher Giordan Del Rosario will continue teaching high school special science subject modules on Science Courses for the 21st Century.
Aware that parents, grandparents, guardians, and teachers of young students need an extra hand in dealing with growing up pains among children or parenting challenges in a hectic family environment, Guidance Counselor Elinor De Leon will be there to lend a guiding hand. Teacher Elinor will also handle Values Education.
Pax et Lumen administrators, faculty, and parents, on the other side, bid ‘Fare thee well, Beloved’ to Teacher Raquel Bacani who has reached her age of retirement in May and to Teacher Leslie David who will be giving birth to (and raising) her third child soon.
The Pax community thank them for their dedicated service and wish them all the best as they enter a new phase in their lives. We wish them God’s special blessings as we look back to the ‘pioneering’ times they were at Pax.
For parents who may be wondering what their child’s job might be in the future, placing importance on their children’s math and science training is one key step that they have to make.
Pax et Lumen wants to share that robotics, self-driving car engineering, systems and quality control management are careers that even an ordinary boy and girl ( not just the so-called nerd) who wants to have an exciting or global job should consider.
For instance– more and more, cars are becoming computers on wheels. The prototype of a self-driving car is already available, manufactured by Google. It is a high end computing machine that does not need a driver to go from one place to another.
This technological wonder shows that computer services , done by computer and software engineers, may take over strategic innovations in the car manufacturing industry that used to be dominated by mechanical engineers.
Another development in the manufacturing sector is the use of robots. Welding and painting of cars are now done by robots that can be bought from robot manufacturing companies. Other manufacturers who need to automate their production can buy the robots they need from robot manufacturers. Imagine yourself working for a factory that produces robots!
Robotics is not just for the future– it has been used in various industries for more than 20 years and the use of robots is growing.
Schools like Pax et Lumen who plan to offer a Senior High School curriculum ( grades 11 and 12) focusing on STEM or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics can prepare young students for well-paying jobs in these fields.
Starting June 2015, Pax will offer robotics for Grades 7 and 8 students. This course presents simple principles in robotics. This subject is added to the enriched math and science subjects of Pax that have longer contact hours in the classroom than what other schools have. Robotics can be fun as demonstrated during robotics olympiads in Cebu and Manila.
Pax wants to show parents in Pampanga that an ordinary but serious young girl or boy who has big dreams will be trained to help him realize his dream without having to go to a science high school. And as Pax builds its resources, intermediate robotics can be offered in a couple of years.
So we invite adventurous students with parents who have foresight to try the high school level at Pax et Lumen.