Around 18,000 e-textbooks were recently deployed on the tablet devices of an estimated 7,000 students across the Philippines, who can now get literally in touch with the future of education.
This milestone achieved by leading educational publisher Vibal Publishing House was made possible with the implementation of tablet education in different major schools, among them La Salle Green Hills, De La Salle Zobel Santiago Alabang, Miriam College, and St. Paul Surigao.
Vibal e-textbooks use the internationally recognized standard ePub 3.0. This format makes it possible for e-books to come embedded with audio and video clips and enables true user interactivity. Students can answer quizzes and enjoy an immersive reading experience while teachers can benefit from the multitude of advanced features that can be applied for effective teaching.
Over a period spanning almost two months, the Vibal deployment team comprised of software programmers and tech experts traveled all over Metro Manila and the rest of the archipelago to visit school tablet installations. The team went as far north as Cabanatuan City to service Wesleyan University, and as far south as Surigao in the Caraga region for St. Paul University.
Other participating schools are Adamson University in Manila and Creative Learning School, Inc. in Pasig; St. Dominic Academy in Pulilan, Bulacan; Los Banos National High School in Laguna, Cavite School of St. Mark in Bacoor, Cavite; St. Roberts International School in Iloilo City, and at least three schools in Cebu City: Childlink Learning Center, Marianne Childhood Education Center, and Livingstone Christian Academy.
According to Jeffrey Zulueta, Miriam College High School's Social Studies Coordinator, the transition from traditional textbooks to e-books was not without difficulties, but mostly technical in nature, ranging from gadget issues to connection lag time. He is confident however of the student body's eventual 100 percent acceptance of the innovation.
"At the start, simultaneous downloading took a long time. But eventually, it only took two to three minutes max. In a few months, we anticipate other issues to be resolved," Zulueta said.
"Apart from the ease of having all their textbooks in one gadget, students are appreciative of the interactive and multimedia features of the e-textbooks. I think eventually, more students would prefer the e-books over the printed textbooks,” he added.
While Miriam College used the Acer Iconia A200 exclusively, the other schools approved a variety of devices for the students' use including Apple iPads and Android operating system-supported mobile devices such as Samsung Galaxy and Asus Transformer.
During the deployment alongside other publishers, Vibal Publishing proved its leadership in the digital education product segment by coming up with a product line with superior features i.e., interactivity; its own customizable reading application called the Vibe Reader, as well as an installation scheme that was uncomplicated but more efficient, offered faster downloading time, and also cost-effective.
As young as Grade 3 students were even allowed to download the e-books themselves by the deployment team, to prove how easy and fast the installation was with the Vibe Reader. Several schools have reported positive feedback in terms of inquiries on enrollment for next schoolyear because of their tablet initiative and their adoption of the Vibal interactive e-books.