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Community Blog Making Technology: Foster STEM Education in the Philippines

Making Technology: Foster STEM Education in the Philippines

The startup develops handheld lab kits for students to spark their interest in scientific learning.

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Giovanni Tapang, Dwight Bruzon, Hazel Sales, Alimuddin Arriesgado, Christian Valgomera and Ralen Malatbalat are six scientists who are researchers at the University of the Philippines Diliman who are on a mission to engage students so that they become interested in learning about science. They believe that education and technology are important drivers of a country’s development, so they founded Making Technology, a startup that gives students the tools they need to conduct scientific experiments in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering.

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study performed in 2019 indicated that students in the Philippines trailed those of other countries in mathematics and science at the grade 4 level, scoring the lowest among 58 participating countries.

According to the findings of the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology released in 2021, the country’s students find it difficult to absorb scientific concepts. Making Technology wants to change that by providing tools that students can use to gather data during class activities and fieldwork.

“We want to promote a ‘learn by doing’ environment by engaging students with interactive content so they can apply scientific concepts and skills to satisfy their curiosity. We hope this will encourage students to observe, experiment, and explore concepts like scientists,” said Bruzon, one of the co-founders of Making Technology.

In 2017, the team behind Making Technology designed a prototype experiment kit called the Versatile Instrumentation System for Science Education and Research, or VISSER, which incorporates a range of sensors that can be utilized in various scientific experiments. It includes data storage and analysis tools, allowing it to be used without being connected to a computer.

VISSER gives students a way to gather and visualize data gathered from experiments and fieldwork. It is pre-set to perform functions in more than 50 experiments in biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. The device was designed for use in settings that include junior high school science, senior high school core science, and the senior high school STEM track based on the Philippines’ Department of Education’s curriculum.

“Thirty-five percent of high schools in the Philippines have no laboratories. Meanwhile, among those with laboratories, 33% have no access to digital tools for learning. Our mission is to put modern laboratories in every school and college in the country,” said Bruzon.

Based on field tests of VISSER conducted at schools in various provinces in the Philippines, Making Technology is developing its second version and aims to release it before the end of 2022. The startup hopes to sell the device to more than 7,700 public schools located across the country.

Each unit costs roughly USD 1,200, which is significantly cheaper than science kits sold by existing providers like Vernier (USD 4,800) and Pasco Scientific (USD 12,300). Making Technology provides training to use VISSER, and the unit lasts three to five years depending on frequency of use, handling, and storage.

Making Technology was among the ten finalists of the Alibaba Cloud x KrASIA Global Startup Accelerator Philippines Demo Day that was held on February 8.

This article was written by Sara Mandagie, originally published on KrASIA.

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