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Imagine Filipino students entering a classroom equipped with advanced computers in desks connected to a central server and can be viewed in a 3D capable television while a teacher talks about integers or digestion. 

Sounds too superficial? Some schools in Taiwan don’t think so. 

And this is basically what the Science Education Institute envisions to be the state of science education in the Philippines in the future. 

Aiming to keep up with current and emerging global trends in science education, the Science Education Institute (SEI) sent six of its staff in Taiwan to undergo extensive study visits with renowned academic and research institutions. 

The SEI team particularly visited Wulai Elementary and Junior High School, a school for indigenous people located at Wulai Township, about an hour away from Taipei City. 

“The local school is a perfect example on how to establish a technology-advanced classroom,” said SEI Innovations Division Chief Lilia Lauron. 

In what it calls as the “Popular Science Classroom”, a concept wherein the classroom serves as a modern multi-media room of the school, Wulai Elementary and Junior High School provides a good model for science and math education which the Philippines can mimic. 

The Popular Science Classroom is equipped with four advanced computers placed in each table for sharing of students, connected to a central server, and can be viewed in a 3D capable television. Actual science artifacts are present aside from the usual textbooks and other references in normal classrooms. 

The classroom is also designed in a fun and engaging way where even the window blinds serve as mind stimulators with its science-related prints. Further reinforcing learning, the school houses the Wulai Atayal Museum which displays photos, relics, and actual samples of the things used by the aborigines of Taiwan. 

“The features of the Popular Science Classroom can be adopted by SEI in conceptualizing a science classroom with resource-efficient state-of-the-art technologies as a prototype for schools,” said SEI Director Dr. Filma G. Brawner. 

Meanwhile, the SEI team also visited the Science Education Center of National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) which boasted its five-year project entitled “Aim for the Top University” which is funded by the Ministry of Education. 

“The project aims to establish a Center for Research Excellence in Science Education or CRESE to integrate advanced information technology and develop innovative approaches for the teaching, learning, and assessment of science to enhance the scientific literacy of all citizens,” said its Director, Prof. Chun-Yen Chang. 

Some of the Center’s innovative strategies include the use of an iPod application in identifying the kinds of rocks pictured in meta-cards; a virtual tour to the NTNU’s campus, and an animated and body movement-controlled tour to Taiwan’s National Park. 

Brawner said that as the lead agency in implementing innovative science education programs and projects in the country, it is necessary to improve institutional cooperation and enhance manpower capacity of the Institute. 

“It is imperative that we seek the help of other institutions or countries who experienced success in their innovative strategies in advancing science education,” Brawner disclosed. (30)