DepEd-6 holds first ‘innovation fair’ featuring students’ IT works

(Joseph B.A. Marzan photos)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

The Department of Education-Region 6 (DepEd-6) last Oct 27, 2022 held an information technology (IT) fair in Iloilo City, showcasing the digital innovation talents of students across the region as nurtured by the agency.

In partnership with Indian multi-national IT services and consulting firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the DepEd-6 held the 1st goIT Digital Innovation Fair featuring 30 teams of students from different schools in the region.

These 30 teams from 21 DepEd Schools Divisions were culled from a series of workshops conducted by DepEd-6 and TCS that introduced many topics under Information Technology (IT) and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses to students.

Students who joined the workshop were tasked to identify different issues in the community and develop a digital innovation solution to see where technology can play a role and were likewise guided by faculty advisers.

“Tabang”, an emergency assistance application by students from Dumolog National High School in Roxas City, Capiz, bested the 29 other contenders.

The application has four main features, including ‘I Need Help’ for online and accessible offline tools, ‘I am Safe’ which sends an automatic message to designated emergency contacts, ‘Call Hotline’ which makes an automated call to emergency hotlines, and ‘I am Updated’ which provides the latest need-to-know information on emergencies and hazards.

The rest of the top five in the competition include:

–          “SIGHTS (Sensory Imagery Giving Help to Sightless)”, a virtual assistant app for visually challenged students from Jose Diva Avelino Jr. National High School in Pontevedra, Capiz (2nd Place);

–          “The Solution”, an assistant app for medication adherence for the general public by Tanque National High School in Roxas City, Capiz (3rd Place);

–          “AgriGrow”, a virtual agriculture assistant app for low-income residents by Gil Montilla National High School in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental (4th Place); and

–          “Pink Wisely”, a price assistant app for women’s products by Ramon Torres National High School in Bago City, Negros Occidental (5th Place).

Special awards were also given to the “Botika” app by Capiz National High School in Roxas City as Best Pitch, and to the “H2Flow” app by Sum-ag National High School from Bacolod City as Best Poster.

DepEd Assistant Secretary for Youth Affairs and Special Concerns, Dr. Dexter Galban, said that the program with TCS has allowed more young people to get involved in technological developments nationwide.

“We are now even more hopeful that with the support of our regional offices, we could further amplify the interest of our young learners in tech, boost their exposure to opportunities to undergo specialized training, and even strengthen the role of young innovators as emerging leaders in the industry,” Galban said in a recorded message.

DepEd-6 Regional Director Ramir Uytico told media prior to the fair that this was a testament to the regional office’s moniker “Home of the Champions”, amid current and recurring challenges to the education sector.