The Department of Science and Technology-Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII) forged separate partnerships with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and Frontlearners, Inc. to boost the content and broaden the base of STARBOOKS beneficiaries in the country.
Representatives of the three institutions formally agreed to the respective partnerships through the signing of memorandums of agreement during DOST-STII’s 30th anniversary celebration last February 27, 2017 at Manila Hotel.
STARBOOKS, which stands for Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosk Station, is the first digital science library in the country. It was developed by DOST-STII which infused into each unit tons of information on science, technology, mathematics, and livelihood, all of which are encoded thru text, photo, and video formats. Using STARBOOKS can be offline, thus it does not require internet connection to access its materials.
Under the MOA, DICT will provide STARBOOKS-enabled computers to selected beneficiaries as part of its Tech4ED Program. As such, the DICT will shoulder the necessary expenses on the deployment of STARBOOKS to beneficiaries.
Tech4ED is a program of DICT that aims to harness ICT to enable, empower and transform society, creating an inclusive, integrated and equitable countryside through providing opportunities for employment and empowering entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, DOST-STII will be responsible for the installation and maintenance, through DOST Regional Offices, of the STARBOOKS system and the mandatory training of technical staff/ librarian/kiosk clerk for the operation of the Kiosks. Aside from that, DOST-STII will regularly update the contents of the STARBOOKS system every six months.
“This collaborative effort of DOST-STII and DICT, through the Tech4ED Program, is about synergy. DOST-STII has the content and DICT has the Tech4ED centers nationwide. Through this partnership, both parties will be able to have a greater impact to their respective end users which are mainly students,” said Alan C. Taule, chief of DOST-STII’s Information Resources and Analysis Division.
On the other hand, the agreement signed between DOST-STII and FrontLearners, Inc. will center on providing additional content for STARBOOKS.
Frontlearners is a ready-to-use, cost effective e-School-in-a-Box with interactive K12 lessons that can be used even without internet. It contains thousands of lessons and exercises aligned with the DepED K12 curriculum and works with or without the internet, thus is ready-to-use by any school.
According to the agreement, Frontlearners, Inc. will provide DOST-STII the digital copy of its BlendEd Learning collection as added materials in the STARBOOKS database Frontlearners, Inc. will also promote the use and disseminate the benefits of using STARBOOKS. The institution will also be responsible for the collection of S&T materials of their affiliated institutions or agencies and libraries for possible inclusion in STARBOOKS.
For its part, DOST-STII will ensure that proper attribution is followed, allotting a module to feature Frontlearners BlendEd Learning as a special collection.
“This partnership with DOST-STII will allow us to add the Frontlearners' e-Learning materials into the STARBOOKS servers. These will be installed in more than 1,000 public schools nationwide this year through the partnership of DOST with DICT Tech4Ed and Children's Hour," said Leo De Velez, Founder of FrontLearners, Inc.
Meanwhile, DOST-STII also partnered with the Children’s Hour, a non-profit organization that supports projects on education, health and nutrition, and child welfare and development for the benefit of disadvantaged Filipino children nationwide. The Children’s Hour will donate STARBOOKS-enabled computers in various local government units and public schools, mostly in southern part of the Philippines.
In recent years, STARBOOKS has been receiving various recognitions, locally and internationally. Among of them was the Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects awarded by American Library Association last June 29, 2015 at the International Librarians Reception at the San Francisco Library in San Francisco, California.
Currently, STARBOOKS has 1, 358 sites all over the country. The Super STARBOOKS version is available online and a mobile application is already being developed to make STARBOOKS more accessible to more people.
STARBOOKS THROUGHOUT THE PHILIPPINES | Department of Science and Technology-Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII) Director Richard P. Burgos(2nd from right, seated), Children’s Hour Senior Associate Ovynania J. Javier (leftmost), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Director and Tech4Ed Program Manager Maria Theresa M. Camba (second from left), and Frontlearners Inc Co-founder Leo R. De Velez (rightmost) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) last February 27, 2017 at Manila Hotel to enrich the content and deployment of STARBOOKS. DICT, through its Tech4ED program, and Children’s Hour will help DOST-STII identify and prioritize its deployment sites while Frontlearners, Inc. will provide additional content to STARBOOKS for free. Also in the photo are (standing, L-R)DOST-STII’s Science Research Specialist Marievic V. Narquita, DOST-STII’s Communication Resources and Production Division Chief Dr. Aristotle P. Carandang, and Frontlearners, Inc. Co-Founder Elaine De Velez to witness the signing of the agreement. (Photo by Frontlearners, Inc.)