Tuesday, March 15, 2016

DOST opens 'STARBOOKS' in Legazpi resettlement school
By Gina V. Rodriguez

LEGAZPI CITY, March 14 (PNA) --The air around Grade 10 student Venjie Cabria inside a computer laboratory room of the Taysan Resettlement Integrated School in Barangay Taysan in this city was thick with expectations.

“Sobrang (I felt very much) excited,” Cabria said on Monday when he came face to face for the second time with STARBOOKS (Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosk Station), which is tucked in a corner of the lab room, one of 23 classrooms in the one-story schoolbuilding perched in the hilltop village.

From now on, the computer server, which has a wealth of information on science and technology that could be accessed even if there is no Internet, will be their class' important partner after it was launched inside the room earlier by the Department of Science and Technology.

Schoolmates, teachers, and school authorities, who tried to squeeze inside the room for the inaugural rites, were just as fired up when keynote guest DOST Assistant Secretary Urdujah Tejada asked Cabria to be the first to try the server.

During his first encounter with the gadget, Cabria registered, opened an account, and scrolled the search bar where he typed “DNA structure.”

The screen flashed with the information he was looking for.

“There is a lot I could learn from it. This would be of big help in my studies,” he beamed.

Now Cabria would not have to go to a computer shop anymore if he wants to do research in Biology, a favorite subject.

“The study of life has always fascinated me,” he said.

The computer server at the Taysan site was the sixth installed by DOST in Albay and the 38th across the Bicol Region that included the 6 in Albay, 4 in Camarines Norte, 17 in Camarines Sur, 1 in Catanduanes, 3 in Masbate and 7 in Sorsogon.

Aside from schools, the other STARBOOKS recipients included local government units and nongovernment organizations.

Tejada represented DOST Secretary Mario Montejo in the launch in Taysan, held as part of a three-day “Science Nation Tour” of the department in Albay and Camarines Sur on March 2-4 that was intended to make science felt by the ordinary Filipino.

Library

DOST-Bicol Regional Director Tomas BriƱas, in an earlier media briefing, said the server, which he described as a digital science and technology library, is also known as a “library in a box.”

He said STARBOOKS has rich materials sourced from local and foreign linkages, subscriptions, archive collections and in-house publications.

It has thousands of resource materials but browsing of its contents that are in various formats--text and video/audio--are easy because of their user-friendly interfaces.

It even has Encyclopedia Britannica in its collection with its contents categorized into elementary, high school and college levels.

The server, pegged as a “stand-alone information kiosk” by the agency, also has how-to videos on livelihood opportunities called “Tamang DOSTkarte Livelihood Videos” that were produced by DOST’s Technology Resource Center.

Developed by the Science and Technology Information Institute of the agency, STARBOOKS seeks to stimulate curious minds into developing new ideas and inspire their entrepreneurial and research spirit.

Hands-on

“It is very informative with a range of topics such as climate and weather which is what we are discussing now in Earth Science,” said Grade 6 teacher Reggie Baile.

She said her fellow teachers were able to browse through the server a week prior to the launch when it was brought in for testing and they found out that it also contains a lot of modules, even some thesis materials.

“It would make the children very happy as they could do hands-on work even if it does not allow them to save material on their USB,” said Baile.

The equipment is on “read-only” format.

Baile, who is coordinator of the school’s Information, Communication and Technology room, said elementary students in Grades 4, 5 and 6 and the high school students will get their chance to use the server.

School principal Ma. Theresa Ruivivar said the school is “very grateful” for the additional equipment to the computer room, which currently has three functioning computer terminals provided three years ago by the Department of Education’s Computer Program.

The integrated school, the first and only such school in the Division of Legazpi City, has 425 students in elementary and 625 in high school.

“Rest assured what is given to our school will be fully utilized and treasured,” said Analiza Ricamunda, DepEd Legazpi District 1 supervisor.

The school, located south of the city, was created in 2008 to serve children of families displaced from Barangay Padang, a low-lying area north of the city that was ravaged by mudflows from Mayon Volcano during supertyphoon "Reming" in November 2006.

Science tour

The Bicol leg of DOST’s 17-region "Science Nation Tour” in 2015-2016, which has the theme “Agham na Ramdam (science that is felt),” made trips to complementary food processing and production facilities, a key part of the agency’s drive against malnutrition.

There were visits to a training production and livelihood center and project sites of DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), which assists small and medium enterprises to adopt technological innovations to boost productivity and make their products competitive in the market.

The science tour made a stop at an orientation-training for local government units on Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards).

The latter develops cutting-edge technologies to provide information to help the government’s disaster prevention and mitigation efforts.

Tejada and the DOST team helped launch the Bicol Integrated Dengue Vector Management Program (BIDVMP) which integrates the efforts of various government agencies in the prevention and control of dengue in the communities.

The group also attended a summit of DOST scholars, some of whom shared their success stories and talents in the on-the-spot essay writing and poster making contests.

On the last day of the Science Nation Tour, Undersecretary Rowena Guevarra presented in behalf of Montejo the DOST’s banner programs highlighting its goal of “innovation for sustainable development.” This was at the full council meeting of the Regional Development Council at the National Economic Development Authority office in Arimbay, Legazpi City. (PNA) LAP/FGS/GVR/CBD