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SEARCA staff members enhance awareness on internet protocols and potentials in IBM outreach

  • 10 August 2016

Dr. Maria Monina Villena brainstorming with groupmates during the design thinking workshop

LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA - Three staff members of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) explored in a learning event for a national high school some protocols and potentials of the internet, courtesy of the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) and partners.

Ms. Zara Mae Estareja presenting their group's outputMs. Avril Adrianne Madrid, Dr. Maria Monina Villena, and Ms. Zara Mae Estareja participated in the IBM-Corporate Service Corps (IBM-CSC)’s community service activity entitled “Ugnayan 2016: Connecting the Youth through IT” held at the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA) on July 22, 2016.

Simultaneous workshops on Training for Teachers and Trainors (T3) and Design Thinking were facilitated by IBM-CSC volunteers and partners from Peace Corps and Pyxera. Among other participants were PHSA faculty and students, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) staff members, and media representatives.

The Training for Teachers and Trainors (T3) on Internet Safety and Cyber bullying session covered three topics: Victims, Predators, Protectors, and Bystanders Activity; Internet Safety; and Cyberbullying. It included an outdoor activity that used balloons to demonstrate the roles of the said characters on Internet Safety. The lectures were synopses of the outdoor activity. The session also tackled experiences of victims of internet-related violence, and lessons on how to avoid and/or deal with internet safety and cyberbullying concerns. According to Ms. Madrid, SEARCA Program Specialist (Knowledge Resources), the lessons from this session are relevant to parents and individuals who deal with teenagers, as well as to individuals who lack awareness on internet safety. She said that it is important to pass on these lessons to others so that everyone realizes the importance of being safe online.

Design Thinking workshop on Collaboration through Internet focused on effective ways of brainstorming and stakeholders mapping. It focused on empathizing with the stakeholders-- knowing their background, goals, and beliefs; identifying their pains and gains; and understanding their needs. The participants came up with a “big absurd idea/project” that uses IT that would address the stakeholders’ needs. According to Dr. Villena, SEARCA-BIC Coordinator, Design Thinking is usually used for business and advertising, but it is also a useful and interesting methodology to solicit ideas from partners. She added that this method can also be used as “needs assessment’’ for stakeholders who are new in the industry.

Facilitators of the parallel workshop included Ms. Rachel Mims of Peace Corps, and Ms. Melody Balcet and Ms. Jacquie Liston of IBM for the T3 session, while Mr. Richard Chang, Ms. Melissa Greco, and Ms. Kirsten Haver Droeze of IBM-CSC facilitated the Design Thinking workshop.

Ms. Balcet, IBM Certified Senior Managing Consultant and also an IBM-CSC volunteer, shared, “the global partnership between IBM and Peace Corps is new and both organizations are still in the learning phase in determining how to leverage the best of both organizations to make a big impact on communities around the world.”

The community service activity served as the culmination of the 30-day IBM-CSC-Peace Corps Program in the Philippines, where 15 high-performing IBM staff from all over the globe worked in Los Baños in teams of three, one with SEARCA and four with IRRI. (Zara Mae C. Estareja)

IBMers facilitated the workshop during Ugnayan 2016