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April 25, 2011 / educationkindling

Champion Teacher Profile: Mr. Ronald Samonte

Always chuckling and smiling, Mr. Ronald T. Samonte is truly hard to miss when you visit the island of Lubang. He is a celebrity amongst his people – shaking hands or joking with everyone he sees on the street. You can find him leading a youth church group or community events. His charm is contagious.

Inside and outside the classroom, the children love him. He teaches with warmth, positivity, and a smile. His vision for his children is clear – to transform his students into global citizens. We interviewed him to get to the nitty-gritty of what make him tick as an educator. Check it out!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Ronald Tanaliga Samonte is my complete name. I started working at the Department of Education in October 2009. I was a Catholic private high school (Stella Maris School) teacher for 8 1/2 years, where I owe a lot of my growth as an innovative and competent mentor.

I became a teacher by accident. I really dreamed to be an accountant before – being in the marginalized was the primary obstacle. So far, I am enjoying being with the kids and my colleagues. I love teaching because I want to produce students better than I am. I commit myself to selflessly impart my knowledge and skills to the kids.

So how are you using technology in the classroom?

Maximizing the use of the Internet and the laptops, I really take the time to download videos related to our topic and current events as part of our daily Science News. We discuss current events such as the recent Japanese tsunami. The kids exercise their critical thinking skills to answers questions either individually or by group. Through the help of eKindling via Mam Tessa Yuvienco, we are developing lesson plans that integrate the XO laptops into our learning.

Any other cool learning activities you are doing with the XO Laptop?

We had a lesson on soil erosion. Using the Etoys, Browse and Write activities on the XO Laptop, we explored how people and animals cause soil erosion.The focus was also to increase environmental consciousness and “green” programs.

How is our program affecting our kids learning?

The kids find it awesome. Learning is especially effective flow if activities and tools or devices are within the level of their understanding, interest, background, experiences and expectations. I am proud to say…I am a CONSTRUCTIVIST adapting Understanding by Design (UBD) as always reiterated by Mam Tessa and my former boss in the private school.

Kids actively construct their understanding of reality through interactions with objects, events and people in the environment and reflecting on these interactions. Thus, kids organize their understanding in an organized structure. In those interactive activities, kids play active rather than passive roles.

Learning is constructed knowledge.

At Education Kindling, we’re looking to lead an education movement, why should people get involved in innovating education and rethinking learning for children?

Innovative learning should be part of the curriculum to make the course of study relevant. Technology in education should be encompassing to produce learners who are global citizens and globally competitive. More people should get involved. Innovative learning leads to prosperity for all.

March 4, 2011 / educationkindling

OlpcMAP eKindling’s Trivia!

Thanks to Cherry Wither's for this picture!

Please post your answer to the comment area!

  1. What was the name of the grassroots org where eKindling started from?
  2. What do you call an eKindling volunteer who wants to make a big change in education in the Philippines?
  3. How many laptops went to the deployment?
  4. Which small island in the Philippines did it go to?
  5. Give the month/year for the first eKindling deployment?
  6. What group/community raised funds for the first XO Laptop deployment in the Philippines?
  7. Who from eKindling’s team recently spoke at the recent TEDxManila?
  8. Follow eKindling on Twitter!
  9. What is Halo Halo?
  10. In 1974, the island of Lubang received international attention. Why?
  11. List three TED talks (including their links) that we posted on our Facebook Page.
  12. As listed in our only slideshare document on the web, what are the 4 ways you can get involved in our cause?
  13. Is it true that a Filipino Inventor invented the Karaoke?
  14. What are the names of the two schools participating in our first OLPC pilot in the country?
  15. Who from eKindling’s team is also part of
January 1, 2011 / educationkindling

Happy New Year: OLPC Epic Wins, Doing Things Better and the Long Journey Ahead! 

On behalf of Education Kindling (eKindling), Manigong Bagong Taon (Happy New Year)!

Woah! 2010 was a blur and it was filled with challenges, surprises, and epic wins for our first One Laptop Per Child deployment in the Philippines. Here are some of the inspirational highlights:

  1. Enhancing teaching and learning talents: 4 champion educators, 4 Tech Squad Kids, parents and administrators were trained in the National Computer Center on the use of XO laptops in the classrooms, maintenance and repair, and powerful and innovative ways of digital learning! Watch our Tech Squad Kids: co-teachers in the classroom.
  2. Inspirational Fundraising: In honor of the Mayor Juan Sanchez of Lubang, Mindoro, a community of National Computer Center employees, successfully raised nearly $24,000 to purchase 100 XO laptop. Through an email campaign and word of mouth, they collected donations ranging from $5-$2000 from over 100 individuals. Inspirational, grassroots fundraising, right? Are you inspired enough to start your own fundraising campaign?
  3. New Awesome Partners: Both Asian Pacific College and University of the Philippines signed up as our first university partners. They will develop new learning activities and tools for the XO laptop and provide technical support when needed. Milbank Tweed also signed up as our legal counsel and became our first media partner, spreading the joys of our work to the world!
  4. 100 XO Laptops launched: On November 24, 2010, 100 XO laptops were deployed in two schools on the island of Lubang, Mindoro. Children are learning fractions and entrepreneurship skills using the Finance Activity on the XO Laptop. They are accessing wikipedia to learn about biofuels and preserving Lubang’s woodlands. They are recording and taking photos of Lubang’s heritage sites to learn about their history. They are learning with the XO laptop outside the classroom and in the school garden, beach front, and town center! Truly inspirational. Check out the photos: Launch Ceremony Album.
  5. Philippines Sec. of Education, Bro. Armin Luistro’s great surprise: On Dec 6, 2010, we shared our work with the world with a formal launching that was attended by the Philippine’s Secretary of Education, government officials, major media outlets, donors and supporters. In reference to the OLPC pilot, Sec. Luistro said “we were struck by this. We always thought that the best ideas were in Manila, in a first-class city with lots of money. But to our great surprise, what we thought was only possible was already a reality in Lubang.” Photos: here; Press: here.
  6. TED talks! This past December, our Education Guru, Tessa Yuvienco spoke at TedxManila as a TED speaker. What an honor! We do our best to tell our story and our passion to rethink and innovate education for all children in the Philippines. Check out the picture at TED: team photo

What a year! This all became possible because of your support. However, we are humbled by the long journey ahead. After all, this is not about parachuting technologies into classrooms. It is about providing a meaningful education that will position our children for success as the next leaders, life-long learners, problem solvers and change makers of the 21st century. With this said, this year is about doing things better!

This year, we want to include you more. Please join the conversation about educating our children. Ask questions. If you feel inspired, email us at about starting a fundraiser or volunteering as a developer or entrepreneur. If you know movers and shakers, CSR programs, or philanthropic organizations, connect us to them. The journey is long, but it’s exciting! And we invite you to join!

There’s a lot in store for us in 2011 and with your support, extraordinary possibilities will turn into reality. Again, on behalf of Education Kindling, we hope you have a warm, fuzzy, and prosperous new year!


Ryan Letada

Executive Director

Education Kindling (eKindling)