September 25, 2023

The digital library Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosk Station (Starbooks) of the Department of Science and Technology will soon be available via datacasting.

Starbooks is a stand-alone information source designed to reach those with limited or no access to Science and Technology information resources.

The project provides science, technology, and innovation-based content in various formats to students and other constituents in geographically isolated and economically challenged schools and communities nationwide.

It contains hundreds of thousands of digitized science and technology resources in various formats (text, investigative materials, journals and encyclopedia, and video/audio) placed in specially designed pods set in a user-friendly interface.

On Starbooks’ 11th year, DOST signed a partnership with the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) to make the portal available in select pilot grade schools and high schools.

ASTI has been using datacasting, or data broadcasting mechanisms through both digital television and Low-Earth Orbit satellites in distributing educational resource materials in remote communities.

While datacasting is not a substitute for the Internet, it provides a viable means of delivering learning resource materials in far-flung areas.

“The latest shift in learning, from traditional face-to-face to remote education, has highlighted the need for a reliable information and communications technology infrastructure and system in the country. It has also revealed the widening digital divide in unserved and underserved areas, where access to the Internet and information are minimal to none,” ASTI Director Franz de Leon said in a statement.

ASTI will train local IT personnel from DOST regional offices, who will manage the datacasting and the Starbooks resources.

The Institute will also accommodate the Starbooks’ researchers working on alternative teaching modalities to assess the effectiveness of datacasting.

ASTI will provide data on the number of times the resources were watched and will help in conducting a social impact assessment.

The DOST’s Science Information and Technology Institute (STII), which manages Starbooks, will ensure that resources are aligned with the Department of Education’s learning competencies and the most essential learning competencies stated in the agency’s curriculum.

In addition, STII will provide orientation and training to supervisors and teachers.

Should there be technical problems, the STII shall manage the repair and troubleshooting activities.

“With this partnership, we are taking another significant step to achieving our shared goal of improving the state of infrastructure, education, resilience, and overall quality of life in the country,” de Leon said. – PNA