Batis Online: Filipino Teaching Resources on the Internet
The subject Filipino has been unfairly tagged by students for a long time. It’s boring. It’s not necessary. It’s outdated. It’s hard. Of course, Filipino is our national language. It is mandatory that we study it in full and in depth. The fact remains that the content and methods used in the subject may already be out of touch with the world of our students.
One way you, as a Filipino teacher, can bridge the gap between the subject you are passionate about and the reality of your students is to go digital. While you may be using content from books and you wish your students to do the same, you have to accept that part of your students’ reality is virtual reality. Information is available online. Instead of scolding them, you can provide a guide for them in seeking information on Filipino online. Below are some safe Internet places for you and for them to visit, explore and use.
I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about Wikipedia. You’ve had students who use it in their research instead of going to the library. You’ve probably read or heard of how the content of the online encyclopedia is not to be trusted. And so on. Wikipedia is just one of the many online knowledge portals called wikis. In the Philippines, publishing company Vibal, through Vibal Foundation, started the WikiPilipinas.org website to serve as an online encyclopedia of anything and everything Filipino. The idea was conceptualized in 2007 and has now grown fully into an excellent online resource.
Wikipilipinas.org has three sections: WikiPilipinas, WikiFilipino and WikiHealth.
WikiPilipinas is in English. It is an encyclopedia in all senses, and more. You can find articles with or without citations, but rest assured that the contributors have the ability to research the library of Vibal Foundation and the online library of Filipiniana.net. There are also photos with Creative Commons licensing, which means you can use them in teaching.
The following are the portals or categories in WIkiPilipinas: Media and Entertainment, Government and Politics, Business and Economics, Religion and Beliefs, People and Society, Culture and Arts, Geography and travel, Communities, Philippine History, Science and Technology, and Philippine Websites.
All these portals have subportals or subcategories. While the site is a work in progress, you can already benefit from the materials uploaded in the website. Articles or entries for terms, names, places and things Pinoy include citations and photos, plus external links to other resources.
WikiPilipinas also has special portals for certain human interest topics. The following are current special portals: Aklas, Alamat, Barangay, Chikiting, Etniko, Fiesta, Komiks, Kusina, Laro, Libro, Moda, Nostalgia, Women’s Portal, Philippine Species, Musika, Pelikula, Teleserye, Travel Guide, Edukasyon, and Rizalania. During the University of the Philippines Centennial Year, the website also featured a special portal for all things UP.
As you can see, WikiPilipinas is an excellent place for you and your students to seek information and learn more. One way you can use the articles is to ask your students to write a research paper on a particular topic related to the Philippines and use the site to find data. This way, they get to process information in English and write in Filipino.
Aside from the many informative pieces and accompanying related images, charts and videos, Wikipilipinas also has other sections. Current events and breaking news go under the News section. A Question and Answer section called Ask Mindy is also part of the website’s homepage.
WikiFilipino is WikiPilipinas in Filipino. Your students will learn a lot just by navigating the pages of the website. While WikiFilipino still has a long way to go, there are hard-to-find information in its pages, too.
The following are the main portals (lagusan)or categories: Buhay at Sining, Lakbayan Bayan, Kasaysayan at Pangyayari, Agham at Kalusugan, Aliwan, and Isports. The homepage features the following: Tampok na Artikulo, Wiki-Balita, Tampok na Video, Tatak-Pinoy, Taas-Noo Pilipino, Pamahiin, and Ngayong Buwan.
All articles are written in Filipino, which makes the website useful for your classes if you prefer your students to read and write in Filipino for their research. A possible project you can start is to have your students write short articles or entries on terms and things Pinoy that are still not in the website. Once you have gone over your students’ works, you can even set up your own small wiki or online portal via blogging.
WikiHealth is also in Filipino, and it is a project in partnership with the Department of Health. This is another are you can explore especially since you can use content from another field as material in teaching Filipino.
Filipiniana.net gives your library a run for its money. Yes, it’s a digital online library that seeks to feature the most important Filipiniana documents, books and materials. From the oldest documents of the Spanish period, to the most recent graphic novels, you can find information on a book as long as it’s Filipino. Aside from books and publications, the website also has archives of photos and images that you can use in teaching.
You can browse the website library by author, title or category. The following are the categories in the website: Culture, Economy, English, Geography, Government, History, Religion, Science, and Society.
Filipiniana.net is also hoping to create an online database of books and resources on special topics. Currently, the following collections are on the works: The Complete Jose Rizal, 100 Nobelang Tagalog, Philippine Revolutionary Records, Top 100 Pinoy Komiks, Philippine Labor Studies, Philippine Legal database, Philippine Women’s Studies, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Premio Zobel (Philippine Literature in Spanish), and Virtual Katipunan.
Some documents are available for full viewing online, so you won’t need to go to the National Library. Others are only catalogued, so maybe you can request these books from your librarian.
As is always the case with using online information, double-checking is a must. Make sure your students also know how to effectively find accurate information online and how to properly paraphrase and cite information they find.
(Photo by nazreth on stock.xchng)