Welcome to our new re-built website – well really, more like updated – lol. First of all thank you to all the Students, Parents and Teachers who use the platform everyday. We are confident that it gives value into your children’s learning as we navigate the “new normal” that everyone is talking about. A shout-out too, to our Parents who have encountered online-learning for the first time. No doubt this would be a minor surprise as well as sometimes an annoyance as we navigate the technology for the sake of our kids.
Myself and my wife are parents ourselves with two (2) of our kids studying Grade 5 at RAA. Personally, i am not new to online-learning, as i am a product of one. My days in university was partly done as “distance education” as what it was called back then in Australia. You see i did not grow up here in the Philippines, it was only in the past 15 years that i was back in country. I had the privilege of study and working in Australia for many years before starting a family here in the Philippines – why i came back is another blog story in the future! Back in the days of university in Australia i was doing distance education. The University would send me the text books and activities to which i will snail mail it back to them every 2 weeks. I did this thru the course of 2 years – mind you Bachelor degrees in Australia are only 3 years since they had year 11 and 12 as most commonwealth countries (those countries who still have ties to the British monarchy). I was fun and different and i had questions, the best way was to schedule a call with the professor via standard telephone calls – no shared screens, no zoom, no internet – ancient times to most our millennial parents now! I always thought there was a better way to do this. hence the idea of a distance education platform was borne – some 15 years prior!
I have built various iterations of this product over the past 15 years, but none really had the ease of use and ability to integrate video, chat and screen sharing back then – without paying the high cost of telco service providers. So most of the “online-education” part of paaralan.co was put on shelves until the tech caught up with it. What iterated mostly were school management part wherein schools can keep records of students and their grades and classes. it was a concept literally unheard of in PH about 8 years ago. When i first tried to sell SMS v1.0 to local schools in Quezon City, they barely had computers in the office much more teachers sharing it to use grading their pupils!! Mind you it was a difficult sell so again the project was shelved.
At the start of 2020, i was working on a project to help out my sisters printing business. It involved uploading files and eventually building an app to support its transition online. I have been hearing news of the outbreak and it was in February 2020 when WHO denied the outbreak as a “pandemic” that i realise what it really is – a pandemic (perhaps influence of enough zombie movies)! So it was by chance that i met a partner educator from Mauritius that sparked the idea of remote learning for his school of 400 students. We planned and quickly started building a framework. I thought this would work well in the Philippines i quickly licensed the product and built a more adaptable module for PH and thus Paaralan.co was born! We built the base product in about 3 weeks and deployed it to his school for immediate testing – the results were fantastic! And parents love the simplicity of the design for their kids! Even whilst testing the video integration, we learned a whole lot from 400 kids with different approaches to tech and online learning – i will summarise this on another blog post in the coming days.
Why Paaralan.Co? Why Not? Why not make it our own? it is after all homegrown supported locally and uses technology available worldwide. Paaralan ko is essentially “Our School” to all parents out there this is what i feel it to be. Now is the time to have our school, our kids being educated by our school, we adopt to the new normal, we have our kids safe at home, and we have wonderful teachers who deliver their classes in a simple effective environment – so what else would a parent ask for?