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Filipina educator recognized at global tech education initiative

Filipina teacher Jen Padernal was among five educators who Microsoft chose to be a speaker in its annual Hack The Classroom event, streamed live from Philadelphia, USA. Padernal, a volunteer at De La Salle University-Dasmariñas (DLSU-D), was cited for her outstanding execution in incorporating digital technology in her teaching methods.

Hack the Classroom is an annual live, digital event that focuses on how educators can personalize learning experiences to empower every student to find his or her voice. Educators from across the globe share real-life experiences of how new techniques could positively impact students long-term.

Padernal is the only representative from outside the US for this year’s run. Speaking to a live audience and thousands tuned in from around the world, she proudly shared how she was able to increase student engagement by 100 percent, even with class attendance barriers, with the simple use of Microsoft Teams, a unified communications platform that combines workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration.

“Sometimes, it is in our hands to determine how to utilize technology to bring about solutions to challenges that arise from day-to-day activities,” Padernal said. “We, as educators, must be able to recognize the importance of adapting to technology in order to deliver personalized learning experiences that give us better learning outcomes.”

Jen’s involvement in the Microsoft community and her passion for education and technology led her to become a “teaching with technology” trainer, helping teachers from private and public schools around the world to integrate technology in their classrooms, both in a virtual and face-to-face delivery mode.

“With hardworking educators like Jen as our partner, we know that we are one step closer to realizing our dream of changing the world through education and technology,” Microsoft Education Programs Lead Clarissa Segismundo noted. “We call for more Filipino teachers to explore how they can transform their teaching methods using all the available resources and technology we are given today.”

Bridging the gap

After realizing that it was a challenge to meet her class regularly due to her and her students’ professions, all of whom are working adults, Jen decided to utilize accessible technology to teach virtually. Using Microsoft Teams, Jen facilitates her Organizational Development course over a live session, where her students join the meeting and engage in discussion behind their screens from the comfort of their homes and workplaces.

Following her first virtual class, Jen discovered that her students were more involved in the discussion, responding to chatrooms and even giving comments during the session. According to Jen, the virtual class gained double engagement compared to when she holds face-to-face classes, where almost no one wants to raise their hand and participate.

“Microsoft is proud to see how our technology helps educators and innovators like Jen in providing academic solutions at a time that is most needed,” Microsoft General Manager Andres Ortola said. “We look forward to partnering and empowering more Filipino teachers and schools to bring quality education using today’s digital innovations.”

Apart from teaching at DLSU-D, Padernal is also the Global Director for e-learning integration at CYPHER LEARNING, a global company that specializes in providing learning platforms for organizations around the world and is also actively supporting a Disaster-Proof Education across the Philippines and worldwide.

In 2013, Padernal became one of the Microsoft Education Ambassadors in the Philippines and was later selected as one of the Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts worldwide.