REDMOND, WASHINGTON – Microsoft has introduced a new platform on AI education called the AI Business School, a free, on-demand, online course borne out of three years of conversations with leading AI adopters and customers across the globe.
The launch follows the release of the results of a survey conducted among business leaders in the United States, Europe, and Asia Pacific, which measured AI’s impact on markets, organizations, and jobs.
“The AI Business School is a step towards helping more organizations understand AI, while also preparing or accelerating them towards adoption. We envision this platform to equip business leaders with knowledge gained from AI adopters in different industries across the globe, each with their own challenges which we hope others can identify with,” Microsoft Philippines Chief Operations Officer Christian Lim said.
Microsoft focused on four core areas for the school: strategy, culture, technology basics, and responsible AI. These are imparted through a master class series of case studies and instructional videos, with additional tools evaluating a business’s maturity for AI adoption. According to Lim, the AI Business School ultimately wants to communicate AI’s business value, guide business leaders on defining their AI strategy, and help executives create AI governance models to ensure positive impact.
In Microsoft and International Data Corporation’s (IDC) recent study, Future Ready Business: Assessing Asia Pacific’s Growth Potential Through AI1, it was found that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will allow the rate of innovation of Filipino companies to increase by 1.7 times, and nearly double employee productivity gains. The study also established that 74% of Filipino business leaders and workers view AI’s impact on jobs positively, with majority acknowledging how it can help them do their jobs better or improve business processes especially on repetitive tasks.
“Of the 109 Filipino business leaders involved in the study, only 45% have embarked on AI journeys. This reinforces the need to increase awareness and understanding of AI especially for Filipino business leaders and companies. We are positive that the AI Business School will help with that objective,” Lim concluded.
The AI Business School may be accessed through:
THE integration of technology-driven practices in the modern workplace has shined a light on a mismatch between what many companies need from employees and the work habits of many in the workforce. Recent technological innovations call for personnel who are digitally adept and can thrive in an increasingly digital environment. Thus, employers these days often face the prospect of spending considerable resources to up-skill recruits and capacitate them for the workplace.
The country’s pioneer in online education bridges this gap between the need for digital competence much valued in new hires and the actual ability of new graduates to work in the digital workplace. While offering the same academic content as traditional brick-and-mortar universities, AMA University Online Education’s approach to the teaching process allows students to experience technology in different formats.
“Our approach to education allows students to develop the needed digital skills and competence often lacking in today’s demanding and competitive workplace,” said Dr. Amable “Miguel” C. Aguiluz IX, AMA Education System Vice Chairman and CEO.
AMA OEd is the first and only online education that offers full degree programs in the Philippines. Students who enroll in online courses are required to participate in interactive online activities, such as communicating through email, instant message, holding discussion sessions, and completing online assignments. Furthermore, AMA OEd’s corporate partnerships ensure that their graduates have firsthand knowledge and experience of how it is to work in the modern workplace.
This type of learning environment has the potential of transitioning graduates more easily into the workplace. For their employers, this means less time and resources devoted to training and up-skilling of new employees, harnessing instead their productivity from day one.
The modern workplace is also characterized by flexible shared spaces, where employers encourage their employees to have a work-life balance by allowing them to work remotely at specific times. Online education is taken and completed on the online landscape and its students have become accustomed to effectively completing courses and tasks from home. Employees with an online education are able to carry over this behavior of remotely working and effectively multi-tasking to the workplace.
Aside from a change in communication methods and work setting, behavior within the workplace is also shifting to a more collaborative approach. Traditional workplaces are built on the concept of competition, where the most plaudits go to those who successfully climb the corporate ladder. Modern workplaces, on the other hand, emphasize collaboration, with employees working together to achieve the best results. Online education exposes its students to educators and fellow students from a wide range of fields and locations, allowing them to develop a stronger affinity for collaboration.
With the Philippine government recently enacting the Telecommuting Act (Republic Act 11165), more corporations and businesses are expected to embrace this change alongside other modern practices to improve company performance. Employers will want graduates who possess all the necessary skills to excel in their respective departments, and employers will choose graduates who may be trusted to contribute to the company’s goals wherever they are.
“At AMA, we take pride not only in teaching the youth but also in educating the workforce needed by today’s economy,” says Dr. Aguiluz IX.
“We hope to see more of our youth more capably take on the modern workplace, fully realizing their potential in the digital age.”
Photo above: 30 students from Mano Amiga Academy completed the full-day robotics lesson under the DevCon Kids program led by mentors from DevCon Philippines.
THE quality of ICT education in the Philippines is definitely a pressing concern, with education stakeholders repeatedly calling for capacity-building for teachers, allocating sufficient resources, and partnering with the private sector to accelerate ICT education.
One learning institution that is taking concrete steps in making this change happen is a small non-profit K-to-12 school for students from low-income families, Mano Amiga Academy, which offers international quality education to help marginalized youth cope with and even become globally competitive in today’s digital environment.
‘Life-proofing our students’
Mano Amiga Academy’s teaching philosophy takes an innovative approach to fulfilling the educational needs of today’s youth. This includes project-based learning (PBL), a method that develops critical thinking, communication, and collaboration in students as they work together to solve the problems that are relevant to their communities.
“PBL is just one of the many means by which we are life-proofing our students so that they are equipped to deal with real problems,” said Lynn Pinugu, executive director and founder of Mano Amiga. “Nevertheless, bridging technological gaps still requires external support. For instance, our school still lacks a computer laboratory, a stable internet connection, and other tech tools.”
In spite of these limitations, Mano Amiga Academy made a decision to equip their students with digital competence. They collaborated with Developers Connect Philippines (DevCon), an organization dedicated to promoting information technology in the country by bringing tech professionals together to actively provide digital opportunities to more Filipinos.
Mano Amiga Academy and DevCon piloted a program, called DevCon Kids, that seeks to impart technology skills to students at an early age. The program led to the formation of a DevCon Club, which now counts 30 members selected from grades seven to nine who possess a certain level of aptitude and knowledge in science and math. Every week, DevCon Kids mentors discuss lessons, such as coding and design thinking, specifically developed for the program.
One of these mentors is Joel Bautista, who is also a full-time computer science teacher at the Philippine Science High School. A Lead Instructor for DevCon Kids, Joel joined the program’s core team because he believed in their advocacy of teaching kids life skills that are beyond the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic.
“We are in the 21st century and we want to instill computer science skills, problem solving, creativity, and collaboration in today’s kids,” said Joel. “Our goals and those of Mano Amiga are parallel—we're both serving the underserved. We are aware that they don't have computer labs like other schools do and it's DevCon’s way of extending help by teaching these new topics.”
Inclusive digital competitiveness
Mano Amiga Academy students and DevCon Club members JC Gorgonio and Cheska Andes share their excitement about the program.
Cheska has always enjoyed language classes the most, getting her best grades in English and Filipino, but after joining DevCon Club, her grades in Math and Science started improving.
“I signed up for DevCon Club because we don't have a computer at home and I wanted to know more about how computers and the internet worked,” said Cheska.
A highlight in the DevCon Kids program is a full-day lesson in robotics. The students were paired up and provided an mBot each. mBots are educational robot kits designed for kids who are just starting to learn about robot software. The students learned how to program their robots and create codes to make them move, transmit a sound if it senses light, navigate and follow a track, and even wrestle against another robot.
“Honestly, our first few lessons in DevCon Club were really hard. My friends and I almost quit but we kept going because of our cheerful mentors and our supportive student affairs coordinator,” said JC, a grade seven student. “We’re also excited for our next lesson on making mobile apps.”
Seeing the success of their pilot program and the positive feedback from the students, Mano Amiga Academy and DevCon plan to continue what they have started to reach more children and expose them to computer science and information technology.
Mano Amiga Academy will continue running DevCon Club, and encourage the older students to transmit their learning to incoming grades seven to nine students.
“We are very thankful for DevCon’s commitment to make computer science accessible to more of our young people. They’ve provided all the requirements for our students, easing their worries over having to acquire the laptops and other equipment themselves,” said Lynn.
“We will replicate DevCon Kids one school at a time, applying insights from the pioneer batch in developing a hybrid program that we will use for future beneficiaries. We hope to work with donors as well, as running the program requires a lot of resources—laptops, high-speed WiFi, and a facility conducive to the learning,” said Shumate Royo, managing director of DevCon Philippines.
With programs like DevCon Kids, ICT education becomes available to more children from all social strata, paving their way to digital competitiveness.
In 2018, the World Economic Forum ranked the Philippines 53rd among 63 countries in terms of digital competitiveness. A report from the Department of Education (DepEd) further states that only 26% of public schools in the country have internet access.
Add to this picture the fact that the current school curriculum only offers computer programming in senior high school for the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) strand of the Technical Vocational Track. There is also a lack of ICT devices in many schools nationwide as computer laboratories are still being built.
This is the reason
The roots of this homegrown approach to Math started from a country with a population that struggled with Mathematics. Like most developing countries, they depended on textbooks and curriculum from foreign publishers. Recognizing the important role of Math education in shaping the citizens’ global proficiency, the Ministers of Education decided to take charge of the country's learning roadmap and developed an approach never before used in the world.
Enter Singapore Math, a teaching method that places emphasis on mathematical fluency through problem-solving without the need for rote learning and memorization. Fewer topics are introduced per level but discussed in greater detail, allowing deeper understanding and creating a strong foundation for higher math learning.
This change in direction proved effective as the country reaped its benefits. Since 1995, Singapore has consistently ranked first (or in the top three) in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). The tables suddenly turned and Singapore Math became the resource and standard of effective approaches to learning Math. Now, over 25 countries including USA, Canada, France, Saudi Arabia, and Israel (including the Philippines) have incorporated Singapore Math into their textbooks.
As one of the pioneers in advancement in learning, Galileo Enrichment Learning Program was the first to introduce Singapore Math as an after-school program and the first to hold Singapore Math Festivals in the Philippines. The Galileo Singapore Math Program aims to enhance the Math skills of students aged 6-12 through the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract (CPA) Approach. This learning strategy allows the student to represent math concepts first through actual and concrete objects, then reinforced with a visual method called bar modeling, before finally progressing to mental solving techniques.
To strengthen its Singapore Math Program, Galileo has partnered with Add-Venture Learning, a publishing and training company headquartered in Singapore. Add-Venture Learning specializes in making Singapore Math an enjoyable experience for students through their game packages, apps, magazines, and training. Behind their products are prominent figures in the world of Singapore Math and are recognized for their contribution in shaping and training Singapore teachers of the Ministry of Education.
The two educational think tanks have shared teaching and learning philosophies which complement their approach to making learning fun and meaningful through play. Both Galileo and Add-Venture believe that a child learns best by enjoying what is taught. Both companies employ game-play elements and a variety of activities to bring amusement, wonder, and knowledge in every engagement of any child.
To introduce the partnership, Galileo and Add-Venture Learning held a special event entitled “Awesome Singapore Math Add-Ventures.” The event discussed the hows and whys of Singapore Math by demonstrating how to unlock sample Math problems. The discussion was handled by Dr. Queena Lee-Chua, one of the leading minds in Math and an advocate of Singapore Math. She was joined by Scott L. Chua, who shared his experiences of transitioning into a Singapore Math program and how it helped shape his Math skills.
For more details on the Singapore Math Program and the Add-Venture Learning materials, contact the Head Office at 845-1234 or select centers: Galileo Legaspi, Makati City (810-8506); Galileo Better Living, Parañaque (846-5398, 0998-793-9363); Galileo Malabon (362-3154); Galileo Parada, Valenzuela (291-1136, 0948-365-2970); Galileo Sta. Rosa, Laguna (502-7023, 0988 554 8101); and Galileo Bacolod (433-4713, 0917-801-0338).
Photo: Team AidUSC from the Philippines was awarded third place in the recent Microsoft Imagine Cup Regional Finals for their water contamination detection app
Team AidUSC from the University of San Carlos Cebu (USC) recently bagged a third place finish at the Microsoft Imagine Cup Regional Finals held in Sydney, Australia for its development of Aqua Check, a mobile application that detects water contamination.
Competing against 11 teams from Asia Pacific, the Team AidUSC trio composed of senior college IT students Danielle Ann Piamonte, Erl Joshua Arcenal, and Jeremiah Valero recognized the importance of potable water as a natural resource and thus developed Aqua Check which detects water contamination by taking a photo of a water sample through a microscope. Powered by Microsoft’s Azure Custom Vision, Aqua Check allows anyone to analyze water samples and even map the contamination location, which, for the Philippines, is a big step towards ensuring that all communities have access to clean and potable water.
“We used to focus on solving specific niche-type problems in our past competitions, but this time, we wanted to create a bigger impact not just in the Philippines but on a global scale,” said Arcenal. “With the increasing water contamination cases in the country, we aim to continue to improve Aqua Check and hopefully deploy our application in local government units across the Philippines.”
Water is regarded as one of the most critical natural resources in the world. Unfortunately, according to the World Health Organization, around 2 billion people globally use a drinking water source that is contaminated.
In the Philippines, over 19 million lack access to improved sanitation and nine million rely on unimproved, unsafe, and unsustainable water sources. In 2013, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) shared that 55 people die daily from diseases caused by a lack of proper sewerage and sanitation facilities.
With the help of the University of San Carlos’ community extension program, Team AidUSC is further improving Aqua Check and is aiming to have the technology patented in the near future. At the same time, the team is trying to raise funds to obtain a foldable microscope and a PPNL microscope, which can bring about faster results and better insights into the technology.
Olympics of student technology competitions
Held annually since 2003, the Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition, affectionately known by participants as the “Olympics of student technology competitions”. This year’s Imagine Cup encouraged participants to “Dream it. Build it. Live it” in order to create applications that shape how individuals live, work and play and through their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology.
The champion and first runner-up places were awarded to Team Caeli from India and Team RailinNova from China, respectively. Team Caeli took home the first prize with their smart automated Anti-Pollution and Drug delivery mask specifically designed for patients that are suffering from asthma and other chronic respiratory conditions, while Team RailinNova came up with Rail Component Inspection Robot, which determines and identifies rail defects through multi-sensor monitoring.
Team Caeli will continue their journey at the Imagine Cup World Championship, where the winner will win USD 100,000, a USD 50,000 Azure grant, and a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Team AidUSC has been joining multiple national innovation and startup competitions since college. The team has aspired to come up with a solution for water contamination after coming across an article about the diarrhea outbreak in the biggest prison facility in the Philippines, which affected over 1,200 inmates and killed two because of water contamination.
This year, 12 finalist teams from 10 countries competed in the Asia Finals. The countries included China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
The teams participating in the Microsoft Imagine Cup were selected from various rounds of the competition online or through in-person National Final events organized by Microsoft subsidiaries in countries across the globe.
VIRTUAL reality (VR) is one of the most exciting advancements of our time. It can transport people with no barriers in time or space, and make learning more fun and engaging.
Thanks to VR, Filipinos can now experience and explore history through immersive storytelling tools that are optimized to what the younger generation is looking for.
In collaboration with VR content provider I AM Cardboard Philippines (IAC PH), Ayala Museum was able to launch two virtual reality dioramas that depicted significant events in Philippine history. By merging technology and history, these organizations have successfully harnessed the true power of VR – moving people by telling compelling stories.
“Virtual reality presents great opportunities to the world of museums, galleries, and archives. Using it as a tool to tell stories can really entice the younger generation to visit museums more and learn our history in an immersive way. We’ve partnered with Ayala Museum again on another virtual reality diorama, and we’re hoping for more industries, not just museums, to embrace this kind of technology,” Ibba Rasul, CEO of IAC PH shared.
Since the launch of the two dioramas, Ayala Museum has recorded a notable increase in foot traffic in their museum. More Filipinos have been attracted to go out of their homes and take on a virtual reality tour. VR, according to IAC PH, does not aim to lessen or replace real-life experiences. Its goal is to enhance and add context to the stories. VR fosters curiosity among audiences, which then inspires them to seek more information after seeing and experiencing this technology in museums.
“We are giving our Filipino museum-goers a whole new perspective as to how these important events in our history have transpired by putting them in the shoes of these remarkable figures. We want to enable them to have deeper connections with our exhibits and we have achieved that by using technology and innovation, specifically virtual reality, as a tool,” said Ms. Mariles Gustilo, Senior Director, Arts & Culture of Ayala Museum.
Being always at the forefront of innovation, Ayala Museum recognizes the importance of technology in enhancing the traditional museum experience, and how it can give a different flavor to heighten the curiosity of Filipinos in learning history and art. Ayala Museum is continuously pushing the boundaries of the role of Philippine museums by embracing and utilizing Virtual Reality in their dioramas.
“Museums are a very important part of our community. More than just being repositories of our nation’s history, arts, and sciences, we are finding innovative ways on how these stories of the past can be used to move Filipinos to actively participate in our society. We are in a constant search to balance the excitement that technology brings and the meaningful experience that museums create,” added Ms. Gustilo.
The Emergence of the Filipino Nation is the second VR content made by IAC for Ayala Museum, that comes after the successful launch of “The Future of History” in 2017 which dramatized Jose Rizal’s execution in Bagumbayan. The Future of History was recently awarded a Silver Boomerang for Visual and Audio Excellence under the Digital Craft category during the 2018 Boomerang Awards.
SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) last December announced it was awarded the prestigious “Friend of ASEAN” accolade for its positive social and economic contributions to the Southeast Asia region at the ASEAN Business Awards 2018. The award was presented by Mdm Halimah Yacob, President of the Republic of Singapore at the ASEAN Business Awards 2018 gala dinner, held in Singapore and hosted by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC).
Launched in 2007 by ASEAN-BAC, the Awards acknowledge and recognize outstanding ASEAN businesses. The Friends of ASEAN category, honors non-ASEAN enterprises for their continuous and increased commitment in growing their presence within ASEAN.
Growing from strength to strength in Southeast Asia
SAP established its presence in Southeast Asia in 1989 with an office in Singapore with 16 employees and have since grown to 11 offices in 7 ASEAN member states with more than 3,800 employees in Southeast Asia. With people being the source of SAP’s innovation and continued success, SAP has continuously invested in the development of its people and is recognized as an employer of choice through the numerous accolades it received across Southeast Asia from Aon Hewitt, Great Place to Work, and Top Employer.
SAP innovations help more than 10,000 customers in ASEAN work more efficiently and use business insight more effectively. SAP helps organizations streamline processes, giving them the ability to use real-time data to predict customer trends across their entire business, and supports 91 out of the Top 100 ASEAN companies as customers. SAP aims to support every ASEAN customer to become a better-run business.
“SAP has been helping customers in Southeast Asia run better with our software innovations for close to 30 years now, and with our continued expansion, we are focusing on helping even more organizations leapfrog the technology gap to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution. We do so by bringing best practices from our global experience with 25 industries, together with leading technologies such as Blockchain, IoT, Machine Learning and Analytics, while building the capacity of local partners to better serve our customers”, said Claus Andresen, President & Managing Director, SAP Southeast Asia. “Receiving the Friend of ASEAN accolade is an impetus for us to do more to help companies and communities be more successful. We will be successful only when they are successful."
Furthering Social Impact in Southeast Asia
SAP recognizes and embraces its commitment to the communities in which we operate in the ASEAN region. We believe the private sector plays a vital role in creating a level playing field, driving innovation and building an environment to foster economic growth. Our social investment strategy is based on our vision to help the world run better and improving people's lives with a particular focus on ensuring everyone can participate in and benefit from the digital economy.
SAP Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) encourages and supports employee volunteerism year-round to create positive social change in our communities across Southeast Asia. One of the key initiatives is the SAP Social Sabbatical, which is a portfolio of pro-bono volunteering assignments where highly-diverse teams of SAP employees provide their skills and business expertise to foster social impact by solving concrete business challenges for non-profit organizations and social enterprises. Since 2015, 111 SAP employees have provided skills-based volunteering totaling more than 27,000 hours, an in-kind contribution that is valued at close to 1.5 million euros in support of 40 social enterprises across Southeast Asia.
“In service to SAP’s CSR mission – powering opportunity through digital inclusion, SAP collaborated with the ASEAN Foundation to establish the ASEAN Data Science Explorers (ASEAN DSE) program in 2017. ASEAN DSE have since trained close to 5000 educators and youths in SAP Analytics Cloud across all 10 ASEAN member states”, said Eugene Ho, Head of Corporate Affairs, SAP Southeast Asia.
He continued, “In addition to training, the data analytics competition enhances awareness and appreciation of the ASEAN community amongst young people and encourage them to play a key role in tackling today’s social issues in the region and help create positive change for a better future.”
The SAP Analytics Cloud is a new generation software as a service (SaaS) that redefines analytics in the cloud by providing business intelligence (BI), predictive, and planning capabilities all within one tool. Using this cloud platform, ASEAN DSE participants analyze and visualize data on UN Sustainable Developments Goals to come up with their innovative recommendations to support the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025.
SAP prides itself on the positive social impact created over the years. By focusing our talent, technology, and capital on education and entrepreneurship, we strive to enact positive social change through economic growth, job creation, innovation, and community.
Photo shows SAP Southeast Asia Managing Director Claus Andresen (second from left) receiving the “Friend of ASEAN” award from presenters (from left) Prof. Annie Koh, Organizing Chair of ASEAN Business Awards 2018; Halimah Yacob, President of the Republic of Singapore; Wilf Blackburn, Chief Executive Officer of Prudential Assurance Company in Singapore; and Linus Goh Ti Liang, Head of Global Commercial Banking at OCBC Bank.
THE Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) in partnership with CloudSwyft Global Systems, Inc., one of Asia’s Leading Learning-as-a-Service Microsoft partner, launches the IBPAP Learning Switch portal.
This online learning site serves to provide open access to hundreds of Microsoft’s current, in-demand modern workplace technology courses in eight learning tracks such as Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, DevOps, Cloud Administration, and more. This allows the industry’s workforce to acquire emerging skills based on global industry trends and provide them with an opportunity to take on more expansive roles.
The IBPAP Learning Switch platform also has built-in automated environments, supplementary to the course materials, that serve as virtual playgrounds and offer course-based assessments, practical exercises, modular quizzes and hands-on lab activities anywhere and anytime. Users also have the option to get globally-recognized certificates, issued and verified by Microsoft directly at the end of the courses, or gain a full Microsoft Professional Program Master Certificate once a full track is completed. These two features are available to IBPAP members and affiliates at a discounted price.
“Human Capital is one of the key priorities we have identified in our Roadmap 2022. It’s also one of enabling conditions that will fuel our industry’s growth trajectory for 2022. With this, IBPAP has developed several programs focused on upskilling and reskilling our workforce to ensure that they can adapt to the ongoing digital transformation. Programs such as this will aid the industry’s pivot to higher value jobs and services,” explains IBPAP president and CEO, Rey Untal.
CloudSwyft provides technology learning through hands-on exercises that increase the knowledge transfer rate exponentially as well as make technology learning accessible to everyone. CloudSwyft also deploys courses focusing on modern trend technology skills. These courses are developed by Microsoft, in partnership with various universities and subject-matter experts, to ensure that the content is industry-level, up-to-date and applicable to end-user’s career needs.
With over one million Filipinos employed in the IT-BPM industry, IBPAP considers upskilling and reskilling the workforce a top priority. It aims to help local talents embrace new technologies and develop new skills to adapt to today’s digital transformation through the IBPAP Learning Switch portal.
To date, CloudSwyft deploys as much as 160+ technology courses to cater to different levels of learners, from Higher Education students all the way to seasoned professionals and has helped certify more than 500 individuals in various courses in 2018. CloudSwyft also launched learning portals for various universities and companies in Southeast Asia namely for top schools in Malaysia, Singapore as well as in the Philippines.
“Through our partnership with CloudSwyft, we hope to reach and encourage more Filipinos to take the initiative to learn and improve themselves. We have provided the necessary tools for them to succeed in the IT-BPM industry and we look forward to them taking advantage of this opportunity,” adds Untal.
To access the portal, visit https://ibpaplearningswitch.cloudswyft.com/.