TypePhil is a free application, available both online and offline, that teaches students how to properly type on a keyboard with all ten fingers. Currently, many young students struggle with basic typing due to the lack of a computerized teaching curriculum, which hinders their ability to learn programming. TypePhil is our first product in a platform we plan to build to deliver digital literacy education content tailored to areas with little or no internet access. Through close collaboration with the Filipino government and coordination with a network of school administrators, we will also be able to collect usage data from offline communities. In addition to helping us improve our product, this data can support data-driven decision making for the government, such as identifying underperforming schools.
The Innovation Summit will be an interactive and collaborative event designed for low-income high school students of Northern Samar to be exposed to technology careers, connect with mentors from university students and IT professionals, and collaborate on technology solutions for their local communities. High school students will be problem-solving in teams on local issues related to agriculture, health, education, and tourism and present creative solutions to these issues. The collaborative activities will be paired with a combination of career sessions, technology demos, research poster sessions from college students, workshops, and inspirational speeches from leaders in tech. The Innovation Summit is a unique opportunity for the community to come together to support digital literacy education and technology, partner with the youth in a future vision, bring companies closer to youth creativity, prepare youth for employment at living wages, and promote the economic vibrancy of the region.
Last summer, we launched our first pilot in Lavezares, Northern Samar, Philippines. We taught 49 students at Basilio B. Chan Memorial Agricultural and Industrial High School and trained 2 ICT (information communications technology) high school teachers on Python and HTML. We taught two different coding programs at the pilot launch. The first was Scratch, which is a free visual programming language to teach fundamental programming concepts such as variables, objects, control flow, arithmetic. The second was Sphero, an innovative programming language to interact with robots, visualize codes through robots. Based on our survey of the students we taught at the end of 3 weeks of teaching, we found that 82.5% of students were more comfortable using a computer after CodePhil.