Melinda Quinones from the Philippines and Wong Lai Cheng from Malaysia were participants in TechCamp Malaysia that was held in October 2020. It was the first TechCamp in Malaysia as well as the first virtual TechCamp ever, organised by Penang Institute and supported by the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Quinones and Wong are recipients of the small grant administered by Penang Institute which aims to help participants turn their ideas into action.
Inspired by TechCamp mentors to pitch a project that would create a multiplier effect, they launched an online mini TechCamp with participants from Malaysia and the Philippines in March 2021. The initiative was supported by Penang Institute, Centro Escolar University (CEU), and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), all of whom had virtually signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
“We are naturally concerned about how public education is being challenged by new media and other global trends. It is therefore exciting for us to have CEU join the TechCamp family with a project aimed at educating educators on matters of grave importance to the well-being of future citizens and our countries,” said Dato’ Dr. Ooi Kee Beng, the Executive Director of Penang Institute.
The three-day mini TechCamp was organised to train secondary school teachers and teacher educators in these two countries to integrate media and information literacy (MIL) into their lesson plans. Participants were taught ways to deconstruct media and information sources through fact-checking and verification. Resource speakers also shared some best practices on cyber safety, data privacy, and data protection. At the end of the workshop, teacher-participants are expected to develop lesson plan exemplars which will be published in a guidebook for teachers and teacher educators. “By focusing on secondary school teachers and teacher educators, we hope to harness the potential of the multiplier effect,” Wong said, hopeful that education is the best way to create information-literate societies.
Apart from the mini TechCamp, Quinones and Wong also established an online and offline support group, Media and Information Literacy for Malaysia-Philippines Network (MIL for MY-PH Network), to sustain the movement.
When asked about his experience at TechCamp Malaysia-Philippines, Adam Geordrey Anak James Mairodi, a secondary school teacher from Malaysia said, “When I joined [the mini TechCamp], I was clueless. It was curiosity that made me register. But it was the best decision I ever made!”