Google Philippines awarded the top prize for its Webrangers initiative to a group of five students behind The Reconnect Project campaign. The Webrangers program aims to promote digital literacy and the meaningful use of the internet among Filipino teens.
The five students --Meoni Bergara from University of the Philippines-Diliman, Reiz Tamboong and Isabel Jose from Miriam College High School, John Oliver Dysanco from Enderun Colleges, and Ralph del Mundo from Polytechnic University of the Philippines Senior High School were able to show how information is available on the internet but because of online distractions, it can be difficult to find. The students started with a sticky note activity where the teens asked their schoolmates to write down information that’s useful for fellow students to learn more about and to post these examples on the wall. In the coming days, as people were adding more content useful for students, the team then covered these notes with other sticky notes filled with examples of distracting content and activities normally encountered online.
Volunteers were then asked by the team to go through the pile of sticky notes to look for the useful information initially posted there. Because the important data was covered by all sorts of distracting sticky notes, the students realized that they do spend a lot of time online on things that divert their attention from getting information that can help them out. This activity illustrated that teens can use the Internet to enrich their lives if they don’t let themselves get distracted by the clutter they encounter online.
Because the Web Rangers wanted to provide a space for their peers to connect with each other and share useful information, they created a website http://thereconnectproject.weebly.com/ filled with resources and content about education, health and lifestyle, and technology. Anyone can contribute to the website, which the students moderate.
This year, more than 60 Web Rangers, aged 14-21, were chosen from almost 200 applicants from Metro Manila. They also attended a one-day workshop last September with partner agencies Department of Trade and Industry and Dentsu JaymeSyfu.
“Through this program, we have seen how creative and dedicated the Filipino youth can be if given the right tools to advocate for a good cause like digital literacy. We’ve seen promising entries and we are pleased that they were able to use the internet in turning creative ideas into something that can influence their peers,” said Gail Tan, Google Philippines Head of Communications and Public Affairs.
The participants were trained to make effective campaigns on digital literacy and were given three weeks to produce a campaign which would serve as their entry to the competition.
“We are glad to be part of this initiative by Google Philippines in educating the youth about digital literacy. We would like to congratulate the winners in coming up with such creative and meaningful campaigns. We also hope that this initiative will encourage Filipino teens to become entrepreneurs in the digital economy and become a strong contributor to the country’s growth and development.” said Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Industry Promotion Group.