Lian Castillo: Multilingual millennial seeking innovation

Lian Sabella Castillo, 26, The Philippines

My name is Lian, 26, born and raised in the Philippines but currently living in Japan. I am a native speaker of three languages and currently struggling with Japanese. I have an interdisciplinary background in science, social science, and philosophy. I like learning new things, going places, and meeting people, or so says my Twitter bio.

I am largely devoted to the utilization of technology and innovation in promotion of equity and quality in education. My undergraduate work in fulfillment of my degree in Instructional Systems Technology involved the development of a teachware (software teaching aid) for the benefit of illiterate adult learners. It helped in the delivery of consistency, quality and ease for teaching phonemes, alphabet and syllable-word structures in a country with more than 100 distinct languages and even more dialects.

Currently, I am working on the assessment of ICT integration in rural Philippine public schools. The Philippines is currently in the process of transition from a K-10 curriculum to the international standard of K-12. On this note, Technology and Livelihood Education (TLE) is being rolled out as part of the new curriculum for senior high school (SHS). My research focuses on the analysis of technological integration in rural area elementary schools to support this new curriculum. I used mixed methods with a quantitative survey distributed to 21 schools and qualitative interviews for 5 from the same pool.

I looked at factors based off research by the U.N. and The World Bank. These include leadership, curriculum, infrastructure, faculty, and environment. The current results are suggestive of the large importance of the human factors, particularly with faculty and leadership, regardless of infrastructure and environment. I continuously hope to develop firm suggestions and solutions for these rural-area public schools to adjust to the national curriculum policies largely catered for the urban few.

The biggest challenge so far is carrying on the grit, despite self-financing and being self-sufficient in my chosen field. It is difficult to obtain grants, scholarship, and whatnot to support social welfare projects, especially in the world of capitalism. Ironically, I worked for an investment bank in the field of enterprise technology for three years in order to pursue my goals of continuing research in ICT for Development and Education. I am fortunate to be the first international student in my research laboratory, which is well-endowed and supportive of my work, research, and challenges encountered in living as a foreigner.

I want to take this opportunity to place myself in a global setting, and be involved in the decision making for implementing sustainable solutions especially for developing countries. I grew up in one, and having lived in a G7 country for quite some time helps me widen my view, and see solutions by working with different cultures and experiencing these differences first-hand. Globalization leads to a sort of cultural capitalism which may not be appropriate for emerging and developing economies. I would like to voice this out in an arena where my experiences and informed opinions could lead to change.

Today’s predominant generation, the millennials, is strongly driven by meaning and the pursuit of happiness, precedent even to stability and financial success. The key is empowering my fellow youth in directing these pursuits for the benefit of the less fortunate, as opposed to the benefit of one’s self and inner networks. It may sound shallow, but social welfare is becoming a trend, and regardless of the goal, we can easily sustain solutions through involving them and inducing sought-after happiness through a sense of purpose. My plan is to create or affiliate with a team to achieve this.

I plan to meet and create a circle of like-minded individuals, and quite possibly organizations where I may share knowledge I have acquired, as well as learn from experienced professionals in the field. It is the ideal environment where people all geared towards sustainable development, coming from different cultural backgrounds can pursue common ground for ensuring equity and basic services, such as quality education. I strongly intend to find a medium where I can apply my interdisciplinary background in technology and social welfare to create solid solutions for global disparities, especially in time of ICT contributing largely to widening inequalities.