Taguig, Manila Workshop, January 2016.

1st Code, Compose, Collaborate workshop in Manila, Philippines—January 2016

Taguig workshop, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Workshop date: January 16, 2016



As part of a series of Code, Compose, Collaborate (TripleC) workshops in China, India, New York and the Philippines, a day-long workshop earlier in the year with 3rd graders was held at Bagong Tanyag Elementary School – Main in Taguig, Fourth District of National Capital Region, Philippines. The City of Taguig is located in the south-eastern portion of Metro Manila in the Philippines.

Compared to other TripleC workshops held in other countries, the Taguig workshop is only a day-long but the focus remains the same— teaching kids the basics of programming through music composition using Sonic Pi (via Raspberry Pi).

Bagong Tanyang Elementary School, Taguig. Bagong Tanyang Elementary School, Taguig.



Public schools in Metro Manila have two to three class shifts: morning (6 am to 12 pm), afternoon (12 to 6 pm) and, in a few cases, evening class sessions due to congestion issues—lack of classrooms and volume of students. The workshop was initially intended to be a 3-day workshop with lesson plans derived and condensed from the 5-day workshop held in New York in the summer of 2015. However, due to scheduling conflicts, the Taguig workshop was conducted on a Saturday where it did not disrupt the class schedule, which seems to work better for everyone involved. A short lesson plan was put together quickly to suit the day-long session pulled from the initially expected 3-day workshop plan.

A class size of 60-100 students in public schools is typical in Metro Manila and for this school, in particular, it was approximately 70 students per class in elementary school. The workshop could not accommodate a group of 70 students due to equipment availability on-site that allowed for only three stations + a demo station. Thus, the school selected a group composed of eight 8-year old girls and boys to join in the day-long workshop accompanied by their 3rd-grade teacher who was there to assist and observe. Living in an urban environment exposed the kids to consumer technology and, for some, a few handheld devices like smartphones and tablets that their parents or relatives own. Bagong Tanyang Elementary School (Main) is one of the more fortunate schools in the region with a computer lab. But not everyone has access to the computers and the lack of digital literacy is prominent.

3rd graders at Bagong Tanyang Elementary School, Taguig. 3rd graders at Bagong Tanyang Elementary School, Taguig.



The instruction was in a mix of Tagalog (Filipino) and English—but predominantly in Tagalog with terminology expressed in English and further explained, elaborated and reinforced in Tagalog. Although the students understand English quite well, it was evident that the kids were more comfortable with hearing instruction in Tagalog. Moreover, it was also to avoid any additional complexity since programming can be considered another language.

The workshop was held in a classroom where three sets of 19” monitor, Raspberry Pi installed with Sonic Pi, mouse, keyboard, external speakers, and cables were laid out on a long table for the kids to assemble themselves. Each piece of equipment was first explained and how everything comes together was demonstrated accompanied by a diagram on the screen. A bigger monitor was set in front of all the stations with the Raspberry Pi set-up for the main facilitator/instructor.

Taguig, Manila, Philippines workshop. January 2016. 3rd graders at Bagong Tanyang Elementary School, Taguig.
3rd graders at Bagong Tanyang Elementary School, Taguig. 3rd graders at Bagong Tanyang Elementary School, Taguig workshop.

After a few donuts and a quick round of introductions, including the goals of TripleC project and the run of the day, the eight kids were grouped into three teams for each station with the assistance of three additional facilitators to lend a hand to each team when needed. Everyone had a name tag including the facilitators, so it was always easy to quickly identify people around the room. There was an air of excitement and enthusiasm among the kids who have never seen a Raspberry Pi before nor have ever been given the opportunity to put a computer, monitor, and speakers, together. After the Raspberry Pi setup instructions, Sonic Pi was introduced, and the students were taken through the Sonic Pi interface. Before diving into Raspberry Pi and Sonic Pi, a short group exercise not involving technology was conducted to try to explain the code concepts (acted out) that will also be tackled shortly. The activity helped segue into the rest of the lesson. Basic code concepts (effectively referencing the previous group exercise), terminologies, syntax and a quick introduction to samples in Sonic Pi came after, and the students followed along and tried it out themselves.

Bagong Tanyang Elementary School, Taguig workshop. January 2016. 3rd graders at Bagong Tanyang Elementary School, Taguig workshop. January 2016.

Competition among the teams is always inevitable, and the healthy competition added to the fun (and the learning aspect) because the students sought to mimic the code, with a little coaching from each other, of what they just heard from another team. All the kids, including the facilitators, enjoyed collaborating, debugging, testing different samples and in creating music compositions.

3rd graders at Bagong Tanyang Elementary School, Taguig workshop. Taguig, Manila Workshop, January 2016.

Bagong Tanyang Elementary School, Taguig workshop. January 2016. 3rd graders at Bagong Tanyang Elementary School, Taguig workshop.

Bagong Tanyang Elementary School, Taguig workshop. January 2016. Bagong Tanyang Elementary School, Taguig workshop.



  • As expected, since the students are new to programming and hearing foreign concepts many felt a little overwhelmed at the beginning. However, after the students successfully copied lines of code, played around with it themselves, and based on their input sounds come out of the speakers their initial hesitation dissipated.
  • The students working with someone else in a group somehow provided comfort that they are not alone in figuring things out or in experimenting with something new, and that added to the fun atmosphere in the room.
  • The day-long workshop did not allow time for the kids to upload their compositions to the Code Combinator online platform where they can share their work with other students in other countries who is part of the network. Internet access was also an issue since it was not available at the school at that time.
  • A team composed of two students as opposed to that of three is more ideal—in groups of twos, both had the opportunity to type, give comments/suggestions, and collaborate. Essentially, an even distribution of labor/tasks.
  • Querying the students throughout the workshop, when the opportunity presented itself, to see if they understood the concepts, which they did, provided an indication that the goal of the program was achieved even in a short and more playful workshop scenario.
  • The possibility of scaling up the workshops to accommodate more kids from a single class in a public school in Manila to participate opens up challenges but also offers more value regarding creating greater traction on the ground.



  • A follow-up workshop is planned in the Philippines mid-year and at the end of the year with a more structured lesson plan and possibly organized as a series rather than 1-day session. Other workshops in India, China, New York are planned throughout the year as well.
  • A more pared down lesson plan for a younger age group with possibly more exercises would need to be created because the students seem to be overwhelmed at the beginning with the terminologies and foreign concepts thrown at them for a day-long session.
  • Find opportunities to piggy-back on existing teacher training already underway on-site to incorporate the workshop goals or establish teacher training modules/session specifically on TripleC.


Instructor & facilitators (from TripleC):

  • Michie Pagulayan
  • Je Vicente
  • Butch Villanueva
  • Agnes Macasaet


Faculty present (from school):

  • Ms. Arangote



  • 8 grade 3 students