Friday, December 3, 2010

Digital Safety for Children and Youth

Last October, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University together with UNICEF, brought together 23 experts to discuss the working document: "Working Towards a Deeper Understanding for Digital Safety for Children and Youthin Developing Nations ". There were participants representing all regions, with experts who traveled from South Africa, Bahrain and India to attend the two-day meeting.

Latin America was represented by the following experts from Brazil: Luiz Moncau of the Fundacao Getulio Vargas and Brazil Thiago Taveras and Carlos Gregorio Safernet Research Institute for Justice, Argentina. The meeting was a great opportunity to identify the main challenges in the field of online safety for children and youth, with time for informal discussions, presentations, and rich discussions.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Technology in Education: Why, what for, and how

Summary of presentation on Competitiveness in America Forum (Atlanta, Nov 2010)

Sugata Mitra says that “if a professor can be replaced by a computer, then that professor should be replaced by a computer”.

This provocatively draws attention to a key in the integration of technologies in education: teachers are fundamental to the process, but different teachers, with a new role, as articulators of learning experiences for their students. A good professor is indispensible and irreplaceable.

When considering that technologies will have a fundamental role in education in the 21st century, some believe that we speak of technology devices, gadgets, iron, cables, and plastic.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On education, learning, and learners

Paulina Araneda
IDB Consultant

During the 19th century, the 20th century, and 21st century thus far, the massification of education was relevant in the context of developing countries. This process, which countries of Northern Europe had previously, allowed them significant coverage rates much earlier than the majority of countries where education and access to it were still underway.

These days we are witnessing a relevant and distinct challenge in increasing country coverage. We know now that the effort to support education for all and equality of opportunities doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with the industrialization of the pedagogical process, nor a homogenized approach to teach in a way that everyone learns.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The future of learning institutions in a digital age

While we broadly speak about the ways in which learning has changed as a result of new technologies, a recent (2009) publication, part of the MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media Learning, elucidates this topic. In The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age (available for free on the MIT Press Website), authors Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg give us a sneak-peak to an upcoming book on the future of learning institutions and provide us with 10 principles by which to think of the future of learning.

The premise of this paper is that learning institutions have changed far slower than the technologies that have transformed how we learn and interact with information. Phenomena such as participatory learning and remix authorship have completely changed the ways in which people learn online.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Education: Old answers to new questions?

Image Source:
Ways of creating and diffusing knowledge, production structure, and social participation, have radically changed in the last 20 years; these changes have undoubtedly had a significant influence on the expectations that society has on school systems. The question of what quality education in the 21st century means is a perfectly legitimate, with the answer almost certainly being very different from the schools we’ve inherited from the 20th Century.

The great challenge of 20th Century education was democratization: that ALL children have access to the MINIMUM education that would allow them to function in society as competent workers and citizens. In general, Latin America was particularly successful with this effort, especially noted in the progress made during the 1980’s to 1990’s.

Nevertheless, we recognize this endeavor as insufficient. Today more children are in schools, but the educational results are far from settling. Not simply because those same international tests show us the enormous gap that separates us from developed countries, but because we have noticed that the school, in its current form, appears impermeable and too rigid to address the challenges that the 21st century presents.

The big question of 21st century education will be how we can continue to offer an education that serves ALL, but offers spaces and strategies to develop the MAXIUM potential in EACH student.

There are two trends that characterize this 21st Century education challenge. The first is that after the tremendous effort of democratizing education in the 20th century, quality has necessarily succumbed to the same diversity of schools. The educational systems that were elite and homogenous gave way to massive and highly heterogeneous systems. This condition is the root of the difficulties confronted by countries as they improve the quality of their educational outcomes.

The effort of personalization requires educational organizations that are very different than what we have today: much more flexible, open, and capable recognizing the abilities and interests of every child, collaboratively develop their potential, while staying connected with their social and cultural environments. This requires systems and practices for which today’s school is not prepared.

21st Century Skills
Ways of thinking
  1. Creativity and innovation
  2. Critical thinking, problem solving,
    and decision making 
  3. Learning to learn, metacognition
Ways of working
  1. Communication
  2. Collaboration and teamwork
Work tools
  1. Information literacy
  2. Digital literacy
Living in the World
  1. Citizenship, local and global
  2. Life and career
  3. Personal and social responsibility,
    includingcultural awareness and
Source: ATC21S Project (2010)
The second trend and challenge is how schools will prepare their students to face the future work and civic environments marked by constant change, where critical thinking, creativity, and lifelong learning skills are required.

These are called 21st Century Skills, to support the reorganization of educational systems so that they prepare students for what is most relevant. This involves developing better instruments to measure abilities, preparing teachers for new roles, identifying and extending new educational practices that strengthen the development of these skills, and providing educational resources that support these new methods.

These two trends represent the most important challenges for education systems, particularly in Latin America, where they must face the challenge of quality to advance competitiveness and economic development without abandoning the effort to expand coverage in contexts of high inequality.

It is unavoidable that these advances take advantage of technological developments. The use of technologies in education is not related to the quantity of digital devices distributed by governments without ways in which education systems can integrate technology holistically to promote and support changes that enable them to achieve learning that is relevant to the demands of society.

The educational policy decisions of the present are those that will be with us during the upcoming years. The current discussion about education is a good excuse to ask a more basic question: are we looking for answers to 21st century questions or are we still trying to mend the education of the 20th century?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

10 Keys to understanding the impact of technology in education

  1. Productivity and competitiveness of countries in the Knowledge Society necessarily incorporate the intensive use of Technologies in Education, which not only have changed the type of product that countries can develop, but also their own production processes. 
  2. The social, cultural and productive impact of technologies in education represents a major challenge for education systems, demanding the formation of citizens who have specific skills to manage these technologies, but also develop generic skills particularly relevant to this new society called "21st century skills". 
  3. Children born after 1980 have been named "digital natives". They have grown up in a society where technologies are a natural part of their ecosystem, either through direct access or aspirational. They have developed a spontaneous relationship for enjoyment of these technologies, incorporating them into their strategies for interaction, communication and production. 
  4. The efforts made so far by most Latin American countries, have aimed to reduce the gap in access to technologies, allowing in many cases, that children in remote and poor places, have the opportunity to meet and interact with technologies in their school environment. That effort, combined with teacher training, has reduced the gap between poor schools and rich schools, and between children and their teachers. 
  5. The indicator of success in introducing technologies in education will be the impact on student learning, both in the acquisition of curriculum content, as in the development of skills and competencies that will enable their full integration into knowledge society.
  6.  The development of low-cost laptops (netbooks) has permited in the past two to three years, local and national governments to consider, for the first time, the possibility of investing in the massive distribution of computers, that meet the basic needs of school users, network access, communication and basic productivity. 
  7. Distribution strategies of "one computer to each student" (1-to-1 models) seek to strengthen the development of these skills and competencies by drastically reducing the gaps in access, massive presence of computers and connectivity (in order to create collaborative networks and support), and the proper equipment, allowing the permanent use, both inside and outside of school. 
  8. The experiences of developed 1 to 1 strategies in the world so far have shown that investment just in equipment and connectivity do not produce impacts on student learning, and it is essential to consider a set of additional measures which fundamentally change educational practices, in order to take advantage of the investment. Among those, include teacher training, the availability of relevant digital educational resources, curricular adjustments, legal changes and long-term policies. 
  9. The institutional framework for such initiatives is based on the alignment and coordination of three essential factors: strong political commitment of the authorities, close linkage and integration of stakeholders in the education system and implementing a detailed logistical and technical. 
  10. The recent development of these initiatives requires very close monitoring, rigorous evaluation and fluid communication channels between those who are implementing, in order to develop and share knowledge and expertise in a collaborative way, to improve the chances of being effective in achieving the intended impact .

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

IDB on Webinar about 1-to-1 Models

We are participating in the Webinar "Integrating ICT in Education: Models 1 to 1" organized by the International Institute for Education Planning (IIEP) from UNESCO and FLACSO Argentina.

Here you can listen the presentation we have made and to participate, until tomorrow Thursday, the forum:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Paraguay and the New ICT in Education Policy

"Paraguay has decided to be serious and responsible. We have taken almost two years to prepare the policy for the incorporation of ICTs in the Paraguayan educational system now being put forward and represents our commitment to improving the quality of education of children in Paraguay. "

With these words, the Education Minister, Luis Alberto Rhiart inaugurated on 21 September an international seminar on New Directions for Learning: Technology and Education, organized by the Ministry of Education, the Inter-American Development Bank, Korean KERIS and OEI.

The minister was referring to a policy patiently but strongly built, with support from the IDB itself, which defines the way that the government of Paraguay wants to go in this area.

For now, this new policy is not just about buying computers. The mission of the Policy Information and Communication Technologies in Education is: To contribute to the improvement of educational processess through the use of ICT and development in all students of the digital skills needed to participate and actively contribute to society.

Given this mission, the strategic objectives of the policy are as follows:
1. Provide digital infrastructure for schools and colleges, leading to a national average of 2 students per computer.
2. Ensure that high school students acquire basic ICT skills.
3. Ensure that teachers, trainers and officials of the MEC to achieve a standard of ICT skills.
4. Contribute to improving the teaching and learning through the use of ICT.
5. Contribute to improve school management processes through the use of ICT as a tool for planning, monitoring and management in educational institutions.
6. Support initial teacher training through the use of ICT in various educational processes.
7. Develop capacity of anticipation in the use of ICT in education through the development of national capacities and infrastructure for research and development in this field.

In Paraguay, educational institutions that have computers does not exceed 7% and those connected to the Internet are less than 4%, so the challenge offered is higher.

Therefore was also very timely the dialogue that took place in the Seminar and Workshop in those days. Learn about the testimony and experience of Edith Moraes (Ceibal, Uruguay), Leda Muñoz (Fundación Omar Dengo, Costa Rica), Kela Odicino (San Luis Digital, Argentina), Myung-Sook Pang (KERIS, Korea), Jeff Mao (Maine, USA) and other guests, was a way to learn also of the path already traveled by others.

Paraguay inaugurates a new era and, from the IDB we are very pleased to be part of this effort serious, responsible and long term, that the government of Paraguay has developed

Friday, June 25, 2010

Priorities for achieving quality education

Eugenio Severin interview published in the journal Virtual Educa Number 6, June 2010.

1. We would appreciate comment on the major initiatives you are pursuing from the IDB in the education field.

The Education Division of the IDB has identified three priorities for achieving quality education in Latin America and the Caribbean: Early Childhood Development, Transition from school to work and Teacher Quality. Education is a broad concept, and the Bank's experience indicates that to achieve results, it is necessary to focus the work in strategic areas in which we are developing expertise and knowledge.

As for Early Childhood Development, Education Division is implementing projects that have as main objective the extension of coverage of quality services in children of 0-6 years. In the area of transition from school to work, projects are being developed for aligning the training delivered to schools, particularly in secondary education with post-school pathways, either technical training or the world of work. As teachers quality, we know that the difference between good and poor educational performance is strongly conditioned by the effective performance of teachers. And finally, we are putting increasing attention in the educational use of Information Technologies and Communication, in order to support learning.

2. What influence are having information technology and communication, ICTs - in the field of education and professional development in the Americas?

We are convinced that ICTs are essential in increasingly sophisticated processes of globalization and massification of education, that characterize the twenty-first century society, and therefore the question has shifted from whether they should be in school, how We can take advantage of the opportunities that ICTs provide the benefit of the quality of education. The countries of the region are keen to build on this momentum. We have explored various ways to improve education in Latin America, and the use of ICT appears as a new opportunity, a new promise to update education, procedures and results.

At the IDB we firmly believe in this possibility, but we also know that to do so in an integrated and holistic manner, considering all the variables, we can find, in the short term, investments without a clear impact on educational outcomes of students.

Our efforts in this respect focus on supporting countries to develop projects using ICTs in education, with particular emphasis on improving learning, with comprehensive approaches and generating knowledge through monitoring and evaluation of initiatives. The key is to link these initiatives with all the educational efforts to make them consistent and sustainable over the long term.

3. What are the main obstacles and challenges you are facing to achieve universal education and equality in the quality, in Latin America and the Caribbean?

It is not easy to define unique problems, much less unique solutions. For example, inequality is an enormous problem in the region, but it manifests itself very differently in the countries, which forces us to adjust the solutions to each project and not respond with preconceived recipes but proposals to support each country appropriately.

Teacher training is also a shared problem, as is the lack of coverage of initial education, the low level of primary education, high dropout rates in secondary education, especially in countries with larger rural population and the mismatch educational offerings with the demands of society. We have urgent challenges and, as partners of the countries we are working to generate a change which would connect experiences, share knowledge and find solutions together.

4. In your view, what are the educational problems in this region that require more attention? From what initiatives are working at the IDB to reverse these problems?

In all priority areas for the Bank are developing initiatives that allow us to better support countries not only in providing loans and technical cooperation, but also with a selective and profound research agenda, allowing us to generate and share knowledge about problems urgent and important in our education. We are developing studies to adjust the supply of education and the demands of industry, to learn how you can align the incentives of teachers and educational outcomes, to discover innovative ways to organize the provision of education to measure the impact of specific technologies, etc.. We believe the combination of knowledge and experience is vital for us to develop better educational policies in the region.

5. What impact does Virtual Education in educational as in the field of training in Latin America?

Virtual Education has consolidated as an area of important regional dialogue. The IDB's commitment to be part of that effort is a reflection of our belief in this regard. We have much to learn from each other and the spaces are not too many, so we wanted to support this initiative in order to collaborate, humbly, with its strengthening and growth.

Friday, June 11, 2010

One computer to each student in Chile?

Article published in Revista Qué Pasa, on June 11, 2010

Can we improve the quality of education in Chile thanks to the Information Technologies and Communication Technologies (ICTs)?

It depends.

If we imagine as a magic solution, whose mere presence (in the form of notebooks, netbooks, mobile or interactive whiteboards) triggered an inevitable flow of changes and improvements, the answer is no, impossible.

However, if we imagine as a tool, a lever that generates and supports fundamental changes in educational practices of all involved (teachers, principals, students and parents), yes, certainly.

This is the background reflection was in the air between those attending the seminar "From the chalk to Click", organized by the Inter-American Development Bank, the Centre for Microdata from the U. Chile and the CEPPE of Catholic University of Chile. The studies presented by international and national speakers pointed in the same direction: the challenge is not technological but educational. It is not asking whether or not to incorporate technologies, or less what technology, but how to seize the opportunities that ICT use will give us to improve educational outcomes.

The Simce test results released days ago, only confirm the urgent need to concentrate efforts and resources on improving learning outcomes. Despite successes in extending coverage, schools fail to reverse, and in some cases areemphasizing, the differences of social origin.

In the seminar of course, especially after to learn the experiences of using ICTs in education in Korea, Uruguay, and Maine, the idea that round is to deliver one computer to each student. This also carries the hopes and fears that this strategy wake up for each one.

Probably in 10 years we will look towards 2010 and we wonder why we allocate so much time discussing something so obvious: who could doubt the benefits that each child had a computer and internet connection? Will be as absurd as asking why there are computers in banks, travel agencies or hospitals.

Access to a computer for every student is a matter of time. Soon. And the question today is whether Chile is preparing to make this change a chance. This requires of schools able to deliver content and methods renewed by-product of coherent policies, implemented by trained teachers and principals and accompanied by families involved and committed and enthusiastic students and protagonists of their learning.

Chile can afford the "luxury" to consider the delivery of one computer to each student? Doing so will cost approximately $ 250 million annually. Does it seem a lot? Put it in perspective. That figure represents 0.15% of annual Gross Domestic Product of Chile or the equivalent of 3% of the annual budget of the Ministry of Education.

Not all of this amount is enough to fresh resources. Adding the current budget of Enlaces (ICT in education program of Education Ministry), the printing and distribution of textbooks and printing and distribution of Simce Tests, to mention only those most obviously benefit from the advantages of the initiative, and would be available about 20% of the necessary resources.

In Latin America, are developing such a strategy in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti and Mexico. In the developed world, has been successfully implemented in Spain, Portugal, USA and Canada. A few months ago, the IDB and the OECD organized an international conference in Austria, whose sole purpose was to learn from the experiences already developed for delivery of computers for students and enlighten the preparation of projects in other countries.

One concern regarding this type of project, is whether are the local context and appropriate institutional environment. In other words, if there is strength in the country to support the project with a digital content industry, technological support and technical assistance, legal frameworks and long term policies. Several countries have seen this apprehension as an opportunity for the country, creating a cluster around, and therefore linking the efforts of competitiveness, employment, innovation and productive development.

In short, Chile has a mature development of access and use of ICTs in the school system, and is urgently trying to provide solutions to improving quality. The distribution of computers to all students is a reasonable cost to the country's development standards and is an opportunity to offer a disruptive strategy regarding current educational practices, which have failed to move a point, despite the resources invested in reasonable policies and programs. A policy along these lines, considering all the variables and consistently integrated with educational policy, would be a bold and innovative attempt to shatter the school system.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Chile: ICT in Education International Seminar

Use of Information Technologies and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in education systems will undoubtedly be a key tool in improving the quality of education, whereas, obviously, that certain conditions are met in their design, implementation and evaluation.
Without the incorporation serious, systematic and comprehensive ICT education systems are unlikely to be able to tailor its operation to the characteristics of their students and families, and the demands of the labor market and society.
In this context, the Seminar "From the Chalk to Click" to provide a platform to promote dialogue and debate.


Deepening the construction of a future perspective on the use of ICTs in education and the opportunities and challenges that this imposes in Chile.


- Available evidence about learning outcomes and their relationship to the use of ICT.
- Emerging Perspectives in the use of ICTs in education.
- International experiences on the incorporation of ICT in Education.
- Role of teachers in the incorporation of ICTs as tools of the impact on student learning.
- Innovative practices are being used today.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Conceptual Framework Projects for the use of Information and Communication Technologies in Education

Incorporation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) into areas of education is no longer optional. Countries, regions and schools are driven to develop new initiatives that take into consideration the incorporation of these tools into teaching and learning processes, so that education systems can connect the society’s new demands for knowledge with the new characteristics of the learners who are part of these systems.
This document presents and describes a Conceptual Framework that endeavors to support the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of projects that aim to incorporate the use of ICTs for the purpose of improving the quality of education. It also presents a list of indicators that can aid in achieving this purpose if aligned with the Conceptual Framework itself.
This work is part of the IDB-led initiative to develop, in tandem with other international organizations, a common Framework and Indicators that will lend support to decision making in different countries.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Debate: 1 to 1 Model in Latin America: Now or Not Yet?

This debate is open. Two experts encourage us with their reflection and in the comments at the bottom of the page, we hope you are excited to share with us their own views on this important topic.
Alejandro Piscitelli
Organizational Consultant on the Internet and digital communication
Professor University of Buenos Aires

Not Yet
Ignacio Jara
Center for Research on Education Policy and Practices
Catholic University of Chile
To anyone working in an office, it would seem natural for everyone to have access not just to one computer but to several, and to other digital devices in order to make wise use of collective intelligence and to increase productivity, creativity, and innovation through networked collaborative work.

Why should it be any different at school, which should definitely lay the foundation for competencies, the capacity to organize information, the development of a critical spirit and the powers of the spirit that will enable us to become altogether creative beings and to then specialize in areas or niches that will eventually feed the adult world?

Why should high technology be a privilege of the business world and education be relegated to analog times and capacities, in a world that is progressively more interwoven with complexity, interaction, simulation and other forms of thinking/doing at the irreducible level of the abacus, paper and pencil, and the blackboard?

While we do avoid the siren song of techno-reductionisms or panaceas for solving the multidimensional problems of education, we are nonetheless aware that the ubiquity of communication and constant contact with information useful for decision making is an evolutionary floodgate. History is divided into two periods: before and after the advent of the Internet.

We have lived through five centuries during the period of the printed word ushered in by Gutenberg and currently being brought to its definitive close by Web 2.0 and the “second orality.” Given this state of affairs, the most important question we can ask is not so much if we should widely popularize one-on-one experiences, or how we can justify not doing so, but rather how we should efficiently and effectively implement one-on-one models in classrooms.

We are well aware of the decades-old tradition in education of techno-utopias (of which one-on-one models are an extreme example), and their outcomes have always been a mixed bag, yielding some decent successes but also many devastating failures.

What is odd here is that it is just as Utopian to entrust educational transformation to machines as it is to entrust it to teacher training, curricular design, salary hikes or to any other silver bullet type of solution. And whenever any fad arrives on the scene, it can be found in the growing development of a parallel education consistently mobilizing more resources and expectations, but predominantly in intriguing productions and endeavors in self-learning that are increasingly more powerful and flamboyant, behind the education system’s back.

Hence, ministry authorities do well to resist contamination of the entire system from these disruptive proposals. At times they also recommend classifying them as digital inclusion initiatives, as part of family pedagogical extracurricular time at home. Meanwhile the school continues to do what it knows and does best, with paper and pencil. Those who are staunchly committed to the power of paper, pencil, and intensive reading as the exclusive means to achieve learning know that there is an implicit ideology behind the one-on-one models, i.e., disruptive innovation.

According to the IADB, going beyond expected learning outcomes from 1 to 30 million laptops in the classroom between now and 2015 will entail serious threats to the ecosystem. But, given the need, where do we go from here?

The sine qua non condition for successful implementation of one-on-one models is large-scale connectivity, as understood so well in Brazil where 90% of the schools have already been connected. More controversial still is whether we should continue placing the onus of teaching and conditions for cheerful learning on teachers, as suggested in a recent research study.

The formula would be something like this: one-on-one programs for using computers in the classroom are as good as the teachers running them .

If we adopt an authoritative definition of one-on-one projects, understanding them as "a personal digital device in a place of learning, defined by the student," , most current initiatives would barely comply with the first point and blatantly ignore the last two. This is especially true of the third point, which reveals the student-centered philosophy embodied in these initiatives, and is quite incompatible with administrative bureaucracies and materials and riddled with traditional slavish adherence to pedagogy and to conventional school managerialism.

Today, when there is a willingness to invest a fortune on teacher training plans ushering in more of the same, or on curricular designs that would take decades when unconventional interfaces such as Sugar (the only one in the world that is in synch with the needs for all boys and chiefly girls to begin programming in kindergarten) are systematically avoided, clearly the risk does not lie in failing to adopt one-on-one strategies, which are inevitable, and soon they will resort to using mobile phones and tablets.

The risk lies, rather, in doing a poor job of adopting these strategies, by yielding to partisan politics or demagoguery or predominantly to blackmail instigated by antireform pedagogical discourses, and the system of satellites (consulting firms, international bureaucracies, pedagogical industries), all experts in reforming reform before anything can reform school, by leeching off of and obstructing all potential innovations, which could include one-on-one experiences. Let’s not fall for this ploy.
So attractive is the image of each child with his/her own portable computer that we assume that this is nowadays the only path to take toward universal access to technology and use in the home and at school.

Indeed, in the future it will seem natural for everyone, even children, to have their own digital device, and when we look back for that future, it would seem incomprehensible for anyone to have question the notion. A 1:1 strategy furthers this future somehow, almost completely eliminating children’s difficulties for access to technology, affording them levels of fluency in these new languages, which are hard for them to access without their own personal computer.

It is also clear that if computers are given to children of all social strata, the digital gap could be done away with; and that with students and teachers toting a laptop, attempts to integrate technology into the teaching/learning practices in school classrooms would be facilitated enormously.

Besides, delivering portable computers directly into the hands of students has an immense alluring appeal for presidents and ministers, and often opens a unique window of opportunity to initiate broad dissemination of technology, chiefly in countries where political and financial support has been elusive. Sometimes 1:1 initiatives can take on significance beyond that of education, as in the case of Uruguay where the Plan Ceibal seems to have condensed national identity and aspirations shared by society as a whole and have been useful for mobilizing the country far beyond the confines of its school system.

Notwithstanding the above, I think we need to scrutinize the assumption that today 1:1 is the only approach for all. I believe that this type of strategy can be very good, but it can also turn out to be very expensive and unattainable in circumstances where its educational benefits are still a matter of debate. Consequently, we should consider other options that perhaps are both more plausible and ensure progress with respect to the status quo.

First, I believe we must be cautious regarding the promises of educational transformation made by the 1:1 approach, as if thanks to its implementation we could finally get the results that heretofore had been so elusive. These initiatives will most likely run into the same familiar obstacles that arise in any strategy for ICT integration into the schools. Worse still, it may be that if, as observed in some cases, portable computers do get into classrooms disregarding requirements of school teaching and making a greater commitment to technology than to proper teaching practices, the subsequent disruption may be even greater for teachers, yielding no educational advantage whatsoever.

We must also be cautious regarding the promises made by some people about ICT-assisted independent learning. It does not seem reasonably for us to support the idea that open virtual environments that technology provides are automatically enhancing for children’s learning, especially of poor sectors, who normally require explicit structuring and guidance for learning.

Second, for many countries it may turn out more reasonable to make a considerably lower public investment that, falling short of achieving the 1:1 ideal, will allow them to make significant progress. The fact is that it does not seem reasonable in many contexts to make the investment required to achieve the 1:1 ratio, whereby many homes may come to own several computers, under circumstances in which owning a computer with one Internet connection per home is already a substantial breakthrough. Nor does it seem necessary for children to have their own computer while at school, considering that they use them one or two hours per day twice a week, in circumstances where it is not all that complicated for several classrooms to share a set of laptops. We could argue against such limited use, but the truth is that, for several reasons, it will probably be quite some time before computer use increases to the point that we can justify students owning their own laptops.

Approaches to widening ICT access where some of these resources are still being shared in homes and in the schools can be addressed straightaway much more easily by many countries and may represent a significant breakthrough in access, ownership taking and increased possibilities for education among their population. This is, indeed, the path being taken by many countries, even developed countries who lead on these issues, such as England, where the homes of the poorest people are being subsidized so that they can own at least one computer per home with Internet access.

Finally, we must not forget that these decisions are always taken in contexts where many needs compete for limited resources. Adjusting investment in ICT to a strategy that is more reasonable with respect to a country’s actual situation may lend it financial feasibility and enable it to start down a path toward progressively broader dissemination of these resources by society. This path may also make way for investment in other instances of technological support for the classroom, such as digital projectors and interactive whiteboards, and strengthen actions promoting connectivity, teacher training and content development, which are always needed in any ICT component in education policy. So, we should never forget that, regardless of the model used to deliver technology, the main point continues to be teachers and their skills to use ICT to support the learning processes of their students.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Distance education in the XXI Century: A new opportunity?

In the second half of the twentieth century, a series of initiatives promoted distance education using television as a way to solve the challenge meant to deliver quality content to remote locations or schools, to show the performance of effective teachers in delivery such content, or create flexible training opportunities for students who had left school.

The assessment of this experience was not good. The use made of available materials was low, in many cases access was difficult and hard, and the final impact on enrollment rates and educational attainment was low.

With the emergence of the Information Technologies and Communication, appeared numerous options for distance learning, now known as e-Learning, which aroused tremendous enthusiasm in the last decade of last century, but slowly focused on the provision of higher education.

Probably, this concentration was due, among other things, opportunities available in this market niche. Indeed, in this way higher education institutions could expand their range available without large investments in infrastructure and personnel, pointing to an interested audience (who had no alternatives to the traditional higher education given the economic and academic barriers to entry) and willingness to pay.

Another relevant factor may be that the modalities of distance education developed at the time were strongly marked by the idea of self-learning. Each student in front of his computer, had to maintain strict self-discipline to sustain their studies outside the permanent control of teachers and authorities. This meant that a vast majority of distance learning programs fail because of the huge dropout rates of their students. And probably the adult audience had enough motivations and degrees of maturity to endure, compared with children or adolescents.

However, there are three new elements, typical of the last three or four years, making relevant to ask about the possibilities of distance education in school stages, using information technologies and communication in the twenty-first century:

  1. The consolidation of Web 2.0 (participatory and collaborative) and the development of what has been called "cloud computing" (in reference to services and applications that run entirely on internet and thus need not be stored on local or too powerful computers, and accessible from any location and device), has led to the emergence of increasingly powerful tools, capable of offering highly enriched educational experiences, in respect of which a few years ago were available. In this way, you can imagine online training platforms not only more powerful and versatile, but also much better suited to the needs of each user, whether these spatial (ubiquity), technological (different possibilities of access) or education (other styles and pace of learning).
  2. The advancement of ICT in the world, decreasing prices (both equipment and connectivity), has opened the opportunity for many families have access to digital resources, but also many governments (national, regional or local ) have made major investments to reduce access gaps faced by low-income families. The wave of projects 1 to 1 in the region is an example of that.
  3. In contrast to the above two points, Latin America faces the continuing difficulties in achieving high coverage, especially in secondary education, both geographic and economic reasons, and for the dropout of students, who are not see in school, in many cases. offer attractive enough to keep them motivated and reasonable expectations of their achievements. To this is added the fact that, despite the many resources invested and the different approaches have been the processes of reform, educational outcomes are far from the expected quality.

These three factors combined, present an opportunity for reflection about the potential impact of distance education, in schools in Latin America, on which it is worth trying new approaches.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

1.5 million computers this year for Latin American students

At the end of 2009, it was possible to count almost 600 thousand computers in the hands of Latin American students. Most of that number contributed Uruguay (380 thousand) and Peru (150 thousand). The rest was distributed in smaller-scale projects in Argentina (San Luis), Chile, Brazil (Piraí), Paraguay, Colombia, Costa Rica, Haiti and Jamaica.

In September 2009, the IDB organized a Seminar in Washington DC on the theme of ICTs in education in which projected that, given the behavior of the past three years in this type of initiative, it was possible to postulate that the adoption of models 1 to 1 in education in the region was acting as a disruptive innovation, ie as an innovative and attractive strategy, which filled a void with respect to the previous situation and allowing access to technology at an affordable cost, many students and families for which prior to this access was impossible.

In this seminar, we predicted that, if true disruptive behavior detected, in 2015 was likely to tell 30 million students with a mobile support them in their school and home work.

For such a prognosis can be sustained, given the implementation of the model proposed by Christiansen and others, would require that at the end of 2010, we reached a million and half computer distributed, or should be distributed just this year, 900 thousand machines.

Purchasing processes and the announcements made so far by the governments of the region by 2010 include Argentina (250 thousand for technical schools and 350 thousand for schools announced by President Fernandez for this year, plus another three million for the following two years. To this we must add the 180 thousand who announced the federal government of Buenos Aires and 60 thousand in the province of La Rioja) For its part, Peru purchased 250 thousand computers to continue the expansion of its urban areas and now Uruguay another 180 thousand for the expansion of a secondary Ceibal. Also, Venezuela has started this year its plan to distribute 250 thousand computers to their students and Brazil bought 150 thousand computers.

Not to mention other smaller-scale programs, these initiatives involve the distribution in 2010 of 1 million 570 thousand new computers to students from Latin America. Consequently, and considering possible further administrative and logistical difficulties that could delay some of these deliveries, it can be said that very likely will be achieved and perhaps exceed the prognosis proposed by the IDB for this year and that we thought too bold just few months ago.

The challenge remains educational. At the IDB are working hard with the countries of the region, several of which are among those mentioned above, for these investments in equipment and connectivity are accompanied by strong support in the training of teachers, the generation of new educational resources and new teaching strategies, developing policies to support long-term and integrated to set educational policy, the inclusion of families and other measures designed to provide a proper context, focusing on improving student learning and sustainable time.

The International Conference on Models 1 to 1 on Education, which organized in February in Vienna recently passed, by the OECD and the World Bank, we again confirm that the experiences that exhibit greater progress in this line, are precisely those that have chosen for holistic approaches and bold.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Interview on progress of initiatives of computers to students in Latin America

Radio Duna, from Chile, did this interview to hear progress on the initiatives of computers to students in Latin America.
To hear the interview, click HERE

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

ICT in Education indicators

As some of you know we have been refining the IDB Conceptual Framework and Indicators. Some of you have probably stepped upon one of our latest versions of this document. In an attempt to let you know our latest efforts, here is a short post telling you what we have been up to.

IDBs Conceptual Framework and indicators
The IDBs Conceptual Framework is a tool to support the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects where Information and Communication Technologies have been incorporated to improve the quality of education. The Bank proposes the Conceptual Framework application together with a set of indicators as an exercise to facilitate a comprehensive view at the system level (local, national, regional or global) and at the project level as well.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Web references on New Millennium Learners Conference 2010

Three weeks ago the New Millennium Learners Conference 2010 brought together over 100 experts from 30 countries around the experiences of 1-to-1 computing around the world. We have two things to tell you:

The first one is that all presentations are available in the event's official Website. Secondly, there have been a lot of enthusiastic participants who wanted to share this valuable experience with those who were not present, and today we find many blog entries, and articles that address the content of this event and reported on views expressed there.

Monday, March 8, 2010

International Conference on 1-to-1 in education ( Presentations)

Opportunities and risks of 1-to-1 in education: international perspectives
Carla Jimenez ( IDB)

Monitoring the use and results: how countries know what is going on in the terrain?
Oscar Becerra ( Peru)

Supporting users: how are teachers and pupils supported?
Alicia Banuelos (San Luis, Argentina)

The policy expectations: why countries are investing on 1-to-1?
Fernando Brum (Uruguay)

The transformation of teaching and learning: are there new learning models or environments emergening
Franklin Coelho, and Maria Helena Cautiero Pirai Digital ( Brasil)

Impact on equity: does 1-to-1 help bridge the digital divide in education?
Cecilia Alcala ( Paraguay)

Impact on student outcomes: does 1-to-1 improve student results
Patricia Sierra ( Colombia)

Key note speech: looking into the future: the importance of application and quality content
Miguel Nussbaum ( P.Universidad Catolica, Chile)

1-to-1 worth the investment? How does this policy align with other educational policies?
Alejandro Piscitelli ( UBA, Argentina)

Lessons learned and next steps
Eugenio Severin ( IDB)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

ICT in education: disruptive innovation

There is a chance that by 2015, 30 million students in Latin America may have an electronic device for personal use devoted to aid in their learning. This represents an enormous educational challenge.

This Note from Education Division of Inter-American Development Bank propose a reflextion about this challenge.

Download PDF (in Spanish for now, soon in English)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Models 1 to 1 in education: Review, Prospects and Challenges

The International Conference on Models 1 to 1 in education, organized jointly by the IDB, the World Bank and OECD, and hosted by the Ministry of Education of Austria, has been an excellent opportunity to review the state of the art in implementation of such strategies in the world.

The coverage of the event we did in this blog (summaries of session 1, session 2 and session 3) and through Twitter, permit to visualize the vast amount of experiences presented, each with its own characteristics and contexts. Undoubtedly, the opportunity to have them all together in a single time and space, has been a huge gain to participants and organizers.

Friday, February 26, 2010

International conference on 1-to-1 in education ( Summary day 3)

Summary of the third day of the international conference hosted by the Austrian Ministry of Education and jointly organized by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank (WB).

In the framework of RG-T1709 ICT Impact on Education in Latin America: Knowledge Products and Monitoring and Evaluation Indicators supported by the Government of Korea, the IDB has sponsored 8 regional panelists to present their experiences in 1-to-1 and reproduce the learning gained at the Conference back in their countries.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

International Conference on 1-to-1 in education (Second Day)

Summary on the second day of the international conference hosted by the Austrian Ministry of Education and jointly organized by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank (WB).

In the framework of RG-T1709 ICT Impact on Education in Latin America: Knowledge Products and Monitoring and Evaluation Indicators supported by the Government of Korea, the IDB has sponsored 8 regional panelists to present their experiences in 1-to-1 and reproduce the learning gained at the Conference back in their countries.

Monday, February 22, 2010

International Conference on 1-to-1 in education (First Day)

We present here a summary of the first day of an International Conference hosted by the Austrian Ministry of Education and jointly organized by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank (WB).

In the framework of RG-T1709 ICT Impact on Education in Latin America: Knowledge Products and Monitoring and Evaluation Indicators the IDB has also sponsored 8 regional panelists to present their experiences in 1-to-1 and reproduce the learning gained at the Conference back in their countries.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

iPad, Netbooks and education

The commotion caused by the release of the Apple iPad gives us an excuse to re-consider the impact that these devices could have on education. Since the IDB we have indicated our belief that one to one computing models will have a rapid penetration in the education area in Latin America. If so, and knowing the enormous power that Apple has taken in developing mass consumer devices, we want to reflect on its potential.

Monday, January 25, 2010

International Conference on 1-to-1 in Education

An international conference hosted by the Austrian Ministry of Education and jointly organised by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank (WB) will be developed on February 22-24, in Vienna, Austria.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New publication from OECD about Digital Learning Resources

Beyond Textbooks: Digital Learning Resources as Systemic Innovation in the Nordic Countries

Abstract: Technology is a key driver of educational innovation, and a variety of programmes focusing on investment in infrastructure, equipment, in-service training and digital learning resources have been established to promote its usage in primary and secondary schools. So far, little comparative analytical attention has been devoted to understanding how digital resources improve the quality of learning and to assessing the public policies that support their development and use, and the role played by other stakeholders like publishers, broadcasting companies and increasingly user communities. This publication aims to fill that gap by both reviewing and evaluating the process of systemic innovation.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

European study recommends early teaching of technology

Technology inclusion in schools plans on early childhood stages, could increase the chindren's interest about science and technology,
The inclusion of technology into the curriculum in early childhood, could help increasing the interest of children in science and technology, as indicated an EU-funded research, recently published in the journal "Journal of Technology and Design Education".

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Uruguay: With the teacher in house

En Uruguay, los maestros del Programa INFAMILIA se convierten en tutores para niños con necesidades especiales

Friday, January 8, 2010

The ICT and the education in the schools (CNN)

¿Cómo reinventar la educación en las aulas? Marcelo Cabrol, jefe de la División de Educación del BID, resalta la importancia de la reinvención de la educación en las aulas y sobre las brechas de aprendizaje que existen en América Latina y el Caribe.

Entrevista de CNN a Marcelo Cabrol, Jefe de la División de Educación del BID.

Uruguay: Reinventing the classroom

Thanks to Plan Ceibal, Uruguay is the first country in to give a laptop to each child.

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