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 .

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