Saturday, November 5, 2011

Learning in the XXI century

What does mean "learning" in the XXI century? In times of debate, in which the eyes seem so set on education, it is worth returning to the essential question, as we run the risk of compliance in accordance with a pair of laws and regulations, add a little extra money here, monitoring a little there, and believe we have a new educational system.

Learning in the XXI century is clearly a new need. This is the century when a group of existing and innovative educational experience, although limited, and specific, they will be becoming the new standard in the natural and obvious way of ordering the educational offer. The knowledge society demands new knowledge and skills, and offers new tools and how to access it. That is the main novelty.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Not to de-municipalization

One of the repeated demands by many actors as a slogan in student conflict, is to de-municipalization of education. The diagnosis behind the proposal is a consensus.

Since 1981, public schoolswere transferred to be administered by the 350 municipalities, only rarely and very few municipalities have been able to assume fully the responsibility thatwas transferred. And what could they do it is because many extra resourceshave been allocated to it.

But it seems hasty to say that, given that the vast majority of municipalitieshave failed to manage well their educational establishments, should be exempted from that responsibility. Key seems to me to ask why this has occurred.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Profit and Quality

The discussion on the profit on education has taken much of the debate, though far from being the explanation for our problems, much less solving them. I think it's an important issue that should be discussed. But we should banish the fantasy that the elimination or ratification of profit, resolve the problems of our educational system.

In a previous article I referred to profit from a more personal perspective, expressing my dismay over the pervasiveness of the spirit of profit between us.Now I want to do so from a technical perspective and propose. The discussion on the profit, separate from the discussion on quality, means not only putting the cart before the horse, but the wagon passing over the horse.

Because of time and space, I will only refer to the issue of profit in school education, since the context is quite different in higher education, where prohibited by law, and what has been lacking is the will to enforce and monitor compliance legal standards, even if there are issues pending to define, as the subject of profit in vocational education.

In school education, however, profit is not only permitted, but was deliberately used by the State to convene private actors to invest in education, and so quickly and substantially improve educational coverage and full-day schooling in Chile. It is then called a public policy that corporations and big business, but also and significantly to teachers and other professionals to create, maintain and support to schools throughout Chile.

Could the State now repent and change that policy, deciding that there can be no private schools administered under the incentive to profit by it? Absolutely, but it probably means that the state should take over this change, buying or expropriating private schools, or compensating the owners. Technically, the State would be taking away an acquired right and in justice, that can not be free. And as we know, the quality of education is not determined by who runs the school and whether for profit or not, so we would find a huge public spending, without any compensation in terms of quality (worth reading aexcellent academic work that shows how the hard data helped gain coverage, but has had no impact on the quality and, instead, do to increase social segregation).

I think there's a way of solving more practical, feasible and efficient, if we include the variable quality. Of course, this is a difficult concept to define, but some progress, let's assume for the purposes of the distribution of public resources, quality means the student results in national tests (hopefully more complete than the current SIMCE taken more frequently), the results of the teachers in the teacher evaluation process and some indicators associated with the facility management (enrollment, attendance, budget execution, parental involvement).

These results should then be weighted on the basis of context and vulnerability index of the students, so as not to compare apples and oranges and ensuring that there is no selection in the accessibility and maintenance of students in schools. These indicators can construct an algorithm that delivers a score for each school, say, 1 to 100. Sounds complicated, but is not as difficult as it seems.

So far we have talked about the quality, let us now return to profit. My proposal here is simple:
  • If as a result of this algorithm, a school receives 70 points or less (for example), then the holder can not remove utilities, and any eventual surplus must be reinvested in the school to improve its future performance.
  • If the result is between 70 and 80 points, the holder can withdraw a limited percentage of profits (say for example, up to 10% of the surplus).
  • If the school gets results between 80 and 90, the owner can remove a higher percentage (in our example, 20 percent of the surplus).
  • If the school gets more than 90 points, the holder can withdraw surplus without limit, it is doing an excellent job.
By contrast, if a school gets consistently less than 60 points (say, for three consecutive or five non-consecutive), can be operated by the Ministry of Education and required to develop specific actions for improvement. And if the school gets less than 50 points consistently, or does not improve after ministerial intervention, the authorities should be forced to close, remove the "decree cooperative" to the holder and offer alternatives to students.

Of course, this is a general initial description of a policy that would require much refinement and work. Nor is it a final or only solution, and requires to be accompanied by other policies if we want to achieve the necessary levels of quality education in the XXI century, among others, invest more heavily in preschool, school subsidies increase, improve selection and training of teachers, support substantive changes in policy management in schools, restructuring the vocational secondary education, strengthening public institutions, etc.. But I think it could be a possible and practical in the short term to maintain joint provision in education, a true role of guarantor for the state, and a stronger focus on quality.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Learning from South Korea

South Korea is an example of rapid economic growth and excellent results in education. In 1960, Korea had one of the lowest Gross Economic Products in the world, and until the early 1980s, its standings ranked very similarly to those of Latin American countries. However, following a sustained annual growth of 6 percent, South Korea today is not only one of the world’s most developed countries, but also among those with the least inequality.

In education, South Korea has had consistently improved its results. In the last PISA test (2009) it achieved top rankings among participating countries. Consider that in the mid-1970s, only 7 percent of the country’s students had reached higher education; some 70 percent do so now.

This is doubly interesting considering that South Korea is a small country of less than 100 square miles and limited access to natural resources. A key factor in its success has been investment in education and strengthening human capital, areas in which educational technologies have played a very important role.

For Latin America, three factors stand out from the South Korean experience:

  • Education has a high social and cultural value. The consensus of society on the importance of education is universal. All believe unequivocally in giving education attention, a high priority, and resources. 
  • Education plays a central, long-term role in designing public policies. National development strategies and education are inextricably intertwined, and the education master plans, developed every five years, align and update initiatives, each with a thorough internal integration of components. 
  • Education, and particularly teaching, is a highly respected calling with a professional standing, and is therefore well paid. Only students graduating in the top 5 percent of their high school classes can enter the teaching profession, and salaries reflect this high quality and level of professionalism. Starting teachers receive a salary nearly three times that of their counterparts in Chile, which pays the highest salaries to teachers in Latin America. On average, after 15 years in the classroom, during which their performance is closely monitored and evaluated, Korean teachers see their incomes increase by 80 percent. 

An important aspect of South Korea’s efforts in education has been making use of educational technologies. Annual five-year plans carefully define the use of available technology. For example, the 1996-2000 Master Plan emphasized infrastructure for Internet connectivity and teacher training; the 2001-2005 plan focused on the development of educational content (digital textbooks and help at home) and the scholastic information system (NEIS); the 2006-2010 plan focused on the use of cell phones for mass education and reforms in teacher education needed to respond to new educational practices.

South Korea recently, announced its new master plan, which calls for replacing printed textbooks with digital texts, content-rich multimedia, and interactive activities that students will access through tablets permanently linked to the Internet. It is clear that these initiatives are not the result of last-minute improvisation, a concession to fashion, or an effort to sway voters. Rather, they represent a new phase, part of a natural, sustained, and systematic effort.

South Korea’s success in education as a whole is the result of such a sustained, coherent, and long-term effort in which technologies play a role, not as the desperate effort of solitary protagonists in a lonely struggle, but with the support needed to produce desired results. It is true that our region faces other challenges presented by different experiences and cultures. But there are some things we must learn from South Korea. (Text written in collaboration with Christine Capota)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Measuring and Teaching 21st Century Skills

It is generally agreed that students should develop new abilities to live, work, and be part of the 21st century society. However, until now, little has been done to clearly define what these skills are, how they can be measured, and how they can be taught. The ATC21S is a global academic alliance, led by the University of Melbourne and sponsored by Intel, Microsoft, and Cisco, that aims to fill this gap. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the IDB and the government of Costa Rica are part of this effort.

We are pleased to announce a new publication on this topic by Eugenio Severin, Senior Education Specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank. The publication can be found here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Children who learn by themselves

In 2006, the university professor Sugata Mitra, decided to do an experiment. Embedded in the wall of his office, overlooking a marginal population of India (a "slum"), a computer connected to the Internet, and left it there so that children could use it freely. In the following years repeated the experience in about 20 communities in the country, and then refine the experience, applied in several countries. "The Adventure of children learning for themselves" is the title of inspiring TED video where you can learn firsthand the details of this experience.

The results were wonderful and interesting. Children learn by themselves, without adult assistance. Motivated by questions and the ability to investigate and discover, the children learn. It's hard to believe, but it does work. The same Sugata Mitra has a lucid phrase popularized by Arthur Clarke: "If a teacher can be replaced by a computer, should be". In other words, where there are good teachers, excellent. Where there are no teachers or they are not good, technologies can be an indispensable support to produce significant learning. And not because the technologies themselves, but for its potential to enable new pedagogical processes.

Sugata Mitra was this week at a seminar in Chile. There I had the honor to make a presentation and participate in a roundtable discussion in which go deeper into the lessons of his work and his projections for education in Chile and Latin America.

There are four aspects that I think are in the proposal of a "minimally invasive education" as he calls himself Mitra, it is important to consider:

1. The focus on students and their learning: do not lose sight of that education is about every child, to provide space and learning experiences that enable them to develop their enormous potential. Trusting children, give them opportunities.

2. Re-enchant to learning: to regain the enthusiasm, interest, intrinsic motivation of students, let them express and discover, create and communicate. Spark their curiosity, let them try, fail, find paths.

3. Ubiquity: accept that education is not something that only happens in classrooms, but a personal experience of life for everyone, especially children, who joins us 24 hours a day and all year long. The world, the city, the media, the neighborhood is full of missed educational opportunities. Education is not a time of day, is an attitude to interact with the world and with others.

4. The technologies enable these changes. Are they not, in themselves, which make a difference and change, but they give us excuses and opportunities to change, offer tools to customize each student's educational offerings, to excite each of those involved to be present in each space and time.

I think that such experiences can be an opportunity in Latin America, at least four contexts:

1. Where there are no schools or teachers in remote or rural areas.
2. Where there are schools, but students drop out or are rejected by schools, especially the young in age to attend secondary school, allowing flexible forms of education.
3. Where there are schools and students who attend them, but the quality of education has significant deficits. For example, is known the difficulty of teaching maths, science and English in our continent.
4. Where adult population (over 18) who left the school and can have a second chance to achieve educational levels that will open up opportunities.

We must thank CETHUMS Foundation for the gift that has made ​​Chile and the hundreds of attendees to the seminar on Friday, inviting Professor Mitra to share their experience and findings. Thinking about different ways, to innovate and change, to provide quality education to all children, especially those who today have fewer opportunities, is an urgent challenge.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"The wonderful adventure of children learning for themselves"

"The wonderful adventure of children learning for themselves"
Santiago, June 10, 2011 at Espacio Riesco from 09h15 to 14h30.

The Education Seminar "The wonderful adventure of children learning for themselves, " seeks to provide a new insight into emerging methods of teaching and learning incorporating the use of ICT, allowing children to experiment, explore and research in a cooperative and collaborative, learning how to share and teach each other.


PhD. Physics, Research and technology education teacher at the University of Newcastle, UK.
Scientific Director Emeritus of the Center for Research in Cognitive Systems, NIIT Ltd., India, the largest multinational training and software services company, responsible for all the innovations in education, computer applications, media and technology communications.
Recognized as the creator of the "Hole in the Wall", which prove that children learn computers easily without any formal training. Sugata called it "Minimally Invasive Education. "


8:15 Reception and Accreditation - Welcome Coffee

9:15 Opening Remarks

9:20 Opening Remarks - Dinorah Lares Bigott, Vice CetHums Foundation

9:30 The possibilities and limits of self-learning of children and young people in new technologies and the redefinition of the role of teachers
Alfredo Rojas, Program Officer for School Leadership Network Coordinator UNESCO Santiago Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean

10:05 One to One Learning
Eugenio Severin, Senior Education Division Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

10:40 Opening remarks
Pradeep K. Kapur, India's Ambassador in Chile

10:45 "Hole in the Wall" (HIW) and "Else Method"
Dr. Sugata Mitra, Academic School of Education and Science Communication
Language of Newcastle University, UK

11:55 Exhibition of experience with Computer and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in schools

Coffee Break

12:30 Roundtable. Questions and answers

14h20 Closing and Closing Address

More information:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ask Michael Fullan

If I were a minister of education, or a vice-minister, or an advisor to either, I would recommend that they hire Michael Fullan. I do not know him, but I have read some of his books and I think that if someone wants to lead a ministry of education, make real changes in the way students learn, taking all factors into account, few are better qualified than Fullan.

Fullan is not just an intellectual and education professional, sitting in a library from where he enlightens us with his learned opinions. Instead, he has personally worked in the reform processes in several countries and school districts. He knows the complexities and difficulties that are involved.

In his latest book, All Systems Go, Fullan proposes that educational reforms abandon the traditional paradigm of standards-evaluation-penalties. He also warns of two common failings in reform processes. The first is the failure to account for the complexity of educational systems and, as a result, oversimplify the measures to be taken. The second is to propose partial approaches that attack one problem at a time, or worse, involve too few schools, teachers, and students, instead of the system as a whole (hence the title of the book).

In contrast, Fullan says that reform processes should simultaneously consider the different actors involved and levels where they operate. Given the difficulties of maneuvering in such a complex arena, he proposes five key measures that, in his experience, are necessary for carrying out the reform process. They are:

1. Moral purpose: The objectives of the reform must be described with clarity, transparency, straightforwardness, and simplicity. These measures will constitute the fundamental principles that make it possible to put the four reform measures that follow in their proper relationship. In addition, high expectations must be established for ALL students (not just some of them). This moral purpose of reform, which is known to every actor in the educational system, should aim high, close gaps in educational performance, and above all, include all students. Every action, strategy, and policy should be designed and carried out in a way that automatically and constantly reminds people that education has a moral purpose of the utmost importance, for each individual and for society as a whole.
2. Decisive leadership. It will not be easy to carry out the reform process at any of its levels, whether in the ministry, at the local level, or in the schools themselves. The process must be driven by leadership built on the following six elements: strong enthusiasm, personal commitment on the part of the leaders, the support of the teachers, a focus on teaching, maintaining pressure for achieving goals, and showing results that justify further investment.

3. Intelligent accountability: Everyone talks about accountability and everyone assumes that accountability measures are carried out intelligently. But this is not always so. Fullan says that achieving intelligent accountability requires putting more emphasis on incentives rather than penalties, investing in strengthening the abilities of all involved to carry out each task, building institutional capacity (internal accountability), particularly at the beginning of the process, refraining from making judgments and carrying out punishments, ensuring the transparency of data on the measures being carried out and on the results, and intervening where necessary.

4. Creating collective capabilities: The purpose of reforms is to strengthen the capacities of each teacher and director on the assumption that the sum of their individual efforts contributes to improved outcomes. Fullan proposes putting more emphasis on building collective capacity in schools, at the local level, and in ministries of education, as a basis for strengthening collaboration.

5. Strengthening the capabilities of individuals: Once collective capabilities have been strengthened, many of the actors need to improve their skills for carrying out their tasks in the context of the reform measures. This support is very important, especially when it is directed at improving teaching and learning.

If one considers separately each measure that Fullan proposes, you will see that none is very original or innovative. The issue here is their integration. Fullan says that these measures must be carried out within the context of a single reform initiative, which centers on the process of learning.

I remember that some years ago José Joaquín Brunner presented tables that attempted to identify common elements in the most successful education systems. The interesting thing was that the systems were all very different. Some were centralized, others not; some were almost entirely public, others mostly private; some were multicultural and multilingual, others were homogenous. There was no common thread among them, except that each had a rigorous internal consistency in which all policies were in alignment, and where new measures and actions were not simply carried out ad hoc.

I think that Fullan is proposing something similar. Education reforms, which are indispensable in Latin America, must adopt the essential elements used in successful countries and districts throughout the world: focus and consistency. If you still have doubts, ask Fullan.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Role of ICT4E Policy in Education Transformation: A Workshop for Policy Decision Makers

With the collaboration of Plan Ceibal, Unesco, KERIS and IDB, the workshop The Role of ICT4E Policy in Education Transformation: A Workshop for Policy Decision Makers took place from April 27 to 29 at Plan Ceibal in Montevideo Uruguay.

Over 50 participants representing 15 countries met for the launch of the UNESCO publication Transforming Education: The Power of ICT Policies ( UNESCO, 2010) and to discuss issues ICT public policy and education. The authors Enrique Hinostroza, Shafika Isaacs and Robert Kozma discussed the publication and updated recent information from this research.

For countries like Cape Verde, Maldives and Nepal, which are currently at an earlier stage in the adoption of ICT into their national policy, this activity was a good opportunity to learn from countries
in the Latin-American region currently more advanced in that topic.
At the same time for the representatives of Colombia, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay, the activity provided a framework for discussing and reflecting on the steps already taken and a look to the future coming in the topic of educational technology.

The institutions present (Intel, UNESCO IIP, UNESCO OREALC, KERIS, IDB, World Bank, ISTE, IICD and OLPC Foundation among others) enriched the subject with their experience in the field and upcoming projects.

On 28 April the open seminar the workshop The Role of ICT4E Policy in Education Transformation took place at LATU.

This fifth seminar is held after other successful open seminars in Chile (May 2010), Dominican Republic (June 2010), Paraguay (September 2010) and Costa Rica (November 2010).

The IDB has made all presentations available at:


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

One-to-One Laptop Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean

The introduction of technology in education is gaining momentum worldwide. One model of incorporating technology into education that has gained tremendous traction in Latin America and the Caribbean is One-to-One computing. The term "One-to-One" refers to the ratio of digital devices per child so that each child is provided with a digital device, most often a laptop, to facilitate learning.

The objective of One-to-One Laptop Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean document is to provide an overview of One-to-One implementations with a regional focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. It also proposes a systemic approach to improve the quality of education in contexts of mass laptop distributions to students and teachers.

The rationales for implementing One-to-One initiatives are frequently clouded by short-term political goals or by pressure from technology vendors. Nevertheless, from what the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has observed, the rationales and desired impact of One-to-One initiatives fall into three main categories:
  1. From an economic perspective, technology is seen as playing a major role in both the production processes and the results that these processes yield. Through the introduction of effective laptop programs, students can be better prepared to enter a technology-saturated workplace, maintaining a level of economic competitiveness.
  2. From a social perspective, laptops in schools are seen as a way to help bridge social and digital divides. They also have the potential to provide computer and Internet access to families and community members who would not otherwise have access.
  3. From an educational perspective, it is believed that laptops can facilitate new educational practices that are student-centered. They may also support the development of new skills and abilities required in the 21st century.
One-to-One models have been implemented in many Latin American and Caribbean countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela. This paper provides an overview of these cases and others worldwide.

The manners by which One-to-One programs have been designed, implemented, and evaluated are very diverse. Thus far, research has been inconclusive with regards to the economic, social, and educational impacts of One-to-One programs due to short time spans, lack of appropriate evaluation methodologies, and lack of commitment to study impact, among other reasons.

Since results vary with time and implementation, impacts should be evaluated over short-, mid-, and long-term time spans. Given the IDB's experience with One-to-One initiatives in the region, we propose:
  • A model of understanding One-to-One that focuses on the student and his/her learning results. Rather than describing the relationship between the digital device and the child, we describe One-to-One as the relationship between a child and learning, mediated by technology among other factors.
  • A systemic approach to One-to-One design and implementation that simultaneously considers infrastructure, digital content, teacher training/support, community involvement, and policy. 
  • A general review of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) associated with these initiatives, which considers both the initial investment and its long-term sustainability.
  • An emphasis on the role of monitoring and rigorous evaluations.
There is no silver bullet in education; in this sense, technology is no different from other learning interventions. The distribution of equipment alone will not have any effect on learning outcomes, unless it is considered as part of comprehensive reform processes, focusing on learning and explicitly proposes the change of traditional educational practices.

The report is available to download in various formats:

(Compatible with
iBook, Nook, Kobo, and others)
(Compatible with 
Adobe Reader)
(Compatible with
 Kindle, Sony Reader, and others)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Computers and Learning

Can technology help to improve the quality of education? This is the question that led us at the Inter-American Development Bank to produce a report on currently available knowledge on assessments and experiences in this subject around the world. (Escuelas y Computadores: por qué los gobiernos deben hacer su tarea, Berlinski, Busso, Cristia y Severin. BID, 2011)

Clearly, Latin America and the Caribbean face an ongoing challenge in improving educational quality. Hopes that this technology can produce better results in the classroom have led to many projects and initiatives.

Our report focuses on the efforts made in Latin America beginning with the creation of computer labs in the early 1990s to the tremendous growth in the field, which today includes the option of providing a computer for each student (“One to One” models).

The focus generally used in the region has consisted of proposing investments in technology as a new educational input that includes installing machines in schools, providing technical training for teachers in their use, and making digital educational resources available through web portals.

This approach has had a rather low impact if one examines test results. Evaluations and studies so far indicate that the use of technology has produced modest improvements in language and no gains in math.
On the other hand, teachers as well as students have made significant advances in the management of technology as well as in higher-level skills, such critical thinking and collaboration.

However, the question remains whether technology can help provide the qualitative educational gains we all desire. We know that changes in education take place over the long term, and some of these initiatives—especially the “One to One” models—have not been underway for long, with the result that we really probably cannot judge the impacts they are having.

It is also relevant to ask how well we are judging these impacts. The lack of adequate tools for measuring many of the skills that technology is supposed to support, and insufficient rigor in evaluating the initiatives, have contributed to the lack of clarity on the subject.

Probably the best explanation for the modest results is precisely this concept of computers as an additional input in the school environment, and one that will magically improve educational results.

Consider this. If these investments are not included as part of comprehensive policies; if teachers are not trained (either initially or in-service) in how to make use of the opportunities that technology offers; if innovative educational resources capable of changing the behavior of teachers and students are not made available; if technologies are not used to improve communication and the involvement of families in the school; if new platforms that offer personalized attention for each student in line with their interests and abilities are not offered…

Then I don’t see how anyone can expect that technology—on its own—can make a difference in education. As Albert Einstein said, “If you want different results, you’ve got to do things differently.”

Until now, most of the initiatives reviewed in our report are carried out in schools as an “extra,” or a “bonus track.” In this regard, they have been treated as inputs isolated from the rest of the pedagogical and educational strategy. As a result, schools, teachers, and students have gone about business as usual, now with the addition of computers, but without real changes in teaching methods and few changes in learning.
The use of technology in education is a relevant economic decision.

Despite a gradual reduction in costs for equipment and connectivity, technology still represents a huge burden for the countries of Latin America, which on average spend US$622 a year per student. Considering that investment in computer labs costs some US$30 annually per student, a serious and complete “One to One” program would represent an annual cost of at least US$150 per student.

For these reasons, it is essential to perform a rigorous design of these strategies.

Use of technology continues to represent a key opportunity for achieving quality education as well as being an undeniable component of education in the 21st century. It is crucially important to learn from past experiences, and above all, to understand that problems cannot be solved by simple or magical solutions. If technology is not part of a systemic strategy of improvements, we will continue to wait in vain for computers in schools to turn boys and girls into citizens of the knowledge society.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Educating for the future

For some time I believe that many of our educational leaders have promoted reforms in our educational systems thinking in a logic of "enhancements" to a system designed centuries ago, without asking whether it remains an appropriate response to the needs of the XXI century.

With the best intentions, our reformers have focused on "patching"the educational system, to return to deliver the level of quality that supposedly once had. But it is not the system (managers, teachers, school time, computers, books), but of education. Be returning to the fundamental question: For what world are we preparing students today?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Three Cups of Tea

When George Bush decided to bomb and invade Afghanistan in search of Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban and all those behind the attack on the Twin Towers, Greg Mortenson shuddered, thinking of the pain would live so many families and friends. Also, the real risk where were the roughly 80 schools that had arisen at that time in Pakistan, mainly to educate girls.

Eight years before, Greg was about to die in these lands, but not because of any war. His passion for mountaineering had led him to collect dollar for dollar, saving his small salary as a nurse in a public hospital in California to be part of an expedition that set out to reach the summit of K2 in northern Pakistan on the border with China. However, besides failing in the attempt, ​​a storm caused broke up the group and lose several days trying to find his way back through the snow and cold.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Education makes Happiness

Despite what is said, the money is not enough to explain the happiness, or at least not just money. Data from the Global Wellbeing Surveys implemented by Gallup, allow the classification of countries according to Thriving, defined as the opinion of the inhabitants about their present and future life, that is, their satisfaction and expectations. Thus, the first three places in prosperity are occupied Denmark, Finland and Norway. In the closest, Costa Rica is in 6 th place, Panama at 12º, Brazil is 13º and Mexico 18º.

As can be seen, several developing countries are more advanced, while the U.S. is 14º and the UAE are at 20º. However, there is some relationship to the economy. Among the 25 least prosperous countries, twenty two are poor countries in Africa, and Haiti is sadly our continent.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Participate in the 2011 Maine Rice Bowl Challenge!

This morning we received a note from the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) about an online game that is educational and socially conscious (and fun, or course!). The game, Free Rice, is a vocabulary game. For every correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated to the United Nations World Food Program to help end world hunger. They are looking for 1,000,000 students worldwide to join their team in the Rice Bowl Challenge. Below is their note:
"We're sponsoring an event with the World Food Programme that is challenging kids to play their online game ( on our student team to raise food for the WFP and raise awareness about hunger. MLTI is sponsoring the student team, and our opposing team sponsor will be announced shortly. You can read more about this on our web site, and on the If you or your schools have connectivity to its students, we'd love to have them join our team.

Our goal is to have 100,000 Maine students participate and 1,000,000 students worldwide. Last year, 1000 Maine students raised 2.4 million grains of rice in 1 hour. How many grains of rice can we donate with a million kids?

Please spread the word! "

Friday, January 7, 2011

Seminar "Technology in Education, New Pathways to Learning" in Costa Rica

Presentation by Eugenio Severin, representing the Inter-American Development Bank, at the seminar "Technology in Education, New Pathways to Learning", organized by the IDB, KERIS, the Ministry of Education of Costa Rica, the Omar Dengo Foundation and CRUSA Foundation. San Jose, November 2010. (in Spanish).

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