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: http://www.educacionemergente.org/
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