Friday, December 21, 2012

The world is the school

Education in the world is destined, sooner or later, to a paradigmatic shift. The educational model that we have seen grow and offer the best in the twentieth century, is not sufficient to provide the quality of education that demands the XXI century, and therefore we are at the turning point of a major change.

So far, we have enough imagine education as "what happens in school," four or five hours each day, for twelve to fifteen years of our lives. Globalization and the knowledge society that has emerged for the development of information technology and communication have created a new paradigm that will break this belief in its spatial and temporal dimension.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The future of education will be personalized

The greatest achievement of the educational systems of the twentieth century was to ensure access to school to almost every children in school age. It was certainly a major success in the context of the huge inequalities and exclusions that our societies maintain. Education, understood as a right of individuals and a society need, is a great legacy for the century in which we are.

However, it is insufficient to ensure a legacy of educational quality. The XXI century calls for the development of new skills and competencies in its members, that industrially organized schools are unable to offer. In most parts of the world, educational outcomes show this gap, and achieve the expected results in the XXI century requires to change our paradigms.

Friday, April 20, 2012

New publication: Basic Guidelines for TED's Project Evaluation

The use of technologies within educational settings has become a priority for governments of developing countries. Investment in Technologies for Education (TEd), which has the goal of improving the quality of education and making it relevant to 21st century realities, has grown steadily during the past decade.

However, efforts involving the evaluation of such projects have been inadequate thus far. The evaluation of educational technology projects is critically important, since it allows us to learn from the experience of carrying out such programs while providing vital information on expected results.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Diane's questions

Diane Ravitch has an interesting biography. It is an education researcher who acted as advisor to the Secretary of Education George Bush (father) and then to the Secretary of Education for the administration of Bill Clinton. With the first led efforts to develop more rigorous educational standards. Then, between 1997 and 2004, with George Bush Jr. and the White House, she was director of the National Assessment Governing Board, the equivalent to Chilean SIMCE. In short, he starred in the design and implementation of the American educational model as it stands today.

The 2010 published an interesting book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, which should be required reading for every politician interested in education reform and who believes that the American model deserves to be followed and copying. It basically repent of what worked in previous years, and demonstrates with data, research and arguments, that the policies that were implemented for competing schools and teachers, to standardize the testing of students, targeted on a few materials and lack of resources and prestige of public education (with the parallel deification of private education without her show better results) have finished destroying the possibilities of improving the quality of education. Does this sound familiar?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Digital textbooks for Chile

When the Ministry of Education distributes textbooks, is actually doing three different things at once: is selecting educational content, printed paper is buying and is paying for all this comes to all schools. How these three operations could change if the Ministry of Education decided to digitize textbooks, as it has done as South Korea and the United States has just announce?

The most obvious change is the distribution. With digital texts, placed in a digital reading device (eReader) or a low-cost tablet, each year you could add or modify the content to update them remotely without the need for warehouses, inventory, trucks and vans, which as we know, not always reach their destination. If the devices include touch function (as indeed do all the tablets and several eReaders already on the market) could be included right there activities that students must perform in them.

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Publication: "Una Laptop por Niño" in Peru Evaluation

The use of technologies in education is not a magic and rapid solution through which educational problems and challenges can be solved with the simple acquisition of technological devices and systems. Improving the quality of education remains one of the main issues in political agendas for all countries, especially developing ones. The main task for policy makers continues to be finding comprehensive and systemic solutions, focused on students and their learning, for which the use of technology will be a key and unavoidable, but instrumental, among other activities and strategies for achieving the proposed objectives.

The lack of educational use and of new learning practices among teachers and students explain the absence of improvement in learning tests and the moderately positive results in the development of cognitive skills. The evaluation found a higher level of teachers´ satisfaction and moderately positive results in the development of students' analytical skills. On the other hand, lack of connectivity, the limited amount of available educational resources on the machines, and doubts concerning the possibility of using the computers at home, have detracted learning opportunities from students. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Publication: Technologies for Education (TEd): A Framework for Action

This new publication of the Inter-American Development Bank presents a framework supporting the design, implementation, monitoring, and assessment of projects designed to incorporate technologies for the purpose of improving educational outcomes.

There is a broad consensus regarding the need to improve student outcomes in the educational systems of Latin America and the Caribbean. After an attempt to institute various reforms and initiatives, the demand for quality and equity continues to be heard throughout the region. Meeting this demand will require significant changes, regarding not only the teaching of subjects that are relevant to needs of a knowledge society, but also teaching them in a way that takes full account of the educational context that 21st century society has generated.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Seven years ago, I worked at the Fundación Chile when we visited the manager of the Textbook Unit of the Ministry of Education to convince him to start preparing the Chilean school system for digital textbooks, which undoubtedly would be, and will be, a reality sooner rather than later. Of course we were aware that Chile was not then nor is now able to replace the text printed by digital alternatives. But it seemed urgent to start preparing.

 Most importantly, we raised at that meeting was to separate the bidding of textbooks into two: one for content, giving the Ministry of Education the right to use that content distribution on any platform and in perpetuity, in order to start generating a Bank of educational content, and another separate tender for the printing and distribution of texts on paper. Just look at the reality today, to notice that we were pretty bad at the meeting. The ministry continues to spend 11 billion pesos ($ 11,000,000,000) each year to distribute, the best they can, boxes of printed books, purchased as closed units to large publishers and without forming the bank of digital content and curricular activities. Perhaps this is the moment to insist on the idea.

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