Digital Divide, Government and ICTs for Education

The Escuela Virtual para América Latina y el Caribe (Virtual school for Latin America and the Caribbean) is an organization (depending from the UNDP) whose mission is to build capacity and impart training in the fields that can promote social transformation, namely human development and democratic governance. As its name reads, it is a fully online school and uses ICTs as a means; but it is also worth noting that the Virtual School is in itself a showcase on how to apply ICTs in Development (ICT4D), specially in what we’d call e-Learning for development.

A successful project, it is now in its way to train other organizations not only in their missionary content, but also in the “how to” part of the story: how to build up a virtual school (for government, for empowerment) in Latin America. These days (10th to 12th March 2009) it’s taking place a training-consultancy for people at the Instituto Distrital de Participación y Acción Comunal de la Secretaría de Gobierno de la Alcaldía de Bogotá (IDPAC: Participation and Community Building Institute at Bogotá, Colombia), so that they can build their own Virtual School of Local Participation.

I have been invited to give a conference on e-Learning for Development, entitled La Brecha digital y el uso de las TIC para la Educación (The Digital Divide and ICTs for Education).

The presentation has four different parts:

  1. Slides 1-6: A brief introduction and some highlights about the crossroads between participation, governance, human rights and the changes that the Information Society is bringing in. The topic just frames my introductory presentation, and is later on developed in depth by professor Jaime Torres, Universidad de los Andes.
  2. Slides 7-12: Second part is a characterization of the Digital Divide. It actually is about the digital divides, which is absolutely my point: there are many of them, and most of them usually kept out of the spotlight.
  3. Slides 13-21: Third part is about networks. It is focused in development and development cooperation. There’ll be time to explore online volunteering, development 2.0, the gift economy, etc.
  4. Slides 22-31: A last part is about (how great it is) e-learning for development issues, from different points of view: efficacy, efficiency, suitability, convenience, etc.

Citation and downloads: La Brecha digital y el uso de las TIC para la Educación.

I want to thank Andoni Maldonado and Gemma Xarles for their kind invitation, and to Nicolás Padilla for assistance and patience.


If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2009) “Digital Divide, Government and ICTs for Education” In ICTlogy, #66, March 2009. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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