Ismael Peña-López

The Personal Research Portal: the Virtual Faculty or the Net behind the Classroom

Materials for the Seminar


Instructional technology has suffered, in our opinion, two revolutions and a half during the last decades. The first one was, there is no doubt, the introduction of the personal computer in the educational environment. The second one, the appearance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in a broader sense – that implied, among other things, connecting the PC to the network – and their use in teaching. The “half” left, as it actually is a corollary of the latter, the one brought by the so called Web 2.0, thus giving birth to what has been dubbed as Education 2.0.

Notwithstanding, the emphasis has been put, most of the times, in how these technologies impact the relationship between teacher and student or how these technologies whether and how enhance the learning process and its results: how can ICTs be used to improve education administration, how can they help teaching in a classroom, applications in distance learning, etc.

Our aim in this seminar is to shift out of the spotlight and focus on the “hidden” practices of education, to stress on all the tasks that happen outside the classroom – be it of bricks and mortar or virtual – before or when designing a subject or teaching it to the students, what happens after that teaching, etc. in this necessary phase of reflection and redefinition of concepts, syllabuses, practices and so on… but without students. We want to make some proposals on how educators can use ICTs in their more open, participative and social side to build themselves a place on the net, to weave their own network of colleagues, to share resources, exchange experiences or suggest doubts and questions to the rest of education professionals.

Our ultimate goal would be to highlight that we think it is possible to build a virtual faculty based on their personal portals built with Web 2.0 tools, way beyond teacher spaces inside virtual learning environments or other corporate tools from educational institutions, thus leaving room for individual initiative and, most important, digital presence and digital identity.


The conference will be based in the following map or scheme:

The following map can also help to bring a more general framework to the seminar:


The subject of this conference has several interpretations and approaches. Here below we point to three readings: the first one, with a more general nature and a focus that we could consider neutral; the second and third ones applied, respectively, to knowledge diffusion in developing countries and to education.

NOTE: the reader will notice that the three of them are adaptations of the same one — being the original the second —, so we are confident on his criterion to override those passages that might be redundant to him.

  1. Peña-López, I. (2008). “The personal research portal”. In Open Source Business Resource, February 2008, 23-27. Ottawa: Talent First Network (open PDF in new window)
  2. Peña-López, I. (2007). “El portal personal del profesor: El claustro virtual o la red tras las aulas”. In Comunicación y Pedagogía, (223), 69-75. Barcelona: Centro de Comunicación y Pedagogía (open PDF in new window )
  3. Peña-López, I. (2007). “The personal research portal: web 2.0 driven individual commitment with open access for development”. In Knowledge for Management Journal, 3(1), 35-48. Amsterdam: KM4Dev Community (open PDF in new window )


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Ismael Peña-López