Analogue Teachers vs. Digital Students

(notes from the homonimous session at the bdigital Global Congress)

Moderator: Begoña Gros

Three main reports issued in 2007 in Spain about ICTs at Schools. The conclusions are more or less the same: everyone uses ICTs (teachers and students) but not at school.

Ismael Peña-López
Digital students, analogue institutions, teachers in extinction

(click here for Spanish version of the presentation and presentation downloads)

Jordi Vivancos
Knowledge and Learning Technologies, a transforming vision of ICT in Education

The Educational sector (i.e. teachers) is one of the sectors with highest penetration in the use of ICTs. So, teachers are not analogue anymore.

The design of the traditional syllabus did not make possible the introduction of ICTs in the educational programmes, especially the acquisition of digital competencies. This was solved (in Catalonia) in year 2006, where such capabilities where included in new syllabuses.

Copernican change in Education (K-12): shift from “memorizing the capitals of the world” towards “learning how to use a map”.

Three stages of tech education:

  • Learning about technology
  • Learning from technology (i.e. instructional technology)
  • Learning along with technology: technology as a context

And especially the last stage requires huge amounts of investment to achieve total capilarity of ICTs at school.

But, computers per student, without data about its use, is a useless indicator: it is intensity and not density what counts. So investment in computers is not (only) the issue. So, how educators and schools should and could appropriate technology for teaching purposes? How to improve, through ICTs, the learning processes?

Antoni Zabala
Computer sciences at school or PC at school?

The ICT adoption problems comes not from the Education professionals, but from school policies and design. We’ve been putting computers in the schools and this has not happened anywhere else: in other sectors of the Economy, there’s been no “pc installation” but “computer-based strategies”.

We use to relate ICTs with educational innovation, in quite a Freinetian approach. But ICTs might not solve each and every problem educators have.

As long as ICTs help educators solve their problems and move ahead, ICTs will be successful. The inverse (ICTs will be successful as long as they change the way educators act) is completely wrong.

Thus, we should analyse what the necessities are, both the educators’ and the students’ in the whole educational process. And leaps are no solution, but tiny and smooth evolutions.

In this train of thought, specific tools and software are better than computers. For instance: there are plenty of handooks from which the educator can choose to impart their courses, but there’s not such a thing in the instructional technology landscape: not a real choice, not competence.

Manuel de la Fuente
ICTs and Education: A Vision from the Classrooms

Not ICTs, but KLTs: knowledge and learning technologies.

SWOT Analysis on several schools:

  • Plenty of digital content
  • Good educational free software
  • Virtual communities of practice
  • New syllabuses include digital competencies
  • Global acknowledgement that digital competencies is a priority goal
  • Lack of infrastructures inside the classroom, and lack of resources (e.g. maintenance) in general
  • Based on goodwill not on incentives or general strategies
  • Self-taught people, not formal training
  • Lack of strategies
  • Highly motivated educators
  • High potential of KLTs
  • Existing intensity of use
  • Some infrastructures already installed
  • Some pioneers setting up interesting best practices
  • General agreement that sharing is the new scenario
  • Lack of time to lead and coordinate
  • Lack of training
  • High dependency from the leader or the coordinator
  • Existing material is but an adaptation of traditional methodologies, it’s not designed from a technological paradigm.
  • Increasing loss of confidence because “the future never comes”
Way forward
  • Hardware
  • Resources
  • Training

Comments from the audience

  • Stress on media literacy, not only informational and technological literacy
  • How to bring back value to content, content creation and authorship, and fight not only plagiarism, but devaluation of knowledge and reflection.


Keys to the Success of Digitally Advanced Societies

(notes from the homonimous session at the bdigital Global Congress)

Moderator: Miquel Mateu

Tim Kelly
Success factors for national ICT strategies: Case studies from global leaders

How do we recognise and measure success in ICTs?

Universal service:

  • Availability
  • Accessibility
  • Affordability

But new concerns or challenges that should be included in ICT measuring:

  • Participation
  • Quality and intensity of access
  • Lifestyle enhancement

Ubiquity of access: At anytime, by anyone, anywhere, to anything

Different perceptions of what quality is: reliability? time of response? depending on user and use.

For instance, in terms of proportion of Internet users, the digital divide is shrinking, but new types of digital divide are appearing, the most important of all, the broadband divide: broadband costs are 10 times higher in low income countries than in hight income countries. The cost of broadband access is nowadays a good indicator to prospect about the present and future health of one country’s Information Society.

Chart: Internet Access Inequality (Lorenz curve)Internet Access Inequality (Lorenz curve) (source)
Successful economies

Not only important their rank in the DOI, but also how many rank places they gained along the years.

Republic of Korea: DSL technologies, cable modem, appartment LANs, Wireless LANs, mobile broadband, low prices, active public-private partnerships.

Hong Kong: highest mobile penetration rate, multiple service providers and spreading over many different platforms.

Keys for success:

  • market competition
  • public-private parterships
  • independent regulation

One of the goals an Information Society should address is the “dematerialization” of the society, so commuting, material spending, etc. is reduced so a deep impact is done to stop climate change.

Amadeu Jensana
China, Japan, Korea and India: Asia and the Digital Societies

The importance of the cultural fact as a difference to be taken into account before trying to draw “generic solutions” for everyone.


The structure of big japanese corporations made it difficult to be flexible and face innovation as the new times required. It took some time until start-ups — and their “aggressive sharks” — find their place in japanese society. Of course, language is way an issue.

Homogeneity and the relative small geographical extension of the country have played an important role for standarization and spread of new technologies policies.

People from Japan are eager to experiment and adapt new things.

Long run R&D strategies (5 or 10 years ahead) are possible in Japan, which enables some developments that require some time to develop or to bring results.

Portable or mobile devices, with high number of features, have had great success because of the way of living in Japan (lot of commuting time, lack of physical space, etc.)


Huge importance of public-private partnerships.

China and India

Great infrastructures (India somewhat behind), though still low acquisition power.

Huge economies of scale that enable them to create their own standards.

Sebastián Muriel
The role of is to help Spain to become a networked society as soon as possible

In Spain: increase in both the share of budget spending and number of ICS services/devices in households.

Broadband subscribers have multiplied by four, coverage is at 98% and more than half the population are Internet users. Benefits of scale can be developed, indeed, by the fact that the Spanish speaking community is bigger than just Spaniards.

Goal: not access, but participation and content.

To enable the development of the Information Society, the DNIe (electronic ID) is crucial, so e-Administration and e-Government (among many other e-Services) can be made possible.

Concern in how new generations adopt ICTs: Chavales.

Jordi Bosch
Government of Catalonia: Vision and Strategy of the Information Society

We’re still far from having the solution to how to foster the Information Society. Benchmarking best practices seems to be a second best, though localization and keeping in mind the cultural differences is a must before copying-and-pasting others’ solutions.

Education is determinant for e-Readiness. So does intensity of use.

The key to the “Irish Miracle” is 1921: independence. Being able to define one’s own strategy is very important for a Public Administration (note: Mr. Bosch is speaking on behalf of the Catalan “regional” government, a second level administration depending on many issues from the Spanish “state” Government). If there is no coordination, collusion takes place. Thus, digital cohesion should be a goal.

Pilar Conesa
Barcelona, ICTs at the Service of the Citizens

u-bcn: ubiquitous Barcelona. Inspired in Seoul’s u-city: u-card, u-street, u-traffic, u-office, u-home, etc. Huge deployment of wire and wireless broadband. Goal: enable access anytime, anywhere and using anything.

Infrastructures: deployment infrastructures, with emphasis on Wi-Fi access for city services. All services should be integrated in mesh networks to provide real-time information.

Integrated interaction with the citizen. A big barrier being the zillions of solutions and providers existing… most time not following standards.

22@ Barcelona: transformation of a district based in obsolete technology industry towards a knowledge intensive district.


Digital students, analogue institutions, teachers in extinction

Next 20, 21 and 22 May 2008 takes place the bdigital Global Congress, one of the major events about the Information Society in Spain.

Our University has been asked to organize the Education track, that will be chair by our Innovation Vicerector Begoña Gros. I have been invited to impart the opening speech for the track, and

give an overview of the relationship between the development of the Society and economic development, and how both questions are closely related to the acquisition of digital competences by the citizens. In this matter, the situation of ICTs at school and their use by teachers and students will be analyzed, proposing some strategies to foster ICTs in the educational framework.

I here advance the material I prepared for that session as a request for comments. Feel free to send any feedback about it. Thank you in advance.


English version follows. Please click here for the original version in Spanish and the downloadable version for both languages.


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Castells, M. (2004). “Informationalism, Networks, And The Network Society: A Theoretical Blueprint”. In Castells, M. (Ed.),
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Dutta, S., López-Claros, A. & Mia, I. (Eds.) (2008). Global Information Technology Report 2007-2008: Fostering Innovation through Networked Readiness. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
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Mominó de la Iglesia, J. M., Sigalés Conde, C. & Meneses Naranjo, J. (2008b). L’Escola a la Societat Xarxa: Internet a l’Educació Primària i Secundària (Volum I). Informe Final de Recerca. Barcelona: UOC.
Mominó de la Iglesia, J. M., Sigalés Conde, C. & Meneses Naranjo, J. (2008c). L’Escola a la Societat Xarxa: Internet a l’Educació Primària i Secundària (Volum II). Informe Final de Recerca. Barcelona: UOC.
OECD (2007). PISA 2006: Science Competencies for Tomorrow’s World. Volume 1: Analysis. Paris: OECD.
Peña-López, I. (2007). El papel de las TIC y la Web 2.0 en el desarrollo: de las estrategias push a las estrategias pull. Seminar and round table imparted in Cornellà de Llobregat, January 25th, 2008 at the Difundir las TIC en la época 2.0 conference, Observatorio de la Cibersociedad. Cornellà de Llobregat: ICTlogy.


Many thanks to Julio Meneses for so kindly sharing some graphic materials. Thanks also to Begoña Gros and Jaume Moregó for counting me in.