I’m proud — really proud — to present this year’s edition of the UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning International Seminar, Fighting the digital divide through education, in which I am part of the academic committee (i.e. I’ll be attending the Seminar).
UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning Fifth International Seminar is going to held in Barcelona between the 12th and 14th of November, 2008, and is aimed to debate the different possible solutions to the digital divide problem, cataloguing and analyzing success stories where ICT have played an important role in the development of education, in spite of technological and social barriers.
The Seminar is primarily addressed to:
* Top management at universities: presidents, vice presidents, general managers and executive officers.
* Those responsible for the application of e-Learning in higher education institutions, in which these tools play an important role: officers in charge of the introduction and use of new technology, e-Learning directors, faculty deans, research centre directors, etc.
The programme looks really interesting for those interested in the intersection of Education, ICTs and the Digital Divide. Confirmed speakers are: Tim Unwin, Teemu Leinonen, Ivan Krstić, Linda G. Roberts, Sugata Mitra and Bakary Diallo and Begoña Gros.
(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.
Digital students, analogue institutions, teachers in extinction
(click here for Spanish version of the presentation and presentation downloads)
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?
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”
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.