¿Y ahora qué?
What now? ICTs in primary education:
Can we construct a collective capacity?
|John W. Moravec, Ph.D.
Universidad ORT Uruguay
|Mag. Verónica Zorrilla de San Martín
Institute of Education
Universidad ORT Uruguay
This project is an invitation to co-create knowledge with all stakeholders in the educational system (opinion leaders, collaborating institutions, governments, directors, teachers, students, and other members of the community). It is an open call to hear the voices of stakeholders in developing a positive future for education in Uruguay.
Through Plan Ceibal, new learning environments are generated with digital technologies. This raises the question: are we using ICTs in a meaningful way for our students, their families, and their communities? Can we share our views on the future of education by leveraging technologies in a positive way and build a collective capacity to take action? And, if we were to build a “collective capacity” with all stakeholders in educational activities, how can we innovate with technologies in education?
This project is designed to generate a space to provide us with answers. In regional events thorugh structured conversations in a café-like setting, the “World Café,” reflections focused on discovering visions and new imagined roles for ICTs, and building a positive future for primary education are encouraged. The outputs are built into a “white book,” shared on the project website ¿Y ahora que? at http://y-ahora-que.uy. Grounded theory construction is used to analyze the results for this final report.
This is an interdisciplinary project with an open design and potential for replication of the experience, providing comparative reports to the international academic community.
This study focused on listening carefully to the voices of those involved in the educational system (officials, administrators, teachers, students, parents, and other interested community members), tapping into schools belonging to Plan Ceibal’s Red Global de Aprendizajes (“Global Learning Network”) for participants.
We have met with various schools with very different realities, but all utilize a degree of integration and appropriation of ICTs that enable, and generate, new learning environments with digital technologies – and the possibility to imagine possible futures for ICTs in Uruguay. We found that, yes, there is a belief that we can build a collective capacity to transform learning through educational technologies, and that there is a desire to interweave participation from the communities primary schools serve. We recommend the pursuit of three policy approaches to realize this vision.
This Project is a response to the call of the “Digital Inclusion: Education with New Horizons” sector fund to finance research projects that provide original data with respect to existing knowledge, linked to social and/or educational aspects of Plan Ceibal. Created by the National Agency for Research and Innovation (ANII) and the Ceibal Central Foundation for the Study of Digital Technologies in Education. The participating organizations are Universidad ORT Uruguay and Education Futures LLC. The project ¿Y ahora qué? [What now?] Is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license – international
¿Y ahora qué? (“what now?”) is the question that gets us to think about what we want from education. Given the demands of contemporary societies, we believe that educational institutions cannot remain separate from changes in the outside world. This prompts the need to rethink traditional education that is based on systems of control, and move to a format where the whole community has a role.
Wagering on profound changes, to break with our past practices and habits, this project was an invitation to co-create knowledge with all stakeholders who are involved in the educational system, including students. It was an open call to hear the voices of stakeholders in developing a positive education future in Uruguay.
ICTs in primary education. Uruguay has opted for the integration of information technologies and communications for some time under the governmental policy of Plan Ceibal to generate new digital learning environments. But the problem is that research shows that resources that have contributed to the expansion of ICTs in schools have not increased student achievement. ¿Y ahora qué?
This leads to the questions: Are we using technology in a meaningful way for primary-level students, their families, and their communities? As key stakeholders and persons co-responsible for the success of our students, can we share our views on the future of education, leveraging technology in a positive way, and build a collective capacity to act upon them?
Can we build a collective capacity? We wonder, what if we were to build a collective capacity, from the bottom-up, and together with all stakeholders in education, to take new innovative actions with technologies in education?
In this framework, an open invitation was made to 9 interested schools which belong to the Red Global de Aprendizajes in the departments of Montevideo and Canelones. At the same time, a conference launched that invited others, explained the project, and encouraged participation.
“World Café” meetings were then held (a conversation-structured process in which groups of people discuss a topic at several tables). In this case, they consisted of regional meetings with all stakeholders in the educational system (officials, administrators, teachers, students, parents, and other interested educational community members). A café-like ambiance was created to facilitate the conversation, including sharing, discovering, and listening on issues that matter. The conversation focused on discovering, through dialogue, visions and new, imagined roles for ICTs for creating a positive future in primary education. The outputs are used to generate a “white paper.”
Participation in the event was open and voluntary. All participants were informed that data would be collected and shared on the project website.
Recognizing the need to hear the voices of all those involved in education, a grounded theory approach was used in the expert analysis to generate this research report, utilizing data from the World Café or “coffee talks.”
This is an interdisciplinary project, with an open design and the potential to create impact on various levels. At the national level, it motivates critical reflection and an orientation for intentional inclusion policies in Uruguayan schools, using ICTs. At the regional and international levels, the experience may be replicated to provide comparative research to the international academic community.
The current context demands contemporary societies be prepared to (re)train citizens in order to respond to global changes in the 21st century. The trans-techno-info-cyber-socio-economic paradigm and political demands relations with creative individuals, entrepreneurs, and people competent with a digital world, but also with a strong orientation toward the collaborative construction of knowledge and an ability to adapt to the constantly-changing world of work. Here results in the transcendental establishment of national, educational public policies to sustain human development, of which one of the fundamental pillars is social inclusion as well as modern and relevant training.
Educational institutions cannot alienate themselves from the paradigm shifts at the expense of knowledge, and it thus becomes essential to promote institutional leadership based on building new innovation networks, supported by the use of ICTs and model of economic innovation and social sustainability. In this context, the intersection between three key factors emerges:
It is known that learning with ICTs requires a distinct method for exclusive content acquisition (The British Department for Education, 2013). Similarly, evaluation of this type of learning should not only focus on determining the acquisition of content, but in the master of skills called for in the 21st century (Goleman, et al., 2013).
In order to meet the challenges in this age of complexity, it is essential to promote skills such as creativity, collaboration, empathy, leadership, and a capacity to innovate. There is an urgent need to rethink the education system in ways that avoid stifling the creativity of students. Namely, rethinking the traditional educational system that is based on control toward establishing one that is focused on various ways to create empowerment, exchanges of knowledge/experiences, and systems adaption. The student needs an environment that stimulates his/her creative skills and an education system that promotes conditions that can further develop that creativity. This is illustrated by research by Jenkins (2006) at MIT, among others.
The main purpose of education is to provide that each individual can achieve an optimal degree of social and emotional well-being, so an education that reflects the sentiments of the community should occupy a privileged place in educational systems. For this, teacher training programs should devote more attention to the development and continuous updating of skills (both functional and “soft” skills) (Cobo, 2013).
Here, greater coordination between family, school, and community is essential: education therefore is not – and cannot – be exclusive to educational institutions (Thomas & Brown, 2011). Today, more than ever, it is possible to learn anywhere in society. This should include connections and collaborations between family, formal education, and community. Education is a question for the whole society. However, this involves placing stakes on profound changes in the structures of traditional training (Cobo & Moravec, 2011).
Since 2007, Plan Ceibal (Conectividad Educativa de Información Básica para el Aprendizaje en Línea, “Educational Connectivity of Basic Information for Online Learning”) was implemented to place Uruguay “as the first country worldwide to implement a project of this nature and magnitude related to the integration information and communications technologies in the curriculum” (Baez & Bahajoli in Balaguer, 2009). Following several years to install and support a public policy for strong social impact, Plan Ceibal, a pioneer in the region, has justified the inclusion of ICTs in various locales: democratizing knowledge, guaranteeing greater social justice and educational quality for all, and trying to become a “window of opportunity” for review and transformation of educational practices for better teaching and learning (Lugo, in Báez et al, 2011). The beneficiaries of the project are approximately 700,000: all students and teachers in primary and secondary state education, covering a 9-year cycle of education (Brechner, 2015). Included in the state budget since 2010, Plan Ceibal has expanded its reach and impact as an established public policy.
Since the beginning of the Ceibal project (2006), a stake was placed on the ubiquitous use of technologies (Flores, 2008). One Laptop Per Child XO machines were given to students and teachers as a tool for personal use, not only available at school. Laptops were not to remain in the institutions, but to go to the homes of the beneficiaries. This form of implementation enables new environments for learning with technologies, a greater connection between family, school, and community, and promotes spaces for development that are continue and permeate beyond the walls of classroom-based training.
As a laid-out public policy, Plan Ceibal in 2015 delivered 685,000 devices (laptops, tablets) with Internet access. This is based, increasingly, on a cloud-based infrastructure (Brechner, 2015).
This history demonstrates a perspective of a policy implemented top-down from the government to schools. This research project asks the question, what if we were to build a bottom-up, collective, community-driven conversation on innovating with technologies in education?
At the national, regional, and international levels, a debate has begun on the impact of ICTs in schools and learning. At the primary education level in Uruguay, little prior research exists. Instead research targets have been set to study the impact of Plan Ceibal in learning (Machado et al, 2010) or attempts have been made to “measure” the impact on learning (Plan Ceibal, 2010). What is valued, and what is measured? What are the indicators considered? What is considered to “learn” in this age of complexity? Much fertile ground exists to justify the construction of further empirical studies on this theme. Zorrilla de San Martín (2015) has started her doctoral thesis in this line of research into new ways of learning, with the intent to ask good questions that build roads to connect the relationship between ICTs and learning. Considerando este proyecto como parte de los insumos para la tesis doctoral.
In January, 2015, Moravec (2015) released Manifesto 15, a statement of twelve principles learned from research and actions in reinventing education. Many of the ideas were developed during the Aprendizaje Invisible (Cobo & Moravec, 2011) and Knowmad Society (Moravec, 2013) projects, and others emerged as the authors engaged in collaborative works and projects with thought leaders, institutions, and governments around the world. The key points of the manifesto encourage educational leaders to reconsider what we are educating for, why we do it, and for whom it is all supposed to benefit – and this requires the development of a collective capacity by broader communities to enable this transformation.
The manifesto was never intended to be a set of solutions for evolving learning. It is just a set of principles for finding these solutions. However, the question persists: What should we do now?
At a meeting with Plan Ceibal in March 2015, this question resonated. While the institution has done exemplary work in building a distribution system, ICT infrastructure, and distributed “ceibalitas” to students throughout Uruguay, the overall impact of the project in terms of student achievement has not been tremendous. This was also not unexpected, and from the start of the project, there were many questions about the effectiveness of placing computers in schools (see esp. Balaguer, 2009). Long standing experience shows that just bringing computers or other ICTs into schools does not necessarily change anything, and that having well implemented technical strategies cannot be expected to create results (see, for example, Woronov, 1994). Now, we need to connect with the “so what” questions that link these technologies to human experiences and the communities we serve.
Qualitative research can help this by engaging communities in responding to the question, what should we do now? Can we come together as communities to build a collective capacity to transform learning (i.e., through technologies)? And, what would it take?
Recognizing a need to discover new best uses for ICTs and their implementation within communities, this research project seeks to discover:
Focusing on primary-level education, this project aims to facilitate authentic conversations within communities (accompanied by a workshop guided by a thought leader), listening, valuing contributions of all participants, and reporting back in a meaningful way. The project has the potential for impact on two levels:
First and foremost, we seek to break from our past practices and habits. Too often, we create mere surveys of the learning landscape only to end there – as surveys. This project goes deeper: It is a co-creative journey that begins with a clean slate, and engages stakeholders in conversations focused on developing positive futures for education in Uruguay. While Plan Ceibal is at the center of the context for the dialogue, key stakeholders from the primary education community were invited to participate – including students.
Each of these questions sought to encourage peer exchange and the definition of activities that promote expanded learning, beyond formal education. The information gathered through these sources were examined through a qualitative analysis, allowing for the collection, organization, and establishment of cross-recommendations, which adds substantive value to document the current status and future challenges for educational policy in regard to ICTs at the primary-level of education in the country.
The epistemological approach to this research project relies on qualitative grounded theory construction to analyze participant responses. As the research design is open and may be replicated in other regions or contexts, comparative aspects may also emerge from the project.
The research design is also interdisciplinary, combining perspectives and research approaches often applied in both comparative and international development education (educational policy, comparative studies, intercultural studies) and futures studies (foresight, sociology, and cultural anthropology).
Phase I: Setup
Following notice of the award of funding, the researchers engaged in the logistical layout of the project plan, finalized project details with concerned stakeholders, identified and contacted host regions, and developed a project website to share all data collected. The researchers also solicited feedback and shared project status updates through social media (i.e., Facebook and Twitter).
The researchers expected to engage between 9 and 12 regional locations for data collection, and ANEP and Plan Ceibal were solicited for authorization to contact the schools. This network aims to articulate and investigate how true learning potential can be achieved through new pedagogies, in a society rich with technology. Leaders at each invited school will be asked to, in turn, invite additional stakeholders from their community (i.e., businesses, parents, government leaders, students) to attend their regional meeting.
Phase II: Regional meetings
Dr. John Moravec and Mag. Verónica Zorrilla de San Martín provided facilitation leadership for all meetings. One week prior to the meetings, ORT hosted a mini-conference that was open to all participants. The purpose of the mini-conference was to launch the project and spark the discussion of key ideas for development. Invitation for participation, either in person or virtually, was extended to all potential participants in this study. A recording of key moments was also made available online, thus providing participants at regional meetings a “flipped classroom”-like experience. This allowed static, conceptual themes and content to be recorded and viewed at participants’ leisure, and frees more time during the regional meetings to share ideas and experiences. In addition, to launch each regional meeting, a short workshop was provided to recap key points of the conference, and to further help set the context for the World Café conversations to follow.
The World Café is a structured conversational process in which groups of people discuss a topic at several tables, with individuals switching tables periodically and getting introduced to the previous discussion at their new table by a “table host.” A café-like ambience was created in order to facilitate conversation, and the process was built around seven design principles that focus on sharing, discover, and listening around questions that matter.
This method was selected for having a simple format that is effective in group conversations, regardless of the number of participants (Slocum, 2005). Participants were informed that all data will shared on the project website ¿Y ahora qué? at http://y-ahora-que.uy. Participation in the events were completely voluntary and open to the public. Except for refreshments provided by the researchers, participants were not compensated for the contributions to the conversation.
The conversation was focused on three questions at each regional meeting. These were discussed during one World Café round for each question:
Analysis of the World Café responses were conducted through an open coded, inductive strategy. The purpose of the analysis was to identify themes and patterns that inform the creation of an action agenda (policy) for Plan Ceibal and other institutions, both public and private, who are interested in developing and leading future-relevant programs.
Dedoose (a Web platform for qualitative data analysis) was used to code data into categories, and spreadsheet software was used to further sort, organize, and make any necessary revisions to the coding produced. Analysis of the final round’s qualitative responses employed an inductive strategy based on the content analysis techniques described by Berg (2004, pp. 265-297) for grounded theory construction. The resultant, sorted, coded categories were then sorted into broader thematic categories for reporting and discussion.
Since the fully qualitative portion of the study depends on World Café notes recorded by different note keepers at each session, descriptive statistical data on the frequency and magnitude of response items were not measured. To help ensure data were coded and reported accurately, dual coding procedures were followed, and all raw data collected is maintained in an open data repository
Phase III: Analysis, reporting, and dissemination
Approximately three months following the conclusion of Phase II, a draft report of the Phase II findings were shared with all participants through the project website, where feedback, corrections, and additions to the items it contained were solicited from all participants on record. Comments received were compared with the coded themes reported, and corrections, additions, and deletions were made, as necessary. The international advisory committee for this project was also invited to provide their feedback and responses for possible inclusion in the final report.
A comment period of one month was invited for the draft report, after which a final report for the project was produced, made available to the project website, submitted to ANII, and published under an open, Commons License.
The researchers will also share their experiences and findings at national and international conferences. An allowance to support diffusion at conferences by the national research partner is provided in the project budget.
Assessment for the project was conducted in accordance with procedures established by ANII. These procedures were developed in collaboration with the funding organization upon award of the project grant.
The intent of this action research project is to discover whether communities of stakeholders among Uruguayan primary schools (i.e., teachers, parents, students, government, businesses, and other interested community members) can build a collective capacity to collaborate and create positive futures for Uruguay’s schools and youth that best leverage new technologies. At this stage in the research, a “collective capacity” is defined as having a shared vision for education futures (especially involving the use of ICTs) together with tangible and intangible resources to permit communities of stakeholders to take action to realize their visions.
Four primary impacts of this project are foreseen by the research team that illustrate the novelty of knowledge to be gained in this project:
John Moravec and Verónica Zorrilla de san Martín led all ¿Y ahora qué? Events. During the first round of the World Café, each table designated a “host” to take notes and report summaries of their talks to the researchers. Also, three graduate students from Universidad ORT Uruguay accompanied and provided support at some events.
A total of 357 participants consented to join the ¿Y ahora qué? School meetings between May 12 and May 24, 2016. World Café meetings were held at nine schools, located in the City of Montevideo and the Department of Canelones.
The facilitators presented the main ideas through a provocative, opening presentation.
Source: Moravec (2015). http://www.manifesto15.org/vis-en
The responses of each group meeting in schools were then collected.
Two additional, mini-sessions were held at Universidad ORT Uruguay on May 3 and May 4 to launch the project and to also pilot the research questions. A summary of these meetings is provided separately as the profile of the participant group (university community) and questions focused on did not entirely match the profile and questions asked of the main, 9-school meetings.
The ORT groups responded to the following pilot questions:
The questions implemented in the school World Café sessions do not fully coincide with the questions of the ORT pilot. The final questions the schools responded to were:
The ¿Y ahora qué? Website contains an archive of all data collected at http://y-ahora-que.uy/datos.
World Café primary school meeting dates: May 12 – May 24, 2016
Number of participants that consented to data collection: 357
Average participant age: 29.46 years
Average meeting group size: 38.56 participants
School locations (neighborhoods)
Coded excerpts: 415
Analysis of the qualitative responses employed an open coded, inductive strategy. The purpose of the analysis is to identify themes and patterns that inform the findings and recommendations of this study.
Dedoose version 7.0.23 (a Web platform) was used to code recorded data into categories, and Microsoft Excel for Mac (version 15.24) was used to further sort, organize, and make any necessary revisions to the coding produced.
Since the fully qualitative portion of this study depended on World Café notes recorded by different note takers at each session, descriptive statistical data on the frequency and magnitude of response items are not measured. To help ensure the data were coded and reported accurately, a draft report of the final round results was shared with all participants through the ¿Y ahora qué? Website, and feedback, corrections, and additions to the items it contained were solicited. Comments received were compared with the coded themes reported, and corrections, additions, and deletions were made as necessary.
In the following summary, to illustrate the World Café conversations, the first 10-12 codes that appear in the table of co-occurrence are described in detail. The complete table of co-occurring codes, together with the raw data collected, are available online at http://y-ahora-que.uy/datos.
This narrative summarizes the participant discussions, in schools, during the three rounds of the World Café activity. They are listed by theme, in descending order of frequency of occurance.
NOTE: At the moment, this section remains in its original Spanish to best illustrate the voices of the respondents. An English version is forthcoming.
Las conversaciones se centraron en la utilidad de las TIC. Usar las computadoras como “cuadernos digitales” sea para escribir a mano alzada, utilizando la pantalla táctil y/o utilizando el teclado; habilitando un uso virtual del registro diario del alumno en formato digital. Cuidar el medio ambiente usando menos libros y cuadernolas en formato papel. “Que la computadora les avise cuándo tienen un error ortográfico pero que no les dé la solución, que les permita pensar, razonar”.
Los participantes conversan sobre la ampliación de la participación, especialmente la familia y la comunidad. Expresan la necesidad de unirse como comunidad para un cambio, como una red de comunicación y aprendizaje entre alumnos, padres, familia, actores sociales, involucrando a todos, enseñando unos a los otros.
Proponen realizar más actividades con las tecnologías, por ejemplo, talleres colectivos con los padres, docentes, vecinos, integrando a la comunidad, no solo aquellos que tengan vínculos con la escuela.
Que el niño le dé mejor uso a la tecnología para ello es necesario que la familia, comunidad y adultos colaboren en esta tarea.
“Ofrecer una capacitación constante a niños, familias y docentes para que todos podamos acompañar el aprendizaje de todos – traer el hogar a la escuela y al revés, tener un mundo feliz todos unidos”.
El intercambio de conocimiento surge como otra temática en respuesta de esta primera ronda. Compartir experiencias y trabajar en red con otras escuelas en todo el país.
Favorecer el intercambio de niños y maestros de diferentes tipos de escuelas, por ejemplo rurales y urbanas.
Aprovechamiento del recurso de videoconferencia para establecer comunicación con otros niños, escuelas, especialistas, etc., compartiendo proyectos y trabajando juntos.
Y específicamente se conversa sobre el intercambio intergeneracional, del diálogo entre niños, docentes y familias.
Los participantes nombraron específicamente el aprovechamiento del recurso de videoconferencia para establecer comunicación con otros niños, escuelas, especialistas, etc., compartiendo proyectos y trabajando juntos.
Afirman la necesidad de usar las TIC como recurso educativo. Trabajar programas que sean productivos para el niño.
Señalan un aspecto físico de las TIC, como el hecho de incorporar una computadora en la mesa de trabajo o mesas con tablets “encastradas”. Poder escribir a mano sobre la pantalla táctil, tener tablet en vez de cuadernos, usar pizarras digitales y táctiles, tener sillas “flotantes” que permitan desplazamientos en el espacio.
Ideas relacionadas con la imaginación y la creatividad estuvieron presentes; “lo mejor de ser niño es tener imaginación”. Plantean la necesidad de expresar las ideas a través del arte.
También la virtualidad aparece en el diálogo. Hablan de maestros enseñando en forma virtual a niños que aprenden desde sus hogares e interactúan a través de la red. Aprovechando el recurso de videoconferencia para establecer comunicación con otros niños, escuelas, especialistas, etc., compartiendo proyectos y trabajando juntos. Está presente la educación virtual con el maestro en la pantalla.
Se conversa sobre la necesidad de que la tecnología virtual llegue a todas las clases para poder implementar algún tipo de seguimiento de las familias a partir del uso de plataformas virtuales. Un ejemplo donde se plantea el tema de la virtualidad es: “recordar virtualmente próceres, que sean ellos quienes nos cuenten la historia, sus hechos y lugares”.
Los participantes solicitan formación y capacitación. Formación, en cuanto a capacitación y seguimiento. Capacitación, con inclusión de las familias. “Ofrecer una capacitación constante a niños, familias y docentes para que todos podamos acompañar el aprendizaje de todos; traer el hogar a la escuela y al revés, tener un mundo feliz todos unidos”.
También se conversa sobre la necesidad del intercambio intercultural y la necesidad de incluir sistemas de videoconferencias con otras escuelas de distintas partes del país o inclusive con escuelas de otros países.
La solicitud de los participantes al momento de conversar en esta ronda, es la de ampliar el acceso y/o la participación. Hacer participar a todos los actores para tomar decisiones en conjunto.
Incluir y dar más participación a la comunidad, tener mayor acercamiento entre la escuela y la familia. Se nombran una y otra vez las palabras: integración, invitación, participación, concientización, unión.
Desde esa perspectiva, los participantes proponen formación y seguimiento, con ejemplos concretos, donde las TIC se hacen presentes. Realizar talleres, encuentros, reuniones, eventos, muestras culturales, entre otras. Involucrar más la tecnología en clase y en el hogar. Involucrar la educación artística para contemplar otras disciplinas. Crear un “Taller de Ideas” con el fin de consensuar una única idea.
Enseñar a todos considerando las diferencias personales, por ejemplo: ciegos, sordos, dificultades motoras. También enseñar a padres que no sepan leer y escribir. Contar con edificios adaptados a las necesidades especiales de cada persona. Bibliotecas digitales con audio, para Sistema Braille, por ej. “Poner en práctica un mecanismo que permita aceptar las distintas realidades para poder abarcarlas”.
Se realizan planteos concretos de cómo realizar el trabajo en talleres, jornadas, y encuentros en las escuelas. Los participantes proponen distintos aspectos en cuanto a la forma y el contenido de los mismos. Talleres participativos, informativos, donde exista un intercambio entre padres, alumnos, maestros y comunidad. Trabajando de manera integrada y colaborativa en el local escolar con el alumno como centro de la actividad educativa.
Surgen propuestas como: realizar talleres abiertos sobre el uso de la tecnología para aprender (búsqueda de información, participación ciudadana a través de internet y uso de plataformas; jornadas en las que los niños enseñan a los adultos, especialmente abuelos, a usar la tecnología; talleres que sirvan para integrar a los niños más pequeños, con aparatos que sean fáciles de manejar para ellos.
Los participantes hacen explícito en todo momento el tema del involucramiento de la comunidad, abrir las puertas a la comunidad a través de la participación activa. “Lograr un mayor acercamiento de las familias y los diversos miembros de la sociedad a la escuela”.
Dialogando en instancias de talleres como este World Café, entre padres, vecinos, maestros para conocerse, intercambiar opiniones y abordar temas específicos de la comunidad. “Sistematizando esta experiencia con la comunidad educativa a lo largo del tiempo para generar reflexión.”
Se plantea la necesidad de compartir con otras instituciones tanto a nivel nacional como internacional. Realizar intercambios culturales, con otros países y entre varias escuelas uruguayas (públicas o privadas), entre distintos departamentos y con distintas características (por ej. escuelas urbanas y rurales). También se habla del intercambio con educación secundaria. También se habla del intercambio de conocimientos, opiniones, reflexiones e ideas con educación secundaria.
Es fundamental amalgamar el hogar, la escuela, los docentes y las familias. El involucrar a las familias, fortalecer el vínculo con ellas, generar más instancias de interacción entre los actores mencionados. “Se juntan los maestros y padres un fin de semana para interactuar, colaborar, involucrar más los padres y vecinos, no los podemos dejar al lado, involucramiento de familias en aprendizaje de niños.”
Las conversaciones dan cuenta de una visión pragmática sobre la tecnología. Ideas sobre cómo eliminar las cuadernolas y cambiarlas por las tablets para preservar el medio ambiente e instalar salas de computación en la escuela, entre otras. Ven la tecnología como un recurso o herramienta, no como “la vida misma”. “La escuela tiene como objetivo ENSEÑAR en este caso el uso de la tecnología a favor de su desarrollo propiciando el conocimiento y los límites que son necesarios.” “De modo de nos convertirnos en autómatas mecanizados detrás de las demandas del mercado.”
Reflexionando sobre el uso y lugar de la tecnología surge el tema de aprender jugando y actividades lúdicas. Considerando que la interacción es fundamental para el aprendizaje, solicitan mantener el tiempo del juego con otros niños y con la computadora.
Otra necesidad que se surge, es la de conectar con otras habilidades y valores, por ejemplo, involucrar la educación artística para contemplar otras disciplinas. Promover vínculos sanos de convivencias y hacer talleres con la familia para fomentar valores. Establecer trabajos con prioridad de la enseñanza de procedimientos de resolución de problemas de la vida cotidiana. “Además de aprender en la escuela, poder expresar lo que quieren y sienten a través del arte y la tecnología.”
Los participantes proponen institucionalizar espacios para compartir actividades formativas, para democratizar el aprendizaje, la educación, compartir vivencias, puntos de vista, que se supone, colaboraría en positivo, para la escuela primaria en el Uruguay.
Para llevar a cabo acciones en colaboración también es necesario mejorar la comunicación entre los padres y la escuela. “Lograr una comunicación directa padre-escuela para conocer las problemáticas y actividades del niño.” Se conversa sobre el tema de fortalecer el vínculo con las familias, para ello; realizar encuestas a los padres y a los vecinos; realizar salas de la “Red Global” con padres; crear una comisión de padres para apoyar los cambios que realice la escuela; entre otras ideas.
Las respuestas a esta pregunta fueron uniformemente por la positiva. Los participantes creían que “si” podemos unirnos como comunidad para transformar la educación. Surgieron diferencias, sin embargo, en sus pensamientos acerca de cómo hacerlo.
La temática más recurrente en esta ronda fue la de comunicar/intercambiar experiencias. Piensan que es posible unirse como comunidad para transformar el aprendizaje pero es necesario comunicar los logros y compartir el trabajo, fomentando el interés común.
También generando instancias de encuentro y trabajo colectivo, entre todos los actores involucrados con el fin de compartir experiencias y conocimiento; acompañar de forma certera; apoyar a la educación: desde la familia y el contexto. Piensan que una capacidad colectiva se crea escuchando las opiniones de todos, aportando y colaborando. Es posible porque somos una comunidad y para avanzar precisamos el aporte de todos.
Afirman que la participación es posible siempre que se generen espacios comunitarios, donde la gente se reúna y pueda aprender a participar, se escuchen ideas, se hagan acuerdos, se busquen estrategias y se compartan experiencias y proyectos de todos.
La misma comunidad pide un cambio. Los líderes pueden lograrlo escuchando a las comunidades: “Necesitamos un espacio de reflexión donde seamos escuchados. Donde haya voluntad, compromiso, diálogo, respeto y escucha.”
Los participantes conversan sobre involucrar a la comunidad generando y promoviendo instancias de diálogo y participación. Espacios comunitarios donde la gente se reúna y pueda aprender a participar. Espacios donde se escuchen ideas y proyectos de todos los actores involucrados en la escuela, padres, vecinos, docentes, auxiliares, etc.
Unirse como comunidad y buscar soluciones sobre el aprendizaje de los alumnos entre las escuelas y las familias. Intervenir en las actividades propuestas por escuela y Ceibal.
Se afirma que todos podemos unirnos, “deberíamos”…, buscar intereses comunes, acuerdos, caminos para construir juntos.
Es posible unirnos, porque el aprendizaje es responsabilidad de todos y los roles cambian con el tiempo. Generar espacios de participación; con trabajo en conjunto, en equipo entre niños, niños – familia y niños – comunidad. Involucrar a la familia capacitándola en el uso de la herramienta tecnológica, para acompañar a los niños a través de talleres.
Establecer vínculos de mayor comunicación entre docentes y familias para conocer, acordar o complementar formas de enseñanza. Darle mayor valorización al docente. Mejorar el conocimiento y las prácticas de los docentes con capacitación para que puedan enseñar mejor. Si el discurso familia – escuela es compartido se enriquece mucho el aprendizaje de los alumnos.
Es necesario el compromiso de todos los actores sociales. Utilizando propuestas motivadoras que incluyan a todos los miembros de la comunidad.
Se conversa sobre cambiar paradigmas, la necesidad de “traer” nuevas propuestas, apostando a la colaboración, disponibilidad, compromiso y responsabilidad. Es necesario el compromiso de todos los actores sociales. Utilizando propuestas motivadoras que incluyan a todos los miembros de la comunidad. “Modelos, ejemplos y perseguir un fin común. Educación democratizadora.”
También apostar por el desarrollo integral del alumno ya que actualmente se están perdiendo de algunas cosas.
Integrar a las familias, con la escuela y con el aprendizaje de los niños. “Hacer equipos, donde el maestro sea el líder pedagógico y el padre un facilitador de la tarea; porque la unión hace la fuerza; porque el aprendizaje es responsabilidad de todos y los roles cambian con el tiempo.”
Involucrar a la familia capacitándola, escuchándola y dándole prioridad a los padres para participar en la escuela. “Porque la unión hace la fuerza y todos juntos podemos.”
Los participantes conversan sobre cómo utilizar TICs desde una perspectiva de futuro. “Sí podemos unirnos porque eso cambiaría el futuro.” “Podemos enseñar de una manera más didáctica, con más tecnología con aportes hacia el futuro.” Aceptando los cambios que nos proponen (que la tecnología nos brinda).
La unión y la acción se plantean, siempre y cuando, se puedan involucrar a las autoridades y si se tiene su apoyo y confianza. Intercambiando ideas para mejores aprendizajes y para ayudar en cada propuesta educativa. Interviniendo en las actividades propuestas por escuela y por Ceibal.
Necesitamos la visión/liderazgo, los líderes deberán trabajar aunando esfuerzo y actuando en sub grupos con responsabilidad y compromiso. Es importante la visión del o los líderes para detectar capacidades y delegar, guiar, aunar criterios, llegar a acuerdos y realizar monitoreos constantes de situación. Líderes positivos que transmitan adecuadamente los valores perdidos con proyectos participativos de una escuela y sumarla a la de otras escuelas de distintos contextos.
También se necesita cambiar las estrategias de enseñanza, enseñar de una manera más didáctica, con más tecnología, con juegos, deportes y con aportes hacia el futuro.
Se necesitan escuelas abiertas a la comunidad, para ello, las escuelas deben planificar su integración. Por ejemplo, se pueden realizar asambleas escolares abiertas a la comunidad donde los que quieran integrar pueden aportar. También colocar la escuela en exposición, por ejemplo, el “último viernes de cada mes”, la comunidad ya sabe y concurre si quiere.
Generar espacios de participación; con trabajo en conjunto, en equipo entre niños, niños – familia y niños – comunidad. Involucrar a los niños, involucrar a la familia capacitándola en el uso de las herramientas TIC, para acompañar a los niños a través de talleres.
One school headmaster greeted us with the world’s warmest smile and hug: Welcome to our school. We do not have much, but what we do have is beautiful.
If there was any moment that could illustrate the “spirit” and “feel” of this research project, that was it. Plan Ceibal was not conceived as a means to transform education dramatically, but rather to provide equitable access to the digital world. And, in this sense, its implementation was successful: A distribution system was realized, Internet connectivity was expanded to all schools, and accompanying initiatives are being rolled out (i.e., Ceibal en Inglés). In many cases, the hardware provided was not the “best,” and the quality of Internet service was not reliable, but the initiative was embraced by the schools we visited. It provided a significant step toward providing greater digital equity.
While the effectiveness of Plan Ceibal and the use of ICTs in the classroom have been questioned by government, media, and academic community, we found that, at the level of primary schools and their communities, the conversation was very positive. Study participants provided a wealth of insight regarding their perceived “next steps” for the use of technologies in primary education, including sharing ideas for pedagogical approaches, community education, connecting with parents, and new software and applications.
This study revealed a growing need for further developing participation, perhaps with a similar lens of equity. This emerged in two distinct, but interrelated themes:
At the core of many conversations that we analyzed, a desire to use technology to connect people emerged. A desire was expressed to use technologies to connect stakeholders in more-horizontalized sharing and decision making. No intentions were expressed to delegate responsibilities or hold authorities accountable.
Participants expressed an interest in expanding the use ICTs and the decision-making possibilities associated with all stakeholders: Teachers, parents, students, and other interested members of the community. A common vision was one that is comprised of interwoven elements between the school, the community, and families, where intergenerational, intercultural, and other exchanges can emerge (e.g. through videoconferencing). Workshops and community learning were proposed for parents and community members, including “Ceibal after school.”
Finally, creative uses and new inventions related to ICTs were desired, but what was needed to be invented or developed was less clear. As broadened participation is considered, developmental guidance on creativity and innovation may be built into programming to address this need.
Since we started to publicize the project through social networks, beyond the information about it, we were a part of exchanges, reflections, contributions, and discussions. At the public level, the social network with the greatest impact was Facebook. This was used not only to share information on a personal level, but also brought together the participation of two groups of teachers around themes of technology and education. Teachers not involved in the project requested from us, through private and public messages, reading materials, our accounts of the experience, and requested to join the project. Participating teachers shared their experiences and published photos of the World Cafés that attracted much attention in the networks. It was common to see a 9-year-old student explain the future to a school inspector, or a parent, in front of a large group, propose dynamics of participation to the school director.
Another level of impact was presented at the schools that participated. Apart that all schools showed appreciation and enthusiasm for the novelty of the project and the visibility of achievements during working hours; they requested that we provide materials and photographs to publish on the school websites and blogs. Several teachers, principals, and inspectors shared that it was unprecedented to have students, parents, teachers, principals, assistant services, representatives of other neighboring educational institutions, and neighborhood health center representatives sit and talk – reviewing, proposing, and reflecting together on education, in an atmosphere of dialogue. Specifically, one education center that participated in our intervention systemized the involvement of the community by creating a space for permanent action.
World Café #7 – Flor de Maroñas
This study focused on listening carefully to the voices of all those involved in the educational system (officials, administrators, teachers, students, parents, and other community members interested in education), taking as a sample some schools that belong to the Red Global de Aprendizajes. We addressed the following questions: Are we using ICTs in a meaningful way for our students, their families, and their communities? Can we share our views on the future of education that leverages technology in a positive way and build a capacity to act? What if we were to build a “collective capacity” with all stakeholders in the education system to innovate with technologies in education?
We familiarized ourselves with various schools with very different realities, but all with a degree of integration and appropriation of ICTs that enables and generates new learning environments through digital technology – and the ability to imagine possible futures with ICTs in Uruguay. We found that, yes, there is a belief that we can build a collective capacity to transform learning through educational technologies, and that there is a desire to interweave participation from the communities primary schools serve. We recommend the pursuit of three policy approaches to realize this vision.
The creation of a collective capacity needs support from the entire system. If these three policy approaches are not implemented, Uruguay risks losing an opportunity to build greater collective capacity to transform learning through ICTs, both at the school-level and in the communities schools serve in more meaningful ways. If policies that follow these approaches are implemented, however, Uruguay stands to improve its position in providing for an equitable, positive education.
The three approaches we recommend present actions that can be taken to meet the purposive needs identified in the communities studied. Policies must be drafted to meet these principles that can guide actions to be conducted by various agencies (e.g., Plan Ceibal), together with plans for effectiveness monitoring.
The initial questions of our research project found some answers and pose some new questions. This study was limited by the generally accepted bounds of qualitative research. As it was conducted with a sample of volunteers, we are interested in knowing the responses from others that were outside of this sample. This could come from a representative sample of primary education or perhaps a sample with other features, such as a rural population or lower-secondary education.
At this point in our research, we believe we have heard and collected ideas, actions, and interests from participants interested forming a collective, together with other “voices” from various stakeholders in the educational process. We are left with how? And perhaps when?
Education Futures LLC is a global education research and development agency with experience in collaborating with creatives, thought leaders, innovators, and learning organizations to create new opportunities for human capital development. Education Futures works with schools, universities, and nations to develop research, policies, and innovative solutions for problems that face education today – with an eye for the future. Areas of expertise include: futures-oriented research, invisible learning, democratic education, non-formal and informal learning, education for underrepresented communities, national policy development, and educational change. Recent, relevant partners and clients include: Inter-American Development Bank, Consejo de Educación Superior (Ecuador), M.I. Municipalidad de Guayaquil (Ecuador), Minnesota Association of School Administrators (USA), and the European Democratic Education Community.
Universidad ORT Uruguay is the largest private university in Uruguay, with over 12,00 students across five faculties and institutes. It was recognized as a university by the Ministry of Education and Culture on September 17, 1996. The mission of Universidad ORT Uruguay is to provide excellent higher education in disciplines relevant to the country’s development, training professionals to be prepared for the challenges of reality presents, nationally and internationally. Its commitment is to provide an education that combines knowledge, skills, and values that enable students to develop their full potential, achieve their personal and professional goals, and provide leadership and service to society. Its educational philosophy combines two core values: academic quality and equal opportunity.
The university values the production of knowledge as a contribution to the quality of its educational work and to better understand the problems of the country. Research activities strengthen the development of the university community, and enrich the learning process, allowing a wider call for academics, providing training research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, inserting the university in international academic networks, stimulating continuous updating of teaching methods and curriculum content, and relating the institution toward a productive environment and society in general.
Publishable scientific production at the international level requires highly specialized human resources, especially in doctoral studies. Thus, currently more than 130 doctors or doctoral candidates are part of the faculty of the Universidad ORT Uruguay, many of whom are highly dedicated. In recent years the University ORT Uruguay has developed a development policy that supports academic accreditation in research projects for teachers and graduate students.
The project research team is comprised of two research professionals recognized for their expertise in innovative approaches to using ICTs in education in Uruguay and abroad.
John Moravec, Ph.D.: Desde Minneapolis (EE.UU), as a global mentor, Dr. Moravec researches the future of work and education. Creator of the knowmad concept and founder of Education Futures LLC (https://www.educationfutures.com). In previous years, he was a researcher and teacher at the University of Minnesota. Today, his academic agenda, as an entrepreneur, is focused on exploring the convergence of globalization, innovation society, accelerating change, and the emergence of a knowmadic society. He mentors organizations around the world regarding new paradigms for professional leadership and human capital development. Consultant to the Inter-American Development Bank. Researcher of the Minnevate! project (http://minnevate.mnasa.org). Creator of Manifesto 15 (http://manifesto15.org). Author of Knowmad Society (2013), and, with Dr. Cristóbal Cobo, is co-author of Aprendizaje Invisible: Hacia una nueva ecología de la educación (2011). Web profile: http://john.moravec.us/about
Verónica Zorrilla de San Martín (Master of Education): Is a teacher of primary education for ANEP (Uruguay) and a practitioner of direct teaching for 12 years. In that period, Plan Ceibal has begun, and this became the reason she joined in her previous educational experience as an engineer. Committed to continuous professional development through refresher courses for teachers in 1-1 models and through ICTs, her Master of Education from Universidad ORT Uruguay emphasizes on research and teaching in learning, and she is beginning her Ph.D. in education (June, 2015). Her master’s thesis (July, 2012) focuses on the interactions generated in primary school classrooms with a high endowment of technological capacity provided by the inclusion of Web 2.0 (https://bibliotecas.ort.edu.uy/bibid/73125). Her current work is focused on the impact of digital technologies in education, both in the primary and university levels. She was part of the team at KidBox (http://kidbox.net), which develops educational software for families, institutions, and governments. She works at Universidad ORT Uruguay’s Institutie of Educaiton (http://ie.ort.edu.uy), providing postgraduate teaching in the area of ICTs (http://docentes.ort.edu.uy/perfil.jsp?docenteId=38732) and is the editor of the refereed academic journal, Cuadernos de Investigación Educativa (http://revistas.ort.edu.uy/cuadernos-de-investigacion-educativa/).
John Moravec a Verónica Zorrilla de San Martín present at the project launch event
An international advisory committee was invited as experts and collaborators, framing the project within the reality of international interest, and provides a stamp of international identity with a global interest and concern for the topic. Invited members are: Dr. Francesc Pedró from UNESCO (Paris); el Dr. Ismael Peña-López from UOC (Barcelona); Dr. Teresa Lugo from IIPE UNESCO Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires); Dr. Alejandro Pisanty from la UNAM and NIC México (Mexico City).
This project, in its initial phase, involved students in the Master of Education program at the Unviersidad ORT Uruguay, who joined this initiative form an early stage to participate in the design of the methodologies, as well as data collection. This benefitted the systemization of the process, and also helps to provide training on this research approach for the medium and longer term.
During the first round on naming ideas that facilitate or lead to a positive future for primary education in Uruguay, the participants thought about the students.
They want the students to know how to share and get involved in the education, to work collaboratively and to participate in teaching tasks. «May your learning be useful!»
Regarding the second question: Looking to the future, is it possible to identify some actions to better involve the different sectors of civil society in order to collaborate in the creation of a positive future for primary school in Uruguay? there was talk of opening schools to the community and weaving networks together. Generate horizontal relationships between the actors involved, create commitment and eliminate standards. Raising common educational objectives and defining problems jointly. Involving the community to share experiences.
“Involve teachers, parents and students to collaborate and share their work.”
In the third round: Can we unite as a community to build a collective capacity to transform learning? Why? Why not? How can leaders encourage or facilitate the growth of a collective capacity? The participants raised the idea of enabling spaces, modes of relationships, and people. They listed the words: «assume, err – be bold – innovate – technology – test – create – invent – learn – connect».
The greatest diffusion is made through the website ¿Y ahora qué? at http://y-ahora-que.uy, which is especially dedicated to the sharing of all phases of this project’s plan.
Tasks completed in 2016:
Project launch event
Project launch event
World Café #1 – Cerro Oeste
World Café #2 – Punta de Rieles
World Café #3 – Maroñas
World Café #4 – Buceo
World Café #5 – San Jacinto
World Café #6 – La Paz
World Café #7 – Flor de Maroñas
World Café #8 – Malvín Norte
World Café #9 – Colon Sureste
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