Cuando tenía 13 años, mi profesora de literatura, Estela, propuso a la clase el siguiente ejercicio: observar dos dibujos y escribir una historia sobre cada uno de ellos. Miré los dibujos: uno era de un hombre con traje y corbata que cargaba un maletín y usaba un lindo reloj. El otro era del mismo hombre, pero tenía barba crecida, ropa rasgada y zapatos gastados. Escribí la primera historia sobre un hombre exitoso con una familia increíble, y la segunda sobre un hombre pobre, triste y sin amigos. Estela pareció decepcionada y me preguntó si las personas se definen por su ropa. Ese día, mi profesora habló sobre prejuicios y yo aprendí algo que no olvidaré jamás.
When I was 13, my literature teacher Estela asked the class to look at two drawings and write down a story about each one them. I looked at the drawings: one was of a man in a suit and tie who was carrying a suitcase and wearing a watch. The other was of the same man but he had a beard, torn clothes and broken shoes. I wrote the first story about a successful man with an amazing family, the second about a poor, sad man who had no friends. Estela seemed disappointed and asked me if people are defined by their clothes. That day, my teacher spoke about prejudices and I learned something that I won’t forget.
There is no denying that governments around the world are expanding investments in education technology, from inputs that students use directly (like Kenya’s project to put tablets in schools) to digital resources to improve the education system (like Rio de Janeiro’s school management system). As public and private school systems continue to integrate technology into their classrooms, remember that education technology comes with risks.
In conjunction with the Ibero-American Summit this month, Pamela Cox, Vice President for Latin American and Caribbean, emphasizes the urgent need to focus on education quality in a recent op-ed that appeared in major news outlets across the region:
If education were simply a matter of attending classes, Latin America and the Caribbean would have already done its homework. Most regional countries have made enormous progress towards achieving universal access to basic education. There is also clear progress at the secondary and tertiary levels.
But more than access, the key goal of education is learning. Making sure that children and youngsters perform according to the requirements of the day is a necessary condition for the advancement of society. In that respect, the region still has some unfinished business.
The month of February played host to the OECD – Inter-American Development Bank– World Bank’s international knowledge sharing on '1-to-1 computing' in Austria. This was the first event of its kind looking specifically at the idea that, if technology is to fundamentally help transform educational practices, this can only be done where each student has her/his own personal computing device.
1-to-1 computing is not only happening in OECD countries: every student in Uruguay has her/his own laptop. Peru and Rwanda have made massive commitments to purchase laptops for students, and pilots are underway in many additional developing countries.These interventions are based on the belief that by enabling every pupil to connect to the Internet, and to each other, to access valuable resources irrespective of place and time, countries can help to bridge the digital divide while at the same time transforming education and increasing learning through the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs).
Given the context of this event, I thought I would provide a timely survey of the existing research on their use in education. I also advise you to check out Michael Trucano’s one year old blog, Edutech which provides incisive analysis on a wide array of ICTs in Education topics.