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The Covid-19 crisis has forced the countries in the region to accelerate the incorporation of technology into education on a previously unimaginable scale. On June 24, 2020, the Working Group on Technology and Innovation in Education met to discuss the challenges that have arisen due to the closure of educational centers, as well as the strategies and opportunities that have been generated towards the future of technological development in education. This report summarizes experiences from the region and presents the recommendations agreed upon by the group members regarding how to continue the implementation of technology in education.
Included in this publication is a summary of presentations made by the Minister of Public Education of Costa Rica and the President of Plan Ceibal, as well as the participation of those responsible for educational technology and innovation in the ministries of education of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. Despite contextual differences, most countries agree that the greatest obstacle to maintaining continuity of learning has been the significant gaps in access to connectivity. Even in contexts such as Uruguay, where the level of connectivity is among the highest in the region, countries have developed multiple innovative strategies to achieve greater coverage and educational continuity.
Lessons learned: From the experiences presented, the group concluded that effective development of educational technologies at scale requires (a) the use of a multimedia approach and (b) the design or adaptation of integrated digital platforms based on a mediated curriculum which connect actors within the system, including teachers and students. To achieve maximum national coverage, several countries have combined digital, analog, and interactive media, including traditional media such as television and radio.
Challenges to overcome: Beyond access to connectivity and necessary devices, the lack of training and support for teachers in information and communication technologies (ICTs), an underdeveloped digital culture, and the lack of inter-ministerial, regional, or international collaboration, also present relevant bottlenecks for the region in the future.
Recommendations: To address these obstacles, the report offers several recommendations for the future: strengthen educational leadership, build alliances within and outside ministries, and collaborate regionally and internationally. In order to address future obstacles, it is essential to have leadership focused on streamlining and adapting existing models to the current situation. This will resolve the conflict between short-term emergency responses and long-term agendas. Likewise, it is not possible to implement a large-scale education plan in such a limited time without cooperation between different sectors of the government, collaboration with private organizations, or spaces for inter-regional and international communication.