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International Conference on ICT in education extends discussion to general public

19-05-2010 (Brasilia)
International Conference on ICT in education extends discussion to general public
© Communication Initiative
“It is not possible to ignore technology anymore,” declare the participants of a two-day conference on ICT in education, held in Brasilia last April. Incorporating new technological tools and platforms into learning processes has become a consolidated trend.
For education experts, policy makers, representatives of the private sector, international organizations and the educational community, assessing the impact of ICT in classrooms is very important, but the key issue is how to use it more effectively for improving the quality of education in Latin America.

“Digital technologies are present in our society at all levels and they are here to stay. Thus, the real question is: how the school may use these technologies more efficiently to improve the quality of education”, declared Alfredo Rojas, project officer from the UNESCO Office in Santiago and coordinator of the school leadership network in Chile.

The Conference in Brasilia demonstrated that thinking about ICT has been consolidated in Latin America. Researchers and experts from many countries established a common priority agenda: to define indicators and methodologies for the assessment of teacher-training standards, which represent the biggest challenge for ICT-in-education policies in Latin America. Participants also stressed the importance of reforming teacher-training curricula that should incorporate ICT and accessibility components.

“Defining common problems and expectations in the region is a big step. We needed to find out which main issues should be worked on and who is interested in taking this debate further,” explains Guilherme Canela, from the UNESCO Brasilia Office.

The advance made in discussions about the use of ICT in classrooms was so significant that the conference’s organizers decided to extend the debate to Internet users through an online platform. A Latin American work forum was also launched, bringing together governments, managers, international organizations and the private sector in order to further develop the themes proposed by UNESCO and its partners.

Demerval Bruzzi, from the Brazilian Ministry of Education, believes that initiatives such as this one should take place every six months to keep up with technological changes. “We need to offer more events like this for all teachers in our country,” he observed.

For Emílio Murano, Director of Education from Microsoft, the involvement of different segments of society in discussing ICT in schools was one of the high points of the meeting. “What drew my attention was not only the quality of speakers, but the quality of the audience. We were able to make a correlation of the most relevant issues that need to be changed in order for us to reach higher quality in education,” he observed.

Ricardo Santos, Cisco General Manager for Latin America, also complimented the adequate selection of themes for the conference. “We should not lose the objectivity of conferences like this one. I believe that the next step could be to hold conferences with more specific themes, such as employability,” he suggested.

The International Conference, entitled “The Impact of ICT in Education” jointly organized by the UNESCO Brasilia and Santiago Offices and the Brazilian Ministry of Education on 27 and 28 April 2010. It was attended by 350 participants from different countries and viewed by more than 2000 Internet users via webcast.
Related themes/countries

      · Latin America/Caribbean
      · Brazil
      · Chile
      · ICT in Education
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