Friday, 4 December 2009

Virtual Educa 2009 in Buenos Aires (better late than never)

VIRTUAL EDUCA 2009 : What are teachers doing with technology in Latin America?

At the XIV Iberoamerican Summit of Heads of State and Government (San Jose, Costa Rica, November 18th-20th, 2004) approved the assignment of PROGRAM FOR VIRTUAL EDUCA Iberoamerican Summit. San Jose Declaration, signed by the Heads of State and Government of the twenty Latin American countries, states in clause 36: "We warmly welcome the inclusion as a project officer from Ibero-American Summit Virtual Education Program, an initiative that exemplifies the relevance strengthen the distance education and the use of new communication and information technologies in our region".

Virtual Educa is a converging space for the exchange of experiences and the implementation of projects linked to the Society of Knowledge. It organizes international annual forums, and in November 2009 it took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The hosting university, UCA, which is situated in a very beautiful and fashionable place, organized the event very well.

I attended it with great expectation because educational institutions and specialists from all Latin America were gathering there and some online friends (Pablo Bongiovani, Dolors Reig) . Most participants were well equipped with their laptops, netbooks or smart phones which they used for blogging, taking notes or communicating with colleagues via Twitter.
(Pablo Bongiovani and me)

As Information and Communication Technology (ICT) manager of the a school of languages, I was anxious to share my experience in the forums and learn about the latest ed tech trends in a workshop I was enrolled.

The congress started with workshops on different topics. I attended the workshop about “Metaverse” - a complete new word for me- given by Ruth Martínez . Although metaverse was coined by Neal Stephenson (1992), it is used to refer to the four dimensions of virtuality: Augmented reality (AR), Lifelogging, Mirror Worlds and Virtual Worlds. 

Augmented reality refers to all the gadgets used in the classroom to expand the real world, i.e. an interactive whiteboard. The goal of lifelogging is to share with your contacts what you consider important: photos, websites, music (Flicker, Twitter). A mirror world is a virtual replica of the real world along multiple dimensions (Google maps). A virtual world consists of a virtual environment where people can interact and socialize via avatars. The most popular one is Second Life. 

On the following three days, different universities (UNED, UOC, Monterrey University) showed how they organized their online graduate and postgraduate courses. All of them pointed out the importance of articulating and managing the three basic areas involved in online projects: technological area, educational area and material designing area. They also noted the fundamental role of tutors in online courses. Collaborative work is also significant. Learning will be possible if there is 50% of dedication on the part of the students and 50% of the tutor’s work.

I am quite familiar about using technology in language learning, but Virtual Educa gave me a clear idea of how Spanish speaking countries are incorporating digital technology in the curricula of different educational proposals. I really enjoyed the event and now, I am looking forward to attend Virtual Educa 2010 in Santo Domingo.

About Mirror Worlds [Nov.,2009]
About Augmented reality


Helping North ELT Online said...

Thanks for sharing this experience Nelba. We are always learing new things! Thanks for the links to the webliography too!


Prof. Nelba Quintana- La Plata- Argentina said...

Thanks, Paula for your comment :)

Anonymous said...

Great post! I am a college sophomore with a dual major in Physics and Mathematics @ University of California, Santa Barbara. By the way, i came across these excellent language flashcards. Its also a great initiative by the FunnelBrain team. Amazing!!!