ARGENTINEAN TEACHERS STUDY AT NSU
(Docentes argentinos posan al llegar a los Estados Unidos)
It is well known that personal contacts between members of different cultures tend to expand the knowledge and mental horizons of those involved. When the participants are practicing teachers in the primary and secondary levels of the educational system, what they learn from these experiences is also transmitted to the children and adolescents, and to other teachers, in a kind of ripple effect. For these reasons, in the last few years, the Ministries of Education of Chile and Argentina have organized study abroad programs in which hundreds of practicing teachers from both countries have taken part. To carry out this program the Ministries invited international organizations to present proposals which were then evaluated as part of a competitive process. CREAD, partnering with several of its institutional members, was privileged to be selected four times by the Governments of Argentina and Chile to organize study abroad programs for teachers. This article is about the most recent of these experiences, a program carried out by CREAD and Nova Southeastern University.
During the past year the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of the Republic of Argentina initiated a program named Study Abroad for Trainers of Trainers. This enabled several dozen teachers to study abroad for periods of around one month. Our program had a participation of about 44 teachers, whose activities centered on two main areas. The first focused on the study of leadership, the use of instructional technology and training in the teaching of English as a Foreign Language. The second provided opportunities for the participants to make contacts with the University and the culture of the United States. The following are contributions from some of the participants.
CONTRIBUTIONS FROM SOME OF THE PARTICIPANTS
Our study trip
When I look back now, from a distance, it brings into focus certain aspects which, as in any human experience, enable us to make a diagnostic contrast between certain features of our two countries, but also helps us to recover the most significant aspects of what we did.
From my perspective as a teaching specialist with a basis in Educational Psychology, I have had concerns about the inclusion of the new information and communication technologies in the learning environment. Therefore I was amazed at their use in the daily life of American classrooms at all levels including universities, not only the presence of the equipment but also their application as bridges or cognitive tools in the construction of knowledge, interacting with those two variables time and space, which are so important in our current context. Both of these variables are employed to facilitate rapid responses in different spaces, in particular virtual opportunities, simulations, or contrasts and at other times facilitating not only mere tasks, but even the complex constructions that humankind requires. But they also provide a structure for the democratization of knowledge in a world where it is not accessible to everyone, and where we must foster a global awareness that we all need a better world and a better quality of life.
I was also impressed by the strengths of organizations and management in supporting and stimulating team leadership. Fostering teachers as leaders is a task which must not be postponed, given that the leader has in the first place to be a leader of and in himself, acting out of convictions based on professional knowledge, and then being a leader implies being able to handle negotiations and align different positions and personalities to make the team into a cooperative unit. This second aspect made me rethink some practices that often fail in our own country precisely because of our lack of success at teamwork, wasting valuable time in meetings that are more cathartic than productive.
In this regard it would seem quite logical to organize meetings that predefine what, how and how many minutes are allotted to a topic, a fact that from the point of view of your practices may seem irrelevant, but which in our situations would be a strength that not all of us could practice, not for lack of will only, but also because of cultural structures that would require much more profound and complex efforts.
In this last paragraph I have talked about the importance of culture, seeing that we professionals often cite the interactions of culture and language that, as Vygotsky says, we are all subject to. The visit set in motion in me an incredible experience of this cultural exchange and recognition that enable us to rethink aspects or different points of view of an object of study, not necessarily through theoretical frameworks but through learning matrices in totally different cultural contexts. It is there that tolerance for diversity and the capacity for debate with good sense and sound pedagogical reasons are seen to be evident or absent.
I think this was an experience with more benefits than were immediately obvious, because we cannot fit into a few lines the enormous support of professors and students; they are treasures that even now at a distance we are still discovering, maybe in putting a concept into practice or seeing our mental representations enriched by an article, or more than once recollecting images of what we experienced at Nova Southeastern University.
For all that we received, very many thanks; for all that you and we require as inhabitants of the same global village striving for peace and meritocracy based on human values, let us stay in continuous contact as a way to construct and collaborate, so that more minds may be stimulated and housed in institutions of quality leadership, for the sake of a better world
An Argentinean at Nova Southeastern University (NSU)
Lic. Miguel Nicodemo Gallardo
Coordinator of the Department of Educational Research
Instituto Superior de Formación Docente “República Federal de Alemania”
El Colorado, Formosa, Argentina
The creation of social networks to optimize resources and achieve better results is nothing new. It has also reached the field of education in general and training in particular. Thus the National Institute of Teacher Training, in Argentina, awarded scholarships to educators who train future teachers to spend a period studying at NSU, at its Ft. Lauderdale campus, in the USA. CREAD and NSU had joint responsibility for carrying out this training experience for these teaching professionals through the month of October.
To say it like this makes it sound like a news report of minimal interest, but not for those of us who were there. Those of us who had the good fortune to be selected for our projects to take part in the experience say that it marked a “before” and an “after”, in our personal as well as our professional lives. I will try to put in words what I feel emotionally, and it may not always sound well thought out.
On the one hand, living in a culture so different from my own led me to reflect on this unknown “other”, so different from my usual self. One dives into the search for similarities and differences, the longing for the everydayness of one’s own life and the surprises of the new. Sharing with a group that one did not choose makes one exercise cooperation and tolerance, and I learned to like people who were totally indifferent to me at the beginning. And to return with new attachments is already personal growth.
Another perspective is concerned with the professional, and here two aspects merit attention: one the unconditional support of the tutors for the development of our projects that enabled us to integrate the inputs of the various professors; another, that they permitted us to create spaces for study, discussion and exchange. So that the plan that each of us was to implement on our return to our workplace was prepared and strengthened. I must also mention the support that I received from Armando Villarroel and his group of colleagues afterwards to enrich my project.
Finally, I must mention the network that was created as a result of this visit to the USA, which is not only academic and social, but also a network of affection between the visitors and our hosts, with whom we are maintaining contact by Internet. Joan Manuel Serrat was right when he sang – and this sums up the visit in my mind – “de vez en cuando la vida nos besa en la boca…” - sometimes life kisses us on the mouth…
Reflections on our visit to NSU
Ya en nuestros respectivos hogares, cada uno en su casa, comenzamos a rememorar cada instante de nuestra visita a la NOVA como un recuerdo casi lejano pero persistente en cuanto a su valor cargado de experiencia y conocimientos.
Al llegar a Fort Lauderdale, en un primer momento, el choque cultural se hizo sentir. La comida, las costumbres diferentes a las nuestras, los horarios, hasta nos ponían incómodos. Con los días esas diferencias circunstanciales se fueron superando y comenzamos a sentirnos casi, por qué no, como en casa. Es que las personas que nos recibieron en la NOVA se esforzaron de tal manera en hacernos sentir como en casa que hasta hoy los extrañamos.
En cuanto a lo aprendido, les puedo decir que no hubo desperdicio. Especialmente el haber comprendido que a pesar del auge de las TIC´s lo importante sigue siendo el cómo educamos. Me permitió ampliar mi visión del tema y centrarme con mayor certeza en que el camino que emprendí hace tiempo es el correcto y que las TIC´s son una herramienta que posibilitará educar mejor.
La apreciación de lo que puede llegar a ser una Universidad de excelencia académica, edilicia, de punta en cuanto a tecnología nos inspira. Hoy de vuelta en mi actividad cotidiana, cada tarea que emprendo la veo a través de lo que puede llegar a ser.
Ya nunca nada que haga será igual.
Cuando uno conoce una realidad superior, y por la misma necesidad de superación del ser humano, se establece un nivel de comparación que permanecerá hasta alcanzarlo. Hemos establecido un nivel: lo que nuestra educación argentina puede llegar a ser. Las ideas motoras surgen como ríos de mi cabeza y se expresan como propuestas, proyectos y trabajo.
Me queda por decirles: un eterno agradecimiento a nuestros maestros en la NOVA: Dr. Armando Villarroel, Dra. Sandra Verde, Dra. Ninoska, Dr. Ramón Ferreiro, Lic. Alejandro Ibarra y las señoras Jean Pritchard y Teena Villarroel. Un cariño infinito a nuestros amigos: Elías, Susana y a todos los que colaboraron para que nuestra estadía sea como fue y hayamos aprendido y vivido lo que vivimos. Y la certeza de que siempre, siempre estarán en nuestra memoria.
El desafío: poder presentar un proyecto innovador en Nova Educa 2008 y sino en 2009.
Lic. Oscar Marcelo Sefair
Escuela Normal Superior
“General San Martín”
San Juan, San Juan, Argentina
It is difficult to describe such an important social and professional life experience as our Argentinean teachers’ visit to the USA, and in particular to Nova Southeastern University. With each day that passes, I continue to discover memories that I carry with me and experience in my daily activities, with my peers and my students. To test our knowledge and training in a different environment from what we knew before made us reframe processes and techniques that have certainly been enriched by this exchange, for that is what it was, an exchange in which we all learned and all contributed what we knew.
As a graduate in Computer Systems, I was able to verify that the technology in our country is at a very high level, but what affects us is the economic ability to acquire it. My project, in particular, is to create an ICT representative, so that each institution should have a person whose job it is to introduce digital support into the curricula and the daily instruction; this will serve to make ICT applications more common and the learning environments more innovative and attractive to the student.
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to participate in this newsletter and to remain in contact with such an important center as CREAD, and with NSU and all the human resources that received us so well and so generously shared their knowledge with us.
From the province of San Juan, in the Republic of Argentina, I say farewell to my friends in the United States.
An experience to challenge us
Prof. Dolores Reynoso de Zelaya
Instituto Superior de Educación Tecnológica (ISET)
San Miguel de Tucumán,Tucumán, Argentina
Our visit to Nova Southeastern University and CREAD, which was organized by the Instituto Nacional Teacher Training program, took place in October of this year and involved forty five principals and teachers from public teacher training institutions in the whole of Argentina, from la Quiaca to Ushuaia.
This journey was a significant experience for us, since it gave us the opportunity to learn about the current state of education and curricular advances that are being implemented in the developed countries.
Today, more than in any other period, the teaching profession is confronting multiple difficult challenges in all aspects of training.
As teachers we are aware that we cannot continue performing our task in the same old way: now we have new learning environments and children who demand different types of learning.
The Net generation, children and youth who are very comfortable with ICT’s, think and feel in a different way. They are extremely visual children who can rapidly decode images.
These facts demand changes in teachers and principals, more than just “an epoch of change” or “a change of epoch”; there will inevitably be new paradigms in education and human resources training.
Our participation in the courses, lectures and workshops, as well as visits to Florida schools, and the topics that were covered, formed the basis for an itinerary that recapitulated the paths traveled in our country through education and for us to ask ourselves what kind of school we want for our students in the context of today.
They confirmed for us that beyond investments in science and technology, the most valuable and necessary thing for successful achievements in education as an instrument of transformation and progress, is the commitment of teachers, parents and educational community.
Education today takes place in a three dimensional space: time, space and virtual reality. Advanced technology is an urgent need, both having it and knowing how to use it, otherwise we may enlarge the digital breach between those who have it and know how to use it and those who do not have access.
Technology is a valuable and important tool for the construction of progress, but there is also a pressing need not to discount human training, since technology by itself cannot remedy problems if they are not resolved by education.
The suitability and human quality of the teaching body should also be emphasized, our reception in the places that we visited, that gave us access to another culture and its institutional styles.
To sum up, this journey along the path of knowledge has led us to reaffirm our commitment to the egalitarian quality education that is part of the Argentinean national development model.
Encounter with Intelligence
Dra. Sandra Mendoza Verde
Nova Southeastern University
We identify with the multiple contributions of the Argentinean teachers because, although we realize that there is a natural resistance to change, we are immersed in an inevitable revolution of ideas forcing us to work with a different vision of the human being, living in a new times and geo-economic and socio-cultural spaces
In regard to this line of thinking, we analyze the processes of acquisition, adaptation, recreation and knowledge diffusion, as a dynamic that sets itself apart from the traditional and static binomial of the magister dixit: “I think, you repeat, I speak, you applaud; I give you orders and you obey without question” which sums up not only the processes of teaching and learning, but also the lives of millions of inhabitants of Latin American underdevelopment.
The globalization phenomenon, the rapid expanses in the use and expansion of technology, cultural diversity and its overwhelming interaction; as well as changes in political structures, from totalitarian regimes whether they be open or concealed, to their transformation into participatory democracies; these are just a few of the challenges that we as educators face in satisfying the demands of a society that doesn’t even stop to think about the consequences of its new practices.
This tells us that a new paradigm is demanding a fundamental change in certain inoperant and unethical beliefs that still have a large influence in the foundation and evaluation of institutions, in curricular planning and in the development of programs and cognitive or attitudinal systems, and in the daily round, whether it be in the classroom or other learning scenarios.
It is an absolute necessity, then, in this new context to have the presence of a leader capable of renewing work groups on the basis of learning by discovery, of creative and distinctly constructivist thinking and of a lifestyle centered on research in the countless perspectives that distance education as well as scientific neo-pragmatism bring to the table with its sense of social utility and human centered philosophy.
Such leadership must transcend the inflamed discourses and populist manipulations to focus on visible behavior changes and measurable results as Lussier & Achua (2005) indicate when they refer to internal cultures, delegation of responsibilities in organizations, continuous implementation of new technologies, teacher and student profile updating, based on necessities and workflow, and the elimination of artificial limits that restrict knowledge to the repetition of obsolete facts, and the perfecting of a highly participative work climate, that implies responsibly assuming the risks of every individual or collective action.
Here we reaffirm the conception of a conscientious leader who works so that his followers are focused not only on their own necessities and aspirations; but also on the implicit values of their own motivations and its repercussions on the community of interests that consolidate us as a society, beyond individuals who have propitiated messianic cults and the irrational massification of nations, because much more than just a seller of dreams and a disciple of demagoguery, the challenges of the 21st century demand the presence of an educational leader who operates within and for change and a cybernautical student who does not waste his time on video games and email chain letters.
It was in fact Yukl (2006) who indicated that, regardless of the methods that we use to develop leadership, the acquired skills will depend on the organizational climate , such as for example, the support of the administrators and the environment where the learning is developed.
The main teacher characteristics of the new educational paradigm are to be a model and a leader, and were talking about model in the sense of modeling exemplary conduct for the pupils as we invite them to explore knowledge, fields of enquiry and citizenship. A transformational leader operates in the realm of individualized attention, intellectual stimulation, inspiration, motivation and an influence based on personal practice. He doesn’t say, ”Do what I say but not what I do”. Rather he ratifies it with his personal conduct, “Do what I say if you see that I’m doing it”.
An educational manager is a leader who can reinforce without manipulating, interact without blocking initiative, instruct without imposing, and inspire with consistent ideas more than with populist rhetoric. Therefore an educator who is focused on the new paradigm will not center his activity on knowledge, but focuses on the study of skills, attitudes and values, which Bloom and others predicated in the past and which we have conveniently shelved only to bring it to bear at times of academic discourse. What is important here is not accumulation of knowledge but real practice in order to be authentic and up to date.
Questions might arise in this context as to whether they would be willing to put learned skills into practice in the medium term, which they saw as an interesting dream, and if they could ever foresee the concrete results of such fruitful intellectual exercise, they could design new educational strategies based on their immediate realities. But above all, the increasing need to continue to be co-workers in “impossible missions”, delegators of coherent functions, assigners of consistent homework, participators in teamwork and enthusiastic conductors of democratic orchestras rather than solo players, possessors of knowledge that has been aged in the learned contemplation of immutable truths. In these truths all institutional hope has centered on a reengineering of consciousness and because of them every effort is worthwhile, building bridges where previously there were barriers.
Lussier, R. N. & Achua, C. F. (2005). Liderazgo y cambio en las organizaciones. Liderazgo. México: Internacional Thomson Editores, S. A
Yukl, G. A. (2006). Leadership in organizations. (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Beyond a mere visit
One of the most important trends in education today is that of inter-institutional exchanges of students and teachers, involving work or study trips to distant places.
The reasons for this are many, amongst others globalization, the availability and effect of information and communication technologies, the characteristics of the net generation that we are finding in our educational institutions, and the search for new forms of teaching and learning.
In particular, according to the specialist literature, these exchanges and study trips produce cultural enrichment in the widest sense of the word in the participants. Thus they are fully justified.
But beyond getting to know places and people, customs and traditions, and gaining experience in how other people take decisions and resolve the everyday problems which surround us in our daily lives, these teacher visits are an extraordinary resource for the development of what is probably the most important professional competency that a teacher has: his or her professional identity.
A number of experts have stated that the educational “crisis”, which of course has many causes, is closely related to poor development of the professional identity of the teaching body.
It has been shown that the dynamic that develops within a group of teachers who have traveled to a different institution to follow a plan of activities for one purpose or another contributes to the growth of different aspects of identity which as educational professionals they need to fully exercise their teaching function.
The presence of a group of outstanding Argentinean teachers at our university, brought here through the activities and leadership of CREAD, was a privilege for all those of us who in one way or another had the opportunity to be in contact with them.
The so-called “reciprocity effect” was evident. We all grew.
Professional development is not only achieved through declarative learning and precise procedures, but also, and this is extremely important, through contact with others who are apparently different in social context, but show us what we require to do, in the best way, what we need to do, in the state of development where we are.
This experience was valuable. But it will be even more so if we internalize it for its potential significance in our professional life. As for the institutional side, the sponsors are offering follow-up in situ for the same purpose. Otherwise it would be a waste instead of an investment.
Let us hope that this first experience, together with the lessons learned, will make exchanges possible for new groups of Argentinean teachers and thus contribute to the establishment of innovative educational projects with broad social impact.
I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Argentina and CREAD on this initiative.
PROFILE OF CREAD INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERS
Universidad Estatal a Distancia (UNED)
The Presidency of the Republic of Costa Rica paid homage to the State Distance University (UNED) for its recent citation as a meritorious institution of education and culture.
At the ceremony were the President of the Republic, Oscar Arias Sánchez, the President of the Legislative Assembly and founding Chancellor of UNED, Francisco Antonio Pacheco Fernández, Deputy Bienvenido Venegas Porras, the Minister of Public Education, Leonardo Garnier Rímolo, Rodrigo Arias Sánchez, Presidential Minister, and the Chancellor of the University, Rodrigo Arias Camacho.
The recognition of UNED as a meritorious institution was approved, by unanimous vote, on last October 10th, by the Third Plenary Committee of the Legislative Assembly.
This recognition is the result of the work carried out by the Institution throughout its history of providing opportunities to access the benefits of higher education for people of different socio-economic conditions.
UNED NAMED AS MERITORIOUS INSTITUTION
OF EDUCATION AND CULTURE
- On its 30th anniversary the University is distinguished with this recognition
- Initiative by Deputy Bienvenido Venegas
Last October 10th the Third Plenary Committee of the Legislative Assembly by a unanimous vote approved a law declaring the State Distance University (UNED) to be a meritorious institution of education and culture.
This recognition is the result of the work carried out by the University in its 30 years of existence to provide higher education to different sectors of society, especially to those who for reasons of geography, age, economics etc. cannot easily access the benefits of higher education.
This project was initiated by deputies Alexander Mora, Mario Quirós, Elsa Grettel Ortiz and proposed by Bienvenido Venegas.
“It is important to state that UNED has not only given an economic impulse to the country, mainly in the field of education, but has also succeeded in democratizing and universalizing education as practically no other institution has been able to do”, declared Venegas.
“Thanks to this institution, thousands of Costa Ricans have been able to become professionals, even being able to obtain doctorates and master’s degrees”, he added.
For his part, Rodrigo Arias, the University Chancellor, commented that “this award reflects recognition of the social impact of this university. The role of this university in the development of Costa Rican society has been wonderfully validated”.
“For the students there must be enormous pride in studying at a distinguished institution. To feel that you come from a distinguished institution will signify added value”, said Arias.
The denomination “distinguished” is the highest distinction that any institution can obtain in Costa Rica. UNED is the second university in the country to succeed in obtaining this title. The University of Costa Rica was so honored when it commemorated its 60th anniversary.
In the course of these 30 years the University has graduated over 30,000 professionals and currently has more than 20,000 students enrolled in its various undergraduate and postgraduate programs.
Mario Quesada E. firstname.lastname@example.org
HIGHER DISTANCE EDUCATION AT THE UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF HEALTH SCIENCES, H.A.BARCELO FOUNDACION
Santo Tome Campus
The efficacy of our distance education model resides in its demanding academic program and in a system of face-to-face evaluation, which work via a structure of logistical and computer support initiated by the Instituto Universitario de Ciencias de la Salud, over the course of 15 years of experience in distance education. We have been an active member of CREAD since its beginnings at Pennsylvania State University and now at Nova Southeastern University.
The students have many benefits and acquire many skills under this educational model:
- It favors the personal activity of the student.
- It helps the student with rational time management.
- It fosters creativity.
- It stimulates research.
- It enables the student to find a personal way to study and work.
- It provides training in the search for relevant information on the web and the development of criteria to evaluate this information.
- It teaches the student to apply information to real situations in order to develop new knowledge.
- It covers the entire academic program for each class.
- It promotes the practice of self-evaluation.
- It accustoms the student to working systematically and in depth.
- It promotes team work, and the sharing and development of information.
- It teaches the student to make decisions on the basis of contrasting perceptions.
- It makes the students learn how to make their own decisions.
Distance education support at our Institution:
- ESPI system: (Continuous Interactive Satellite Instruction)
This is a system of satellite communication that incorporates a video conference signal in real time, capable of transmitting any type of academic program. Professors can use all the tools of a face-to-face classroom in our virtual ones. The ESPI system is also an important support tool for the continuous training of professors, for videoconference tutorials, diffusion of information, events and teleconferences. It is connected 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- Virtual Learning Environment:
This simulates the functioning of a conventional university on the internet. It offers materials for downloading, a virtual library, grade information, and other aids that give the student access to the university 24 hours a day wherever he or she may be. It promotes interaction between professors and students and enables instructors to respond to the needs of the students.
In its virtual campus the University Institute for Health Sciences has installed the latest version of the Moodle course management system, with which we implement the various distance courses that make up our e-learning offering. The central concept for the use of this platform is to enable the instructors and students who use this medium to move with great versatility through the various course and study tools by means of which their chosen distance education model is implemented.
The Moodle platform, as part of the virtual campus, complies with internationally established basic standards of quality, in regard to its constituent components, such as:
- Content packaging: Learning units with digital support
- Communications: Availability of appropriate commands and metadata
- Administration: course information and materials for the students’ use.
One of the main sections of the platform is the Virtual Library. This is a center for digital resources that integrates sources of scientific information and makes them available by Internet. The main component provides access to scientific databases including:
PAHO Virtual Library (Argentinean Virtual Campus)
Nova Southeastern University Virtual Library
Evaluation of the Distance Education Process
Our institution is very committed to ensuring the quality of all the distance education programs that are implemented.
There is a set of elements that we take into account to ensure quality in teaching and learning which are constantly evaluated to create rigorous follow-up for each program implemented.
Thus, the value of contents in relation to required knowledge, the appropriate use of resources and the production of materials for teaching are all evaluated. Similarly the instructional design for facilitating interaction between the student and the learning materials, the availability and accessibility of materials for ease of use, the technological support for the student to use the system resources with regard to navigation and interactivity with other students and the instructors are observed.
For this we use criteria and indicators that make it possible to carry out an exhaustive evaluation of the process and the components of the process (instructors, students, support services, technology and materials).
INSTITUTO TECNOLOGICO DE LAS AMERICAS (ITLA)
INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY OF THE AMERICAS
The Instituto Tecnológico de las Américas is an Institute of Higher Education, founded on August 13th, 2000 as a non-profit organization by an initiative of the Dominican Government.
It was established under the first administration of President Leonel Fernández, (1996-2000), and his team, with the understanding that the Dominican Republic needed to construct economic spaces to create new opportunities for the collective wellbeing. That is why, when the “technological ecosystem” of the Santo Domingo Cybernetic Park was established, ITLA was the first educational component to be inaugurated there.
The concept was that the moment had come for advantages to be obtained from the technological and telecommunications revolution, and that this could become a competitive advantage for the Dominican Republic, since all that was needed for this was human resources. For this reason ITLA is a higher education institute of technology, specializing in technical-professional training with English as a Second Language; in advanced technology fields and under a “technical college” model. Areas of specialization are the Centers of Excellence in Information Technology, Multimeda, Mechatronics and Software, whilst in addition there are cross-curricular areas such as the ITLA School of Languages, the ethics center and the center for entrepreneurship.
The vision of the institution is to train human capital in advanced technology by means of innovative and highly specialized programs, in which an entrepreneurial spirit, and high ethical values committed to national development are fostered.
Our goal is to be a leading institution in higher education in the Dominican Republic, offering the best innovations in the field of advanced technology, with prestige and accreditation at national and international level, and providing our students with training at the highest academic standards.
In our commitment to satisfying the needs and expectations of our students and users through the continuing improvement of our high-tech educational processes and solutions, in July 2006 we obtained ISO 9001:2000 certification.
In addition, on November 23rd, 2007, ITLA was one of the winners of the National Quality Prize and recognized for promising innovations in the public sector in the Dominican Republic. The prize was presented at the Palacio Nacional where the President of the Republic, Dr. Leonel Fernández awarded the silver medal for second place to Ing. José Armando Tavárez, Executive Director of the institution.
The institution has been able to become accredited through some of the most prestigious international certificates on the market, thus offering the students preparatory courses for these certificates. Amongst our partners we have Cisco Systems, the ITLA Regional Academy, Microsoft IT Academy, Comptia Learning Alliance, Sun Academy Initiative and Icarnegie, a subsidiary of the renowned Carnegie Mellon University, and the European Software Institute.
In addition to these, we have linked up with the most important international organizations in the market such as Pearson VUE and Thomson Prometric, with ITLA obtaining authorization from both of them to offer the examinations of the leading software and hardware manufacturers in the world so that our students can obtain their international certification.
After five very successful years with continuing education courses in the field of advanced technology, on July 18th, 2006, the institution was evaluated by the National Council for Higher Education, Science and Technology (CONESCYT) of the Dominican Republic, in the course of a proposal presented to the Secretary of State for Higher Education, Science and Technology (SEESCYT) in two versions, in January 2006 and March 2006, to change ITLA into a higher education institute.
With this national recognition, we are pursuing the objective of producing graduates with a Technology diploma (2 year program) in each of the innovative areas of ITLA’s technological specialization, namely:
- Network Technology (Center of Excellence in Information Technology);
- Multimedia Technology (Center of Excellence in Multimedia);
- Manufacturing Technology (Center of Excellence in Mechatronics);
- Software Technology (Center of Excellence in Software);
Currently ITLA has around 706 students enrolled in Technology, the first of whom are scheduled to graduate on August 13th, 2008, on the eighth anniversary of the institution. In continuing education, we have enrolled 1,518 students in the first term of this year.
For this year the Technological Institute of the Americas has planned the opening of the Department of Educational Technology, the main goal of which is to coordinate all the processes of virtual teaching offered by the institution and thus to be able to enlarge its educational offering and, more importantly, bring a high tech education to more students.
In addition to this we are also planning to inaugurate the School of Geographical Information in the first term of 2008. The GIS-ITLA School will offer the SIG application courses that are most needed to obtain basic knowledge on the subject, moving on to specialized geospatial systems applications in environmental solutions, and commercial applications. This training will be directed to professionals in specific areas such as hydrology, agronomy, geography, cartography, surveying, meteorology, and others.
With this offering we are seeking to provide the student with the capacity needed for competency in the development of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) under the rules of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), with a potential that could benefit both public and private companies in the Dominican Republic. The development of GIS projects could have applications for: Health, Education, Land Usage, Geomarketing, GPS Applications and Environmental Simulations, amongst others.
We are scheduled to begin courses in Introduction to Geographic Information Systems; Digital Cartography; Photogrammetry; Geo-databases; Google Earth Applications; GIS Object Programming and Geospatial Systems.
On March 6th, 2008, we have scheduled the official launch of the International Research Center, a unit of ITLA, whose mission will be to promote high tech research and development with a view to increasing innovative capacities in the Dominican Republic to offer creative and efficacious solutions combining appropriate technologies and methodologies and strengthening internal human resources.
The International Research Center values the information and communication technologies (ICTs) as a cross-curricular tool for equitable and sustainable development and the strengthening of governance; they are fundamental if we are to effectively involve ourselves in the Information and Knowledge Society.
The following lines of investigation were identified:
- The Information Society;
- Software Engineering;
- Technological Entrepreneurship;
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and
The following research projects have been identified for the first implementation phase:
- The development of a model integrating a system of Identification by Radio Frequency “RFID”, a Global Positioning System ”GPS” and a Geographic Information System”GIS”, for the management of business intelligence and knowledge through an industrial Associated Center, linked with the Instituto Tecnológico de Las Américas through the Web
- A study and evaluation for the creation of an educational portal based on the new technologies (i.e. wikis, blogs, etc.) to promote the learning of children and youth in the Dominican Republic
- A simulation of hydrodynamic fluids in the hydrographic basins of the Dominican Republic with geographic information systems, for the purpose of offering early flood warnings
- The development of quantitative and qualitative indicators on the impact of ICTs in the judicial sector of the Dominican Republic
- The design of a methodology for quality management in software projects based on the CMMI model and the IEEE software engineering standards.
The Research Center has been able to obtain the assistance of important international figures as international committee members such as:
- Dr. Mateo Valero, Director of the National Supercomputing Center of Barcelona;
- Dr. Luis Joyanes Aguilar, Dean of the School of Computing, Pontificia Universidad de Salamanca, Madrid campus;
- Dr. Llorenc Valverde, Provost for Information Technology at the Open University of Catalunya;
- Dr. Josep Maria Duart, Director of the UNESCO Chair of e-Learning and Provost of the Open University of Catalunya;
- Dr. Santiago Tejedor of the Committee for Communication and Education of the Autonomous University of Barcelona;
- Dr. Allan Fisher, Vice President for strategy and development products at the Laureate Higher Education Group. Previously he was co-founder, President and CEO of iCarnegie Inc.
- Dr. Jorge Reina Schement, Distinguished professor, co-director of the Institute of Information and Telecommunications Policy of Penn State University.
- Dr. Jorge Díaz Herrera, Professor and Dean of the Golisano Faculty of Computer Science and Information Sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
- Dr. Ramón Cacéres, head of technical personnel at AT&T Labs;
- Dr. Erich Kunhardt, Provost of the Polytechnic University of New York;
- Sr. Jose Pacheco, Administrator of programs at the Center for Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- Dr. Yolanda León Hernández, of the Remote Sensing Laboratory of the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC).
But the primary goal of the Instituto Tecnológico de las Américas according to its strategic plan for 2008 is to succeed in enrolling 1,000 students in technological programs, thus contributing to the preparation of the human resources required to begin diversifying the Dominican economy.
2008 CREAD CONFERENCES
Nova Educ@ 2008
Nova Southeastern University
March 17 - 19, 2008
Beyond the classroom: The new learning environments
The organizing committee of Nova Educ@ 2008 is pleased to announce the third Conference on “Beyond the Classroom: The new learning environments”, which is to be held on March 17-19 of next year at Nova Southeastern University (www.nova.edu) in Davie, Ft. Lauderdale and its Fischler Graduate School of Education (www.fischlerschool.nova.edu) in N. Miami Beach, Florida.
This time Nova Educ@ will have three themes. The first one is the information and communication technologies (ICTs); the second the application of the ICTs in the teaching and learning processes of educational institutions, independently of the type of center, level or school grade; and the third theme is distance education.
As well as taking part in keynote addresses, round tables and workshops, participants may send a proposal (deadline January 5th) to present at one of the working sessions to be organized, and to be entered for the FISCHLER PRIZE for EDUCATIONAL INNOVATION, which for the first time is to be awarded for the best presentation.
For more information, please contact us at (954) 262 8690 or send an email to
We look forward to seeing you at Nova Educ@ 2008 to share our ideas and experiences.
Nova Educ@ Organizing Committee
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ASOCIACIÓN VENEZOLANA DE EDUCACIÓN A DISTANCIA AVED 2008
March 27 - 28, 2008
Hotel Tamanaco, Caracas, Venezuela
PRESENTATION – VENEZUELAN ASSOCIATION OF DISTANCE EDUCATION (AVED)
Distance education has become a means of developing educational action, making it possible to bring educational processes to social sectors that have limited access to conventional institutional offerings. The development of these possibilities presents a dual challenge for those who are active in the promoting this mode: to reach more of our citizens and to preserve the quality that all educational effort demands. In this task we value the recommendations to emphasize quality assurance, public policies that support the modality, and the initiatives created by national and international institutions.
This dual challenge obliges teachers and institutions to take a new role in the use of this modality, which by now has become a normal component in the academic activity of university institutions. This role requires the rational, appropriate and updated use of technological tools in the teaching/learning processes, framed in a pedagogical focus that proposes the innovative construction of knowledge and the collaborative recreation of knowledge; and relies on rigorous research to strengthen the theoretical foundations that support it. All this is directed by the principle of relevance: the relevance that comes from being part of the knowledge society, and that of pursuing the solution to social problems that may come with the broad use of this modality, thereby strengthening the institutional interventions of higher education and consolidating it.
The panorama of higher education around the world reflects the incredible growth of institutions founded with a contemporary vision of distance education and characterized by the development of virtual models strongly supported by the intensive use of ICTs. But, in addition, it also reflects the consolidation of distance education initiatives in institutions with face-to-face traditions – which is basically all of them – which coherently employ both modalities for their mutual enrichment. This is undoubtedly related to the development that the Internet has undergone, and the whole complex of technologies that go with it, that are derived from the rapid evolution of computer science and its educational applications. The social impacts that have arisen from this are the reason why today we are talking about the Internet culture … and within that, we can see a growing space for distance education.
“It is clear” – says Lorenzo Garcia Aretio - “that at the beginning of the twenty first century the Internet boom is driving dramatic changes in the ways we think of education. The question of how to teach, and how to learn, drives a need for a new theoretical focus nourished by the practice of those who are already immersed in sustained educational activities in digital systems and networks”.*
This unavoidable reality is influencing institutions on this side of the world to move quickly, speed up internal processes and share them, so as to pick up the rhythm of these important changes, which are a sign of the times and especially the near future.
With this vision, the Academic Vice rector of the UCV, (VRAC), UCLA, UNA, USB, URBE, CREAD and the Venezuelan Association for Distance Education (AVED), have joined forces to prepare the AVED 2008 International Conference, aiming to create a scenario where visions may be contrasted, experiences shared and ways to bridge gaps may be glimpsed, and where we may lead our institutions towards academic horizons that promote the change required for the establishment of internal support systems for the development of quality distance education in institutions with distance education programs, in a spirit of contemporaneity, and based on strategic visions that motivate decisions to invest, to develop features that support decision making, committing ourselves to creating documents that support this aim.
This attempt to create opportunities for academic enrichment is based on the achievement of the following objectives:
- To strengthen the image of AVED as an organization promoting the development of distance education within the country and in the international context.
- To create an academic place for conversation, reflection and discussion that will enable links to be made and dynamics to be generated for people working in this modality
- To create an opportunity to analyze the trends leading the fundamental changes at the forefront of this modality.
Central Themes of the Conference:
The current development of distance education, driven by the substantive changes in the ICTs, offers scenarios in which the elements of time and space will become manageable factors to benefit the exploitation of the interaction of synchronicity and asynchronicity and the dimension of distance. Which leads us to a vision of Distance Education without distance, as a sign of the wonderful impact of technological developmentimported into capacity building. This thematic celebrates the disappearance of frontiers and the consolidation of virtual modes, that is reflected in education by the analogous advances occurring in the ineluctable development of the network.
The Conference will take place on March 27th and 28th, 2008 with a combination of face-to-face and distance activities. The former will take place in the Hotel Tamanaco, in the city of Caracas, Venezuela; and the latter by videoconferences supported by Internet 2.0 and the Conference Web site. This will be a way to make the event a demonstration of the potential of the tools that are used in distance education. The Internet 2.0 option will permit a connection with the national universities: UDO, UCLA, UC, ULA and UCV and on an international level with any universities that wish to take part in the Conference. This is intended to be an open event, to which we have invited all professionals and academics linked to Instructional Technology and Distance Education, so that they can enrich this exchange of opinions with their reflections and proposals. The result that we are hoping for is the creation of an action plan for the recently elected Board of Directors of AVED, and the institutional and individual members of AVED, for the period 2008-2010 up to the AVED 2010 International Conference to be held in March 2010.
Dr. Lorenzo García Aretio (UNED-Spain): “Virtual Environments and Attitudes”
Dr. Manuel Moreno Castañeda (UOG-Mexico): “Management and Leadership in distance education”
Prof. Arelis Coromoto Saavedra (UNA-Venezuela): “Student Support Systems”
- Panel: a number of panelists will be invited to discuss the themes.
- Round Tables: these will be spaces for discussion of round table topics together with presenters and participants.
- Plenary Agenda to be announced.
- Organizing Committee:
General Coordination: Dr. Irama F. Garcia V., Ed.D.
Executive Secretary: Prof. Josefina Tugues
Académic-Scientífic: Dr. Marina Polo
Finances: Ivory Mogollón de Lugo MSc.
Inter-Institutional Relations Dr. Beatríz García C.
Support: Prof. Luis Millán
Contact: Dr. Irama F. García V.,
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Josefina Tugues
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
*García Aretio, L. De la Educación a distancia a la Educación Virtual. Ariel. Barcelona, España, 2007
II CREAD ANDES CONGRESS
II VIRTUAL EDUCA MEETING ECUADOR
“THE NEW CHALLENGES FACING DISTANCE EDUCATION IN LATIN-AMERICA AND THE QUESTION OF QUALITY”
April 21 – 23, 2008
NINTH INTERNATIONAL VIRTUAL EDUCA CONFERENCE
NINTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION, PROFESSIONAL TRAINING, INNOVATION , COOPERATION & DEVELOPMENT
Zaragoza (SPAIN), July 14 - 18, 2008
XII CREAD MERCOSUR/SUL
FIRST INTERNATIONAL DISTANCE EDUCATION CONGRESS OF THE FUNDAÇÃO OSWALDO CRUZ
XII CREAD MERCOSUR/SUL
Ministry of Health
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz
Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca
October 5 – 9, 2008
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I CREAD AMÉRICA CENTRAL
Gisella Vargas Vargas, MSc
Universidad Estatal a Distancia
San José, Costa Rica
November 5 – 7, 2008
CREAD BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Lic. Patricia Ávila Muñoz
Director of Research and Educational Contents
Instituto Latinoamericano de la Comunicación Educativa (ILCE)
México, DF, México
Dr. Armando Villarroel
CREAD Executive Office
Nova Southeastern University
North Miami Beach, USA
REPRESENTATIVE OF NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Anthony J. DeNapoli
Nova Southeastern University
North Miami Beach, USA
ANDEAN REGION (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru)
Dr. Luis Miguel Romero Fernández
Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja
Professor Luiz Valter Brand Gomes
Fundação Euclides da Cunha
Niterói, RJ Brasil
Dr. Rosa Bruno-Jofré
Faculty of Education
Kingston, ON Canada
CARIBBEAN (Antilles, Belice, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Guyana, Surinam, Venezuela)
Prof. María de Lourdes López
Vice Presidenta Auxiliar
Sistema Universitario Ana G. Méndez
San Juan, Puerto Rico
CENTRAL AMERICA (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama)
MBA Rodrigo Arias Camacho
Universidad Estatal a Distancia
San José, Costa Rica
Maestro Manuel Moreno Castañeda
Sistema de Universidad Virtual
Universidad de Guadalajara
Guadalajara, Jalisco, México
SOUTHERN CONE (Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay)
Dr. Héctor Alejandro Barceló
Instituto Universitario de Ciencias de la Salud
Buenos Aires, Argentina
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Dr. Paul Jay Edelson
State University of New York at Stony Brook
School of Professional Development
Stony Brook, NY USA
LIFETIME HONORARY MEMBER
Dr. Patricia A. Book
Vice President for Regional Development
Kent State University
Kent, OH USA
CREAD REGIONAL OFFICES
Dra. Marlene Blois
Diretora de Educação
Universidade Carioca – UNIVIR
Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil
Lic. Norma Lidia Carosio
Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria
Proyecto de Capacitación a Distancia
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Dr. Alejandro Rada
Université du Québec a Chicoutimi
Chicoutimi, Québec, Canada
The CREAD Electronic Newsletter will be published four times a year, in Spanish, English and Portuguese, in order to provide information about Consortium activities and to pass on professional information of interest.