Sandra Milena Chica Gómez, General Manager, Aulas Amigas

Passionate about Education, Administrative Engineer and Master in Economics with emphasis on Economics of Education. With more than 12 years of experience in the education sector, she has managed governmental projects in the Secretary of Education of Medellín and the Secretary of Education of Antioquia. she has also worked in the private sector and in NGOs, initially as Manager for Colombia of a Puerto Rican educational platform company, as well as Director of Operations of Virtual Educa for Latin America and Director of the Virtual Educa Colombia Foundation. She is currently CEO of Aulas Amigas, a Colombian company dedicated to the design and implementation of educational innovation projects.

 

Technological advances have been transforming the way we access information, learn, connect or consume, generating great challenges in different fields. At this moment we are in the Era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, marked by the development of exponential technologies such as Big Data, Blockchain, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, among others. However, when we get to the classrooms of our schools in developing countries, mainly in the rural sector, it seems that we arrive to a parallel world. Some of these schools have not even reached the second industrial revolution, since they lack electricity and, in many cases, also drinking water, for most of the schools the third revolution has not arrived, because they do not even have computer equipment and in those where the technological infrastructure is present we find ourselves with the challenge that the teachers are not prepared to appropriate it and make pedagogical use of it with the students.

The foregoing results in fewer opportunities for children and young people when it comes to accessing an increasingly competitive and technological labor market and deepens the development gap in our countries.

We are then faced with a great challenge: The world is advancing at great speeds and the educational system cannot and should not be left behind.

But to make progress we must break great barriers, among them we can name as significant: 1. High cost of technology, 2 Lack of training and appropriation in digital skills of teachers 3. Lack of relevant and contextualized content and/or resources 4. Lack of connectivity.

Understanding this need, Aulas Amigas, a Colombian company with 12 years of experience in the design and implementation of Educational Innovation projects, has decided to be part of the solution, working for the transformation of learning environments in rural areas, with a focused effort in having better teachers, increasingly trained, with better resources and with the necessary skills to train the citizens of the 21st century.

The AULAS AMIGAS project (Learning Environments for Educational Innovation and Significant Learning Management) is a UNIQUE concept, which aims to transform learning environments through an INTEGRAL project, which seeks to address not only technological challenges but also teaching inside and outside the classroom. This Project has 3 main components: 1. Training and teacher support; 2. Tools, content and resources 3; Technology (Tomi7), all of the above transversalised by a statistical monitoring system: The Educational Observatory, and, in addition, strengthened by the communities of teaching practice: “La Red de Embajadores Aulas Amigas” (The Network of Ambassadors) and the Network of Teachers of Tomi.Digital.

In the first training and support component, the project implements two training courses. Initially it focuses on teaching the correct use of the delivered technology and its pedagogical integration in the classroom. A second moment is about a support process where the teacher will receive training in topics such as active methodologies for the classroom, to achieve the transformation of their educational practices into innovative pedagogical practices. This process is endorsed and certified by Aulas Amigas and by the Pontifical Bolivarian University (UPB), who deliver to teachers the certificate of the courses “Appropriation of ICT with Aulas Amigas” and “Appropriation and Innovation with ICT use, in learning environments Aulas Amigas” 

The second component focuses on access to the Tomi.Digital Platform, which allows teachers to manage their groups, their classes, and their content. TOMi helps them create interactive content for K12 and deploy it in any learning environment with or without internet, while giving them access to a large community of thousands of teachers where they can share and make use of content created by their peers in all Latin America.

The third component is the technological devices where the main role is TOMi7: the teacher’s personal assistant. With TOMi7, teachers will have access to tools that will allow them to transform their classes into innovative classes even without connectivity. TOMi7 generates an intranet that allows the contents that the teacher has downloaded or created to be shared with up to 30 devices in the classroom and the children can browse them as if they were connected to the internet, it also has the following tools

  • Interactive content for offline use.
  • Augmented reality camera
  • Automatic grading of standard tests
  • Digital whiteboard
  • Automatic attendance list
  • Content Hotspot
  • Interactivity in class

“Aulas AMiGAS” is complemented by other devices such as a projector, sound system, keyboard and mouse, among others.

As a transversal component we have the Educational Observatory, a statistical monitoring system that allows us to monitor the project in real time. And lastly, our sustainability components, the communities of practice, including the network of TOMi Digital teachers in Latam and the “Red de Embajadores Aulas AMiGAS” (the Network of Aulas Amigas Ambassadors), which allows us to continue in contact with the teachers who have benefited from our project, and we can continue contributing to their training, in addition to systematizing successful experiences in their communities.

Aulas AMiGAS is a project that comes from the hands of local governments to their territories, mainly benefiting schools, teachers and students from the public sector. Among the experiences, teachers who use the tools provided to transform their practices stand out. Here are some successful experiences

Successful experience: COMPUTING TOMI 7

Teacher: Édier Gálvis Cortés

School: Boquía, Llano Grande Headquarters

City: Salento

State: Quindío

Description: environmental and pedagogical capsules, to strengthen learning; a playful adaptation to the New School through ICT

COMPUTINTIC TOMi7 was born in times of a pandemic with the intention of making a bridge between working at home and attending students with something that would lead them to motivate them so that their learning process was joyful, of quality and at the same time taking advantage of technological resources available from the Aulas AMIGAS project with the TOMI 7 device and the Tomi Digital platform.

The COMPUTINTIC TOMI 7 project allowed students to awaken their interest in studying after more than 1 year without attendance, taking into account that TOMI 7 is a tool that allows integrating all the contents developed in the new school methodology and also facilitates the teacher the implementation of practical activities such as content presentation, evaluations and above all the integration of other projects that are held within the school, in order to improve all these necessary pedagogical experiences so that students feel that studying is not a obligation but a constant enjoyment.

The project included guides designed by the teacher, adaptation of new school booklets, both written and digital, creation of classes in TOMI DIGITAL, both in content such as evaluations and competitive tests, production of audios containing dictations and synchronized with the TOMI 7 to be able to share them in class without connectivity, implementation of exercises on the Mathematics Olympics to practice simulation style.

The development of the project showed a great advance in the students regarding the fulfillment of the proposed achievements per period, in the same way the development in analytical capacities is evidenced thanks to the tests with their different styles of questions. Regarding the motivation of the students, the highest point has been noted in their enthusiasm for wanting to do the activities, since they constantly ask when they will study with TOMi7.

Successful experience: English Day

Teacher:  Maria Isabel Sanchez

School: Andres Bello

City: Bello,

State: Antioquia

Description: Active methodologies and Colombian culture as channels to strengthen English language skills

The experience originated to strengthen the area of English and motivate students to learn a second language, especially due to the fear of the community in general when learning a new language, since we have encountered students with fear and denial. without arguments for his learning as well as parents who affirm that their children do not know English and the subject is difficult for them because they do not know it either and most of the time, they transmit these unfounded fears to their children and tend to justify their poor performance and lack of interest in the subject.

One of the strategies used in the experience is the use of the TOMi Digital platform, which was a great tool during the pandemic because it allowed the creation of digital content to strengthen English skills.

Among the methodologies used we find teamwork, conquering challenges, games, performances, carousels, musicals, talent shows, among others. The main actions have focused on turning students into active subjects in the construction of their knowledge and development of skills. It interacts with the entire educational community, mainly with students, teachers and families. For the above, the tools provided by the Aulas Amigas project were used, such as the TOMi7 device and the TOMi Digital platform.

As achievements of the development of the experience, we can highlight the musicals in English, the celebration of a World Cup with football matches, sporting events and a carousel. Representation of parties from different Colombian cultures, videos, talent shows, among others. All of them have demonstrated the motivation and interest of the Institution’s students in learning the second language.

The “Aulas AMiGAS” Project is revolutionizing classrooms in rural areas, bringing not only technology but also innovative pedagogical practices to students and teachers in order to prepare them for the great challenges we face in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. More information about Aulas AMiGAS in www.aulasamigas.com 

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