Antonio González Grez, Educator, Chile

A Doctorate in Educational Technology, Antonio has a Masters in Competency-Based Education. He was also an Alternate Researcher of the Didactic Research Group of the University of Sevilla, Pedagogical Advisor in Educational Technology-Communications and Academic at the University of Playa Ancha, Chile. He is also a board member of RedCad Chile, member of the MESA TIC FID, linked to the Mineduc ENLACES Innovation Center of the Ministry of Education, Government of Chile. He is an EdTech Ambassador for Genially, AoniaLearning and Pioneer in Nearpod.

Before the pandemic, Chile was hit by a “social outbreak” phenomenon, which had effects in the constancy of the classes, many times suspended by strikes and for teachers and students’ safety. This instance worked as a preparation from which the education institutions searched for tools of distance teaching. However, those isolated and very simple intentions were not enough to confront the actual sanitary emergency. “A precarious liberty is better than abundant slavery,” says a popular saying, and it fits perfectly the positive sight of this situation of technological implementation that we need to apply to work through a crisis of this magnitude from any public education institution, and as an example, public universities representing the 16% of the national higher education enrolment, have little technological tools access and they even use the free-version of many (selected by a scrutinized process), and probably the same goes for public schools. In scenarios where precarity reigns, this is a furtive field to activate people’s creativity, and that’s precisely in what I’m going to focus in this report.

In the phase previous to the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) crisis, in the university where I work as an Adviser in Education Technology, we had time to work in person with professors in a methodology that allowed them to virtualize the formative processes. We used the “Diseño en Experiencias Formativas” (Design in Formative Experiences, in English) methodology, that works under the questions: What is the most important in a lecture? and What makes that lecture essential and high impact for the school curriculum and the alumni profile? This methodology, also with strengthened planning in other
methodologies like Design Thinking and articulated by a Microlearning strategy for its implementation, also with the perspective of an adaptative learning process and flexible to the conditions of the sanitary context, was potentiated through tools of easy acquisition by the teachers and their students. I have had the privilege to transmit this same methodology to some public-school teachers, due that because of its nature is allowed to be used for any teacher in any classroom.

One of the key benefits has been the flexibility, which motivated the teachers to use Learning Management Systems (LMS) traditional tools as Moodle (the one that works as “institutional”) in a higher education level, but also allowing them to use other alternatives as Google Classroom, and even less orthodox tools as Facebook, to save video call recordings and avoid that the students pay extra charges in their cell phone bills when usually they have no budget to get high amounts of wireless data to download. All these tools are having a very good performance in schoolteaching environments.
Thanks to this previous process, we have designed support programs to aid teaching in this pandemic context, from one
side, by selecting applications (of wide use) that proved to be useful to the different uses, disciplines and modalities at different school ages, subjects and programs (in the case of universities), and from the other side, classifying the most pertinent methodologies to this context. Today we can’t talk about success, because we need to widen the coverage to every teacher affected by this emergency. In the training modules that we have done, the attendants have experienced the teacher’s solidarity and collaboration.

This process will step into a plan of auto sustainable training, because our trained teachers act as a source of active transference of the learned skills, training other teachers, expanding the network of the support program for the strengthening of the use of teaching flexible methodologies in digital learning environments. We are living a change of era, of paradigm since the education will not be the same anymore. Today the distance has given the needed space of self-reflection about “How have I done my classes? And How I can support the teaching process of my students?” The hope of a new education is being born, less centralized and more contingent on the changes that this new world demands. Generating a solidarity practice community to reduce the digital breach in educative spaces.

In this hope and collaboration scenario, a  new movement of national and international cooperation has spontaneously emerged, this is how Competencia Digital Cero (CD0) was born. This is a non-profit social project that searches
through a teacher’s network formation the breach shortening of the objective population, defined in teachers that even having access to technology and connectivity, they have still not been able to perform a didactic transposition from a traditional praxis to one mediated by digital technology.

In a study, 97% of the teachers declared to have Internet access, and the 90% declared to be developing any kind of remote education, interestingly, more than the 87% of the teachers declared not having any previous experience in virtual education before the emergency. The proposal of CD0, from an innovation perspective, involves the design of a system of non-linear formation which aims to rescue the identity of the teacher in the process of formation. It is not centred in the curricular documentation, and with that, it is inspired in the blockchain philosophy to decentralize the traditional model knowledge of the formal education. This is done with the use of Blockcerts, a kind of block to add to the blockchain specifically planned to document titles and academic certificates by performing this, the conception of the use of blockchain in education eases the application of seamless learning since, in the same praxis, previous teachings from formal, non-formal and informal processes can be validated to promote a contextualized learning and connected in communities among different kinds of activities of learning in diverse topics to achieve discontinuous learning.

Why is it necessary for the utilization of new formative processes in the professorship preparation for its capacity to handle a digital ecosystem? There is a high number of frameworks that promotes the development of digital skills in teachers; DigcomEDU’s standards, the Spanish common frame of Teacher Digital Competence, ISTE standards, the British frame of competences and standards ICT for the Chilean teacher profession, however, despite the existence of this rules, we need to tailor our teachers in the recognition and effective development of digital competences to profit the ICT’s in teaching processes. This, a series of stages has become necessary to collaborate with teaching activities, where in this emergency period we started with a consultative aim, where the teachers would find a list of voluntary trainers with a long trajectory in education and educative technologies in different Iberoamerican countries, previously classified by their digital skills in teaching. With this analysis as a first input, we have uploaded a catalogue of capacities that the organization has, some sort of formative areas that we can offer to cover the needs of teachers that requires help in the didactic transposition in a pedagogy based in “in-person” teaching to one that involves digital environments.

The system’s functioning is simple, since in a first instance, the teacher that claims for aid, just fills a form that provides him with a profile in the system. Then, a match is performed between his profile and the voluntaries internal capacities, generating a link between the voluntary (which we have called Astronaut) and the teacher (which we called Cadet) associated by its previously declared characteristics.

The process is gamified since we did not contemplate a traditional formative process, but one based in Cadet’s questions, this was created based on observations that we have detected and a previous study that shows the teachers do not have time for formal processes, where teaching objectives are determined by thirds and not by their formative needs, applying at the same time a tutorship in the same level as a strategy of the professorship formation. Next to this process, we are registering the full procedure to elaborate according to the evidence, a method that allows working more efficiently the strengthening of the professorship’s digital competences.

Practically, while the real key to an improvement on this topic relays on the initial formation of the professorship, intervening the curriculum to incorporate in a transversal way lectures that contain deeper aspects about the importance of forming the new digital society. Part of this change happens to motivate and raise the interest in this segment of teachers. As an example, just 18% of education departments in Chile has more than one lecture associated with ICT. The study besides indicates that the departments who has between 1 and 2 courses associated with ICT are basic, not diverse and with a limited set of digital tools (mainly projectors and computers). Traditional teaching and activities are predominant, as the frequency of activities about how to teach with ICT is lower to the ones that when the professor is the only who uses. On this road of collaboration to reduce the digital breaches in Iberoamerica, the community of CD0, proposes a change in the way to support the aid process in teaching, from the perspective of pedagogy, since the results reveal a positive attitude and the technological capacity of the advantaged students in learning, raising the impact that this has in factors like frequency of use, autonomous and collaborative learning, progress auto perception and motivation.

Having in consideration that focus will allow the development of a model where the teachers in exercise can generate links with more experienced partners, will determine the focus where the validation will not be present from a stereotype of formal education, but from the relationship of the learning between partners solving together didactic problems, evaluation with similar characteristics, and we can add what the interaction of support will generate from different locations in Iberoamerica, allowing the teacher to grow not only in the instrumental side of their teaching skills but also in the reference context, applying social and disciplinary connections, which will finally allow the development of collaboration networks where the communities, in other words, the students and their families will be benefited with an ecosystem that will keep a sustained growth in the exercise of a conscious community in the duties and rights of citizenship on a digital coexistence. A little space of hope to reduce the digital problems of our new generations.

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