“Outside the classroom, students use technology in all their activities (TV, Internet, video games and others). Teachers must be updated, or students will get bored.” – Celestino Osorio Pérez, El Salvador

Sometimes, making a big difference for students is as straightforward as ensuring that school leaders understand and support the benefits of integrating technology in the classroom.  Celestino Osorio Pérez has made that difference in his school in El Salvador, and the results he’s achieved speak to how well he’s accomplished his work. Osorio Pérez he has some worthwhile advice to help other teachers do the same, and he shares it with us today.

Can you describe how your professional achievements have advanced innovation in education?

Since I work in a school as a computer lab coordinator, my concern has always been how to integrate technology into the educational process; for that I have used many teaching strategies, especially web lessons, which are a very good guide and have given me good results — improving learning while using technology and the Internet as the main teaching resources.

As a result of the use of technology in the classroom, classes have become more attractive and interesting, and we also have significantly improved learning. For example, five students in the 7th grade with great difficulty reached a monthly average of 6.0 in mathematics (on a scale of 0 to 10). After using web lessons weekly to strengthen their study of mathematics, they obtained a monthly average of 8.0 on the same subject. Moreover, the use of web lessons allows the teacher to devote more time to answer inquiries from students, which also improves learning.

How can others facing similar challenges implement what you’ve learned through your work?

First, be convinced that technology — used appropriately — can greatly contribute to improve learning and make classes more attractive and interesting. Second, choose the most appropriate teaching strategy for the type of students. You can also use educational software. Third, make clear to teachers what is, and what is not, the integration of technology in the educational process.

How have you applied technology in innovative ways to support your work?

By using web lessons and educational software. The web lessons are integrated into a curriculum that makes significant use of technology, while other methods are used to reinforce the points that offer greatest difficulty to students. A web lesson is an activity that raises an issue or problem that students must solve by making a series of tasks that promote meaningful learning. Web lessons have been used in the Republic of Haiti School since 2006, initially only with 9th grade, and now for all levels of basic education.

Each web lesson is designed for a class time of two hours, and is divided into two parts:

1. One hour class dedicated to study resources.

2. One hour class dedicated to the task.

The agenda developed in each web lesson is:

1. Presentation of the theme, objectives and situation/generator’s question.

2. Short video.

3. Powerpoint presentation by the teacher.

4. Visit interactive websites or use specific software previously installed.

5. Questions and answers.

6. Task performance, individual or group, which is usually emailed to the teacher.

7. Review of evaluation criteria.

The benefits and challenges of implementation include:

  • Increased understanding and mastery of the curriculum’s subjects, which is reflected in the grades obtained.
  • Skill in Internet use and new technologies, both in teachers and in students.
  • Teachers include the use of technology in their teaching schedules.
  • Periodic evaluation between teachers and computer lab coordinator on web lesson results, which generates a collaborative work environment.

Because the web lesson is prepared by the teacher, and he or she isn’t typically a web
design expert, the original web lesson template was designed in Microsoft Word, to which the teacher added hyperlinks. It was very functional, and without complications. But in December 2009, Microsoft gave the Republic of Haiti School educational software (Learning Content Development System, or LCDS) that is a forms-based tool for creating e-learning content. LCDS is designed for educators that need a quick and easy form to compose e-learning content with all the re-use and flexibility of the XML format, so the web lessons have been designed in LCDS since January 2010.

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome to ensure students are receiving a quality education?

The main obstacle has been a school leader who didn’t know the benefits of integrating technology in the classroom and didn’t support the project. She was eventually forced to support it when presented with the positive results in student performance.

What is your country doing right to support education?

Increasing the number of computer classrooms with a minimum of 20 computers in every one. This is being implemented in some schools such as the Republic of Haiti School, with the objective of achieving two things in the medium term: quality and relevance of education

What conditions must change in your country to better support education?

My country must train teachers on how to integrate technology into the classroom, different teaching strategies, online training and others. Also, it should speed up Internet, improve wages and reward innovative teachers regularly and who have demonstrated great skill for improving students’ learning.

What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?

The education of the future will be more virtual and the classes will use teaching strategies such as web lessons and educational software. That is why we must prepare new teachers on the appropriate use of technology in the educational process. Computing knowledge should be fundamental in the careers of teachers and Bachelor of Education degrees in all universities.

What advice would you give a new teacher (or to anyone wanting to make a difference in education)?

Use technology in the educational process, but in a transparent way, to help students achieve educational goals. You must also measure how much has improved by documenting learnings after using any teaching strategy as well as progress against performance levels specified in the official curriculum.

What educational “trend” do you think is helping students? Is there a trend that is getting in the way of learning?

Outside the classroom, students use technology in all their activities (TV, Internet, video games and others). Teachers must be updated, or students will get bored. You need to leverage technology and the Internet as teaching resources, but doing it in the proper way so as not to serve as a distraction, but rather as an element which is learned.

If you could give one educational tool to every child in the world, what would it be? Why?

I would give them a mini laptop with wireless Internet and a filter installed. This means first closing the digital divide, then ensuring that every student knows how to use technology for educational and social purposes.

About Celestino Osorio Pérez 

  • Birthplace: Santo Domingo de Guzmán,  El Salvador
  • Current residence: Santo Domingo de Guzmán, El Salvador
  • Education: Industrial Engineer, Master of University Teaching
  • Website I check every day: www.hotmail.com
  • Person who inspires me most: Celestin Freinet
  • Favorite childhood memory: Playing with my friends in the central square of the community.
  • Last travel destination (work or pleasure): Peru, to participate in the Partners in Learning Latin American Innovative Teachers Forum.
  • When was the last time you laughed? Why? Tuesday June 26, 2012 joking with my coworkers.
  • Favorite book: MYSTERIUM LIBERATIONIS, Fundamental Concepts of Liberation Theology; Ignacio Ellacuría and Jon Sobrino.
  • Favorite music: Instrumental (Piano)
  • Your favorite quote or motto: Más vale encender una vela que maldecir la obscuridad. Better light a candle than curse the darkness.

 

The 18 most
innovative educators in Latin America receive awards from Microsoft

The winners of the Partners in Learning Forum
for Latin America and the Caribbean will present their projects during the
Global Forum which will be held in the Czech Republic at the end of November

 

Lima, 20th September 2012. – During the closing ceremony for what were two intense
days of sharing experiences and innovative practices to help solve teaching challenges using technology, the 18 winners of the Partners in Learning Latin America & Caribbean Forum were announced. These outstanding educators demonstrated how they use technology creatively and effectively in their classrooms in order to improve
the way in which their students learn.

During the awards ceremony, Patricia Salas, the Peruvian Minister of Education, stated: “a
teacher who dares to be innovative provides their students with the best knowledge possible. Using information technologies in schools throughout Latin America brings us much closer to inclusion”. She also commented that: “it is truly inspiring that large companies like Microsoft take the time to organize events such as this one”.

The winners will go on to represent Latin America at the Partners in Learning Global Forum to be held in Prague, the Czech Republic, where they will join hundreds of other educators from around the world. Taking part in this Forum will give these educators the opportunity to learn from the projects and strategies designed by their colleagues, not to mention the ways in which technology is being integrated into the classroom in other countries around the world.

To bring the event to a close, and to reaffirm Microsoft’s commitment to young people, Anthony Salcito, Vice-President of Education at Microsoft, announced the company’s latest project, Microsoft YouthSpark, which focuses on creating opportunities for some 300 million young people from more than 100 countries over the next three years.
The YouthSpark program in the region will generate donations of US $1.5 million for non-profits which work with young people. Microsoft YouthSpark will benefit 60 million young people in Latin America over the next three years.

“In an uncertain global economic climate, students must have access to the skills they
need for the jobs that are available today. Microsoft has a strong commitment to supporting young people and helping them to prepare for the future, in order to help them see things from a different perspective and think about how they can have a positive impact on their communities. When students expect more from their future and believe that they can make a difference, they exceed everyone’s expectations. They imagine, create and act. It is through young people that we can start changing the world. This is precisely what Microsoft YouthSpark is all about”, stated Anthony Salcito, Vice-President of Education at Microsoft.

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