New CoSN Report Reveals How Portugal Is Reinventing Learning

Report Is an Outcome of CoSN’s Fall 2013 Delegation to Portugal – Part of the Association’s Global Leadership Activities
Washington, DC
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Washington, DC (April 15, 2014) – The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) today released a report detailing the association’s senior delegation to Portugal last October (October 18-26, 2013). Titled “Reinventing Learning in Portugal: An Ecosystem Approach,” the resource explores how the European country has transformed education and society through technology investments and provides delegates’ first-hand accounts and lessons learned throughout the weeklong trip.  

CoSN’s Portugal delegation continued the association’s long-term strategic efforts as a global leader in promoting a conversation around issues related to the successful use of ICT / technology in schools. CoSN organizes an annual International Symposium and has led delegations to Europe (2002) Australia (2004), Scandinavia (2007), Scotland and the Netherlands (2009), London and Paris (2011), and South America (2011).

“We were awed by Portugal’s commitment to put a large scale program in place and the energy and drive required to develop and implement such a program,” said Irene Spero, Chief Strategy Officer of CoSN. “Portugal adopted a comprehensive approach to transforming education by including hardware, software, teacher training, curriculum development and digital content and establishing strong public private partnerships.” 

During their visit, the delegation held intensive meetings with leading international experts, policymakers, educators and business executives, and visited schools and informal learning spaces, allowing the delegates to distill their experiences. The report includes the delegation’s key takeaways:

  • Policies and strategies promoting ICT use in schools and at home are integrated into a larger economic and social vision for change in Portugal.
  • Portugal adopted a comprehensive approach to transforming education by using ICT as a catalyst. This approach included hardware, software, teacher training, curriculum development and digital content in a holistic approach.
  • The Portuguese thought in terms of an ecosystem.
  • Public-private partnerships are foundational to this strategy and key to the success of the Portugal program, particularly for long-term sustainability.

“The e.School Program was an important catalyst for the Portuguese transformation to a digital economy,” noted Mario Franco, President, Foundation for Mobile Communications. “Although Portugal embarked on a national model, North American leaders at the state and district levels can learn from our experience. Portugal did it; I imagine that the United States can do it also!”

“The success of this program in Portugal is a testimony to their commitment to establishing a long-term plan for sustainability, with education as the center piece for driving economic success for the entire country,” said Bill Kilcullen, Public Sector Education Solutions, U.S. Enterprise Services, Microsoft.

“Reinventing Learning in Portugal” also highlights the delegates’ observations and poses related questions for policymakers in North America. The 2013 delegation was supported by Lightspeed Systems, Microsoft, and Pearson.

To read the report, please visit: http://cosn.org/portugal-international-delegation-report.

To learn more about CoSN’s global leadership work, please visit: www.cosn.org/international.

About the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)

CoSN is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. The mission of CoSN is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Visit www.cosn.org or call 866-267-08747 to find out more about CoSN’s focus areas, annual conference and events, advocacy and policy, membership, and the CETL certification exam.

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