CoSN Releases, “Opening Doors with ICT: Report of the CoSN Delegation to South America”

Shares Lessons Learned, Key Outcomes from Recent Visit to K-12 Schools in Uruguay and Argentina
Washington, DC
Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Washington, DC (May 9, 2012) – The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) today released a report on its recent senior-level delegation to Uruguay and Argentina. The report, titled Opening Doors with ICT: Report of the CoSN Delegation to South America, discusses the delegation’s November 2011 visit to K-12 schools in Uruguay and Argentina and offers key takeaways from the experience that the U.S. education community can leverage to improve and enhance teaching and learning.

“Visiting Uruguay and Argentina gave us the opportunity to see firsthand how other countries are successfully achieving educational outcomes and providing students with a 21st century education through significant investments in information and communications technology (ICT),” said Bailey Mitchell, CoSN Chair, and Chief Technology and Information Officer of Forsyth County Schools, GA. “These bold efforts are extending learning beyond classroom walls, helping teachers and students to be more engaged and connected. Armed with what we saw and learned from school systems in South America, we can find ways to leverage what is working there and apply it to the transformation of education through the use of technology in the United States.”

In addition to visiting K-12 schools, the delegation held professional development sessions and events with South American policymakers, school and industry leaders, and various government agencies, helping the senior-level participants to reach three overarching conclusions:

  • The United States lacks a bold national vision and commitment for integrating ICT in the education system.
  • ICT is viewed as a policy of social inclusion and equity, rather than an education tech­nology program.
  • The infrastructures, hardware components of Uruguay’s and Argentina’s programs are part of a much larger transformation occurring and positioning in the next generation of learning systems.

The delegation was able to reach their conclusions by closely exploring both countries’ ICT building blocks of educational transformation: Plan CEIBAL (Uruguay), Plan S@rmiento (Buenos Aires, Argentina), and Conectar Igualdad (national Argentinean program). Plan CEIBAL has provided approximately 450,000 laptops to students in grades 1-9 across nearly 2,450 schools nationwide; Plan S@rmiento has provided laptops with wireless connection to students in grades 1-9 in 592 public and private schools; and Conectar Igualdad has deployed 1.8 million computers to secondary public schools and special education and teacher training institutes. The national and local government-led one-to-one laptop initiatives are extending education into homes and communities and are helping to close both the social inequality and student achievement gaps.

“Uruguay and Argentina are demonstrating how to achieve a ubiquitous technology environment at school, at home and in the community,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “Using the two countries as examples of real, successful ICT investments, it is time for education stakeholders in the United States to take a critical look at what we can learn from these school systems. The longer we wait to engage in a serious dialogue about what we can learn from systems around the globe, the longer our education system will continue to fall behind our international competition. We have an opportunity to maximize and realize a 21st century education for all U.S. students, but we have to make these investments now.”

This was the sixth senior-level U.S. policy delegation CoSN has convened. Previous delegation visits include: Europe (2002), Australia (2004), Scandinavia (2007), Scotland and the Netherlands (2009), and London and Paris (2010). Pearson Foundation is the lead sponsor with additional sponsorship from SkillsTutor and SMART Technologies.

To read the full report, please click here.

For more information on CoSN’s South America Delegation, please visit www.cosn.org/SouthAmericaDelegation.

 

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 phone 866.267.8747 to find out more about CoSN’s Leadership Initiatives, annual conference and events, advocacy and policy, membership, and resources.

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