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Versión Español | June 2013


The region explores the potential of educational innovation and ICT use in Colombia

Source: Ministry of National Education (MEN), Colombia

Education has been fundamentally transformed by the use of Information & Communication Technologies (ICTs). Since 2001, Virtual Educa has provided a space to showcase innovations, share experiences and train educators and students in the use of an array of techniques. This year, the event was held in Medellin, Colombia, from June 17 to 21, and was organized by the Ministry of National Education (MEN) of Colombia, the OAS and the General Secretariat of Virtual Educa.

The XIV Virtual Educa International Gathering brought together experts and policy makers from over 20 countries from Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe, to discuss progress in education, innovation and ICTs. A range of workshops and seminars addressed teacher professional development, content management, virtual education, research and an array of other topics.

VirtualEduca Inauguration
The substantive workshops were complemented by an international exhibition that showcased solutions and innovations for private companies, ministries, government offices and the OAS. President Juan Manuel Santos who inaugurated the event, noted that "improving the quality of education is the most powerful instrument to reduce poverty and close social gaps, and the most effective way to prosperity." To this end, he stressed the importance of ICTs: "No doubt that knowing how to use new technologies is an essential skill in today's world, but it is much more important to use them with a purpose: to learn, to solve problems and to improve labor productivity."

Likewise, in her welcome message to Virtual Educa, Minister of Education of Colombia, Maria Fernanda Campo, stressed that the government is convinced that "with the addition and massification of new technologies with pedagogical and educational purposes, we can help build a more democratic, more inclusive and better informed society; where quality education is the main factor of social mobility and where opportunities are created to build a more just, modern and secure country."

The inauguration of the event was attended by 4,000 people, including policy makers, teachers, school directors, students and members of international cooperation organizations, among others. In addition, Virtual Educa 2013 was open to a much broader public as it was broadcast live via OASVideos, receiving more than 88,000 connections from 75 countries, mainly from Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Panama and Spain. Visitors also had the opportunity to participate in the Virtual Forum enabled by the Colombian government, which provided a space for online interaction and discussion during the event.

The gathering of the international education community serves to advance the process of integration of ICTs into education systems, and forms part of OAS efforts to contribute to innovative and quality education in the Americas.

For more information on Virtual Educa 2013 visit: http://www.virtualeduca.org/ and http://www.colombiaaprende.edu.co/

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