Dr. Rebeca Castellanos Gómez (PhD) – Rector of the National University of Education.
A few years ago we saw the digital paradigm in universities as far away, an education based on technological tools that distanced it from face-to-face was almost unthinkable. Currently, it is no longer a utopia, but a tangible reality that impacts its teaching, research, innovation and outreach functions.
For this to be possible and for academic processes to take place, with the quality and warmth necessary to train professionals of the future, institutional management must also rely on technology.
The Institutional Philosophy and its Pedagogical Model are the key and support of plans, projects, processes and actions; Consequently, the necessary clarity and strategic vision of its leaders is essential to move towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Since its appearance, the university is an institution that works with knowledge, which is why it is mandatory to analyze and evaluate the impact of this paradigm on its processes of generation, socialization and circulation of existing and created knowledge. This is especially important when it comes to teacher training.
The National University of Education (UNAE) is a young university —it barely has 7 years of institutional life—, which was born in Ecuador and is dedicated to training education professionals; thus contributing to the transformation of national and regional educational processes 1.
One of the characteristic elements of the university, in teacher training processes, is its Pedagogical Model; he conceives knowledge as a process and relationship 2 . To this end, a theoretical basis based on connectivism is proposed, that is, “considering the digital context in human exchanges” 3 . Some of its principles include the importance of plurality and quality of networks and the outsourcing of information; included in the process of storage, treatment, retrieval of information and construction of knowledge.
Thanks to these principles and their support, in the field of teaching and educational innovation, some important advances have been made in infrastructure, management and educational services.
The progress achieved has been transferred to sister universities interested in training their teachers. We are clear about the need to permanently strengthen the soft skills of our teachers; We live in a process of continuous learning and improvement.
On the other hand, in an exercise of integration of teaching with innovation and research at UNAE —supported by tutorial processes—, the Virtual Learning Environments (VEA) have played a central role for the realization of synchronous and asynchronous sessions.
With the use of EVEA, the student moves from a merely passive role, as a consumer of technology, to being a producer of educational content and services; that is, to Eduprosumidor 4 . The support of CEDIA, for the development of teaching and research, has been fundamental in this process.
Some examples of software development and programming for the application of digital programming and educational video games are: 1. The Taptana Digital: an interactive application that rescues the ancestral mathematical knowledge of the Taptana Cañari. It executes arithmetic operations using an algorithm developed by UNAE. 2. The UNAE Chakra: an informative app, about the products of the chakra and the circular economy. 3. Peoples and nationalities: an educational video where avatars of indigenous peoples and nationalities are chosen, oriented towards solving environmental problems. 4. RADAR UNAE: an interactive application aimed at disseminating press releases, informative capsules, etc.
It is worth mentioning “ Neopass@ction. A collaborative video training experience for Bilingual Intercultural Education teachers ” 5 , which is a research project in collaboration with the French Institute of Education. The teachers of an EIB school in Saraguro improve their teaching processes through the video training strategy. These and other experiences are based, not only on the use of technology, but on the human sense of training citizens and valuing what is ours, as essential elements in the training of educators.
In the UNAE 6 , diverse technologies are also articulated to respond to the Project for the Professionalization of Teachers in Service, offered in various places of the Ecuadorian geography.
The participants are teachers whose workplaces are located in places far from the cantonal capitals, often bordering Colombia and Peru; For this reason, it became necessary to resort to geolocation as a tool that favors decision-making, regarding the location of tutors, teaching strategies, timing of meetings and other aspects inherent to curricular planning and execution of their training.
The Flourish tool was used to present large volumes of data interactively; through different filters the user can organize the data.
Finally, the computerized developments carried out for institutional management have been crucial. For example, the internal management platform for merit and opposition contests for academic staff (concurso.unae.ec/inicio).
Likewise, in the creation of other modules, times have been optimized and errors in the processes have been reduced.
There are important challenges for the university, when inserted in the ecosystem of the digital economy, some endogenous and others exogenous 7 ; one of them is to maintain the human approach in teacher training, with the support of ICTs. Now we work on it!
1 «UNAE – National University of Education».
«pedagogical-model-unae.pdf». 4 López, Herrera, and Apolo, «Quality education and pandemic: challenges, experiences and proposals from students in teacher training in Ecuador».
5 Alvarado, «NEOPASS@ CTION: a collaborative video-training experience with Bilingual Intercultural Education teachers».
6 «Professionalization |
Statistical data of the race ». 7 Hilbert et al., “University Strategy and Digital Transformation: An Approach to University Governance.”