Teaching innovations: Using new technologies to improve learning in remote regions of Peru

Lucina Lola Felix Chacon is an elementary school teacher in rural Peru. Lucina is spread pretty thin and has a variety of school-related responsibilities both in and out of her classroom. Effective ongoing professional development is hard to come by for Lucina, even though she is interested in continuing to improve her skills as an educator and has a personal interest in integrating technology in her work.

Lucina Lola Felix Charon Lucina was among the first teachers in Peru to be trained using CAPTIC. CAPTIC, a USAID funded professional development intervention, combines face-to-face training modules with online learning and virtual communities of practice. It emphasizes and provides networks of communication between educators as a source of both support and learning. After participating in the yearlong pilot study, evidence showed Lucina to be a more enthusiastic and effective classroom teacher.

One teacher’s story
Through her participation in the online and face-to-face training provided through the USAID led CAPTIC project, Lucina learned to ask questions that encourage student reflection, and learned how to dialogue in person and online with her peers about her experiences in the classroom. She participated in face-to-face workshops that introduced her to ideas about using technology to strengthen classroom practices and to improve the quality of student-centered learning. With this enhanced understanding of effective use of technology in classrooms enabled her to actively participating in online forums and contribute to the professional growth of her peers.

Changes in her classroom’s environment, particularly in how students and teacher communicated with each other became evident. Lucina began to put students into smaller groups, and asked more questions to encourage student engagement. By the end of the program, Lucina’s teaching had matured from merely asking questions to ensuring that all students had a chance to actively contribute and participate; she also used the students’ ideas and responses to encourage reflective reasoning about different topics. The collaborative projects also impacted local communities. Students shared their learning experiences with peers and parents and other teachers became interested in CAPTIC’s ideas.

An analysis of her participation in peer to peer online dialogs shows a clear evolution from individualistic and centralized suggestions to entries that enriched the dialogue and fostered more profound thought and discussion with fellow practitioners.

More of Lucina’s story is available at dot-edu.edc.org/projects/PeruLucina.htm, and includes before and after classroom video episodes, postings in online discussions, and Lucina’s testimonies.

CAPTIC—ICT-based learning communities
The USAID funded CAPTIC project was a yearlong pilot project implemented during the 2004 academic year in three rural areas in Perú (Junin, Pasco, and Ucayali). The goal was to improve the quality of education in elementary schools and teacher colleges that had received Information and Communication Technology (ICT) from the government. Fifteen elementary schools and three teacher colleges, distributed over the three regions of the country, participated. A staff member of the Huascaran project at the Peruvian Ministry of Education served as the national coordinator, while faculty members from participating teacher colleges became regional coordinators.

Technology capacity was a major obstacle (e.g., not all of the schools had ICT operational throughout the project), but it was not a deterrent for participating teachers to benefit from the project and to start changing their teaching practices. The project sponsored the use of cyber cafés for teachers and students in order to overcome the lack of Internet in schools with limited access.

Teachers videotaped their classes and discussed selected video episodes as local communities of practice; this reflective practice helped them to realize how teacher-centered or student-centered their classes were, as well as to determine key issues to be addressed in their interaction with students. Teachers also participated in online communities of learners where they had the chance to learn by inquiry and collaboration, with on-the-side facilitation from their tutors.

For More Information, Contact:
Roy Zimmermann
Project Director, Education Development Center

Related Resource Partners
Related DOT-COM Activity
Peru CAPTIC (Comunidades que Aprenden com Apoyo de Technologías de Informacíon y de Comunicaciónes):
Click on USAID's logo to visit USAID
Click on Internews Network logo, to visit Internews
Click on Academy for Educational Development (AED) logo to visit AED
Click on Educational Development Center (EDC) logo to visit EDC
Core funding for the DOT-COM Alliance is provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture & Trade, Office of Infrastructure and Engineering (EGAT/OI&E), Office of Education (EGAT/ED), and Office of Women in Development (EGAT/WID), under the terms of Award numbers: GDG-A-00-01-00009-00, dot-GOV; GDG-A-00-01-00014-00, dot-ORG; GDG-A-00-01-00011-00, dot-EDU.
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