August 15, 2018

A Spanish version of ‘Teaching in a Digital Age’ is now available

I am very pleased to announced that La Enseñanza en la Era Digital, a complete, open, online Spanish version of ‘Teaching in a Digital Age’, translated and adapted by the Centre for Distance Education, la Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, is now downloadable from the BCcampus open textbook web site. 

I am extremely grateful to Ema Aveleyra, Andrea Vega and the team at el Centro de Educación a Distancia for their commitment, expertise and hard work in translating this work into Spanish and for making it publicly available.

This version joins the English, French, Vietnamese and Chinese versions of the book available from the BCcampus web site. There is also a Portuguese version printed by the Brazilian Association of Distance Education, but the online version has still to be made available. There are also translations in Turkish, Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi under way. 

The English version of the book (also available from Contact North as well as BCcampus) has been downloaded almost 50,000 times to date since its publication in April, 2015.

Latin American version of 10 Fundamentals of Teaching Online now available


Professor Selin Carrasco, of la Universidad de la Punta in San Luis, Argentina, has developed a Latin American version (in Spanish, of course) of the 10 Fundamentals of Teaching Online for Faculty and Instructors, originally published in English by Contact North.

The Latin American version is freely adapted and includes Latin American examples. It is available from here:

Carrasco, S. (2016) Guia Para La Enseñanza el Aprendizaje Online San Luis, Argentina: Universidad de la Punta

Contact North is publishing another version in Spanish which will be a strict translation. I will provide details when this is available.

Contact North has published a version in French which is available from here:

Bates, T. (2106) Les 10 fondamentaux de l’enseignement en ligne pour le personnel enseignant et de formation Thunder Bay ON: Contact North

Online learning and distance education are alive and well in Argentina

Traditional dance and costumes

Traditional dance and costumes

RUEDA (Red Universitaria de Educación a Distancia d’Argentina) is a network of 42 public universities across Argentina.

This week I attended their sixth annual international conference on distance education at the National University of Cuyo in Mendoza, close to the Andes in one of the world’s major wine regions.

Distance education in Argentina

Distance and online education has been growing rapidly in Argentina since 1997. Until then, government regulations had severely limited credit-based university distance education.

There are many similarities between Canada and Argentina. Both have very large land masses with a relatively small population (Argentina’s population is roughly 40 million), with some areas of very high density (especially the Buenos Aires region, with nearly one third of the population) and the rest of the population scattered over a very large area. Distance education therefore seems intuitively a sensible solution.

Because of language challenges (no habla espanyol), I was unable to talk to as many people at the conference as I would have liked, but here are some of the main institutions offering distance education programs (my apologies to those that I have missed – any corrections welcome):

  • Universidad de Quilmes (near Buenos Aires) and the Universidad de Buenos Aires: both these universities have several thousand distance education students
  • The National University of Patagonia Austral, which covers a huge, sparsely populated area stretching as far as Tierra del Fuego
  • The University of the Air Force, which started as a purely military university, but whose student body is now nearly 90% non-military; the Army also has a large distance education operation.

Most of the RUEDA members use primarily online learning for distance education, with Moodle as their learning management system.

Of particular interest, the Universidad de Buenos Aires Department of Physics is planning to start using remote labs next academic year as part of its distance teaching program (contact: Mg. Ema Elena Aveleyra:

The conference

There were almost 300 participants from across Argentina.

The conference focused on the impact of the convergence of technology on education. The international speakers were:

  • Dr. Dolors Reig, a freelance professor and consultant in social media from Catalonia, Spain, and the author of a highly influential Spanish language blog, El Caparazón, who spoke on the theme of how knowledge is constructed in a digital world (?Como conocemos hoy?)
  • Dr. Nelson Pretto, a professor in the Faculty of Education at the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil, and a specialist in education, communication and culture, who spoke on the theme of how to select, design and develop an educational environment with digital technologies
  • myself, who spoke on the theme of how institutions should respond to emerging challenges in education in times of convergence of technology. I focused particularly on the challenge of effectively managing learning technologies. If you want a copy of my slides (in English), send me an e-mail: and I will send you an invitation to download the slides via Dropbox.

There were many parallel sessions, where papers were presented and the main themes of the conference were discussed. Unfortunately I was unable to benefit from these because of my lack of Spanish.

Los Remolinos: a group of university music professors provide a carnival atmosphere at the conference

Los Remolinos: a group of university music professors provide a carnival atmosphere at the conference

Overall impression

It is perhaps not surprising that a conference in Argentina would include not only the usual social events such as a wine reception and dinner, but also music and dancing.

There was a tremendous camaraderie and sense of energy and enthusiasm among the participants, a phenomenon I have noticed elsewhere when distance educators from different institutions get together.

There was also an interesting concern to integrate technology with teaching in an ‘Argentinian’ way that respected the national culture and values. Hence there was some concern about ‘international’ developments such as MOOCs that have a mainly North American and ‘proselytizing’ perspective (we know what’s good for you, and it’s us).

I have merely touched on what is going on in online and distance education in Argentina, but connections have been made, and I hope to follow up on this. In the meantime, any further information on distance education from you, the readers of this blog (and I know now that are are quite a few in Argentina), will be most welcome.

Lastly, if you are a betting person and are interested in soccer, I’d put my money on Argentina for the World Cup in 2014. They were very impressive against Peru on Friday, even without Lionel Messi and several other star players, and they will not be far from home in Brazil.

Una mirada personal sobre el uso de tecnologías digitales en la formación de docentes en los INFDs de Argentina.

El Ministerio de Cultura y Educación de la provincia argentina de Misiones y Fundación Telefónica capacitan a 360 docentes sobre nuevas tecnologías. © Fundación Telefónica, 2012

Ileana Farré, a quien solicité una mirada personal sobre el uso de tecnologías digitales en la formación de docentes, es profesora en el Instituto Superior de Formación Docente No 803 en Puerto Madryn, sur de Argentina. Ella quisiera enfatizar que sus opiniones están basadas en su experiencia personal y no son necesariamente representativas de todas las instituciones.

Cree que, en general, en la mayoría de los Institutos Superiores de Formación Docente faltan proyectos o estrategias institucionales para la implementación de tecnologías digitales para la enseñanza y  el aprendizaje. Es una decisión de cada profesor, si o cómo,  utilizar las tecnologías en su tarea.

Sin embargo, se constituyen tres contextos básicos para el uso de tecnologías en los institutos:


La no utilización de TIC en las propuestas de enseñanza.

 Herramientas digitales para apoyar la enseñanza tradicional

En esta situación  los formadores utilizan una plataforma institucional (LMS Ej. Moodle) y otras herramientas  para la transmisión de información y la comunicación directa entre: – dirección – profesores; profesores entre sí y  profesores – alumnos. En algunos casos se utilizan  foros de discusión. Las herramientas más usadas  son e-mail, pdf, video y presentaciones de Power Point;  éstas  refuerzan el rol central del formador.

Diseños de enseñanza para potenciar las posibilidades de las tecnologías para el aprendizaje.

Los alumnos del profesorado generalmente responden con entusiasmo cuando las tecnologías son utilizadas para lograr metas claras de aprendizaje y cuando el uso de las herramientas está apoyado desde un análisis teórico y práctico que enfatiza el rol pedagógico de las TIC para mejorar la calidad educativa.

Cuando esto ocurre, el método de enseñanza se transforma en un hibrido, de manera imprevista desde la perspectiva  organizativa por parte de la institución.

A veces es posible lograr mayor flexibilidad en la organización de los tiempos, con el reconocimiento de que el trabajo virtual es un tiempo efectivo de trabajo por parte de ambos, estudiantes y profesores.

Principales desafíos

En Argentina persisten dificultades tecnológicas infraestructurales que ponen límite a la conectividad. Este es un desafío que el gobierno, mediante la estrategia denominada “Argentina Conectada”, se propone mitigar.

Como profesora de un Instituto Superior de Formación Docente, creo que necesitamos abrir espacios de debate para construir estrategias integrales, que signifiquen más que una colección de actividades aisladas. Necesitamos una estrategia institucional basada en el análisis del contexto, que considere el rol de los profesores en los Institutos de Formación Docente;  resignificar  las vías de acceso al conocimiento, cómo se construye el conocimiento y el rol  de las herramientas  digitales como un medio para mejorar los recorridos académicos de nuestros alumnos y alumnas.

Algunas iniciativas nacionales

El espíritu de la Red Nacional de Institutos de Formación Docente  (RED INFD) es promover a las instituciones para incrementar el uso de tecnologías digitales  en la formación, desarrollando comunidades de práctica entre docentes “comunicados y conectados”. Esto resulta en propuestas de colegas que surgen desde el contexto de las instituciones. Hay numerosos proyectos que focalizan el enriquecimiento de la enseñanza de los espacios curriculares a través del uso de TIC desde un marco de aprendizaje permanente y de reflexión docente.

  • El programa Conectar Igualdad  es una iniciativa en vista a mejorar y profundizar las políticas de mejoramiento de la calidad en las escuelas públicas a fin de reducir las brechas digitales, educacionales y sociales en todo el país. Como parte del programa, para proveer acceso tecnológico universal, fueron entregadas 2,014,492 notebook a docentes y alumnos en todo el territorio argentino.
  • Conectar LAB por su parte, promueve el uso creativo de tecnología, el diseño de juegos interactivos basado en la generación de proyectos colaborativos, y otras experiencias, que surgen de la interacción entre las personas y su medio ambiente.

Existe una situación emergente en función de responder, de manera adecuada a estas iniciativas por parte de los institutos, vinculada con la necesidad de construcción de un liderazgo visible,  desde la sinergia de los grupos de profesores motivados en la investigación de diseños innovadores. Los líderes institucionales necesitan generar y apoyar oportunidades para que, docentes y alumnos aprendamos compartiendo experiencias desde la institución.

Desde un punto de vista personal, como profesores y directivos liderando las instituciones, necesitamos pensar cómo , dado el contexto actual, podemos promover los cambios esperados. Necesitamos considerar la disponibilidad de tecnología para la enseñanza y el aprendizaje  y los nuevos modos de interacción como oportunidad que abre las aulas a otras miradas (internas y externas) que pueden transformar la educación.

Muchas gracias, Ileana!

The English version is available here

A personal view of the use of learning technologies in teacher education in Argentina

The Culture and Education Ministry of Argentina's Misiones province and Fundación Telefónica train 360 teachers in new technology. Photo: © Fundación Telefónica, 2012

Ileana Farré is a professor at a Teacher Training Institute (Instituto Superior de Formación Docente 803) in Puerto Madryn, Patagonia, Argentina. I have asked her to provide a personal view of the use of learning technologies in teacher education in Argentina. She would like to emphasise that these are opinions based on her personal experience and aren’t necessarily representative of all the ISFDs.

Generally, there are no institutional plans or strategies for the use of learning technologies within most ISFDs. Thus it is usually left to individual professors to decide whether or not and how to use learning technologies in their teaching. Thus there are three basic contexts for the use of learning technologies in Argentinian Teacher Training Institutes.


There is no use of learning technologies in some institutes.

Digital tools to supplement regular instruction

In this case, instructors use an institutional learning platform  (learning management system ie. Moodle) and other institutional communication tools for the transmission of information and  hierarchical communication between: administration and teachers; between teachers, and between teachers and students. In a few cases discussion forums are in use. The most widely used tools are e-mail, pdfs, videos and PowerPoint presentations. In general, these tools  reinforce the central role of the instructor.

Instruction designed to exploit the features of learning technologies

The student teachers usually react enthusiastically to the use of learning technologies when they are used to achieve clear educational goals, and when their use is backed up with theoretical analysis and practice that emphasises the pedagogical role of learning technologies in improving educational quality.

When this happens, the teaching method becomes hybrid in organizationally unanticipated ways from an institutional perspective. At times it has been possible to allow greater flexibility for classroom time, recognizing that virtual work is an effective use of study time by both teachers and students.

Main challenges

There remain difficulties with technology infrastructure in Argentina that limit online connectivity. This is a challenge that the government is addressing through the program Argentina Conectada.

As a professor of education within a teaching college, I believe that we need more institution-wide strategies that are more than a collection of isolated activities. We need an institutional strategy based an a contextual analysis that considers the role of professors in a teaching college; the means by which information is acquired and validated; and how knowledge is constructed and the role of digital media as a means of improving the learning path of our students.

Some national initiatives

The national Network of Institutes of Teacher Training (RED INFD) is working in this spirit to encourage institutions to make more use of learning technologies in preparing teachers for their careers, by developing a community of practice among  “in touch and connected” teachers. This results in activities being implemented from the ground up by the institutions and by the various educational jurisdictions.

Several projects are aimed at enriching subject teaching through the use of information technologies for lifelong learning and personal reflection:

  • The program Conectar Igualdad is an initiative seeking to improve and enhance public schools with the objective of reducing digital, educational and social gaps all over the country. (This is supported  in part by Canada’s IDRC – International Development Research Centre). As part of a goal to provide universal access to technology, 2,014,492 notebooks have been delivered to teachers and students throughout Argentina.
  • Conectar Lab promotes the creative use of technology, the design of interactive games based on the generation of projects focused on collaboration, exploring emerging interactions between people and their environment.
  • The Ministry of Education offers a post-graduate course Higher Level Teaching Specialization in Education and ICT that aims to train specialist teachers in the pedagogical use of ICT, promote the production of new knowledge for teaching and learning, and stimulate reflection on practice.

 If the teacher training institutions are to respond adequately to these initiatives, there is an emerging need for visible leadership that will  build on the synergy of groups of teachers who are motivated by the search for innovative designs. Institutional leaders need to create and support opportunities for instructors and students to learn by sharing experiences across institutions.

From my point of view, as teacher educators and educational administrators, we need to think about how in the current context we can foster the changes that we are hoping for in the educational environment. We need to consider the availability of learning technologies and new ways of interaction as an opportunity that opens classrooms to other approaches (internal and external) that can transform education.

Many thanks to Ileana for this. A version in Spanish is available here.

If anyone else has more information on the use of learning technologies in Argentina, Ileana and I would be pleased to hear from you.