Manaus at night from the Amazon

In 2004 I was invited by Dr. Fred Litto, the President of the Brazilian Association of Distance Education (ABED), to visit a number of institutions and organizations in the field of e-learning and distance education, with the assistance of the UNESCO office in Brazil. The trip included visits to:

  • Manaus, where a unit of the Brazilian Army was (and is still) delivering high school education programs to children of Brazilian army personnel stationed in remote parts of the Amazon basin,
  • Brazilia, where I met with a private company developing e-learning for the Brazilian Federal government for high schools across the country, at that time, mainly delivered on compact discs
  • Rio de Janeiro, where I gave a presentation to a large number of people involved in distance education in Rio and surrounding areas, and
  • Sao Paulo, where I visited the University of Sao Paulo, and in particular, Escola do Futuro, a centre focusing on research, which also runs BibVirt – Virtual Library of Portuguese Language Student – an open access web site of resources in the Portuguese language for schools founded in 1989 (yes, 1989) that is still very successfully running today.

Since then, distance education and in particular online learning have expanded greatly in Brazil, but because of language barriers, little is generally known in North America about the many innovative online learning initiatives that are happening there.