The Venezuelan educational system lacks infrastructures and technological platforms that allow the implementation of new educational modalities to promote the use of open technologies in the teaching and learning processes. Likewise, there are few teachers trained in the management of open technologies in areas related to learning management, the development of open educational resources, the exchange of knowledge, the search for and publication of information, and planning and instructional design with open technologies, as well as on issues related to the impact of the digital society on the training of students and legal precepts on the use of open technologies, among others. Given this context, the possibility that the digital divide will increase is high, and more so in one of the most strategic sectors of a country, namely education, which does not favour the inclusion, equity and quality of education in Venezuela, putting its development and modernisation at risk.
Observing this scenario, at the Latin American Network School Foundation (EsLaRed), the alarms were set off and we considered the need to develop a technological platform to manage learning through open technologies, as well as develop and implement a training plan for open technologies for primary and secondary teachers in the country, taking the educational area of the city of Mérida, Venezuela, as a pilot experience.
The experience was very enriching. We worked hard with experts in technology, graphic design, instructional design and education to develop the CATAE platform and the Training Plan on Open Technologies for Education. But in addition, experts in different areas related to open technologies were sought to prepare the contents of the plan workshops, as well as experts in online learning managers (Moodle) for the creation of the virtual campus of the CATAE Plan.
Our goal was met: we developed a technological platform, with support modules (train, learn, use and interact) to implement information spaces, access to catalogs of open technologies, rooms to interact, and access to glossaries, among others. In addition, a training programme with nine workshops was enabled, where authorised students were able to interact synchronously and asynchronously between the fundamental elements of the teaching process (contents, students, teachers) and have access to all educational resources, tasks and tutorials.
We had the pleasure of training 32 teachers, 22 face-to-face and 10 remotely, from the different circuits of the educational area of the State of Mérida. These teachers became facilitators and replicators of a valuable training experience on the use and management of open technologies in education. Currently, the trained facilitators are teaching the second cohort of the CATAE Plan, and from EsLaRed we maintain our role as advisers and technical support, to guarantee its success and its sustainability.
The management team of the educational zone of Mérida and the Ministry of Education were highly receptive to facilitating the implementation of the CATAE Plan. We have perceived great interest in this type of training and in the use of open technologies for education, even when technological conditions have not been the most favourable. We have observed that technological adversities can be overcome as long as there is the will to understand the impact of technologies on the educational development of the country.
With our experience of the CATAE Plan, we seek to help visualise educational alternatives in line with world trends, in order to establish a more sustainable and modernised "country horizon", where the use of open technologies and the joint and integrated work of the governing groups of education prevail, in order to promote social justice, inclusion and equity in Venezuela.
For more information, visit: https://catae.eslared.net
Photo: Graduation of the first training cohort in May 2023, courtesy of EsLaRed.
The CATAE platform was developed with the support of an APC subgrant, made possible by funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).