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La educación en la era de los grandes buscadores reúne a expertos de 17 países en Santiago

Con una audiencia global de alrededor de 150 millones de estudiantes y profesores, la Red Latinoamericana de Portales Educativos es una iniciativa única de intercambio educativo y comunicación. En el encuentro, que se extiende hasta el 29 de abril participan expertos en educación y tecnología de 17 países, y es la oportunidad para dar inicio a celebraciones de los 10 años de educarchile.

“Education in the era of major search engines” was the discussion topic that this morning (Wednesday, the 27th) began the annual technical meeting of the Latin American Network for Educational Web Portals (Red Latinoamericana de Portales Educativos – “RELPE”), with more than 80 experts on education and technology from 17 countries throughout the continent.

Officially founded during the first regional meeting of Ministers of Education to address information technology in education (held in Chile in August of 200), RELPE promotes the use of information and communication technologies as an integral part of the service of improving the quality and equity of teaching while facilitating free exchange and the use of digital resources that can be found at each of its member web portals.

Seven years after its creation, and coinciding with the celebration of the ten-year anniversary of the “educarchile” website, RELPE (which has now reached a global audience of 150 million students and teachers) has returned to Santiago for its annual meeting.

The event, which will run until Friday the 29th at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Santiago, was opened by: Alvaro Fischer, President of Fundación Chile; Felipe Cousiño, Head of the International Relations Office of the Chilean Ministry of Education (Mineduc); and Laura Marés Serra, Executive Secretary of RELPE.

The occasion featured the special participation of Argentinean scholar and specialist in digital interactive communication technology and cyber cultures, Alejandro Piscitelli. Piscitelli´s talk regarding the major changes schools and their students are facing in the digital era was followed by a discussion panel that included Soledad Ferreiro, Director of the National Congress Library; Ernesto Laval, President of TIDE and consultant for Education Impact; and Guillermo Sunkel, Social Affairs Official for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL), and was moderated by Ana María Raad, Director of the “educarchile” web portal.

The annual technical meeting was attended by website administrators and content and technology managers from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Venezuela and Chile, along with representatives from the Association of Ibero-American Educational and Cultural Television (ATEI) and the Central American and Dominican Republic Educational Community (Ceducar).

The various educational websites present at the gathering highlight the different focuses that each country has taken in relation to their public policy on technology and education, to coincide with the different realities of each nation. Nevertheless, all agree on one common objective: using the possibilities of technology in the 21st century to contribute to the improvement of the quality and equity of education in each of their countries.

Among the portals whose representatives have come together in Santiago is the Argentinean website “www.educ.ar”, which features an educational strategy that has launched an innovative website to serve as a junction for multimedia, with television playing a key role. Meanwhile, Uruguay will present its “Plan Ceibal”, which aims to provide one computer per child as a way to promote access to opportunities and quality content in the digital era. Brazil has concentrated on focusing on different audiences in order to innovatively bring digital content closer to the world of children and educators. In Mexico, several educational web sites as well as an important distance education platform, “www.sepiensa.org”, have been vital, given their large national audience.

Chile, through its national education website www.educarchile.cl, which will celebrate its ten-year anniversary in 2011, will also be present to share the significant impact of its content and functionality, aimed at improving equity and quality in Chilean education.

The director of the website, Ana María Raad, stated, “it is an honor for educarchile to receive national representatives of the RELPE. It has been a dream to bring educational web portals together in Chile and thanks to this initiative, today there are several countries sharing content, developing collaborative projects and leading educational spaces in the region”.

Looking to the future, Raad stressed, “the great challenge we face is the power to respond to educational communities that are becoming more and more dynamic and demanding of new content and formats, as well as quality”.

The gathering will feature analysis of diverse website topics of common interest including: technology acquisition policies, Internet copyright laws, media libraries, common pedagogical standards and the RELPE TV platform.

RELPE –which consists of educational, autonomous, national, free and public service web portals that are designated by the Ministry of Education of each country- is neither a website, nor a website linked to other websites. Rather it is a network of websites, with its most important characteristic being the nodes of connection it offers that join to other nodes, with each country being able to take advantage of what it finds most beneficial.

The network can be thought of as a regionally distributed storage and circulation system for educational content that is constantly being expanded and renovated. The network also serves as a true community for exchange and collaboration between those responsible for educational policy in each country.

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