1 Universidad Panamericana (MEXICO)
2 Unión de Empresarios por la Tecnología en la Educación (MEXICO)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 5989-5998
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
For over 30 years, studies and reports have highlighted the opportunities and the potential benefits of information and communication technologies (ICT) in improving the quality of education. There is no doubt that ICT is a “major tool for building knowledge societies” (UNESCO 2003), and it is certainly a way to rethink educational processes to cut down inequalities in education.

While many elementary and secondary students in Mexico are already used to technology-enabled classrooms, many rural schools are just beginning to incorporate digital tools as an educational innovation . Hence, topics like the influence of technologies in students’ achievement or specific learning results, and the transformation of teaching styles, discussed since the nineties, continue to be today at the center of thedebate discussing what is really enhanced in learning and teaching with ICT? (Kirkwood, Adrian; Price, Linda, 2014)

The present study looks at ICT as a factor for innovation in 171 highly-marginalized rural schools located in the Southeast region of Mexico ( Chiapas, Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatán). Media-labs were installed in 2012 and 201 through a W.K. Kellog´s foundation grant, “guided by the belief that all children should have equal opportunities to thrive” , and directed to improve the quality of K.12 education in the region.

The project, which provided with computers, internet access and teaching training. was entirely executed by the Unión de Empresarios por la Tecnología en la Educación(UNETE); a private non-profit organization founded in 1999, which through years of experience, evolved from a technology focused operation benefiting public schools, toone focusing on comprehensive delivery services that include, among others: educational content and resources, professional development, on-site mentoring, and remote support.

The paper proposed to the 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference (INTED 2015) in addition to sharing an extensive experience, aims to establishing the effectiveness of UNETE’s intervention program. Has it made any difference in students after two years in te schools in this region? The answer to this question is not provided by measuring achievements with the standardized tests, but by focusing on 21st century skills, a term used to refer to certain core competencies such as collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are vital to success both in school and beyond, those that help students thrive in today's world.

Marzano and Kendall (2007) taxonomy served as a guide to develop self-report questionnaires that were administered to a sample of 1684 students that rated in Likert scales, how active, reflective, social and collaborative their learning is. The instrument included, besides demographic information, appraisal of their technological competencies and their communication within and outside the classroom.

The comparison of 1249 students results at 128 schools benefited by the Kellog/UNETE intervention, with 435 students enrolled at 50 similar rural schools in the region that lacked the support of the program, rendered statistically significant findings. The intervention group had considerably higher scores in motivation, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and digital skills, than their counterparts in the control groups. Although problems with connectivity were reported in several schools, it could be interpreted from the results, that the mere fact of ensuring access to ICT in highly-marginalized locations, produces not only the social result of their connecting to the country and to the world, but very important educational effects in 21st.century skills.
Digital skills, Information and Communication Technologies, teaching and learning processes, educational innovation.