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Digital Nations Colombia. Education for Peace: Empowering the Community through the use of ICTs . Fernando Chaparro Corporación Colombia Digital (CCD). Digital Nations Consortium Meeting Cambridge, MIT, October 30-31, 2003.

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Digital Nations Colombia

Education for Peace: Empowering the Community through the use of ICTs

Fernando Chaparro

Corporación Colombia Digital (CCD)

Digital Nations Consortium MeetingCambridge, MIT, October 30-31, 2003

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Colombian Digital Corporation and the “Digital Nations” International Consortium (DN)







Other Int. Centers

Other Int. Centers

MIT’s Media Lab

DN Members

DN Members

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Two Main Functions

  • To facilitate and develop innovative projects in Colombia that use in a creative way information and communication technologies (ICTs) in order to improve education, promote social learning processes and empower communities by creating and strengthening their capacity to generate and use knowledge to improve their wellbeing and satisfy their basic human needs.

  • Assure the participation of Colombia in the “Digital Nations” international consortium and develop joint projects with MIT’s Media Lab and other consortium members aimed at diminishing the digital divide.

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Program of Work of CCD

1- Education for Peace (E4P): Empowering the Community through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

2- Improving Productivity and Competitivenes through ICTs: (a) Strengthen agroindustrial chains through the use of ICTs; (b) Internationalization of Colombian Software Industry.

3- Promote the production in Colombia of new information and communication technologies that may help to promote the New Economy.

NOTE: We will concentrate in the E4P Project.

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Education for Peace Project


  • Background: Project seeks to break the vicious circle of poverty, ignorance and violence perpetuating themselves by generating poor conditions for learning, which in turn exacerbates poverty, threatens sustainable development and leads to worse conditions for learning.

  • The General Objective is to empower low-income communities in Colombia to both generate and use knowledge that is relevant to their basic needs by developing its local capacity to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) in a creative way that allows them to create sustainable rural and urban livelihoods and improve their quality of life. This implies replacing vicious by virtuous circle, whereby improved conditions for learning leads to social improvement, leading to better conditions of learning & development.

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Two Specific Objectives

1. Transform the educational process in Colombian schools on the basis of the Constructionist Theory and the use of ICTs in order to develop creativity and the capacity of “learning to learn”.

2. Promote the creative use of information and communication technologies in responding to the challenges of the community and in developing innovative solutions to the problems they confront.

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Agents of Social Change

  • Project will be carried out in two communities:

    a) Comuna 13 (Medellín)

    b) Pensilvania, Caldas

  • We will work through four Agents of Social Change:

    a) Children, Teachers and Schools

    b) NGOs and community organizations related to main community challenges

    c) The Community Police

    d) The E4P Core Team

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Use of ICTs in strengtheningLearning Processes in Communities

  • We propose the idea of Community Technological Immersion as a means of tapping the latent learning potential in each community. Rather than focusing on any specific aspect of community life, or any particular institution, we propose providing computational resources and connectivity on as broad a basis as possible, infecting all aspects of community life as a means of breaking vicious cycles of violence and poverty and seeding the possibilities for creating new pathways.

  • A key role is played by “Learning Networks and Communities” in which creative interactions take place among students, teachers, producers and other stakeholders, through which solutions can be invented for specific problems and relevant knowledge may be generated and applied, thus stimulating “learning processes” to take place.

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Two basic principles

  • We aim to create conditions for the development of people, new ideas, new civic participation to break the cycles of violence and poverty, using new ICT tools and applications to move the community into positive participation and a more equitable social environment, taking advantage of the new digital technologies. Creative community involvement is critical for this project.

  • Since this is a stakeholder-led process that is responsive to community needs, we are developing an approach we term emergent design. In essence, we lay the groundwork with a technical infrastructure supported by continuing efforts to introduce new ideas, support the development of technological fluency, methodologies to help harness creativity, creating an environment that strengthens the community's capacity to generate and use knowledge.

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Main Project Components

  • 1. Mobilizing the Community and generating commitment to assure community involvement:

    • Imagination Seeding Workshop.

    • Vision Workshop: Identification of community needs and objectives.

    • WIFI feasibility study: Role of wireless technology

    • Selection of first group of participating schools in Comuna 13 and in Pensilvania, Caldas.

    • Identification of key stakeholders: NGOs, the Community Police, various community organizations (i.e. “madres comunitarias”), associations of producers, youngster clubs, etc.

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Main Project Components

  • 2. Laying the basis for transformation of schools, based on a constructionist approach

    • Training of teachers.

    • Integration of computers in schoolroom (re-design).

    • A new Plan of Work is being developed with the teachers and students: Construction of a pedagogical pr.

    • The new approach will be implemented first semester of 2004, with the backstopping of a “support network”.

    • Close monitoring of process, that is aimed at developing creativeness, learning-to-learn and development of key skills (“competencias y destrezas”).

    • Children increasingly involved in community issues through Student Projects and through closer interaction with stakeholders.

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Main Project Components

  • 3. Strengthening the capacity of other Agents of Social Change:

    • E4P Core Team, constituted by project staff and community leaders committed to project. Training at MIT.

    • Strengthening capacity of NGOs, Community Police and community organizations to use ICTs.

    • An E4P Center will be established in each community as a vibrant place of digital creation, taking an open, atelier approach to learning through doing and reflection.The tools available should be wide-ranging, from a variety of computers, high bandwidth access, servers for the community, community wireless access, digital video and cameras, video and sound editing, etc.

    • WIFI Communications System being put in place:“Viral Communications Theory” approach.

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Main Project Components

  • 4. Building/strengthening community networks on main community challenges and problems:

    • Identification of community problems/challenges.

    • Use of ICT and local connectivity to generate local solutions and technologies.

    • Based on “Learning Networks and Communities” in which creative interactions take place among students, teachers, producers and other stakeholders, through which solutions can be invented for specific problems and relevant knowledge may be generated and applied, thus stimulating “learning processes” to take place.

    • Three main topics are emerging (emergent principle):

      • a) Governance & participation: Comm. Electronic Publ.

      • b) Environment management

      • c) Improving local production and employment

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Main Project Components

  • 5. These topics/networks require mobilization of specialized technical knowledge, through:

    • Taping local/traditional knowledge in the hands of stakeholders.

    • Expert knowledge that can be contributed by local universities, researchers, etc.

    • “Learning processes” that take place through the creative interaction of students, teachers and producers or extension workers. This is of particular importance.

    • The “Digital Peace Corps” that may provide expert advise from around the world in real time.