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Virtual Educa, ISTE in sync on professional learning

By Jos Antn
October 1, 2015
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The mutual commitment of Virtual Educa and ISTE to support contemporary professional learning opportunities for educators is embodied in a memorandum of understanding that was established between the two groups in June of this year.

Under the MOU, ISTE and Virtual Educa agreed to support professional learning for educators based on the introduction and integration of the ISTE Standards and Essential Conditions for learning, teaching and leading in the digital age. We also agreed to explore ways to expand access to technology and create educational technology learning environments for students.

At the time of the agreement, ISTE CEO Brian Lewis noted that adding Virtual Educa to the ISTE global network of collaborators would expand the dialogue about how new models of professional learning and resources can help educators advance their instructional practices and meet the needs of today’s students.

This global education alliance is of great importance for Virtual Educa, as well, and will promote innovation in education and training to enable inclusion, to maximize competitiveness and to achieve a higher level of development for educators in the region.

Virtual Educa is a multilateral cooperation initiative on innovation in education for social inclusion and sustainable development. It was established in 2001 by the Organization of American States (OAS) through the Institute of Advanced Studies for the Americas based in Miami. The framework agreement was signed by the OAS and the Ibero American General Secretariat (SEGIB) in 2003.

Virtual Educa promotes innovation in education and training to enable inclusion, to maximize competitiveness and to achieve a higher level of development, with special emphasis on Latin America and the Caribbean.

Our mission is to:

• Contribute to the development of public policies with regard to innovation in education, which is achieved through: needs assessments, technical reports, case studies, presentation of successful practices and making recommendations on the most efficient use of resources.

• Establish permanent cooperation mechanisms between the public and the private sector, balancing investment, profit and efficiency in corporate and institutional terms. Facilitate dialogue and joint decision-making on strategic education issues by governments, academia, corporations and civil society.

• Support the implementation of quality educational projects and systems to improve academic results and to address the causes of school dropouts.

• Organize national, regional and international specialized forums, such as the Virtual Educa Annual International Symposium, for bringing together experts and decision-makers to discuss solutions to challenges in education.

• Promote measures to reduce the digital gap and to integrate people at risk of geographical and social exclusion.

• Coordinate the exhibit “Innovation in Education: Good Practices in Latin-America and the Caribbean” and disseminate inclusion projects through innovation in education.

In addition to our mission-driven goals, Virtual Educa organizes an annual international symposium, as well as regional and national meetings and forums; works to implement the “Inter-American Education Innovation System;” hosts teacher training programs via the Virtual Educa Teacher Training Institute; and sponsors a network of “Virtual Educa 21st century classrooms.”

In 2012, Virtual Educa started projects in the English-speaking Caribbean that are expected to spread to other regions, including Africa. Being a hemispheric reference has made possible the annual organization of a global forum on education and innovation associated with the Virtual Educa International Symposium.

José María Antón is the Secretary General of Virtual Educa, department of human development and education, organization of American states based in Washington, D.C.