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A New Way to Improve Learning
"When I was in school, we weren't using computers or learning how to find useful information online," says Cristobal Garcia who's working with local students and teachers—even parents—who now have that opportunity.
Cristobal is a trainer for Pearson's eScholarium collaborative education platform in a rural region of Spain called Extremadura.
He used to be an elementary teacher.
Extremadura is one of the poorest regions in Spain. Its economy is largely based on agriculture.
"But most everyone has access to the internet," Cristobal says. "At home, in libraries, at school—and we're taking advantage of this resource to improve our learning and teaching."
A Government Initiative, Embraced by the Community
Three years ago, Extremadura's regional government wanted to take its educational system one step closer to a digital future—to be a pioneer in the use of digital content in the classroom in Spain and throughout Europe.
"Through this platform, everyone is now part of teaching," Cristobal says. "Teachers, students, families, textbook publishers—everyone is now working together in a collaborative way."
Cristobal says teachers embrace the platform because they're now able to review textbooks and keep better tabs on students work so they can apply new teaching approaches.
"They're also creating their own classroom content," he says, "and sharing it with colleagues in the region through the platform."
"For the students in an era of technology, they're now learning how to use that technology properly," Cristobal says. "And use this technology learning to help their education."
"And parents can track homework lessons and scheduled tests," he says.
More Than 100 Schools and Growing
Over the last three years, Cristobal says, the platform has been integrated in to 106 centers—from primary schools to secondary schools to music schools to language schools to schools for adult learners.
This includes nearly 4,000 teachers, nearly 53,000 families, almost 28,000 students, 32 publishers, and 25 bookshops.
It's offered in both Spanish and English, with hopes to add other languages h in the future.
"It was difficult for everybody to learn this platform at first," Cristobal says. "But now it's working better for all of us."
"Regional officials have been so pleased with the response to eScholarium that they want to roll it out to even more schools," Cristobal says.
"We also want to push this platform to a phone app, because that's where these kids are going," he says.
"We're innovating a whole new way of teaching in these communities," Cristobal says. "And we're helping everyone involved—teachers, students, families, and textbook publishers—keep in touch along the way."