In the framework of the health emergency caused by COVID-19 and with the purpose of guaranteeing pedagogical continuity at the higher level, the Digital Points collaborate with the development of courses and tertiary and university exams.
In different parts of the country, the Digital Points guarantee the pedagogical continuity of the population. At the tertiary and university levels, where courses continue to be virtual, the work teams - complying with all the protocols established by the health authorities - make connectivity and the Digital Point Training Room available to students and teachers for the purpose to guarantee pedagogical continuity at the higher level, which includes virtual classes and exams. In this note we share the experiences of the Digital Points of Esquel (Chubut), Termas de Río Hondo (Santiago del Estero), Monteros II (Tucumán) and Villa Paranacito (Entre Ríos).
Esquel: rapid adaptation to the new normal
Like a large number of members of the Program throughout the country, the Digital Point of Esquel (Chubut) coordinated by Claudio Echauri has been articulating and working together with the educational institutions of the city and its surrounding areas for many years. This work was deepened as a result of the new needs for care and distancing caused by the pandemic.
Thus, Claudio said that as in the whole country "we had to adapt to work, study, carry out procedures and countless activities, with the almost exclusive use of the Internet." Based on the new needs, “we got in touch with managers of all educational levels; primary, secondary, tertiary and university to offer our help ”. The results were immediate and with a great call, working under different modalities according to the particular needs of each Institution.
In the case of secondary school students, “we work as a bridge or link between the schools and those students who do not have access to the Internet. One of the tasks we carried out was to make available to the students a good part of the study material, which educational institutions upload to a web storage or 'cloud' ". In addition, “for the tertiary and university level we have computers with Internet access so that they can take their exams online or take their virtual classes. The same happens with the secondary level, where they approach to be able to access the different study platforms they use, be it Juana Manso, Classroom, etc. ”.
More than a year after the start of the pandemic and with the possibility of making a first assessment within the framework of the “new normal” to which we have to adapt, Claudio valued that “as always, we must adapt to be able to provide solutions to all people who need help to access new technologies. Always with the premise of offering free, free and secure access activities to reduce the digital divide that affects a large part of our population ”.
Termas de Río Hondo: teachers finished their studies at El Punto
In Termas de Río Hondo, province of Santiago del Estero, Walter Navarro - coordinator of the Digital Point of the town - organized a series of articulations with higher education institutions, with the purpose of making the digital resources of the Point. "Since last year we have been guaranteeing pedagogical continuity in higher education" said Walter and pointed out that "among the many activities we carry out, the most requested are access to computers to download materials, as well as to study and write practical work, midterm exams and monographs ”.
The work began with the Termas de Río Hondo Continuous Teacher Training Institute. Thanks to the space provided by the Point, "many teachers were able to finish their studies here since due to the issue of the pandemic the teachers had closed their doors and needed their students to have a virtuality that allows them to continue with their normal activities." Navarro valued that "the experience was very satisfactory: we were able to collaborate very closely with the entire educational community, we got to know better the institutions that work in the area and they knew all the potential that the Digital Point Program has".
The experience was so positive that it was the starting point for the Municipality of Termas de Río Hondo to sign a cooperation agreement with the National University of Santiago del Estero, which allows coordinating actions between the arts and crafts workshops related to the new technologies of the information and communication of the university and the Digital Point. The objective is "to expand the role of the Point as a facilitator of connection and access to equipment for those students who for various reasons do not have access to them."
Monteros II: articulation with the National University of Tucumán
In Monteros, Tucumán, María Cristina Quinteros, a primary-level teacher, is the coordinator of the Monteros II Digital Point. There, the Digital Point has long had "a school support for boys from first grade to second year of high school." Based on the new health situation, "the same team of teachers and assistants also began to assist university students and teachers in the preparation of their studies, especially in those areas related to new technologies, but also languages and biology."
As in Termas de Río Hondo, these initiatives led to the signing of an articulation agreement between the Municipality of Monteros and, in this case, the National University of Tucumán. Specifically, "the articulation is aimed at students who are studying Economics" since a high percentage of the total number of students enrolled in the career lives in Monteros. "Students from the Faculty of Economics who live in Monteros can go to the Digital Points to access virtual classes and take their exams," said María Cristina.
To meet this objective, “the Digital Point had to prepare and add equipment, such as web cameras and headphones, which were supplied by the municipality. In this way we prepare the Training Room, which is a spacious room with ventilation, so that boys and girls can perform ”.
From now on, "the Digital Point is prepared from seven in the morning to six in the afternoon, with all the corresponding protocols, so that all people who need to continue their studies and exams virtually, can access a good site, with connectivity and care, which includes ventilation, alcohol gel, mask and thermometer. We are collaborating so that higher education students can continue with the classes in a virtual way and with the corresponding care ”.
Villa Paranacito: tourism and job opportunities
In Villa Paranacito, Entre Ríos, Gisele Benavento, coordinator of the city's Digital Point, prepares the space that she coordinates daily so that the students of the Tourism teaching staff can have their virtual classes. "The teachers considered it appropriate to take advantage of this space for the development of specific subjects", commented Gisele and appreciated that "it is a very productive articulation". Then, he explained that although “the Digital Point is open to the entire community, we consider it very valuable that we be a space of opportunities for higher education, since basically we are opening the possibility that they can have direct contact with everything technological when they are about to enter the world of work ”.