Training Mexican teachers in digital skills: initiatives and challenges

UNETE, a non-profit association, and Google are boosting the training of Mexican teachers in digital skills.

Training Mexican teachers in digital skills is an urgent task. In 2020, more than a million basic and secondary education teachers abruptly transitioned from the classroom to the virtual classroom in Mexico. This transition was made without any kind of prior training. Mexican teachers had to improvise to transfer their activities to online education, the vast majority, without knowledge of digital tools.

According to a study carried out by researchers from the Tecnológico de Monterrey, most of the educational institutions in Mexico lack the necessary tools to offer high-quality distance education. The problems of the schools are both infrastructure, teacher training, and the adaptation of educative materials for remote delivery.

The Mexican Council for Educational Research (COMIE) pointed out ICTs help to innovate in the classroom, but the transition from an analog model to a technological one should have occurred in an orderly and progressive manner. In the Mexican educational system, foresight was lacking. Experience with the pandemic has made it possible to understand that equipping schools is necessary but not sufficient. It is also necessary to train teachers so that they know how to take advantage of ICT in the school environment. ICTs are means, not ends.

Training Mexican Teachers in digital skills

In this context, the non-profit association UNETE has benefited more than 13,000 teachers with the Google certification program.

A teacher certified in digital skills has a greater opportunity to impact the learning of their students since they can use technology as a tool to guide pedagogical activities in less time and with educational impact.

According to the association, last February the call for more than 50 thousand public education teachers in Mexico was launched, we received 13,511 requests from teachers compared to a group from preschool to high school.

The purpose of this scholarship is to train them in the use, application, and linking of Google Workspace for Education in the teaching-learning process through the exploration of basic aspects and performance tests that allow the development of digital skills and prepare them for the exam certification.

The program has allowed 9,983 teachers to have the opportunity to take the basic workshop and 3,538 certification workshops. Teachers who meet outstanding accreditation in training receive a free code that enables the certification test on the platform that Google has provided for it.

Last June, UNETE recognized the 1,200 winners of the scholarship for certification in the First Level of Google Educators and thanked the commitment of its business allies Senosiain, Norte Capital, Council of Business Authority, of the Mexican Chamber of Industry of Construction (CMIC), and our UNETE Partners, who through their generosity allow us to improve the quality and equity of education in Mexico.

Investing in Education and Technology is a must

As the most part of Latin America, Mexico has delayed the incorporation of new technologies in the education and the training of Mexican teachers in digital skills.

The COVID-19 pandemic showed that it is not enough for schools to adopt new technologies to improve education, but it is also necessary to train teachers to get the most out of them. The support that teachers receive through the UNETE association for the acquisition of digital skills contributes to overcoming the challenges imposed by the pandemic.

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