FUNDACION GABRIEL PIEDRAHITA URIBE
EDUTEKA (www.eduteka.org) is a free Spanish-language web portal for educators which is updated every month and run by the Gabriel Piedrahita Uribe Foundation (Fundación Gabriel Piedrahita Uribe (FGPU), in Spanish) based in Cali, Colombia.
The Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of primary and secondary education in Colombia and Latin America through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The Foundation is based in Cali, and is inspired by the life of Gabriel Piedrahita, who tragically lost his life in an airplane crash in 1995, at the age of 22. Endowed with a prodigious curiosity, a vibrant intellect, an insatiable hunger for life and an unwavering passion for helping others, Gabriel was a great believer in the unique potential of each individual and in the immense possibilities open to committed individuals and groups to bring about change. Gabriel saw education as the key to creating a juster world, and considered communication, the spread of knowledge and the shared experiences and realities of human beings, to be pillars in the path towards tolerance and peace. Death surprised him when he was only 6 months away from graduating from Harvard and realizing his immediate dream: dedicating some years of his life to teaching at a school in a disadvantaged community. The Foundation is an homage to his fleeting and intense journey through life, as well as a testament of love from his parents, brothers, family members and friends, and others who feel privileged to have shared in his joy, his intelligence, his kindness and his vitality.
The Gabriel Piedrahita Foundation believes that in the Knowledge Society of the twenty-first century, the educational system must endow youths with a new set of capabilities, many of them related to the rapid development of ICTs. It also believes that these ICT can revolutionize learning processes, through access to the abundant free material available on the World Wide Web, and through the enrichment of learning environments in schools. Based on these premises, The Gabriel Piedrahita Foundation promotes the improvement of primary and secondary education for disvantaged and underserved children in Colombia and spanish speaking countries through the effective integration and use of Information and Communication Technologies in the curriculum.
- Since June of 2001, the Foundation has run Eduteka, a free web portal targeted to the Spanish-language educational community. Since its inception, the goal of Eduteka has been to become the preferred destination, meeting place and gateway for Spanish-speaking teachers and school directors interested in enriching their institutions, curricula and learning environments through the effective use of ICTs. To this purpose, Eduteka offers a great variety of original and third-party content—including up-to-date national and international articles, interviews and research studies—, resources and interactive spaces, at no cost whatsoever. On July, 2004, Eduteka and the FGPU were awarded the “National Prize for Technology in Education” in the category “Networks and Communities of Learning”, granted by RIBIE-Col (The Iberoamerican Network for Technology in Education, Colombia Node). On July, 2008, FGPU and Eduteka, for the second time, were awarded the “National Prize for Technology in Education”, this time in the category “Digital Educational Resources”, granted by RIBIE-Col. Eduteka currently (sep-08) boasts over 1 million page views and 420.000 visits per month, and has more than 40,000 registered users from over 750 towns and cities in Colombia and other 35 countries (http://www.eduteka.org/Estadisticas.php).
- Since January 1999, the Foundation has run a pilot program in the Instituto de Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion (INSA), a private, working-class school run by the Basilian Fathers and adjacent to the impoverished Aguablanca district in Cali, Colombia. At INSA, the Foundation designs, implements and tests curricula, lesson plans, and other tools aimed at increasing the competency of students and teachers in ICTs, and at improving the integration of these technologies into the regular curriculum. INSA’s directors and teachers recognize its substantial contribution to student achievement. In 2003, and for the first time in its history, INSA qualified in the Superior Category in the ICFES national examination for graduating seniors, ranking among the top 5% of schools in the Valle del Cauca state. Today, a significant group of its graduates are continuing their studies in some of the region’s most prestigious universities, another first for INSA. Moreover, INSA’s use of ICTs in its educational program has become a model for many institutions. Indeed, the school’s ICT curriculum has been downloaded 180,741 times by users in over 500 cities and towns across Colombia and 25 foreign countries since it was first posted on www.eduteka.org in November 2003.
Direct Intervention in Schools
- Since the last months of 2003, the Foundation has been applying the lessons learned in INSA at the Corporación Educativa Popular (Liceo La Amistad), a private, working-class school in the impoverished Terrón Colorado neighborhood of Cali. The Foundation is helping the school to replicate the successes of INSA, making adjustments to the model curricula and lesson plans developed in the pilot program to reflect local conditions and constraints. This project also serves as a test of the Foundation’s ability to scale its model for creating ICT-enriched learning environments.
- Beginning in August of 2004, the Foundation has also been serving as a consultant to Miraflores School, run by the Caja de Compensación Familiar (Comfandi), with the aim of training school directors, teachers and students in the use of ICTs and in their effective integration into the regular curriculum to enrich and facilitate teaching and learning processes. The experience at Miraflores is serving as a pilot for Comfandi for the roll-out of a technology-enriched curriculum to the other 11 schools it manages (11,500 students)
- Since its inception in 1999, the Foundation has invested over US$350,000 in Eduteka and related programs. Over 95% of these resources have come from the endowment established on behalf of the Foundation by the Piedrahita Uribe family. The Foundation believes that its developmental impact, results and social value creation have been vastly disproportional to the amount of its investment, and that it has a proven ability to deliver superlative developmental returns on capital deployed. The Foundation is currently seeking funding from quality strategic partners that share its vision as a valuable public-good for the Spanish-speaking educational world. Additional financial and knowledge resources would be focused on expanding the reach and depth of its activities with a particular emphasis on e-training and e-learning solutions for teachers and school administrators to facilitate the mainstreaming of ICTs into the regular curriculum and thus enrich educational environments and experiences, particularly for the underprivileged.
STAFF GABRIEL PIEDRAHITA FOUNDATION
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
- Francisco Piedrahita, President Universidad Icesi, Cali, Colombia
- Claudia Uribe de Piedrahita, FGPU Director, Cali, Colombia.
- Jaime Piedrahita, General Manager IBC, Cali, Colombia.
- Esteban Piedrahita Uribe, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC
- Marisa Uribe de Bonilla, Director Jardín Maternal Crios, Cali, Colombia.
- Vicente Piedrahita Uribe, Associate, Monitor Consulting, Boston, MA.
Document published in EDUTEKA: Sep 23, 2006.
Last update of this document: Oct 01, 2008.