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2004 World Technology Awards Winners & Finalists

Claudia Zea

Please describe the work that you are doing that you consider to be the most innovative and of the greatest likely long-term significance.

I have been the head of the R+D Center in Computers in Education since 1986. The Center is part of the "Departamento de Informática y Sistemas" (Computer Science Department) at EAFIT University in Medellín, Colombia. The Group of center have been working on differente areas such as collaborative learning environments using ICT, hipermedia, multimedia, tutorials development, teaching sciences, and learning networks using ICT among others. Since 1992 the main project of the Center is CONEXIONES (www.conexiones.eafit.edu.co). CONEXIONES integrates all the other research areas of the Center and its main goal is to develop collaborative learning environments promoting education for a sustainable future, where ICT such as multimedia and interactive learning environments are incorporated into basic curriculum in order to improve the quality of and equity of access to Colombian education.

CONEXIONES developed an innovative pedagogical model. The CONEXIONES model is used in the classrooms of more than a hundred urban and rural schools across Colombia, with more than 10,000 students and 1,000 teachers participating through an interface called La PachaMama. La PachaMama is a rich multimedia interface, which combines Internet, educational software, and productivity tools in a children-friendly environment., where the community members are involved in different activiities such as the development of collaborative projects and project work, where the integration of the curriculum plays an outstanding role.

In order to implement CONEXIONES into the school, the Group developed, besides La PachaMama, a computer literacy program (for teachers, students, school administrators, and community leaders), a technical support architecture (involving university students and most advanced trainees members of the schools), a low-tech networking technology - using open source software- to interconnect remote schools and provide LAN infrastructures within the schools, multimedia software, websites, and electronic educational materials.

The following local, regional and national participants are part of the project:

• Young people (10,000), both boys and girls grades 2 to 9 in elementary and middle school education • School administrators (240) • Educational agents (120) university students linked to the program of social educational service • Parents (2400) • Municipal and Departmental Secretaries of Education (24) • Researchers (20) from four universities • Community Leaders (40)

At an institutional level, amongst the teachers and the educational community, the following stand out:

• The creation of environments of joint curricular design • Interest and commitment throughout the teaching team and teamwork • Introduction to the use of new technologies as an institutional policy and the emergence of a consciousness around innovation with new technologies • Ways of conceiving institutional management and administration • Parents are better informed about the school activities of their children, in particular about what they learn with, and how they are using ICT • Greater participation of parents in school life and in their children’s educational process

Applying the experiences gained with the development of CONEXIONES for more than 10 years, I have worked during the last year as advisor to the Minister of Education of Colombia in the development of a culture in the use of new technologies as an educational resource. Ther first step in this direction design of a virtual environment, as a web portal, called “Colombia Aprende” (Colombia Learns) (http://www.colombiaaprende.edu.co).

The educative portal “ColombiaAprende”, allows the possibility of initiation of new innovation processes through the information and communication technologies. This can be done through clear models which are evaluated based on the context and needs that children in our educational community have. Referred to as “the knowledge network”, ColombiaAprende, offers to the national as well as the international community a support tool for the advancement of the education.

Brief Biography

Claudia Zea was born in Medellin ­ Colombia, South America


M.A. Education, Major Area of Study: Technology in Education. Antioquia University - Colombia. 1994. Thesis: “Empirical Evaluation of a Prototype Intelligent Tutoring System”.

B.Sc. Computer Science. EAFIT University - Colombia. 1988. Project: “Computer-Aided Statistics Course”.

Academic Activities:

• Titular Professor at EAFIT University. Colombia. 1989 ­ Present. • Adviser of the Minister of Education of Colombia. 2002 ­ present. • Director of Portal “Colombia Aprende” (http://www.colombiaaprende.edu.co) • Visiting Research Scientist, IHMC - University of West Florida. July 2001 ­ 2002. • Member of the CMC 2004 Program Committee. 2004. . Member of the TISE program committee. 1998-2004. • National Coordinator, “Red Iberoamericana de Informática Educativa”, Colombian section ­ RIBIE-Col of CYTED. 1996 ­ 2000. • Member of the Academic Committee of the II, III, IV, and V Congreso Iberoamericano de Informática Educativa. 1994 - 2000. • Member of the Advisory Technical Committee for Information Systems of the Science and Technology Program at COLCIENCIAS. 1996-1999. • Coordinator for Colombia for the CYTED Project, Multimedia, and Hypermedia Systems - SIMHI. 1996 - 1999. • Thematic Leader for the Symposium on Education at the National Global Knowledge Conference: Knowledge in the Information Age. 1997 • Tutor in the program “Young Researchers” of COLCIENCIAS. 1997. • Thesis Adviser, Master in Education, Department of Education at Antioquia University. 1996 to 1997. • Project Adviser, Computer Science Program, Computer Science Department at EAFIT University. 1988 - present.

Research Projects

Head, R+D Center in Computers in Education, EAFIT University ­ Colombia. 1989 ­ Present. Principal Researcher, Conexiones Project, EAFIT University ­ Colombia. 1992 ­ Present. Principal Researcher, Global School Project, EAFIT University ­ Colombia. 2001 ­ Present Researcher, Community Center ­ CIV ­ EAFIT University ­ Colombia. 1999 ­ Present. Principal Researcher, Design of a School Communication Network project. EAFIT University ­ Colombia. 1993.

Published books

Conexiones: Informática y Escuela, un enfoque global (Title in English: “Conexiones: Informatic and School, a Global View.”). Ed. UPB, Colombia, 2000.

International Publications

Zea, Claudia et al. Collaborative Learning Environments: A response to the new challenges of Colombian Education. Interactive Educational Multimedia- UBWeb. Barcelona University, 2003. http://www.ub.es/multimedia/iem/welcome.html

Zea, Claudia. Politica y Estrategia en Informática Educativa: República de Colombia, Simon Fraser University , Vancouver, 2002

Zea, Claudia et al. Experiencias en la Expansión Nacional Conexiones In: VI Congreso Iberoamericano de Informática Educativa, 2002, Vigo. Vigo: Servicio de Publicaciones - Universidad de Vigo, 2002. v.1. p.65 ­

Zea, Claudia, Ramírez, Adriana. Conexiones Project: A summary of lessons learned In: ICTE of information and communication technologies, 2001, Tallahassee. Proceedings. 2001. v.1.

Zea, Claudia. Conexiones: from school to Communiity. Internacional Symposium Worldbank, Washington, 2001. Zea, Claudia et al. “Sistemas Hipermedios Colaborativos. Nuevos ambientes de aprendizaje”. IV Congreso Iberoamericano de Informática Educativa. Proceedings. Brasilia, Brazil. 1998.

Trujillo, John . Claudia Zea y Miguel González. “Conexiones, Building A Technological Learning Environment”.ED MEDIA 98 Proceedings. Germany, 1998.

Zea, Claudia María. “Retos y Estrategias del Proyecto CONEXIONES”. Educación y Tecnología: la relación que usted nunca imaginó.” Seminar. Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia. 1997

González, Miguel y Claudia Zea. “The path to future directions of colombian interschool communication networking”. Conference on Global Knowledge Proceedings, Toronto, Canadá. June 23-25 , 1997.

Zea, Claudia et al. “CONEXIONES an Interactive Learning Environment”. World Conference on Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia - ED-MEDIA 96 Proceedings, Boston. June 17-22, 1996.

Zea, Claudia María. “Ambientes informáticos para el aprendizaje”. I Encuentro de Informática Educativa. Proceedings, Madrid, Spain. 1994.


1. The EAFIT University Research Award 2001. Colombia. 2. Finalist, the Stockholm Challenger Award 2001, Centros de Informática Veredales Project. Sweden. 2001. 3. Finalist, the Junior Global Roma Award 2000, Conexiones Project, Italy. 2000. 4. Finalist, the Stockholm Challenger Award 2000, Conexiones Project, Sweden 2000. 5. The EAFIT University Research Award 1999, Colombia.