Agustín Porres, LATAM Regional Director at the Varkey Foundation
Comunidad Atenea, an initiative of the Varkey Foundation
Why did you create this innovation?
‘I always thought the teacher works alone, indoors. What I needed to be part of a community; just in time, Comunidad Atenea arrived’. Silvina from Argentina expresses one of the problems we are solving: with schools struggling to cope with closures & reopenings, technology as the main channel for communication with students, & teachers with lack of training, CA brings an effective & human solution
How does your innovation work in practice?
We discovered that promoting an atmosphere of trust and empathy among teachers is essential to unlock the potential of technology. That is precisely what we are doing: building this powerful community to promote the meaningful use of digital tools.
We developed #AteneaExperience: a one-week learning journey. Bringing teachers together across borders to join a 5-day learning journey focused on a different theme, in which they share their views and create initiatives together. #AteneaExperience offers an experience based on learning by doing, collaboration, and peer mentoring. With a hands-on methodology and personalized training, teachers develop skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, communication, and critical thinking. 4,098 educational initiatives have been implemented as part of the challenges which reached 160,052 students. 99.5% of the graduates would recommend this experience to a colleague and 94.6% consider these experiences enrich their professional development.
How has it been spreading?
In 1 year, we have reached +50,000 unique visitors from 104 countries, 15,123 members, and the teachers that participated in the #AteneaExperience editions reached 510,979 students. It was organic growth and has spread by word of mouth.
We created an alliance with TikTok to launch a learning challenge for Latin American teachers with the hashtag #aprendeentiktok. We offered training in the pedagogical use of TikTok. #aprendeentiktok videos have more than 29 billion visualizations and #comunidadatenea videos more than 578 thousand visualizations.
We were selected by the McCourt School of Public Policy of Georgetown University as a case study to carry out an impact and scalability evaluation of Comunidad Atenea that included a pilot with Spanish-speaking teachers in the US.
If I want to try it, what should I do?
Anyone can go to comunidadatenea.org and become a member. Comunidad Atenea is free, open, and accessible through any device. All the best practices and digital tools proposed by the teachers are free, and the #AteneaExperience practical challenges can be implemented in different school contexts, taking into account the educational level, the available resources, and the expected impact on learning
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