The global revolution in technology is transforming where, when and how people learn.  Universities are not immune from this revolution.  We are being challenged to consider how technology changes what we can do on campus and how it may be used to improve or offer post-secondary education to non-traditional, rural, and working students.

Theme 1: Harnessing technology and innovation for improving university education and research in the region.

Advances in Information technologies with computers, tablets, and cell phones have unleashed experimentation and innovation in university education and research cooperation in recent years.  This panel will explore the learning and the possibilities to improve two aspects of university education.

First: how to deliver high quality post-secondary education throughout the region to improve skills, human capital, and broaden participation in economic advancement?  Latin America has experienced a tremendous increase in high school graduates in recent decades; many of which do not have access to a high-quality university education.  How can the region’s universities use technology  to extend their educational coverage to reach and empower this population? 

Second: how can educational technology and innovation enable more institutions and their faculty to engage in high quality university research?  Research is growing in importance and is both a result of and facilitator of divisions in the hemisphere and within countries.  How can technological innovation facilitate university education to enhance and increase impactful research?

Theme 2: University Research for Entrepreneurship & Economic Development:

Economic growth in much of Latin America and the Caribbean has been led for a decade by the export of primary commodity products and the limited export of high value-added goods. The current decline in commodity prices and the economic slowdown are now a major challenge to the region.  There are now significant opportunities for universities to play a critical role in providing translational research that can encourage and lead to entrepreneurship that will promote regional economic development. Many high tech production and export companies are growing in the region.  Yet they are constrained by a shortage of high productivity technical labor . This panel will explore how new ways of using technology in the university systems of the region can provide the research, talent and support required for knowledge based economies and the creation of value added products.

Theme 3:  Academic Mobility:

Technology, globalization, and the growth of university research have combined to encourage the growth of international cooperation between universities for both education and research.  Students are highly mobile and are participating in various exchange and co-curricular programs in much larger numbers.  Faculties from different universities are cooperating in multinational research grants.  Thus there is now an opportunity to explore the possibility of creating a more unified and coordinated curricula, standards and credentialing.  This panel will explore the existing exchange of students, faculty and research to consider how to use technology to enhance and grow the mobility of students within and across countries and to greatly increase the mobility of researchers and faculty across the region.

[1]The region has a varied but significant ICT delivery backbone for education.  Smart phones are ubiquitous in the hemisphere.   Many homes have computers or tablets available due to the significant reduction in price or from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) or similar program.  Some, such as Uruguay, have high speed wireless Internet in all public primary and secondary schools, where parents or others could access Internet based educational content.

[2]From the Yukon to Tierra del Fuego, university systems are failing to produce graduates for the supply of high paying jobs in science, engineering, technology, agriculture, and policy.  In addition, the distribution of research and development is highly skewed throughout the Americas. 


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