Creative Education 2013. Vol.4, No.10A, 4047 Published Online October 2013 in SciRes (http://www.scirp.org/journal/ce) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ce.2013.410A007 Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 40 Mathematics Education and Information Technologies in Emerging Economies Maria AndradeArechiga1, Gilberto Lopez2, JRG Pulido1 1Faculty of Telematics, University of Colima, Colima, México 2Department of Computer Science, Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education at Ensenada, Ensenada, México Email: mandrad@ucol.mx, glopez@cicese.mx, jrgp@ucol.mx Received August 28th, 2013; revised September 28th, 2013; accepted October 6th, 2013 Copyright © 2013 Maria AndradeArechiga et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original wo rk is properly cited. International studies indicate that some countries are failing to produce enough quality graduates in Sci ence and Engineering (S & E). Unfortunately, basic research and strong structured initiatives in S & E education are scarce in these countries. We take México as a case study and examine university teachers’ beliefs and perceptions on some aspects of the learningteaching process of university mathematics and their opinions in the inclusion of Information Technologies (IT) in the S&E educational process. Analysis of the results indicates that students are failing in critical aspects of the mathematics learning process. The information collected results pivotal in the development and implementation of successful IT based edu cational initiatives. It is especially important in countries that possess nonhomogeneous socioeconomic, cultural, technical and educational settings. Keywords: Science and Engineering; Education in Emerging Economies; Teachers’ Perception; Teaching and Learning with IT Introduction The combination of education and technology has been con sidered the main key to human progress (Montaser, Mortada, & Fawzy, 2012). Particularly, technological innovation is associ ated with education in Science and Engineering (S & E). Over the past decades, some countries have evidenced concern for the issue and important studies, as well as strong initiatives (e.g. King, 2008; Bourguignon, 2006; Bouvier, 2011; Brown, 2009; King, 2007; Kuenzi, 2008; NSF, 20062010), have resulted. Nowadays, the subject thrives across physical and cultural bor ders. Moreover, economic development on a global scale re quires that investment flows from developed countries to weaker economies to encounter technically literate workforces. The issue, ther e fore, is no longer local in scale, but global. Unfortunately, information is scarce for many other countries and what we know derives from general reports on education (e.g. UNESCO, 2011; OECD, 2006). International studies (Schwab, 20082010; IESALC, 20062009; NSF, 20062010) show that some countries, with most in Latin America, have not been successful in substantially increasing the rate at which citizens obtain S & E university degrees. Puryear & Ortega Goodspeed (2011) argue that greater emphasis should be placed on improving quality and strengthening Science and Technol ogy at Latin America universities. Likewise, reports on major and emerging economies, published annually by the World Economic Forum (Schwab, 20082010) indicate that Latin America countries rank low on “Availability of scientists and engineers”. Of the 133 countries considered in the 20082009 report, Costa Rica ranked 46th, and subsequently 29th (of 134 countries) in 20092010 and 28th (of 136 countries) in 2010 2011, ranking only behind Chile (35th, 23rd and 24th), but well above other Latin America countries, such as Argentina (81st, 84th and 76th), Brazil (57th, 60th and 68th), Colombia (88th, 89th and 86th), and Mexico (105th, 94th and 89th). Even more alarming are the placements obtained in the reports in “Higher Education and Training: Quality of Math and Science Educa tion”, in which only Costa Rica ranked in the top half. Costa Rica obtained a ranking of 64th, 55th and 50th in the 2008 2009, 20092010 and 20102011 reports, respectively. The other Latin America countries ranked well behind: Colombia ranked 79th, 86th and 93rd, Argentina ranked 98th, 98th and 106th, Chile ranked 107th, 116th and 123rd, Brazil obtained a ranking of 124th, 123rd and 126th, and Mexico ranked 127th, 127th and 128th. The above situation can be associated with the whole pre tertiary educational system (K1K12) in the region, and is con sistent with the negative results obtained by Latin America countries in the PISA evaluations (OECD, 2003, 2006) and other international reports (UNESCO, 2009, 2011; Puryear & Ortega Goodspeed, 2011). However, direct firsthand informa tion is needed in order to understand, in general, how prepared students are for the specific demands in the disciplines that characte rize S & E universi ty programs. In many cases, no more time can be wasted. It makes no sense to wait for educational reforms to start giving results in the preuniversity levels because at least one more generation would be lost. The situation calls for immediate actions; ini tially, by trying to understand some fundamental principles in the teaching and learning process of these disciplines.
M. ANDRADEARECHIGA ET AL. Overcoming the problems associated with the teaching and learning process of college mathematics has constituted a goal of many institutional and academic efforts worldwide (e.g. Brown, 2009; Demlová, 2008; Mustoe, 2002; Bass, 2005). Here, we focus on firstyear college mathematics courses (e.g., col lege algebra, linear algebra, calculus) in S & E. This serves our purpose methodologically, because it is a constant in the S & E disciplines. Moreover, mathematical knowledge and developing mathematics competencies are of a fundamental nature in S & E. Nevertheless, there are several important issues related to the teaching and learning process that requires more study, espe cially from the teachers’ perspective. The inclusion of new learning schemes that include innova tive teaching materials should be of the greatest importance. Those that feature information technologies (IT) as a tool to improve student learning, especially in mathematics, are of particular interest. Again, we encounter an important cultural and regional bifurcation. Over the last two decades, some coun tries have made important advances in introducing technol ogybased instruction in the math classroom at different levels of formal education. Important initiatives (NSF, 20062010; Brown, 2009; Kuenzi, 2008), large scale projects, and relevant research (Mustoe, 2002; Neto et al., 2003; Nguyen et al., 2006) have followed. In Latin America, few general guidelines (UNESCO, 2011) and isolated efforts have been developed (LopezMorteo & Lopez, 2007; Madrigal & Gozalo, 2007). Controversial and expensive programs like the Mexican Enciclomedia project (SEP, 2004), which required millions of US dollars in invest ment, produced no significant educational results due to poor teacher training, inadequate school infrastructure, educational model and, more importantly, teacher attitudes toward technol ogy. The government terminated the program in 2009. Evi dently, we must address the issues of accessibility, availability, and teacher attitudes toward technology, as described by Oncu et al. (2008), if we hope to incorporate technological supports in the educational process. Here, we present a series of indicators of the academic prob lems that become impairing elements in S & E education in Mexico from the teachers’ perspective, including teachers’ disposition and attitude toward incorporating IT into the class room. The use of teacher perception has proven to be an im portant technique for investigating and evaluating different aspects of the learning and teaching process (Carnell, 2007; Popovic, 2010; Chang et al., 2011). For the purpose of this study, we created and implemented the VEAD survey (Spanish acronym for Valuation of Teaching Activities) to collect infor mation directly from Mexican university S & E math lecturers on different aspects of their teaching activities. We argue that this type of information is much more impor tant for initiatives that seek to use IT in education in developing countries that are marked by heterogeneity, than in the richer economies where the educational setting is much more homo geneous. In order to avoid failure in the introduction of the technology into the classroom, some countries still need to determine basic matters. Under the WWECFT (What is Wrong with Education cannot be Fixed with Technology) principle, specific problems in the learningteaching process must be identified. The type of learning outcomes that are expected from the IT implementation must also be determined. Also, information of a series of practical issues must be acquired, including teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about technology’s role in their practice, and those related with infrastructure and schools’ decision making policies. S & E Education in Mexico The S & E Indicators, published by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the United States, show that less than 2% of the universityage population in Mexico earned degrees in Natural Science and Engineering (NS & E) in 2000. This figure is substantially lower than in other countries. In some European Union and Asian countries, it is over 10%, whereas in Canada and the United States the number of NS & E degrees per 24yearolds is more than three times the degrees earned in Mexico (NSF, 20062010). Data published by the Organization for Economic Coopera tion and Development (OECD) shows that out of its 30 mem bers, Mexico had the fewest Engineering and Exact Sciences degree holders per capita (OECD 2003, 2006, 2007). Countries like Finland and South Korea produced almost five times as many TertiaryType A and advanced research program degree holders in Engineering per capita than Mexico between 2000 and 2004 (Figure 1). In Spain and Australia, the number is twice that of Mexico. In general, most OECD countries have increased their num ber of degree holders. Some countries like Denmark have been able to close the gap with other OECD members. Although Mexico shows a slight increase for 2003, the number of degree holders in Engineering decreases substantially in 2004. The situation in regards to the number of Exact Sciences degree holders is even worse (OECD 2006, 2007). Diverse cultural and academic factors could be associated with the failure to produce more S & E university graduates. National policies must be established in order to produce pro grams designed to attract young people to these fields. In the case of Mexico, the number of students, seeking an engineering or technology degree, does not even represent 3% of the coun try’s total undergraduate population (CONACyT, 2006; INEGI, 2005). Moreover, less than .2% of all undergraduate students are enrolled in m at h an d physics progra ms. In addition, problems associated with low graduation, gen erational retardation, and high dropout rates require special attention. The Mexican National Association of Universities and Institutions of Higher Education (ANUIES) publishes the number of students enrolled in universities by year, institution, academic program, age, and gender. Although it is the best source of information on higher education in Mexico, its last published report was for 2004 (ANUIES, 19962004). Table 1 shows first enrollment, total enrollment, graduates and the de grees earned in E & T (Engineering & Technology—including Computer Science) and in E & NS (Exact & Natural Sciences) in Mexican institutions from 1996 to 2004. In many cases, however, students graduate (i.e., they finish all their academic units), but they never earn a degree. From the information shown in Table 1, one can estimate that in Mexico of all the students that enroll in E & T/ES & T university programs, roughly 35%, will actually earn a degree. Based on the data presented above, we can conclude that the yearly dropout rate is 11% and 15% of students enrolled in E & T and E & NS programs, respectively. On the other hand, the research indicates that dropout rates are much more significant during the first semesters, because students experience signifi cant difficulties with the basic mathematics courses taught in Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 41
M. ANDRADEARECHIGA ET AL. Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 42 05001,000 1,5002,000 2,500 3,000 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Year G raduate s in Engine er in g pe r million habitants South Korea Fi nland Spai n Australia Denmark Mexico 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 500 0 Figure 1. Tertiarytype A and advanced research program degree holders in engineering for some OECD members, 2000 to 2004 (Source: OECD, 2006). Natural Science and Engineering university programs (Lazaki dou & Retalis, 2010). Survey to Valuation of Teaching Activities In this study, we sought to obtain lecturers’ perceptions on some aspects of their teaching activities, including the use of IT to aide in the teaching process of university level mat hematical concepts. Global variables of interest were identified on the teachers’ perception of: 1) teaching and learning elements pro moted in mathematics courses; 2) the students’ learning process; 3) the students’ basic mathematics skills; and 4) accessibility, availability, and teachers’ attitudes toward using technology in their practices. We conducted four preliminary pilot tests with small groups of university teachers (~7), in order to measure coherence, redundancy, and inconsistency. As a result, some items were modified and others eliminated. Finally, we classi fied the selected items into sections for the final survey, and utilized a perceptiontype Likert scale with five ordinal catego ries for most of the items. A final pilot test was performed in order to obtain Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of reliability. The alpha coefficient of = .8726 was obtained, which ensures a high correlations between the items of the test (Garrison et al. 2004). Once the survey was completed, it was made available through a web page and an electronic invitation was extended to more than 800 math lecturers at different institutions across the country. Results and Discussion A total of 145 mathematics lecturers of S & E university pro grams answered the survey. Of these, 59.8% worked at public mesters. They reported an approximate student grade point average of 6.7 (on a scale of 10, where 6 is needed to obtain credit) for the courses they taught. In the first section of the survey, s institutions and 56% regularly taught courses in the first se ee Table 2, lecturers were as pects of how st learned separately, without promoting associations with other ked to express their opinion about the elements they felt were promoted in math university courses (items 1 to 6). Based on the results obtained, it is clear that teachers have a strong opin ion on the importance of learning (item 2) and the development of mathematical skills in their classes (item 4). However, the agreement with other essential aspects of the educational proc ess is not as strong. In particular, the importance of teaching (item 1) and the fact that only 46% of the teachers evidenced a degree of agreement with the statement that students develop a genuine interest in mathematics (item 6). Teachers tend to sup port technical knowledge and development of mathematical skills (items 3 & 4) rather than emotionallike and motivational aspects of students’ learning (items 5 & 6), the importance of which have been strongly related to the learning of mathematics (AndradeArechiga et al., 2013; Cardella, 2008). The results of teacher perception on different as udents learn mathematics, as well as their capacity to engage in meaningful learning correspond to items 7 to 11 in Table 2. The response to item 9 shows that lecturers agree that students find it difficult to apply mathematical concepts learned in their courses. This is supported by the responses to items 10 and 11 in which the instructors expressed the opinion that students fail to relate succe ssfully previ ously learned concepts and new ones and to build mathematical knowledge upon them. This behavior has been partially associated with the lack of alternative repre sentations of mathematical knowledge in the learning materials used in traditional courses, where activities are structured to turn composite knowledge into fragmented units that are to be
M. ANDRADEARECHIGA ET AL. Table 1. Figures for undergraduate exact sciences and engineering and tech rollment, Mexico, 1 996 to 2004 (ANUIES, 19962004). nology en Engineering & technology Year First enrollmates* Earned degree* ent Total enrollme nt Gradu 1996 95319 413208 49515 27665 1997 103452 424352 52179 30712 1998 112563 447405 50871 29576 1999 126357 481543 50795 31239 2000 136874 514463 54065 34156 2001 145910 550636 58138 37621 2002 156804 598929 65197 39592 2003 157689 628188 70191 43077 2004 159810 654580 79064 49660 Exact & nl sciencesatura Year First enrollmtes* Earned degree* ent Total enrollm ent Gradua 1996 6861 22994 3321 1879 1997 7667 25101 3210 1925 1998 8133 27321 3021 1931 1999 9443 30002 2738 1768 2000 9635 32698 3023 2130 2001 9811 33720 3163 2167 2002 10054 34514 3755 2365 2003 10190 35751 4674 2652 2669 2004 9857 36774 5021 SoNUIE rios Estadom 1996 t Undergu dechnoloersities tes. *ANep orts thates ame curricula. This yields a w or null generation of the mental maps necessary for effec proficiency on a series of specific mathematical topics, ra iversity teachers. Although negative re sp . In addition, they are not ab n so rmed on the creation an m fa d designed not only the transfer of information from urces: A nts at teS, Anua gical univísticos fr and instituo 2004. UIES rraduate st e Gradu and Earned degrees from the previous y ear. topics already studied within the s lo tive associations (Mustoe 2002; Mason 2001; Boaler 2009). Moreover, if we also consider the results of items 7 and 8, we can infer that teachers believe that some essential elements of the process of learning mathematics are not reaching the stu dents. Teachers were also asked to express their opinion on stu dents’ nging from basic skills to calculus concepts as shown in Ta ble 3. In general, the results show that teachers think that their students come from low backgrounds and lack preuniversity mathematical skills. These results are seemingly harsh considering that they come from mathematics un onses were anticipated, greater positive responses were ex pected, especially in regards to basic math topics that all stu dents, entering E & S university program, should master. Items 15 are topics taught in the late years of elementary school and secondary school, K5K15. For these items, 60% to 70% of the teachers categorized their students’ ability as regular and bad. The responses to math concepts taught at the highschool level and often reinforced in firstyear math courses (items 6 to 9), as well as those corresponding to basic Calculus courses (items 10, 11), are also unacceptable for S & E students. The teachers’ responses to items 12 to 14 indicates, that the students are also failing in the problem solving process, a very important element of university mathematics education. In summary, teachers strongly agree that their students are unable to apply mathematical concepts le to relate previously learned concepts to new ones and do not feel they benefit from learning them. They also express the belief that students are unable to apply knowledge to solve problems and fail to find new ways of solving them. From the teachers’ responses, we can assume that S & E students are failing in critical aspects of the mathematics learning process. Although we would expect 100% availability of technology in higher education, we recognize that this is still not the cas e i me countries like Mexico, as shown in Figure 2. Yet, the situation is much better than in other levels of education where a lack of technological resources has been detected (Lopez Morteo et al., 2007). Also, teachers’ interest in using innovative educational resources and technological supplies (Figure 3) are much higher than those expressed by secondary teachers in the 2007 survey. According to the results, lecturers prefer educa tional materials adapted to the classroom rather than tools used on distance or mixed environments. To help reduce this fragmented approach to teaching, we recommend that further research be perfo d adoption of new educational models, along with a broader evaluation on the impact of those materials on students’ learn ing. This initiative can benefit from lecturers’ experience and positive attitude in the use of educational software through CDROM and online specialized websites (see Figure 3) to develop an integral training program for lecturers on the educa tional models and strategies associated with the use of this me dia. Furthermore, these training programs can be complemented with workshops on novel teaching strategies which employ recreational mathematics to promote focus on a problemsolv ing based approach. The integration of the previous trends can be done through the development of new educational strategies that use an electronic learning environment (online or not), learning models with a problemoriented approach, interactive software, such as animations, simulations and interactive tools. On the other hand, we consider that lecturers’ professional profiles are a critical factor for implementing new ITbased odels, particularly considering their skills and knowledge. In a parallel research done on secondary schools in Mexico, GalavizFerman et al. (2006) found that teachers’ positive atti tudes on applying new teaching schemes and strategies using IT in mathematics is not enough. In this study, we could say all lecturers stated the intention of using IT; however, due to lack of proper training, its real use has been practically insignificant. This leads us to reinforce the idea that probably the training of university lecturers could influence their use of IT for teaching. However, at this point we cannot propose a concrete idea re garding curriculum modification due to the high number of ctors involved. But starting from our results analysis and the experience other countries have had in this field, we suggest the contents of math courses be modified so they include strategies such as: Novel learning models that promote construction of learn ing an teacher to student. Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 43
M. ANDRADEARECHIGA ET AL. Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 44 erception on important aspects of student le a r ning in university mat 1: Complete ly disagree2: Disagree 3: Neutral 4: Agree 5: Complete ly agree Table 2. Teacher ph courses. Asct 1 pe2 3 4 5 1. Imporeaching 2 4 2 3. Prodge 5. Thath 6.2 18.0 29.6 27.6 18.6 6.9 32.4 20.7 26.2 13.8 8. Whey 5.5 9.7 9.7 40.0 35.2 9. e ma .7 2.8 4.1 32.4 60.0 11.7 34.5 17.2 27.6 8.9 11.e 14.5 26.9 22.7 26.2 9.7 tance of t2.0 6.3 4.15.52.1 2. Importance of learning 2.1 3.5 8.9 32.4 53.1 minence in technic al knowle8.3 8.9 17.2 36.6 28.9 4. Development of mat hematical skills 4.1 3.5 5.5 37.9 48.9 e emphasis in students e njoying learning m8.3 17.2 29.7 21.4 23.4 6. That the stu dents develop a genuine interest in mathematics 7. Students consider mathematics help them t o explore new ideas hen students learn mathematics t perceive it as abstract knowled ge Students find it difficult to apply th thematical concepts learned in the courses 10. In math cour ses, student s easily rela te new concepts with previously learned Students build mathematical know ledg based on previously learned concepts able 3. pinion on university students’ proficiency in specific basic math topics. 1: Very ba d2: Bad 3: Regular 4: Good5: Excellent T Teachers’ o Topic 1 2 3 4 5 1. Ability to compute numericaulations without a calculator 11.0 33.1 39.6.2 14. 4. 5. Baetry 8. Functions and their graphics (i ncnuous, inve r se and composite) 9. 13. l calc9 9.7 2. Fractions and its operations 15.9 34.5 26.9 5 8.3 3. Algebrai c operations 13.1 29.7 40.0 12.4 4.8 Algebraic Factorization 7.6 31.7 36.6 18.6 5.5 sic geometry and trigonom11.5 26.9 38.5 14.6 8.5 6. High sch ool analy tic geometr y 9.0 31.7 31.0 18.6 9.7 7. Real number System 9.1 19.7 44.7 18.9 7.6 luding asymptotes, co nti13.2 27.6 35.2 20.6 3.4 Knowledge of specific properties of trigonometric, exponential and logarithmic functions21.8 30.4 36.8 8 .2 2.8 10. Knowledge and application of derivation and integra tion formulas 17.2 33.2 24.6 22.9 2.1 11. Geometrical interpretation of integral and derivati ve function s 10.6 36.3 33.1 18.6 1.4 12. Ability to i nterpret mathema t ic al problems 25.2 33.1 29.7 9.2 2.8 Practical application of mathem atical knowledg e27.6 31.5 26.9 11.9 2.1 14. Ability to establish problem  so lving stra tegies 22.1 33.8 30.1 11.9 2.1 Training oriented towards the direct application of mathe t of the curricu learning. Incorporating technological elements such as learning en tivities associated to math teaching. ceptions, we learnt that failing math courses contributes, in matical knowledge to problem solving. Implementing recreational activities as par lum with the aim of improving the emotional aspect of vironments, CDROMs, simulations and multimedia con tents in ac Another interesting result is that, according to lecturers’ per
M. ANDRADEARECHIGA ET AL. Figure 2. Availability of computer equipment and peripherals in the classroom. Figure 3. Technological educational resources and supplies teachers are interested in using. some way, to undergraduan to drop out. To finish, teachers were asked to com cademic retardation in S & E programs. Almost 82% of the y can use one or several learning strategies to de sign in mind. One successful example is the use of online ich improve students’ attitudes to and learning of math (Nguyen et al., 2006). The use of elec l have a tes’ decisio ment on the high dropout rates and evaluations and laboratories, wh a lecturers recognized that these problems are directly associated with difficulties students encounter in math courses. In an openended question, they also mentioned students’ socioeco nomic backgrounds and the belief that students wrongfully pursued S & E degrees as a result of inadequate preuniversity counseling and . Therefore we believe in the need to motivate lecturers on the use of new teaching methods that engage students in math learning. Thus, the velop learning activities that allow students to learn by doing, so that they apply their knowledge to solving reallife problems. The latter, teachers’ positive attitudes on using technology in education reported by some authors (Bouvier, 2011; Chang et al., 2011; Lazakidou, 2010; Montaser et al., 2012) coincide with the results from this work, indicates there is a great op portunity to enhance the math curricula through the inclusion of alternative activities supported by educational software, se lected with the educational objectives of the instructional de tronic learning environments in the classroom is an alternative that has been constantly evolving and improving, which pro vides an opportunity for universities to promote their benefits and promote their use within the academic community. The survey developed in this study can be used to diagnose a community of teachers’ perceptions on a variety of topics. In this case, we evaluated the perception of a sample of math lec turers from all over the country. However, we believe it can be applied to the teachers of any academic institution to get a feel for the community’s perceptions. Thus, policy makers wil valuable tool with which to diagnose their teaching staff, identify issues that are important to them, as well as specific areas to attend. An example of a project that could have benefited of having this type of information is the “First World Class Project” (as it was called by several politicians in Mexico) Enciclomedia. The project had an initial budget of 2 thousand million dollars, but only a quarter of that was actually used before it was suspended Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 45
M. ANDRADEARECHIGA ET AL. in 2006 (SEP, 2006) because of poor or nonexistent academic re ess. Including an overall ac reveal meaningful insights on a se ries of indicators of acs that hinder advance ment in universitylevelience and Engineering. T deArechiga et al., 2012). U many developing co in an undergraduate mathematics course. Computers & Education, sults (Elizondo Huerta et al., 2006). A basic study (e.g. GalavizFerman, et al., 2006; LopezMorteo et al., 2007) could have given basic information that could have prevented the catastrophic collapse of the project. In contrast the project PIAC (Interactive Platform for Learn ing Calculus), designed to help overcome the difficulties asso ciated to learning Calculus (AndradeArechiga et al., 2012) was developed and implemented in accordance with the results pre sented here. The results have shown positive effects of PIAC on different aspects of the learning proc ceptance of the platform as well as significant positive atti tudes and motivation towards the learning of Calculus (Andrade Arechiga, et al., 2012). Conclusion Mexico can be considered as a case study for a large number of countries that fail to produce sufficient quality human re sources in S & E. The data collected from 145 Mexican univer sity mathematics lecturers ademic problem education in Sc hey express the opinion that their students have not developed conceptual thinking and modeling skills or basic mathematical competencies. The fact that a vast majority of university math teachers think that their students possess limited knowledge of basic (late elementary to high school level) mathematic con cepts and lack minimal mathematical skills is alarming, but not completely surprising. It is common practice to trace students’ math knowledge deficiencies and weaknesses to previous edu cational levels. Due to cultural and social similarities, small variants of the scenario shown here can be found in other places, especially many in Latin America. In order to mitigate the problem it is natural to think that ef forts should be directed toward the use of innovative teaching materials including IT as learning alternatives to help in the learning and teaching process. VEAD type information can serve as the building blocks of the IT based educational setting such as in the PIAC project (Andra nfortunately, in many IT in education initiatives, no regard is given to this type of information. This is especially critical when technology is imported from a place where basic educa tional needs have long been fulfilled. In some cases the intro duction of alien technology in the educational system will only serve to expose the educational problems. The type of information that was collected, any other pro duced with the goal of identifying critical problems in the learningteaching process and the type of learning outcomes that are expected from the IT implementation will prove useful in the software design and developmental processes and crucial to the educational results. Nevertheless, in untries, more research, development, and implementations are required to establish general guidelines for the design and development of software and content, as well as the methodo logical aspects of its implementation in the classroom. REFERENCES AndradeArechiga, M., Lopez, G., & LopezMorteo, G. (2012). As sessing effectiveness of learning units under the teaching unit model 59, 594606. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2012.03.010 AndradeArechiga, M., Lopez, G., & DamianReyes , P. (2013). Technology atics: A teachers’ per spective. Proceedings of Society f& Ar de Licenciatura en Universidades e Institutos Tec ., Pulido, J. R. 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