2021-07-08 SPAIN

Education today is a call to stay awake

We present below a reflection by Alfredo Veiga, coordinator of the Technologies and Systems Team of the Marist Province of Compostela, published in the 29th issue of the magazine MARISTAS Siglo XXI.

Nobody, not even the greatest experts in education, knows what the future holds. That is the great thing about life, its great challenge. The future of yesterday is no longer applies today. Education today is a call to be awake, to offer answers to uncertain questions. We add life, we multiply horizons. As always, in the steps of Champagnat.

It was in the 90s, in the middle of the 20th century. Teachers were beginning to “adapt” to technology, to the use of the “computer”. They were no longer confined to the typewriter, to the static, and it gave them the opportunity to correct their writings and to present them, almost… like books.

Hard disk (for use in Amstrad PCW with locoscrip), 5 1⁄4⁄4, 3 1/2, pen drive and cloud marked the different generations of computers and the way of storing knowledge. The development of programming languages (Java, Flash, now in retirement, and other programmes) together with the consequent adaptation of many teachers, gives a boost to teaching by developing elements that allow students to face tasks that go beyond memorisation.

This has been the challenge for teachers: to adapt to a technological tsunami at the click of a mouse. Self-education, local and provincial training have been key when it comes to travelling these new paths. And so new tools have been born to be placed alongside chalk and blackboard.

In addition to this, another constant change: educational laws that come and go, new ways of thinking, a student body that is regenerating, families that need other answers, hopeful teaching… have had to be interwoven with the prevailing technology.

Some milestones that mark this path: the LOXSE, Vygotsky’s constructivism and, above all, an essential change following the 10th Congress of Catholic Schools in 2012. Suddenly, some nuns, Mothers of Nazareth, with habit and iPad, show how to integrate new and old theories (Piaget, Johnson and Johnson, Vytsgosky, Gardner) so that the pupils are at the vanguard of learning. And the world of teaching is being revolutionised and brought to life. At the same time, innovations such as interactive whiteboards, digital whiteboards, touch screens and personal devices continue to appear.

Innovation with a character of its own

Marists, always daring, analyse this reality and see it as an opportunity. We embrace this innovation and integrate our own character. Alchemists of life, we renew our formulas to offer the elixir of eternal youth, including in the renovating proposal a window open to spirituality and interiority.

Today, now, the wheel of innovation keeps turning and robotics, programming and their integration into the STEAM teachings need to be brought back into the new equation. Moreover, inclusion is essential to the whole process. Technology can help us take this fundamental step. The world is everyone’s home. Education is the home of light for every boy and girl, just by the simple fact of their existence.

Devices in classrooms, each one different, cause us to go on fine-tuning technological investments or infrastructure to adapt educational works. Microsoft, Google, Apple are investing heavily in education. The specialisation of educational software demands immediate updates because what we learned yesterday is devalued today and tomorrow, we wake up with new challenges. That is why investment in technological, skills and educational training is essential to move in this world of constant change, because we are the key pieces of a gear that works like the heart of the world, and we know how necessary we are. We cannot stop beating.

Looking ahead is especially important, but perhaps it is essential to look slowly. Although at first sight it may seem useless, everything is useful for learning. And this is good news. The blackboard, the computer, the chalk, the books, the notes, the programmes or the devices are instruments in the hands of the most powerful engine in the universe: evolution. Nothing stands still. Everything moves forward. Get in, you’re still there.

Together with this, the “beehive” work of the teaching staff is building a solid future. We have experienced this in an extreme situation such as the pandemic, in which we survived thanks to every hand that was raised to build hope.

The future is so changeable that we can only glimpse it. This is the magic of life: knowing that we don’t know. And all that awaits us is wonderful because it will find us ready to write what comes. Don’t forget to save it in the cloud of dreams so you can share it.

In short, “I always wanted to see what the future looked like, and it turns out that it is already here”


Alfredo Veigo

Information Technology Systems Coordinator – Marist Province of Compostela


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