Accelerating digital transformation
Grupo Salesianos’ schools were already working towards digital transformation when the global COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020. “We’d begun standardizing on Gmail for staff, along with Google Drive and Google Classroom for students,” explains Juan Pablo Vásquez Flores, director of the Grupo Salesianos school network. The migration to Google began with Grupo Salesianos’ 22 schools as an initiative of the Communications Area during 2016, a process led by Vicente Fritz, the school group’s Director of Communications. In 2019, Grupo Salesianos’ communication team merged with the education team, led by Vásquez, with the goal to start developing educational digital transformation processes.
In March 2020, as the school group grappled with the impact of switching to remote learning, Vásquez and other education leaders realized they had to move quickly on technology adoption. “Teachers were concerned about not having the technological tools to face this challenge—it wasn’t that they thought they weren’t up to the task,” Vásquez says. “But they feared starting remote learning without the tools they needed.”
One of the first steps was to bring on Sebastián Arragiada González as technology education leader, as he could help create standards and choose tools for the schools’ teachers to adopt. Schools in Grupos Salesianos can choose to adopt the suggested standards, based on their individual budgets.
The education technology team previously engaged with Nivel A, a regional Google for Education Certified partner with trainers based in Chile, to train teachers on using solutions like Google Classroom as well as Chromebooks. That training grew to three schools, and technology leaders hope to expand it to more Grupo Salesianos schools.