Travel in the Educational Cloud: Navigating Latin America's Learning Portals

By Marcelo Cabrol

Marcelo Cabrol is the manager of all external communications for the Inter-American Development Bank Group. His portfolio includes Demand Solutions, a business model that applies entrepreneurial thinking to solving persistent development problems in fields such as health, transportation, and energy.

The trip can begin any time you like. All you need is a one-way ticket: fast Internet access. Now an itinerary: the route to learning something. Anything. Many things at once. Continuous, self-paced learning is now universally available throughout Latin America, at virtually no cost.

Your passport is your ability to validate the learning that you want to consume. Not everything that shows up on a screen has equal value: the information you find there can be false; content can be mediocre, dogmatic, or simply irrelevant. The filter to process it is set by your own ability to verify sources. Having the right passport is key.

Are you ready? Do you have your ticket, itinerary, and passport ready? It´s time to travel.

Do you want to take comprehensive, free classes from renowned universities and professors? MOOCs, as they're called, are everywhere. (But watch out, because almost all of them now charge for a certificate of completion.) Go to (1) MiriadaX, the biggest MOOC in the Spanish-speaking world. Or go to (2) Veduca, the one with the most subscribers in Portuguese. Even the (3) Inter-American Development Bank has its own MOOC platform.

Do you want to take shorter, micro-learning courses? Look for them in (4) Acámica or in (5) EduK, where you can find classes with via live-streaming video on almost any subject.

Feel like taking different kinds of courses? You can watch and create MOOCs in (6) Eduvolución, or navigate through (7) Educabilia from Argentina, (8) Teachlr from Venezuela, and (9) from Mexico.

Are your courses too long and tedious? Why not watch videos and learn from inspiring ideas instead? Look for TED´s best version in the Latin American region: (10) TEDxRíodelaPlata. Or go to Brazil´s biggest educational video portal, (11) Descomplica, where among a number of epic offerings, you will find the theory of gravity explained by a video of the portal´s creator parachuting to earth.

Colombia is home to many video portals and educational resources that everyone can enjoy. (12) Julio Profe is the Latin American version of educator Salman "Sal" Khan--Profe's portal has 150 million views, more than even the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Also check out (13) Eduteka, filled with resources, and (14) EduClic, where teachers can create their own lesson plans.

Need more? Search the following: (15) Temoa from Mexico; (16) Educatina from Argentina; (17) Academia Vázquez from Peru; (18) Aula 7 from Venezuela; (19) Funsepa from Guatemala; (20) Matemática para todos from Chile; (21) Geografía visual, (22) Educopedia, and (23) Nuvem de libros (literally "Bookcloud"), all from Brazil; or (24) Didactalia, found in different countries.


There are also platforms that favor diversity: (25) Videolibros is a portal where books are read aloud for deaf users.

Are you about to take a very important test? Several portals in the region are dedicated to preparing you. There is (26) Puntaje Nacional, which helps if you are in Chile and Colombia, and (27) Aprendo libre and (28) Portal PSU, if you are taking a test in Chile. In Brazil, there is (29) Mind Lab and in Colombia, (30) Ukanbook. (31) Cuestionarix may be handy if your test is in Ecuador.

Are you uncertain about the future? Students can navigate through career-counseling portals such as (32) Totaluni from Mexico.

Want to learn a new language? (33) Voçe Aprende Agora is a Brazilian portal with more than 12 million classes. Even though the following worldwide, acclaimed portals were not created in Latin America, their creators were, so we are counting them on our virtual tour: the giant (34) Duolingo and (35) Open English. Look up (36) Cambly and (37) Musiglota if you wish to learn languages while listening to music!

What about resources for educators? Platforms with continuing vocational training are constantly multiplying. (38) Docentes innovadores is a great social network for teachers in Latin America. (39) Futura is known for training Brazilian teachers. (40) Red Escolar ILCE works with 14,000 primary and secondary schools in Mexico. (41) Tu clase, tu país is an online portfolio for teacher training in Chile. (42) Portal del Director is a great website for principals. (43) Las 400 clases is the main Spanish-language video portal for teacher training.

Not quite ready to head home? Do you want a closer alignment with an official school curriculum? You can find a great variety of resources in platforms from the following four countries: (44) (Argentina), (45) Uruguay Educa, (46) Colombia Aprende, and (47) Educar Chile. Or, you can find high-quality material in educational channels, such as (48) Encuentro, (49) Novasur, or (50) TV Escola.

Tired yet? This is just the beginning. We are living in the richest period in the history of the world for learning. In Latin America, the educational cloud has already moved overhead. It´s closer than you think--and it's time to take a trip through.

From the Multilateral Investment Fund Trends blog