Priorities:Universidad Tecnológica del Uruguay (UTEC) Faculty Projects

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Project Name: UTEC reach

Project by Faculty Innovation Fellows Candidate John Fontaine

Why is this project important to you, your department, & your Fellows?

It is the first time that we as a department co creates a workshop between students and faculty. There are several faculty members that will be facilitating this workshop who have facilitated previous UTEC workshops applying design thinking and also there will be other faculty members who will be taking some training sessions to learn about design thinking, to act as facilitators in UTEC reach and who will hopefully be applying what they learn to their own lessons and projects. Furthermore, fellows from previous UIF cohorts will also participate as facilitators together with 2020 candidates. It is the first time three generations of fellows will be working together to foster innovation in one of our regional institutes.


The project aims at fostering creativity, innovation and building community first regionally and then nationally. This year students from our university and members of the community will work on a challenge that the fellow candidates identified. They found out that students have a need to be heard and connected in order to empower themselves by sharing their experiences, resources, knowledge and skills. Design thinking will be introduced and put to practice in order for the community to solve this pressing problem.

The event will have 3 main instances:

1. Online training for facilitators.

Fellows and candidates together with the faculty champion provide an online training for facilitators (faculty members) about the stages of design thinking and the different tools and strategies to be used during the facilitation of UTEC reach.

Training will be held on October 31


  • Basic concepts of innovation. Why is innovation important?
  • Introduction to design thinking
  • About UTEC Reach
  • Cooperative learning and the role of the facilitator
  • Resources and tools

2. The workshop

It will take place on November 10. The different groups will be presented with the challenge to solve and they will be guided through the design thinking stages. By the end of the session groups are expected to produce a solution for the problem and to be ready to present it to an audience.


10-11 am - Empathize

11-12 pm - Define

1-2 pm - Ideate

2-3 pm - Prototype

3-4 pm - Test


The next day the different groups will be pitching their solutions in the first UTEC talks event which will be held at the ITR SO building in Fray Bentos. Other influential guests and students will also be presenting about their work, projects and ideas.

Stakeholders served

  1. Alvaro Pena - Director of Special Programs Department
  2. Andres Moler - Director of the building ITR SO
  3. All the population of students in UTEC throughout the country.

Key Milestones

  • December 2020: First UTEC Reach and UTEC talks events will have taken place in ITR SO (Southwest Regional Technological Institute)
  • March 2021: Second UTEC talks event will be held in ITR Centro Sur (Center-South Regional Technological Institute)
  • June 2021:Second UTEC Reach and third UTEC talks events will have taken place in ITR Centro Sur (Center-South Regional Technological Institute)
  • September 2021: Fourth UTEC talks event will have taken place in ITR Norte (North Regional Technological Institute)
  • December 2021:Third UTEC Reach and fifth UTEC talks events will have taken place in ITR Norte (North Regional Technological Institute)
  • March 2022: Students from all regions of the country participate in the fourth edition of UTEC Reach and 6th edition of UTEC talks take place in in ITR SO (Southwest Regional Technological Institute)

An Innovation Portfolio

  • Google sites - Innovation Portfolio
  • Ice-breakers
  • Flashcards
  • Worksheets
  • Facilitator guides
  • Slides
  • Videos
  • Student podcasts
  • Student projects
  • Links to Useful Open Educational Resources

Project Name: Leonor

Project by Faculty Innovation Fellows Candidate Mariana Morales

Why is this project important to you, your department, & your Fellows?

This project bridges education gaps, providing equal opportunities, and supporting student and teacher success.


This project addresses the educational disparities I personally experienced between secondary school in a rural area and university in the capital city. Many Uruguayan students lack quality secondary education, leading to a struggle to excel at the university level. This issue has persisted for nearly two decades, leading to high dropout rates and weak educational foundations among university students.

My tenure at the Technological University of Uruguay, specifically UTEC, has exposed me to initiatives like the "pre-science" program, which aims to bridge the knowledge gap by providing essential foundational knowledge for incoming students. However, more is needed to improve the transition for students and teachers.

The UTEC Digital Transformation Center, where I'm involved, is growing and focusing on enhancing the digital learning experience. We aim to support educators in science and technology fields, helping them transition to a hybrid education model.

The collaboration with the "Agents of Change for Innovation" program at the university led by John Fontaine presents a promising opportunity to test our tools with the first generation of students.

The ultimate goal is to provide resources, support, and user-friendly digital learning tools that inspire students to explore new subjects in a fun and engaging manner, effectively bridging the knowledge gap between secondary and university education.

This project seeks to create an AI-based chatbot tool that supports students and educators in their learning journey, especially in science and technology. It will develop competencies such as innovation, critical thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving, which are essential during the transition from secondary education to university.

By addressing this educational gap, we aim to increase student success and help educators fulfill their mission more effectively.

Stakeholders served

  • Students and potential students of science and technology at UTEC (LAA, LCTL, IER, IAGUA, IAGRO, LTI, LJMC, ILOG, IMEC, ICA, BIO)
  • UTEC science and technology teachers(LAA, LCTL, IER, IAGUA, IAGRO, LTI, LJMC, ILOG, IMEC, ICA, BIO)
  • UTEC
  • CES
  • GETP (UTU)
  • Uruguayan Government

Key Milestones

  • December 2023: Define stakeholder map and present initiative
  • March 2024: Mapping of existing tools / what do universities use today globally to solve this problem? benchmarking / what results do they obtain? and identify opportunities/needs and potential differential value
  • June 2024: Requirements analysis document, functionalities that this tool should have
  • September 2024: Research development tools that can be used to develop the application
  • December 2024: Define implementation strategy and impact measurement plan
  • March 2025: Requirements document for software development

An Innovation Portfolio

  1. Curriculum: a curriculum outlining how the chatbot and learning experiences integrate into the pre-university science and technology program. This may include lesson descriptions, learning objectives, and recommended resources.
  2. Slides and Presentations: slides and presentations explaining the project, its significance, and how it can be implemented in other educational settings. These presentations can be used by other educators to share the concept with their peers.
  3. Facilitator Guides: detailed documents to guide educators on how to use the chatbot and learning tools in their own pre-university programs. These guides can include tips, best practices, and recommendations for effective implementation.
  4. Run-of-Show Documentation: comprehensive documentation on how to conduct activities and use the chatbot. This may include schedules, checklists, and step-by-step procedures to ensure a smooth implementation.
  5. Activities and Exercises: activities and exercises that can be used by other educators to help students develop key skills such as innovation, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
  6. Worksheets and Additional Resources: worksheets, online resources, and any other material that complements the learning activities and assists students in acquiring essential knowledge before entering university.

By sharing these elements in my "Innovation Portfolio," I will contribute to the community of practice's goal of sharing resources and promoting the replication of successful practices at other campuses and educational programs. This will allow other educators to benefit from my experience and advance their efforts to address educational disparities and improve the transition of students from secondary education to university in the fields of science and technology.

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