The Computer Software and Audiovisual Media Enterprise (Cinesoft) is an institution belonging to the Ministry of Education (Mined) that emerged amid the process underway in Cuba to perfect its economic and social system.
Cinesoft was founded in April 2015, with the aim of unifying three main activities that had developed independently: audiovisual production, software, and content creation for the Web, all with educational purposes.
The institution works on the basis of the pedagogical issues affecting the country’s education system, to create varied programs to help to solve these, stated Cinesoft Director General Iván Barreto.
“It is vital that an institution like this was founded, because it has come to provide the content that Cuban schools really need.
“The productive process itself is comprehensive, with a more scientific view of what we are going to create. Later we inserted the economic component, that is, how we could also add an economic system to this reality, which would allow for sustainability in production,” the interviewee explained.
Cinesoft is mainly composed of professors from different educational levels, and collaborates with the University of Computer Sciences and the Marta Abreu de Las Villas Central University.
Its product lines are based on the national education system and everything that is designed is integrated into an audiovisual and computer platform called Cubaeduca, the repository where all the software and audiovisuals are stored.
MAIN PRODUCT LINES
The technological convergence facing the world today increasingly demands content integration.
“Audiovisuals require infographics, animations and computer science, above all, they need more audiovisuality to communicate with students. Cinesoft guarantees that different subjects, from preschool to higher education, will include these contents,” Barreto explained.
One of the enterprise’s production lines is aimed at the creation of educational software that responds to the national education system’s current curricula. Each subject is addressed through different media, with the aim of being suitable for use in any school in the country.
Meanwhile, Barreto highlighted that “Luces para la vida” is a more integral project, focused on the subject of addictions.
“With this program we attempt to emphasize the tools that students can use to avoid drug use, and at the moment we are preparing an audiovisual series on the subject to expand the audience, and raise awareness among young people about this dangerous phenomenon,” Barreto explained.
Another area in which the enterprise is working is virtual visits. One of the great dissatisfactions of the Ministry of Education regards the teaching of history. Scarce interest in this subject among young people has been detected.
“We started making virtual tours as a product line to support the teaching of history. We began with José Martí’s house, continued with the Granma yacht and the Museum of Literacy, among others.
“We have a total of 22 virtual visits and we are developing close to 16 more at the moment, to present in the summer. The idea is to gather together the main museums relating to the history of Cuba so that there is a large collection for all children, no matter where they live.”
Another of the lines that Cinesoft is working on is the positioning of videos on the Web. For this, WebTV was created to generate audiovisual resources with more dynamic codes and different formats, to complement the information on the Cubaeduca website.
The production of documentaries and the creation of programs for national television is another of the focuses of the enterprise.
“We have sustained production of video games, we focus mainly on those that include a very strong commitment to educating young people, but we also want them to be entertained,” the interviewee stated.
Virtual libraries are another of Cinesoft’s productions, with a strong focus on the “Biblioteca del Docente” (Teacher’s Library), which was created based on teacher training. It includes seven volumes, where teachers can find everything they need to complement their professional development.
The enterprise has also created a compendium of audiovisual and computer materials, among others, in a completely free package called “Pa que te eduques” (To Educate Yourself). It guarantees all possible resources for the package’s distribution and storage in schools.
“Cuban schools compete with a very complicated audiovisual world, which creates an impression, an education, different canons to that which the Cuban educational system usually teaches. Now, any action you want to undertake with young people, with a different didactics aimed at this sector, is boring to them. That is why Cinesoft tries to keep ahead of the audiovisuality that is experienced today and develop its products in a way that attracts the interest of our students,” the Cinesoft director general noted.
This means that every program or video game that is delivered to schools supports students’ education.
“We call this learning analytics. The student uses one of our software and that program leaves traces that allow the teacher to evaluate the student without having to conduct a test, i.e. if a student spends 10 minutes on an exercise and the other children took only two, it is a sign that there are problems,” he added.
GROWTH AS A WATCHWORD
Cinesoft has demonstrated its sustainability over time, with growth every year.
“We aim to be recognized as an enterprise with high value added. We should close this year with about nine million pesos in sales. The greatest resource we have is not material, but the accumulated knowledge, the intelligence of the staff that works in the entity. Thus today we have an almost 40% profit margin, that’s clear profit for the state, for the national economy. In addition, we have raised the average salary of workers, we are profitable and continue to grow.”
Given the importance Cinesoft places on teaching, the enterprise is working to create a regional center for the development of educational resources for Latin America and the Caribbean, with the intention of sharing the pedagogical and technological models available to Cuba, that help guarantee the appropriate education of children and adolescents.
It is also working on a mobile augmented reality application, which will allow users to further interact with any museum they visit.
“Looking to the future, we must work more on the services we offer on the Web. We just did a pilot with a program called “Repasador en línea” (Online Revision), with the help of workers from the Cuban Telecommunications Enterprise (Etecsa), because to do so we needed people who were connected to the network, as it is a personalized service, for the family and schoolchildren,” Barreto noted.
For this project, participating teachers will be connected to the network 24 hours a day so that the family can interact with them in solving learners’ daily tasks. In September, this program should begin operating throughout the country and the platform will be accessible from any connection, be it through the Internet or the national navigation service (Intranet).