Octavio Henao Alvarez is emeritus professor at Universidad de Antioquia, in Medellin, Colombia. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1983. His teaching and research efforts have focused on developing teaching competences in the areas of reading and writing among Colombian teachers. To this end, he has developed, tested and socialized a series of learning materials and projects, both in print and in digital media. His leadership in this field has been acknowledged with such distinctions as the UNESCO/SECAB Prize, which he received in 1993, as part of a contest to design written material for the teaching of reading and writing.
Professor Henao Alvarez has coordinated and participated in around 30 research projects in the areas of reading, writing and ICT, which have been funded by government entities such as the Colombian Ministry of Education, the Ministry of ICT, and the Ministry of Culture, COLCIENCIAS, and the Research Committee at Universidad de Antioquia. In 1992, he was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the University of Oregon, Eugene, in the US.
He has published around 20 books, both in print and in electronic formats, as well as a number of book chapters and research papers in journals in Spain, Latin America, and Colombia, such as Infancia y Aprendizaje, Revista Interuniversitaria de Formación del Profesorado, IE Comunicaciones: Revista Iberoamericana de Informática Educativa, Lectura y Vida, Revista Innovar, Educación y Cultura, Educación y Pedagogía, and Revista Interamericana de Bibliotecología.
Professor Henao Alvarez founded and coordinated for over ten years the School Writers’ Network, a program that aims to promote the development of reading and writing skills in children and youth, to train teachers in the use of suitable strategies for the teaching of reading and writing, both in print and in digital formats, and to guide parents to motivate and support their children in the development of competences for written communication. This program received the Premio Portafolio Regional Programas de Lectura y Escritura, awarded by the Regional Center for the Promotion of Books in Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLALC), in 2013, and the Premio Presencia de la Universidad en la Sociedad Categoría Oro, awarded by Universidad de Antioquia, in September 2014.
He has received several other distinctions for his academic work, such as the Premio Nacional de Informática Universitaria, awarded by the Colombian Association of Universities, ASCUN, in 1987; the Research Award, granted annually by Universidad de Antioquia to the beast researchers in their area, in 1992; and the Premio Colombiano de Informática Educativa, awarded by the Colombian Ministry of Education and the Ibero-American Network of Educational Informatics (RIBIE), which he has received in four different occasions, in 1992, 1996, 2002, and 2004.
He founded and coordinated for 25 years the Didáctica y Nuevas Tecnologías Research Group, within the Faculty of Education at Universidad de Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia.