Natalia Espinoza

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2015


This profile was prepared when Natalia Espinoza was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2015.
The New Idea
Natalia Espinoza has created a new form of interaction between schools and parents, offering tools for effective communication that also measure the impact of the communication’s content. Papinotas, or “Parent Notes,” sends messages between schools and parents via cellular phone text messages (SMS). This technology is increasingly accessible in Chile and globally, regardless of income level. Papinotas emphasizes positive language to build relationships of trust between schools and parents and is a more personalized, instantaneous, and effective form of communication than email, Facebook, or online groups developed by schools as a compliment to print communications.
Papinotas’ focus is on the form and content of the messages sent from teachers or directors to parents. Through a unique mechanism, which uses sophisticated semantic algorithms, Papinotas allows schools to group messages into different categories for content analysis and easy tracking of communication on both sides. Schools are trained to send messages that reinforce the students’ successes, skills, and potential. Instead of only communicating about problems, parents and schools can work together to prevent them or to devise solutions in real time. In addition to content, the Papinotas system is also focused on how things are communicated. The form of the messages is just as important for maintaining constructive communication and generating better relationships between parents and schools.
Papinotas accompanies the messaging system with training programs for the education community and permanent mentorship in order to ensure real change in how parents and schools communicate. For the first time in Chile’s education system, schools and parents know what, where, how, why, and with whom to communicate, and can work together on specific strategies for learning success for each child. Already in 160 schools, Papinotas has great potential to scale, given similar problems that persist in schools worldwide. By the end of 2015, Natalia plans to be in 468 schools in Chile. After tweaking the application and expanding benefits for schools, Natalia is laying the groundwork to grow across Chile and to other countries in the region within the next five years.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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