The emergence and expansion of information and communication technologies (the so-called ICTs) between the late 1980s and the mid-1990s are called the techno-scientific revolution. Personal relations, labor relations, scientific development time, art, financial and commercial relations, and even the way of editing a text change with it. It changes society as a whole. But does the school change? Not always. To equip a school with the most modern technologies will lead to nothing if there is not enough concern with didactics, understood as the interrelation between teacher, student and content.
The most relevant issue for digital technology to integrate with pedagogical processes is its understanding as an important support for the teaching and learning process and not as an end in itself, as stated by Professor Débora Garofalo, in the municipal education network of São Paulo, in a recent debate on the subject with Paulo Desidério state professor. Both are encouraged by the spread of digital technology in the educational process and reinforce that the mastery of technologies still depends greatly on the individual effort of educators. It is also necessary to consider that technologies provide new objects of knowledge, which need to be understood and studied in initial and continuing teacher training programs. In the literacy process, for example, producing an old-fashioned text, and producing text using digital resources that allow diagraming this text with images (even on the move) pose unprecedented challenges to educators.
Another peculiar ingredient pressures for changes in school. In the field of digital technologies, knowledge (about technology itself) enters the school, in large part, in the hands of students. There is, therefore, a concussion in the old and worn out relation teacher (knowledge holder) student (blank page).
Today, about 70% of young Brazilians use the Internet as an aid in studies, according to research by the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences. According to the research “Our School in Reconstruction”, Inspirare / Porvir Institute, one of the forms of learning that young people associate with the school is to learn using technology.
According to these data, what the students are trying to say and what experts in the field have been saying for a long time is that increasing the speed and volume of information opens space for new forms of learning and requires educators who, parodying mythology, serve Ariadne and do not let them be swallowed by a minotaur of dubious quality content or get lost in a labyrinth of references in the net. This was, incidentally, a recurring theme in the test of languages and its technologies of the National High School Exam (Enem) 2017.
This interest, however, runs up against historical obstacles of the Brazilian public network: insufficient infrastructure and teacher training and work overload. There is potential for digital technologies to win classrooms as long as these tools support teacher work and infrastructure to ensure continuity of use. The lack of structured support from the secretariats of education is another obstacle noted not only in this research but also in other sources of data. Data from the Brazil 2015 quiz show that 67% of respondent teachers said they had a moderate or high need for professional improvement for the pedagogical use of information and communication technologies.
The All For Education and Partners research shows that the teacher’s primary interlocutor when it comes to learning more about digital technologies is the teacher’s own peers. That is, peer-to-peer exchange may be a good path for professional improvement in this area and should be a direction to be valued for continuing education activities.
In the municipal education network of São Paulo, since 2015, there is the Center for Learning Technologies that integrates ICTs in schools, so that the tools do not walk separate from the contents. The initiative retired the concept of “computer teacher” to set in motion an activity-oriented teacher. Proposals like these can serve as inspiration, always with the care of making the necessary adaptations to the local needs.
In a world in which digital technology is increasingly present, but still asymmetrically, the school can be a diffusion center of knowledge in this area. In the handling and access to information and digital tools, students from the most vulnerable regions find a magnifying glass relative to the world, an extension of the possibilities that 21st century society can provide for the trajectory of individuals. If a low-income student could not imagine what it would be like to face a historical relic, for example, today there are tools that simulate an Egyptian three-dimensional pyramid.
Technology can open up new perspectives for teachers and students. But without the political will to have the subject handled well in the training processes and for infrastructure issues to be overcome, we will be forever running in circles.
Research on technology use in schools points out the main challenges that educators face in the classroom
Unpublished study with 4 thousand teachers of the public network is one of the largest ever made in the area and has the support of the Telefónica Vivo Foundation
An unprecedented research coordinated by the Todos Pela Educação movement, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Fundação Telefônica Vivo, Instituto Natura, Itaú BBA and Samsung, shows the challenges that educators face and what teachers of the public network think. teaching about the use of digital technology in the classroom. The show is one of the largest ever collected in the area and traces a comprehensive portrait to understand the reality of teachers.
The study “What Brazilian teachers think about digital technology in the classroom” heard 4,000 teachers from Elementary and Middle School and Youth and Adult Education (EJA) of the public network throughout Brazil in the first half of 2017. It was conducted by the DataFolha Research Institute and Din4mo consultancy.
The data show that more than half (55%) of Brazilian public school teachers use digital technology regularly in the classroom, and that the most frequent limiting aspects for the use of technological resources are the lack of infrastructure – such as little equipment (66 %) and insufficient internet speed (64%) – and lack of adequate training – 62% never took general computer courses or digital technologies in Education.
The results show that teachers are willing to use digital technology in the classroom and that, having relevant tools for the development of their work in the school environment, as well as adequate conditions of use, there is an enormous pedagogical potential to be developed through the technological resources.
According to Olavo Nogueira Filho, manager of educational policies of the Todos Pela Educação movement, the research brings important information to subsidize governments, education secretaries, schools, third sector and technology companies, in order to respond better to an increasingly of Brazilian students: to integrate digital technology into the day-to-day life of the school.
“Through the research, we identified that, in addition to the infrastructure challenges already known, there are three main paths to advancing this technology in education: the expansion and improvement of the offer of training and specific support, the presentation of proposals that help the routine of teachers’ work and a better understanding by teachers about the potential of pedagogical impact of technology, “he says.
Despite the obstacles noted, most of them already consider themselves regular or advanced users of digital technological resources. The main applications are to present information in class (46%) at least once a week and to evaluate the students (44%).
According to teachers who pointed out that technological resources cause overload in their routine, this accumulation is mainly related to activities such as selection of materials for classes, application of tests and individual monitoring of students.
Therefore, according to the research, there is space to encourage the use of digital technological supports, as long as they contribute to the activities of the teacher, optimizing their day to day.
The lack of training opportunities is pointed out as a reason for not using digital technology with students by 57% of teachers who say they never use this feature. The proof of this is that only 59% of teachers have already taken a course on the use of this type of technology in school.
These limitations could have their effects minimized with the provision of quality training and also the presence of a reference professional in digital technology within the school, since 42% of the interviewees have questions about the use of technology with the personal relationship network or with fellow teachers. Another 15% say they have no one to turn to for help and only 14% turn to pedagogical coordinators, the best professionals to help educators.
Another highlight of the research is the teachers’ perception of the impact of the use of digital technology for the student, which can be an important decision factor for their use. In total, 34% of teachers believe that the main positive impact is student motivation and 11% see improvement in school performance as a more relevant dimension.
Regarding the impacts on teacher education itself, 96% of respondents agree that, with the use of digital technology, their teaching abilities expand.
The study of Technology Policies in Brazilian Education, conducted by Cieb (Center for Innovation in Brazilian Education), shows that the evolution of digital education in Brazil is linked to investments in the implementation of tools, physical infrastructure, high-speed broadband connection and equipment for administrative and pedagogical use in public schools. In fact, this initiative is increasingly supported by educators.
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According to TIC Educação’s research, Cetic, 68% of the Brazilian pedagogical coordinators surveyed have preferred to choose didactic materials that include digital tools. And this has a reason: in an increasingly technological world, it is difficult to arouse students’ attention and interest with conventional methods.
But the deployment of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in education goes beyond providing access to technology and automating traditional practices. They have to be embedded and integrated into the processes, adding value to the activity that the student or teacher performs, as it happens with the integration in activities of other labor segments.
Developed countries have already understood this proposal and are investing in smart classrooms with features such as smart projectors, cameras, sensors, electronic boards, microphones, audio and video systems, servers (with intelligent automatic image editing and real-time interactivity ), document viewer scanner, among other tools.
With these features, in addition to more engaged students, it is possible to extend content applied beyond the physical environment, reaching those who can not go to school.
Implementing technology can revolutionize teaching
The use of control and integration platforms between government agencies, schools and families is also seen in these countries, aiming, among other things, to control the expenses and quality of the educational services delivered by the first two and the active participation of families in the definition and implementation of public policies.
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It is clear that the deployment and operation of all these resources requires the existence of an adequate infrastructure, with high-speed connections, data management and storage services and consistent platforms to ensure the proper functioning of the tools.
So before thinking about investing in technology materials, it is imperative that governments, schools and society at large study the possibilities for innovation by choosing the tools that best fit the needs and what needs to be improved in the existing infrastructure.
The deployment of new technologies is the beginning of something that can mean a revolution in teaching.
Internet-connected schools, digital tools, platforms for sharing educational resources and other actions help to apply dynamic and more effective teaching methodologies, bringing the school closer to the connected universe that the student already experiences outside the school environment.
In addition, it is a way of ensuring that all students have access to the same content, thus generating a fairer and more equal education.
Professor Márcia de Figueirêdo Lucena Lira, Secretary of Education of Paraíba, said on Monday (17) that the country “needs to invest heavily in technological infrastructure (IT) to meet the diverse economic and social demands, especially in relation to needs of education. Today we have a series of obstacles that limit the use of technology in Brazilian education “during Bett Latin America – an event about the use of technology in education.
For Márcia Lucena innovations do not reach all corners of Brazil, “which ends directly affect the technological infrastructure available in schools.” However, according to the secretary, “there have been advances such as the state education network of Paraíba, which, like the other public networks in the country, has overcome the challenges of this technological bottleneck.” According to the secretary, today, the state has the equivalent of 66.1% of all schools with IT infrastructure.
Lucena affirms that “the Internet today is an important means for social and personal development, as well as for the construction of an inclusive and non-discriminatory society for the benefit of all”, so “it is necessary the joint effort of governments, companies and society to expand this access, “he said.
The professor cited the production of statistical data on the access and use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), carried out by the Internet Steering Committee in Brazil (CGI.br), which has been offering regular data. The historical series, produced by these data, shows that “changes are still timid regarding access” of technologies in Brazilian schools, “due mainly to the lack of infrastructure available in the interior of Brazil”, reports the teacher.
Technology as a tool for empowering learning – “We education managers are making investments to ensure the best use of technological resources,” says the teacher, adding that “it’s not just a question of computers or tablets,” citing the example of the ” Digital Educator “that has already trained more than 10,000 teachers to use technology as a pedagogical tool in the classroom.
“At the end of the first stage of the training, the teacher receives a netbook to practice the learning and use as a pedagogical tool”, completes the secretary Márcia Lucena, who considers the “Digital Educator” a revolutionary project.
According to the head of the Paraíba Network, the focus should be “on the pedagogical uses of the computer, the Internet and mobile devices”. For Lucena “we can not do without providing the opportunity to reach the necessary skills of teachers and students in the use of ICT,” he concluded.
The use of technology in education
How can technological resources generate opportunities for teaching?
Because it is relatively new, the relationship between technology and school is still very conflictive and controversial. In the classroom, the use of cell phones, iPods, notebooks and the like is prohibited (although this rule will often be cheated). If among the students it is unanimous that the prohibition is absurd, there is a clear division of position among the teachers: some take a good look at the new resources and get excited about the possibilities that may open, others fear that they will take their place, while the more conservative believe that these technologies only deconcentrate the student and hinder learning.
The big question is: if technology can be an ally of education, how will this happen? When and how should I use technology resources in the classroom?
The most controversial point of the discussion concerns children. It was shocking the report of the show Domingo Espetacular, Rede Record, which showed Canadian children, during playtime, in the classroom playing with their DSs. It is the basic lesson of any pedagogy course that children should take a certain amount of time to enjoy their childhood, to enter school and to start, from there, to be literate. This means that the child must reach and obtain a minimum degree of maturity and then engage with more responsible assignments. The problem is that the treatment done with the machine occurs through a mechanistic and artificial process and not through the relationship with other human beings. Therefore, using a computer and its technologies in early childhood education would not yet be recommended. The exception is made to electronic games specially developed for this age group and created from psycho-pedagogical studies.
In the first cycle of elementary school, however, the use of technological resources has great advantages:
- Awakening of curiosity.
- Increased creativity, especially in cases of use to aid the learning of disabled children.
- Aid in learning, with emphasis on multimedia tools.
- Productivity greater in relation to the time needed for the study itself.
It is clear that certain disadvantages exist, such as the lack of preparation of the educators themselves and the excessive use of machines, which inevitably become more attractive to the students, who are now rejecting traditional teaching. To solve this problem, you need training and planning.
The use of technologies to enhance educational outcomes and promote social inclusion in education takes two main forms. The first is the use of technologies to promote social inclusion in terms of educational opportunities and outcomes. ICT has long been promoted as a particularly appropriate means for citizens to play active roles in improving educational prospects. The second is the use of education to ensure social inclusion in terms of opportunities and technological results. In this sense, educational institutions, such as schools, provide access to ICTs, since it is considered that skills training and technological skills provide individuals with the skills they need to make the most of ICT.
Therefore, schools should be prepared to deal with these two points. Technology is a reality of teachers and students, and the real world is increasingly connected to the digital world, and the school needs to keep up with the pace of change. Information and Communication Technology can be a great ally, just be organized for this.