Gabriel Mario Rodrigues –
Chairman of the Board of Directors of ABMES
“Technology is changing the way we produce, consume, relate, and even exercise our citizenship. Now it is the turn to transform also the way we learn and teach … ” (Anna Penido – Director of Inspirare)
In the Veja magazine of 8/29, the issue superb in its special report “Education, the Lessons for Teaching not to Become a Museum Piece”, along 16 informative and attractive pages sponsored by Senai.
From the material, we extracted reflections that we wish to share with the readers. In the article “The future Has Arrived”, Monica Weinberg takes testimony from the German physicist Andreas Schleicher, 54, the great person in charge of the Pisa test, who evaluates teaching in the world. For Brazil, the message is very well given as an alert. Schools need to move quickly into the 21st century if they do not want to be outdated. Although he has already made the same recommendation in August 2008, also through Veja’s Yellow Pages, it seems that he spoke in the desert: nothing has changed, such as the mania and the insistence of Brazilian students to memorize. The lack of interest in the teaching career and the thinking that millions and millions of reais can save teaching.
Andreas is not a beginner in the field, on the contrary, he has had almost twenty years of experience running the planet under OECD orders since the year 2000. Professional, very capable of giving true opinions, but that says a lot to a good understander, such as that Brazilian students lack the ability to abstract, connect concepts and understand how they help elucidate concrete problems. His chivalry is in speaking about students, not the teachers, who are responsible for this backward thinking, or rather, of the incompetence itself, since they lack a minimum of continuous education, not to say daily readings, participation in workshops, forums, etc.
Unwilling to acknowledge the need for change, Andreas says schools refuse to change because it is easier and more convenient to follow the path known. Schools want to change, but corporatism and syndicalism do not allow it. So, without changing gears, we stand in neutral, standing, burning fuel without taking advantage of the demographic bonus that’s about to close its windows and doors. We lost a treasure.
Multidisciplinarity in a school is a great example that requires a profound change of rites, which demand more from teachers, since it implies joint planning, each with its own vision, and that will certainly result in a more complete learning. And the price to pay by teachers for such actions implies studying, debating, exchanging, reading and applying that result. But this participatory behavior, which is difficult in other places, does not start here, as there are, among other obstacles, strategies to attract the best students to teaching. Awakening the interest of talented people to the teaching profession goes far beyond good salaries.
Andreas has his own opinion about technology in the classroom. He argues that it can be useful in making possible something that seems impracticable, that is, giving individualized treatment to large groups. One has to consider that the computer is a tool of the 21st century, but it is at the service of pedagogies of the nineteenth century and alone solves nothing. Technology can help greatly by increasing the teacher’s ability to offer a good lesson in a variety of ways, facilitating individual student follow-up, opening space for personalization of teaching, and helping to scale up new learning opportunities. In addition, trends in their use in education point to the convergence of portable electronic devices that expand learning opportunities within and outside the classroom and generate data about those processes and the people involved in them. But if the master is not good, the technology alone is not going anywhere.
The magazine Porvir distinguishes itself in the country by discussing technology in education with work usually proposed in partnerships with the Lemann Foundation, the Movement for Education, and Inspirare, always formulating projects of great educational reach.
The journalists Marina Lopes and Vinícius de Oliveira, accompanied the 8th Edition of TIC Education Research and found that, although internet use is present in the lives of children and adolescents, only 7% of students are allowed to connect by cell phone in the classroom. The results of the survey were released on Wednesday (22) by Cetic.br (Brazilian Internet Steering Committee) and provide an overview of the use and appropriation of information and communication technologies in primary and secondary education.
Conducted between August and December 2017, the survey evaluated 957 public schools (except federal) and private urban schools. In this edition, data from rural schools were also included, based on 1,481 interviews with directors or heads of public and private educational institutions of different teaching modalities.
With the frequent use of devices such as cell phones, notebooks and tablets to connect to the Internet and carry out school activities, Alexandre Barbosa, manager of Cetic.br, concludes that institutions, educators and policy makers are dealing with new issues. “It’s a great challenge to move from an isolated, non integrated use of technology in [computer] labs to moving into a situation where technology permeates school disciplines and environments,” he says.
Although cell phone serves as an instrument for carrying out different pedagogical activities, as pointed out by the research, the manager of Cetic.br says that public policies must also adopt strategies that favor access to different equipments. Today, while 79% of urban private schools use desktop computers to connect, only 46% of public institutions have access. When it comes to devices that allow greater mobility, this number drops to 56% of private schools that use tablets to access the Internet, in contrast to only 33% of public schools.
In the face of the realistic picture, we cannot letup, understanding, however, that this can change, something we all hope, although we have a long way to go before achieving excellence, which is not easy.
But let’s be optimistic because promising signs are emerging, as Professor Andreas points out as he ends by adding that “it is by laying down pillars that we can guarantee quality through reliable institutions and lucid measures, capable of surviving the storms, as the only way for a country’s education not to be dependent on the social context.”