Use of new technologies in teaching – How can technology improve Brazilian education?

Do you know how many edtechs there are in Brazil today? To answer this and other questions, Abstartups along with the Edtech Committee has just launched a mapping that identifies the country’s educational technologies. In the study, 364 edtechs were mapped. This is a representative number not only for the sector, if we think that education is also in 1st place among the startup market with 7.8%.

Another important data from this study shows that 73% of Brazilian states have at least 3 edtechs. This is positive though a difficult business where the education entrepreneur first of all, has to believe in the power of transformation of his actions. Want to see the full study?

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It reminded me of a conversation I had at an educational technology fair with more than 177 startups with a municipal secretary of education who, lost in the midst of so much novelty, asked me startled if all this innovation was really revolutionizing schools.

I took the opportunity to draw the attention of the public manager to the impact of technology on education. I explained that the Brazilian Startups association has a base of more than 300 education companies that are revolutionizing elite schools in Brazil. The state-of-the-art teaching includes, for example: software programming classes, robotics and platforms capable of identifying the pedagogical difficulty of each student in a personalized way, presenting videotapes to suppress any deficiencies of the student that has been left behind. However, all this technology has been increasing the quality gap between public and private institutions. The research “Our school in (re) construction”, developed by PORVIR / Inspirare Institute with 132 thousand students aged 13 to 21 from all regions of Brazil, points out that the greatest desire of young people is to use technology outside the computer lab.

Despite the appeal, the Ministry of Education and the municipal and state secretaries have not yet understood the message. Startups complain that the government could exponentially improve the quality of education while saving resources, as was the case with the Geekie Games study platform.

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The platform was part of a program offered by the Ministry of Education and the Social Service of Industry (SESI) entitled ENEM Time that aimed to qualify students for the feared Enem. It has changed the preparation of students, especially those in public schools and poor families, for offering free and personalized education. This served to considerably reduce the almost insurmountable barrier that separates who is in the private network from who is in the public network. The students of the last year of high school had access to a set of videos, exercises and a syllabus shaped to their interests, that took into account the educational reality and the goals of each one. All this, repeating, for free.

The ENEM Time attracted more attention from the vestibands that use the system for longer than social networks like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. On average, students who used Geekie Games on the Enemy Hour program spent 57 minutes a day studying – the national Facebook standard is now 44 minutes a day and Instagram is 12. The data is from a comparison made between numbers of a survey on social networks elaborated by the company SimilarWeb and information raised by Geekie Games.

In 2016, the project contributed to a 72-point improvement in academic performance and impacted 4.5 million students using less than 0.0001% of the resources that would be needed to have the same effect without the use of technology. However, the program was abandoned in 2017 because of lack of political interest, leaving millions of students homeless.

While the Brazilian elite that studies in private school advances in teaching and guarantees the dreamed vacancy in a university, the public school student is neglected for lack of commitment of its managers. For example, there is a substantial amount of existing PNLD resources (National Textbook Program) sufficient to transform education in Brazil. For this, it is necessary to adjust the purchase model, including new educational products, to allow the public schools to enjoy the technology of the startups and thus to give life opportunity for all the children and young people.

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We live in a new model of society, modified by the use of information and communication technologies, that integrate our daily life in such a way that it seems difficult to imagine life without them (Kenski, 2003). In this current model, the school lost its exclusive role in transmitting and distributing knowledge. As Abreu (2001, p.2) affirms, “today’s school to dialogue with the information society needs to be redesigned and include the audiovisual and digital language in its space.”

A great technological apparatus (computers, projectors, televisions, tablets, smartphones, videogames and cameras) is incorporated into the daily life of people of all social classes and age groups. According to Kenski (2003), all this technological apparatus makes the teachers and the school to renew themselves, since they bring numerous challenges to education professionals. The main challenge may be to “understand how these changes affect the school and modify the role of the teacher in the classroom” (Ferreira; Souza, 2010).

Mobile technologies challenge institutions to move away from traditional teaching in which teachers are the center for more participatory and integrated learning, with face-to-face and other moments at a distance, maintaining personal and affective bonds, being together virtually (Moran, s / p.2).
Despite the recurring recommendation regarding the accomplishment of diversified works, with the use of new methodologies and tools, some resistance is still found. The teacher must seek the re-signification of teaching and learning concepts and practices by appropriating information and communication technologies. Students need to be prepared so that they are able to seek information, evaluate, select, structure and incorporate their own knowledge. It also involves understanding basic principles that enable them to participate in debates involving scientific and technological issues, their benefits, problems and influences.

Including new technologies in everyday school life is a necessity, since they are present in a student’s life outside of his or her school environment. The inclusion of these technological resources in the school can contribute to improve the conditions of access to information and broadens learning situations. However, the simple insertion of these resources does not mean learning, since, on their own, they do not change the school (Moran; Masetto; Behrens, 2003). It is not enough just to equip schools with all kinds of technological apparatus and to maintain the attitude of the educator and the same school model, because in this way any technological supports will be reduced to mere differentiated ways of transmitting information. Well defined objectives are needed, and especially the guarantee of integration to the curricular processes (Ferreira and Souza, 2010), because otherwise the technology will be used only as an instrument. Thus, technologies based on new conceptions of knowledge, methodology and new profiles of students and teachers can contribute and transform processes of teaching and scientific learning.

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The school, from problematizing and challenging situations, takes the student to the search of information; then enables the intellectual development and the conditions for the individual to be agents of change in their environment. The profile of the school and the teacher ceases to be guided only in the transmission of knowledge, requiring from then on a work of facilitating the learning process, coordinating actions, encouraging questions, debates, contextualizing the data and adapting what is taught to the reality of students’ daily practices.

This new school requires not only a new pedagogical concept, but especially that teachers assume a new responsibility and a central role as intermediaries of the process of acquisition and elaboration of knowledge (Ripper 1996: 63).
Technology can stimulate learning, opening up a new dimension of access to information. The internet, for example, is a tool for brainstorming, sharing research and a great social network. Virtual communities open up a new dimension to the intellectual exercise with the development of quick thinking and teamwork. Add to this the possibility of creating a learning space as a result of the search and exchange of information. In this way, the insertion of new technologies can be important for the construction of knowledge by the student, since the integration between technology and knowledge allows understanding current problems, developing alternative projects for everyday transformation and citizenship construction (Almeida, 2005). New technologies can and should modify the structure of the class, making it more dynamic and sometimes replacing the textbook. Even against all this, the teacher does not lose his function; continues to direct the learning process, but with another posture, acting as a provocateur or mediator in the construction of learning.

Teachers are subjects of the knowledge and mediators of all pedagogical action that takes place inside the school; for this reason, they need to appropriate new technologies, not only to motivate the students, but to understand the active and dynamic process that occurs in this interaction between man and machine (Paramanianello, Maman, 2010, p.3).
In this sense, it is necessary for the teacher to review his / her pedagogical practices (Fonseca and Magina, 2017) and, as mediator of learning (Parzianello and Maman, 2010), to have theoretical mastery and to use appropriate methodologies for an interactive teaching-learning process contextualized and significant (Seegger and Canes, Garcia, 2012).

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The new technologies in education are an important tool to stimulate the teaching-learning process. If applied responsibly and creatively, technology can have different benefits for students and even for educators. With the popularization of technological devices, it is common for new generations to have these devices inserted in their daily life, and the school should not be unaware of these influences.

It is important to emphasize that technology does not replace the role of teachers in education, and it is fundamental that educators know how to use these new media and software. A state-of-the-art device does not guarantee student learning, which makes the teacher’s role essential in this process. When balance is found, the use of equipment, softwares and media contribute to students ‘cognitive development and help teachers to arouse students’ curiosity. Check out some of the key benefits of new technologies in education.

Makes classes more attractive
Awaken students’ curiosity and attention
Improve productivity
Help educators to streamline lessons
Contribute to extraclass school achievement

Now that you are aware of the influence of technology on education, it is important to analyze the school’s pedagogical project and talk to the co-ordinator to see how the institution introduces technology into the educational process. To find institutions that understand the importance and advantages of having a teaching plan with differentiated approaches, count on Educa Mais Brasil.

Did you know that the history of technology in education began even before the application of communication and information technologies (ICTs) in the teaching-learning process? Not?

The history of technology in education begins in ancient civilizations.

Are you curious to understand more about the history of technology in education?

So continue reading and stay within how technological evolution has impacted educational processes.

When it comes to technology, what comes immediately to your mind?

I bet you think of cell phones, tablets, computers, do not you?

However, experts define technology as something far beyond that.

According to them, we can understand by technology a set of methods, techniques, processes or procedures used in human activity, not limited, therefore, only to the use of tools such as computers, cell phones, tablets, etc.

Do you know when you create a technique to earn more in your studies?

Well. It is a technology focused on the improvement of their studies.

The history of technology in education: from the use of wood to digital technology
Although many scholars attribute to the twentieth century the beginning of the history of technology in education, it should be emphasized that education since its origin has always used some technology, at least that is what the philosopher Demerval Bruzzi, former director of the Ministry of Education, says.

According to this researcher, education has been surrounded by technologies practically since 1650.

Example is the Horn-Book technology. It was a wood with printed letters used at the time for children’s literacy, that is, used to teach them to read and write religious texts.

Another technology used, this time between 1850 and 1870, was the Ferule, a tool used as a pointer / indicator in classrooms. Soon after, at the end of the 1870s, what we know today as a slide projector, the Magic Lan Tern, emerged.

Do not think that the history of technology in education ends there, right?
In 1890 the blackboard appeared, besides other technologies like the pencil.

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From this, several tools emerged and became part of the teaching-learning process of many students, such as the calculator, the ballpoint pen, among others, until finally reaching the era of the use of Information and Communication Technology in the years 2000 , with the popularization of computers.

The impact of Information and Communication Technologies on Education
The 21st century is marked by the intense use of Information and Communication Technologies in educational processes.

With the emergence of Web 2.0, a nomenclature created by researchers in the field of communication to refer to the web as a dynamic, interactive and intuitive space, education was revolutionized.

Both teachers and students began to create content and share that content through computers and mobile devices connected to the web.

Teachers started to create discussion forums and discussion spaces using technologies such as groups on social networking sites and educational platforms, spaces that allow people to express themselves through diverse media such as images, texts and videos, enabling them to both learn how to teach.

Undoubtedly, the emergence of ICTs and Web 2.0 represent a major advance in the area of ​​education and an impact on the way of teaching and learning.