Teachers Training and Technologies
The research group ForTec (Formação docente e Tecnologias - Teachers' Training and Technologies) belongs to the Post-graduate Program in Education at the PUC-Rio and it certificated by the CNPq, the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development. The general remit of ForTec is to develop studies about digital technologies integration in schools, with a specific focus on teachers' training.
We are investigating the cultural forms of engagement and learning with media, in order to foster criativity within teaching metodologies and optimize the use of technologies at school.
Some of our research themes are digital inclusion, school innovation, media education, digital culture and pedagogical sustainability.
ForTec was launched in March 2014 and actually counts on the participation of twelve researchers, post-graduate and graduate students.
Magda Pischetola - PUC-Rio
Innovation in teaching
In recent years Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have become the main keyword for school innovation. There has been an increasing amount of literature on how traditional teaching methodologies should be redesigned in order to include the use of technology. However, few studies have recognized that school innovation especially requires investments in human capability – not technology – to respond to the demands of the information age.
The question of how to bring about a real transformation of teaching and learning touches one of the most relevant issues in the debate about the use of technology in education. It shifts our attention from the technical elements of the training to digital literacy as the main outcome to be achieved by both adults and children. In fact, it means that strategies of ICT integration in teaching methods must be rethought and readapted to the cultural context, avoiding holding only a laptop responsible for the success of the project for school innovation.
Digital and social
There is still little theoretical development regarding the relationship between digital and social inclusion. However, the most recent sociological literature on inequalities has highlighted how the inability to access and use social media and the Internet can be considered part of what we mean by exclusion in the contemporary world. In fact, social media can be used to better respond to the individual needs of students, providing, through teachers’ mediation, a meaningful access to information, as well as the development of pupils’ critical potential, procedure autonomy, and creativity. Equal educational opportunities imply that a child not only possess technology, but acquires the whole repertoire of cognitive and social skills to learn and succeed in the complex learning environment that social media can be.
Inclusão digital e educação:
a nova cultura da sala de aula
Forthcoming book to be published in portugues by Vozes, Rio de Janeiro.
The book presents a comparative qualitative research carried on between 2009 and 2012 in primary schools in Italy, Ethiopia and Brazil. The examined programs – One Laptop Per Child in Italy and Ethiopia; Um Computador por Aluno in Brazil – provided children with low-cost and low-power laptops, designed both for didactical and personal use, with the purpose to actively involve them in knowledge construction. The findings illustrate how difficult it is for teachers to deal with a new setting of didactics, and how important is to provide them with the necessary training and institutional support, in order to enhance a meaningful process of school innovation.
Sustainability in Education
The findings of our researches in schools in three different countries (Ethiopia, Italy and Brazil) suggest that technology certainly does have a role in encouraging discovery learning and sharing of knowledge, but at the same time transformation of learning environments is unlikely to happen by itself in a spontaneous process.
A major problem of projects for digital inclusion seems to concern sustainability. It requires a great effort to have the project “take deep roots” and grow within time. So far, some excellent projects have proved unsuccessful because, even though some goals have been achieved in the first phase, they were not sustained later. Not only are the tools needed in the knowledge culture, but also the motivation, the enthusiasm for taking initiative, and the satisfaction of achieving goals.