Technology in schools: how to overcome the lack of infrastructure

Today and in the future, technology and education are increasingly going hand in hand.
EAD Distance Education courses have facilitated access to higher education, extending through Brazil and making it possible to reach regions where it would have been impossible for anyone to attend a university.

In fact, according to experts, the EAD trend must dominate the educational market landscape, practically extinguishing classroom teaching.

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Between 2005 and 2008, for example, EAD courses had a 600% growth in the number of students, while face-to-face courses shrank because of predatory competition between private universities.

That is why traditional schools, such as USP and Unesp, began to invest in EAD courses, following a worldwide trend adopted by leading universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Berkeley and Yale.

Thus, it becomes fundamental, thinking in elementary and middle school, to rethink the issues around ICT management – Information and Communication Technologies.
The idea of ​​the EAD is to democratize the access to knowledge, but to insert in this means requires of the educating self-discipline and mastery of the instruments necessary for the good progress of the course.
It is therefore essential that, in the age of globalization, in the full information society, elementary education also enables access to available technology.

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The concept of technology.
There are many ways to understand technology, therefore, rather, it is necessary to conceptualize what we can understand by this term.
Conceptually, technology is any artifact, method or technique created by man to make his work lighter, his locomotion and communication easier or simply his life more enjoyable and fun.

Formally, technology is the use of a set of techniques, but philosophically, from the origin of the word (techno = technique + lodge = science), would be the theory or philosophy of technique.
Which brings you to ask: what is technique?
By definition, the technique is a well-defined and transmissible procedure, designed to produce a useful result.

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In this sense, from the ancient Greeks, it reflects a conscious practice, as opposed to attitudes taken by chance.
From the nineteenth century, the technique began to denote a systematization of knowledge that rests on scientific knowledge, the rationalization of the use of instruments and materials.
Thinking this way, in its original sense as well as contemporary, technology is as old as man.
This is because a wooden bat, which amplifies a blow and serves as an extension to the arm, is also part of the technology.
Nowadays, there are technologies that amplify sensory powers, perception – such as the telescope or the microscope, loud speakers, etc. – improve the ability to accumulate information – from paper, writing and pencil to computer – ample communication between men – telephone and internet – shorten travel – cars, airplanes and boats – in short, they make life easier for people and the human need to subjugate nature to survive.
However, can all technology be applied to education?

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Technology in education.
With education in mind, technology is what makes transmission and improvement of knowledge possible.
It configures the educational process in a broad sense, including in the field that extrapolates formalized education in schools.

This is because we can include any form of technology in the educational process, including media, such as radio, TV and film, as well as speaking and writing.
In a narrower sense, within the school, we use traditional technologies, including chalk, blackboard, books, notebooks, desks, tables, chairs, etc.
Just like the latest technologies such as videos, DVDs, computers, teleconferencing, digital slate, distance learning and more can be used.
In short, much of human technology can be, in one way or another, applied to education.

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Technology in a historical-cultural perspective.
The relationship between education and technology could not be closer.
Technologies are the synthesis produced by social relations, systematized in a historical moment, according to human needs to subjugate nature.

Humanization only happened from the educational process, the appropriation of knowledge through different languages, symbolic forms of mediation materialized in socio-cultural interactions.
In this sense, technology can be understood as one of the languages ​​that man uses in social construction to transform socio-economic and cultural relations, besides the very accumulation and transmission of knowledge, denoting the typical characteristics of a civilization.
According to Marx, “technology reveals man’s way of proceeding with nature, the immediate process of producing his material life and thus elucidates the conditions of his social life and the mental conceptions which flow from it.”

Technology and the information society.
At the same time, globalization created a technological determinism that subordinated to historical and social productions the rapid and condensed information, coining the conception of information society.

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The discourses that accompany the information society have elected as law the principle of tabula rasa.

There is nothing else that is absolute, everything changes quickly, so there are no unique answers.

At the same time, the information was considered, becoming a product.
In education, the transmission of knowledge also became a commodity, the student became a customer and the teacher a service provider.
In reality a process that stems from Fordism, the compartmentalization of knowledge, as in a line of assemblies.
It is in this sense that the Curriculum Guidelines for the Formation of Basic Education Teachers at the higher level define the competences that must be developed in undergraduate and full undergraduate courses:
“(…) with respect to the world of work, it is known that one of the decisive factors becomes the knowledge and control of the technical-scientific informational environment.”
The teacher was transformed into a facilitator, animator, tutor, monitor, etc.
At first glance, the teacher has become a dispensable item, easily replaced by technological resources.
However, technology lacks people to manage information, so the teacher has become an indispensable part of the use of technology in favor of education.
It turns out that the big problem is that there is still a great inadequacy of the profile of education professionals to deal with new technologies and differentiated students, a discussion that goes through the question of teacher education.

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Teacher training.
With the advent of the information society, the learner’s profile was changed to a constant dissatisfaction with the transmitted knowledge, which was perceived by the students as out of purpose and unrelated to their real needs.

The internet and the ease of access to information made the learner demand knowledge, quickly and easily.
The big problem is that teacher training courses did not fit the preparation of teaching skills compatible with this new profile.

In short, teacher training teaches one language to the teacher and the student speaks to another.
In this sense, it would be necessary for the teacher training to familiarize the future teacher with the technology, allowing greater flexibility and speed of reasoning.
Something foreseen in the Curricular Guidelines aimed at teacher training, but hardly put into practice in higher education.
The result of this unprepared teachers is the substitution of the teacher for technology, instead of becoming an instrument in their hands.

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The appropriation of technology by pedagogical practice.
Taking into account that the process of appropriation of knowledge occurs at the same time as the subjects develop culturally.
The appropriation of technology in pedagogical practice externalizes this potentiality.
In other words, simultaneously, technology serves the reproduction of the capitalist system, and can assume an integrating interdisciplinary role, helping to circumvent educational Fordism, re-elaborating the cultural context to transform the world.
It is obvious that for this to happen, both teacher and student, need to know the technological languages ​​and become aware of the context in which they are involved, establishing criticism and even questioning this reality.
It is necessary to deconstruct illusions forged by political and economic interests.
We must keep in mind that technology can mediate learning, but the educational process requires interaction between people.

Technology in schools: how to overcome the lack of infrastructure
Lack of infrastructure is one of the major obstacles to the modernization of education and the introduction of technology in schools. There are several challenges to putting Brazilian education in the 21st century, making it more attractive for present and future generations.

Thinking about this issue, we decided to discuss the structural and cultural problems facing schools in the search for modernization and digitization of their processes. But do not worry, manager! We will also point out some ways to overcome these difficulties and implement a true technological revolution in your school. Want to know how? Follow us!

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The modernization and use of technology in schools
According to data from the research carried out by Cetic.br – Regional Center for the Development of the Information Society, an entity maintained by UNESCO – in 2015, 87% of schools have already declared infrastructure for internet connectivity. In the following year, the number of connected institutions increased to 92%.

Sounds reasonable, does not it? However, this research also shows a great disproportion. Although all these schools have access to Wi-Fi networks, only 10% of them stated that the use of the signal is free for the whole school community.

In 2016, the percentages on the use of Wi-Fi network were:

21% of schools consulted revealed restricted use, but released to students by password;

61% do not release access to students who can not use the resource for studies or other educational demands.

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The same survey found that 98 percent of public schools have desktops, and 86 percent have portable computers. But there is a worrying index regarding the use of computer labs and these computational resources that the school has: 81% of these institutions rely on these laboratories, but only 59% make use of them.

Cetic also consulted teachers and other education professionals about what they think about the use of technology in schools. The results point, in a general way, to a positive perspective of the interviewees:

67% stated that they had contact with specialists and professors of other institutions through these digital technological resources;

77% find it easier to communicate with their students;

94% believe that they now have better access to diversified and better quality materials;

82% do not have internet access within the classroom.

All this thanks to connectivity.

Public school principals consulted revealed greater concern about the increase in the proportion of available computers per student, and a smaller number of these managers were primarily concerned with developing new educational practices involving the use of the Internet and the computer.

This information reveals that infrastructure issues are still more urgent and would represent a first and difficult step to be overcome in order to modernize public education.

So how to do it?
Portabilis realized all these problems of implementing technology in schools, and decided that it would create an application so that the teachers could make the call in the classroom, even without internet. Click here to learn more!

The prospects for improving this scenario
In general, there are already some that allow the use of technology in Brazilian schools in an educational way. However, the basic infrastructure required for this is not limited to the number of devices (tablets, notebooks) per student. It also needs to include aspects such as:

good quality network cabling;

power protection devices (nobreaks);

adequate IT support from the Secretariats of Education etc.

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To this end, the Ministry of Education (MEC) has implemented initiatives – such as the National Program of Educational Technology (Proinfo) – that aim to make available hardware resources and digital educational content to public schools.

There is also the One Computer Per Student (UCA) project that distributes tablets for teachers and netbooks to high school students.

These initiatives point in the right direction but are still insufficient to modernize our schools. Both the quantity and the quality of these devices and distributed resources are deficient. There is still a shortage of resources for adequate investment in infrastructure and technical support so everything works as it should.

Broadening the discussion of technology in schools much more than cables, routers, mice and laboratories, we need to invest in creating an ecosystem for connectivity in schools, experts say.

The switch from analog to digital – changing overhead and mimeographs and the like over the internet of things, mobile, cloud and networks – is not just technological. Before that, it is cultural.

According to Márcio Guerra Amorim of the Institute of Free Education, this revolution in technology in schools depends on three basic aspects:

the technological infrastructure itself;

the creation of a school environment conducive to change;

the protagonism of young people.

According to him, the great challenge is to make viable, through a functional infrastructure, a connectivity culture of public schools. It is necessary to place public education in a network, with regard to the multiplicity of interconnections between educators, public institutions and students.

According to what was discussed in the world forum Education 360, this is the path to a “global education” from which entrepreneurship and innovation can effectively arise among students.

Joint Efforts
To achieve these goals, school management and faculty need to work in perfect sync. It is necessary that initiatives for the qualification of teachers depart from the direction of the schools, in relation to the preparation for the use of digital media approaches and their infinite possibilities, including in overcoming learning problems.

Therefore, it is extremely important to invest in joint and planned efforts that guarantee the compatibility of the use of these resources by the teacher with the pedagogical proposal of the school.

These achievements also need to happen in order to meet the demands of the new Common Curricular Base for Basic Education in Brazil. The document gives much focus to the urgency of updating the teaching practice with current languages, such as:

podcasts;

fanfics;

blogs;

vlogs;

memes etc.

Strategic planning
It is necessary to plan the most appropriate decisions on which technological instruments should be used in that context. For example, one can deliberate in the planning on the supervised use of apa
(tablets, smartphones, notebooks, etc.) in the classroom, for certain purposes, as an accompaniment to some interactive content proposed by the teacher or to assist special students. Thus, educational applications can also be widely used in the classroom.

Concluding.
Technology and education have always walked together, but with technical advances there has been a false image that does not correspond to real demand.
The technicality of the 1970s, in Brazil, created a trend that began to try to replace teachers with videos and computers.
However, the effervescence of distance learning, from the beginning of the 21st century, has demonstrated that teachers are not expendable.
On the contrary, with the popularization of the internet and broadband, the more EADs grow, the greater the need for professionals trained to deal with the new technologies that evolve with extreme rapidity.
It is true that ODL demands from the students more effort and dedication than face-to-face courses, but they lack the support of educators so that the technology can be used for the benefit of knowledge construction.
In short, technology in education, be it of any nature, must be at the service of the teacher and the student, and the teacher is a mediator.
Otherwise, we run the risk of detaching this important tool from its primary purpose: to serve the progress of humanity.