Having high financial resources does not guarantee the teaching and learning process

I have been asking myself more and more about ways of conceiving learning. I have recently visited Recife, the capital of a northeastern state in Brazil    and their Municipal Department of Education and got to know up close what they have been doing in the field of teaching programming and robotics.

In conversation with several teachers in person, after nearly two years of social distancing and COVID-19, I got to know about their work and anxieties.

One of their anxieties is that they have cutting-edge resources, such as humanoid robots and Lego kits with which they won several national and international championships, but the greatest difficulty was in promoting learning that was meaningful and contextualized in real problems with those devices.

I showed them how to start the work of Robotics with Scrap based on the maker culture and without having so many resources and they were interested in knowing how children and young people turned them into a teaching methodology for 3.5 million students.

At that moment, I remembered Papert’s teachings (1980) and his pedagogical and epistemological concerns arising from classes that remained essentially the same after the introduction of Technology (PAPERT, 1980). We are still stuck with instruments and a traditional education structure in which creativity and critical thinking must be allowed to be present in the process.

It is not just a matter of bringing technology and robotics to school to achieve improvements in the quality of education. The innovative use of technology on a daily basis, by students and teachers, can be the big difference for radically changing the centralization of the educational process on the teacher. Students  become responsible for the process of their own development and, therefore, of their education.

Constructionism allows people a new way of acquiring knowledge, through the construction of artifacts and was cited by Papert (1980) as being of intense influence on their own training.

These constructivist ideas (based on the work of Piaget, his mentor in the years he worked with him in Switzerland) date back to his childhood, when mechanical components and gears influenced his interest in constructing artifacts.

Papert’s interest in gears shapes his constructivist view of learning; what an individual can learn, and how they learn, depends on the models they have.

Papert-Freire, both defend the presence of the mediator in the social factor in learning. For Freire, the use of technology in education should have the character of technological praxis, since all use of technology is initially permeated with ideology. It is necessary to identify the bases of technological practices, in search of real justifications for their use.

For Freire, technology needs to be used without a full understanding of the real reason for its use, since the possibility of political-ideological manipulation also permeates technological environments and means. Freire advocates that the full understanding of technology humanizes men and makes them capable of transforming the world.

Papert and Freire demonstrate, in everything that has been mentioned and discussed here, that the scientific and technological moment in which we find ourselves affects education.

New epistemological questions will demand a new analysis of educational practice, within the vision of a practice that generates autonomy and praxis. The construction of a new education should take advantage, but also guarantee access to information and content, making the student a discoverer, just like  researchers of their time. Technologies enable the learner in this exploration.

References

FREIRE, P. Pedagogia do oprimido. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1979. FREIRE, Paulo. Pedagogia do oprimido. 17.ed. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1987.

FREIRE, Paulo. Pedagogia da Esperança: Um reencontro com a pedagogia do oprimido. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1993.

FREIRE, Paulo. Pedagogia da autonomia. 9. ed. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1998.

O FUTURO da Escola: Seymour Papert e Paulo Freire – uma conversa sobre informática, ensino e aprendizagem. Produção da Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo – TV PUC. São Paulo: PUC-SP, 1995. Vídeo na Internet (60 min.), Formato MP4, son., color. Disponível em http://177.11.48.108:8080/xmlui/handle/7891/395 >. 10 de out. 2021.

PAPERT, S. Mindstorms: Children, computers and powerful ideas. Brighton: Harvester Press, 1980.

PAPERT, Seymour. A máquina das crianças: repensando a escola na era da informática. 2. ed. Porto Alegre: Artes Médicas, 1994.

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