Co sn 2004

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Co sn 2004

  1. 1. Tecnology in Education:Tecnology in Education: Tool for What?Tool for What? Eduardo O C Chaves Professor of Philosophy and Education University of Campinas Campinas, SP Brazil eduardo@chaves.com.br
  2. 2. 2 Means and ends “Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem, in my opinion, to characterize our age” (Albert Einstein) This applies well to education today, especially to the area of educational technology: here we are giving much more attention to perfecting our means than to clarifying our ends
  3. 3. 3 Means and ends in education The reason why we have schools and, within them, teachers, curriculum, technology and other resources, and why we compel children to stay in school during almost twelve years seems to be that we hope that children will be better educated in this environment than outside it But all of these things are MEANS to the END of educating our children
  4. 4. 4 Investments and outcomes We do know that kids simply LOVE technology So we spend billions of dollars each year on: Computers, software and Internet access for our schools Teacher training in ICT skills, technology leadership programs, creation of digital content, development of platforms for delivering content, etc. And yet… we seem to have no substantial improvement in student achievement in standardized tests (Susan Patrick yesterday)
  5. 5. 5 Reason to stop and wonder Kids learn to master technology without us and much better and faster than us (as M. Prensky said yesterday, they are digital natives” and we are “digital immigrants” with a heavy accent) And yet… not even with the help of technology do kids seem to learn better the things we want them to learn Many people blame technology and urge that we go back to basics and perfect our standards
  6. 6. 6 A better diagnostic It seems evident, however, that the problem is not in technology, but in what we want kids to learn in school T-shirt: “It’s not attention deficit: I am just not listening” (apud Marc Prensky again) Kids master technology very easily and fast and learn to do with it very complex and even important things – if they are only interested in them!
  7. 7. 7 A prognostic: The Project of the Ayrton Senna Institute and Microsoft in Brazil To place a computer lab in 56 schools and give kids total control over the technology Kids manage the lab and use the equipment to do anything they are interested in The results have been amazingly positive: Kids developed important communications, decision-making and management skills Kids engaged in projects of their interest and learned to go after information and knowledge necessary to implement them
  8. 8. 8 My personal role in the project To put together a theoretical framework that would make pedagogical sense of what we were doing This framework – not at all original – has been called “Education as Human Development”
  9. 9. 9 One traditional approach to education Education, traditionally, has been very much concerned with delivering content: transmitting information and knowledge to students Either this was seen as the goal of education (to perpetuate and reproduce a given cultural heritage) Or this was seen as a necessary means for reaching some other goal (critical thinking, for instance: to think critically is to think about something – so, there comes content…)
  10. 10. 10 ICT Information and Communications Technology has rendered this concern with delivering content, with transmitting information and knowledge to students to a large extent futile Information is no longer scarce and access to knowledge is no longer difficult and restrict We need to look for approaches to education that fully take these facts into consideration
  11. 11. 11 A different approach to education When they are born, human beings are incompetent to live But they are born with an enormous potential to learn Through their learning they can become not only competent adults, but also free, rational and (why not?) happy human beings
  12. 12. 12 The end of education The end of education is to transform this potential for learning, freedom, rationality and happiness into a set of competencies In other words: the end of education is to transform, through THEIR learning, the incompetent beings that are born, into fully competent adults capable of, through their freedom and rationality, to live and enjoy life in the fullest sense (“flourish”)
  13. 13. 13 The role of technology Technology, in the broadest sense, is whatever human beings invent to make their life easier or more enjoyable Technology therefore includes both our tools and our toys Our tools have to do with our means; our toys, with our ends!
  14. 14. 14 Recent technology Recent technology offers us a potent set of tools for Gaining wider access to information Analyzing information and transforming it into useful knowledge for decision making and action Increasing our capacity to communicate and collaborate with others But it is also an incredible source of unending entertaining and fun (leisure)
  15. 15. 15 Technology of education Join all that and we have a powerful resource (tool/toy) that can significantly improve our chances of success in the business of living and being happy And that is what education is all about
  16. 16. 16 Work, leisure and learning These three are converging and making it exceedingly difficult to classify activities in only one of these categories Traditionally: after work we tried to have some fun and, perhaps, learn Today: we find things that are fun and with which we can learn and then try to make money doing them Apply this principle to education

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