Technology and Education: competitors or allies in the construction of the school of the future? – Computers

Technology and Education: competitors or allies in the construction of the school of the future? - Computers

In today's world and the fruit of the digital era in which we find ourselves, change is happening at an absurd pace while requiring a greater adaptation to the needs and behavior of society itself.

This is no different in the educational field, where technology has been promoting a major digital transformation and influencing the formulation of understandings and learning processes, something visible by the increasing number of online courses and trainings and discussion forums that have brought autonomous learning a new dimension.

Given this scenario, the changes in the forms of education are also necessary to follow all this evolution and meet the new requirements of the educational market. In Portugal, one of the kick-offs was given in 2008 with the Technological Plan of Education (PTE) which aimed to transform classrooms into the use of technology and mark a new moment of computerization of the school in Portugal by being a means to improve school outcomes and modernize teaching-learning processes.

The project and the associated investment made it possible to place Portugal in top positions in the use of technology in the area of ​​education in 2010, as showed the PISA (International Student Assessment Program), but the last "Portrait of Portugal 2018", Presented in Brussels earlier this month, reveals that Portugal has to invest in education, an area where it remains statistically at the tail of the European Union (EU).

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Although significant developments in the information society have been seen in recent years, Professor Pedro Xavier Mendonça told SAPO TEK that despite everything being more technological now "including the school, even if it is because each student owns a smartphone ", There has not been a sufficient upgrade of these technologies over the last few years.

"Digital technologies in particular require a permanent upgrade, which makes the digital education system a major consumer of innovations or new digital versions. Somewhat expensive, "says the researcher who believes that technology and the School" are more competitive (for the attention and interest of students, for example) than collaborative entities "

The gap between the skills needed and those acquired by the students, partly due to the lack of significant investment in technological equipment and infrastructures, is a great challenge for today's schools and may lead to the loss of meaning, alertness in statements to SAPO TEK Jorge Pedreira, Assistant Secretary of State for Education between 2005 and 2009.

For the person in charge, the school has long ceased to be the only means of general access to information and knowledge, risking, today, "not to be the main if the world of technology and in particular the Internet on the periphery of its operation, "he says.

"It is necessary to realize that we are facing new generations that have a completely different relationship with information, with knowledge and with their respective forms of legitimation. And that we are facing a world in which information and knowledge are produced and circulated in new ways. The school and the education system can not pretend that nothing happened, "he says.

Fernanda Ledesma, president of the National Association of Computer Teachers, also argues that the school must adjust to the changes of society in its various dimensions, a "path that is never completed and which, in the case of technology, is a continuous rush" , he points out.

Technological education is much more than teaching technology to children and young people, but rather must also lead young people to use technology in a simple way and applied to reality, using tools that allow them to give up their creativity and imagination.

Pedro Xavier Mendonça affirms that it is necessary to put the technology in its place: as content and possibly instrument useful in some cases and not as "magic little pozinho". Moreover, it is not "throwing technology on people that is magically going to improve learning", argues the researcher who also points out the need to distinguish between "learning to use technology in order to prepare young people for a technological world "and" to use technology to learn all subjects because we can learn better. "

In what way can the Portuguese school adapt to the challenges of technological evolution?

Somewhat across the globe, the school institution has made adjustments and has sought to provide tools to adapt to an audience that is no longer captivated by prolonged oral expositions and notes in a table.

And although there is still some resistance to the use of new forms of teaching, among them those using new technologies, Pedro Xavier Mendonça points out that the big problem is "to know how to overcome a transmissive-encyclopedic teaching, little active and asymmetric." Here, technology may eventually help in this process, "but it should be only a support, not the center of the issue," he concludes.

In order to meet these objectives, the current Ministry of Education advocates a diversified set of measures and educational projects, which highlight the "introduction of the curricular component of Information and Communication Technologies in Basic Education, covering areas such as Programming and Robotics, but also Information Literacy "and the" continuity of multiple Programming and Robotics projects in the 1st cycle, covering more than 400 schools in the country, "a source from that ministry told SAPO TEK.

The adaptation of the Portuguese school to the challenges of technological evolution also involves an investment in equipment and infrastructures, to be designed within the scope of the InCode2030 program, points out the same source, giving as an example the offer to all students in the 1st and 2nd . Cycle of digital licenses associated with textbooks to be able to explore contents beyond the book, a measure contemplated in the last proposal of State Budget for 2019 and that shows a growth in Education of 4%.

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"The total expenditure consolidated in the Basic and Secondary Education and School Administration budget amounts to 6,421.3 million euros in 2019, compared to the amount of 6,173.1 million euros in 2018, representing a growth of 4% over to the 2018 budget, mainly due to an increase in staff costs of 4.5% and other current operating expenses of 4.4%, "read in the report released on the day OE2019 was parliament.

Regarding teachers, the report refers to "a reinforcement of the training of education professionals" and that "special emphasis will be given to continuing education, with an estimated 35,000 teachers and educational agents attending training courses in the 2018/2019 school year ".

Regarding the requalification of schools in charge of Parque Escolar, the OE2019 report states that the forecast of investments to be made in 2019 by the company created to requalify and maintain the schools is 61.9 million euros, affecting the acquisition of capital goods.

The construction, often in partnership with the Municipalities and Intermunicipal Communities and with the support of local partners, of innovative learning spaces (known as Classrooms of the Future) are also a strategic bet of the Government, as well as the investment in the digital literacy promoted by the School Library Network.

However, alongside these sets of evolutions in whichand the mobility and the possibility of learning in different interfaces and with chosen routes will be a trend and a supplement, one can not leave aside the human factor, considered fundamental by Pedro Xavier Mendonça.

"Technology is good at creating automatisms, but not in creating social relationships. Learning must also pass through human interaction, so as to value affective skills and even citizenship, "he concludes.

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