In the school of the future, the IT classroom is now the whole school

In June 1992, Victor Civita Elementary School in Salvador (BA) was featured in issue 1237 of Veja magazine. The reason was the fact that it was one of the first in Brazil with an IT classroom, where students and teachers could have access to computers, diskettes and CD-ROMs (devices that enabled the archiving and exchange of information). Today, thirty years later, more than 80% of public schools have an IT classroom. However, with the advancement of the Internet in Brazil and the use of wireless connectivity (wireless field or Wi-Fi), the entire school can become a space for access to information technologies. In other words, now the IT classroom can be the whole school: classrooms, yard, corridors, library, kitchen, etc.

More than the computer classroom, what is changing is the concept of the classroom

Magda Motta, director of the Department of Educational Technologies at the Rio Grande do Sul State Department of Education (DTI Seduc-RS), believes that what is changing is not just the concept of computer classrooms, but the classroom itself. She explains that “information technology poses the following questions to teachers and managers: what can be done in the learning space? And, at the same time, what is needed for this learning space to happen?”. For Magda, the process of answering these questions showed that it is not the IT classroom that “can and should occupy the entire space of the school, but that the classroom can and should be extended to the entire school and beyond the school walls”, he said. emphasizes.

The director of Seduc-RS points out that those who work in public education know that the reality of many IT classrooms is the presence of old computers and poor connectivity. This situation has turned most of these spaces into closed rooms that almost no one uses. The computer classroom, however, has been revitalized by the concept of maker spaces: environments where a set of informal and educational technologies (digital or not) are available to students for collective, creative and interdisciplinary knowledge building. Here, the teacher has the role of encouraging and facilitating the student’s path, positioning himself as a mediator and co-author of these constructions.

Maker spaces are the way to the classrooms of the future

Makerspaces are half of this change in the concept of learning space, that’s what Magda defends: “they are a deep transformation in the concept of the computer room. However, they are still understood as an environment separate from the rest of the school. That is, there are times when students go to the makerspace to get their hands dirty and develop a project; and there is also a moment when they have normal lessons in the classroom”, he explains.

Experience of the Secretary of Education of Rio Grande do Sul

The Ministry of Education of the State of Rio Grande do Sul has made a significant effort to change this scenario. To do this, it is betting that the classroom is the starting point and that it expands to makerspaces and other school environments. Within this proposal, the approach to connectivity must be accompanied by access to devices, especially computers, and these approaches must be possible in all areas where learning should take place, that is, in the entire school.

“With this in mind, the state network has procured 50,000 computers (Chromebooks) for teachers. It also acquired 90,000 computers for students. In addition, 2,600 mobile laboratories (carts that can accommodate up to 30 computers) were acquired in order to ensure access to devices for as many students as possible (the state network currently has around 860,000 students). With this structure, teachers and students can develop projects involving digital technologies in the classroom”, concludes the director.

This type of project succeeds in changing the mindset of education leaders, according to Magda: “The manager didn’t see the value in Wi-Fi, he didn’t see the value in providing connectivity for students. For them, it interfered with classes because students would access social networks and not study. However, when computers arrived, that perspective changed. They understand the pedagogical potential of these tools and the importance of investing in wireless connections,” he explains.

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