As responsible for Educational Innovation in La Salle school, Francisco Chamorro is one of the people involved in the creation of “Espacio Maker”. The goal of this space is to include both technological and pedagogical innovation in the school. In this interview he explains how they designed the space and gives recommendations to inspire other schools to think about their own educational spaces.
Patricia Escauriza is a specialist in Educational Innovation in Paraguay and has wide experience in education and technology projects. In this interview she shares some key points on how to make the most of computational thinking in general, and programming in particular, in the school curriculum. She also gives some advice to those who haven’t included these competences in the classroom yet.
Thus we can see how it is possible to work cross-cutting skills with a simple activity, so that a primary school teacher in Paraguay, who is in charge of teaching most of these subjects, can fulfill many of the abilities required by the Ministry with one simple,creative, valuable and relevant activity.
“Teaching programming in a cross-cutting way is entirely applicable to practically any subject”
- think critically, because they have to evaluate different situations, try out solutions, and correct some of those possible solutions that have become a problem (code correction).
- communicate effectively, because to be able to communicate their programming process, they should have first understood the task and the process correctly. Being able to explain everything correctly is a practice that needs to be built up.
- collaborate, because programming usually involves two or more people in the same project. When someone works individually, another person revises their code and that exchange involves the richness of teamwork.
- tolerate frustration and ambiguity, because they constantly work on trial and error, and perseverance results in solving and/or improving their code, among other things.
Therefore, we can see that programming develops not only hard but also soft skills that are currently necessary for the global market.
Juan Carvajal Fernández is a Mathematics teacher at a primary school in a Chilean city with 30,000 inhabitants. He noticed poor mathematics performance in the country and his school in particular. Far from accepting this diagnosis, he looked for possible improvements and created the application Matlapp to include technology in the classroom dynamically and critically to reach educational goals. In this interview, he talks about his innovative experience and why it is relevant to choose mobile learning strategies in the current teaching processes. Also, he challenges other colleagues to include technology in the classroom to connect with students.
Laura Mares: “It is important that kids really know how to program in a world surrounded by programs”
Laura Mares is a specialist in Educational Technology, well-known in Argentina and the whole region. She is the Executive Coordinator of Fundación Sadosky, where, among other initiatives, they work on the Program.AR, with the final goal to contribute to a significant learning of the world of computers all around Argentinian schools. In this meeting, she reveals the program’s educational value and the key points to guide the inclusion of computational thinking in the classrooms.
Gonzalo Zabala is an acknowledged expert in the field of robotics in Argentina. He is a primary education teacher, holds a BS in Computer Science and has a wide experience in education and technology. In this interview he talks about the current situation of educational robotics in Argentina and gives specific advice to teachers who are beginning to work with it as well as to those who would like to continue deepening its use in the classrooms.
Robotics in the school curriculum
Gonzalo refers to robotics as a didactic resource that integrates three disciplines: mechanics, electronics, and programming. This integration is a goal in itself that can be achieved by carrying out robotics proposals. It is crucial, however, to understand the current educational context, and that is why Zabala believes there should be a change in Argentina’s education in order to advance with educational robotics.e also discusses the main current difficulties of this approach in the classroom.
How to implement robotics in the classroom?
Zabala mentions several proposals that are basic and advanced as well as technical and crucial. “It’s endless”, he claims several times when referring to the great number of possible projects. Gonzalo is convinced that the general approach to technological education will involve progress and setbacks, but it will always be there. He doesn’t know to what extent the institutions will be transformed but he demands a place for robotics in the curriculum.
Mariana Ferrarelli: “Data literacy is an actual eye-opener”
Currently, and especially from the pandemic onwards, the digitization of daily life has accelerated and therefore there has been a change in the nature of the knowledge and skills needed in order to function with certain efficiency in the daily exchanges.
Personally, I’m interested in talking about augmented literacies to refer to a set of sensitivities, intuitions, competences, and knowledge that we need every day to interact with others on digital platforms as well as in analog daily life. Both the technological change and the acceleration produced by information overload raise questions concerning how much of that change is inevitably dragging us and how much we can question, resist and even interpellate from each community’s local culture, from each school and classroom.
The fact that something is new doesn´t necessarily mean that it’s better than what we had, that’s why it’s worthwhile to stop and think, and contextualize the mutations promised by platforms. The sole idea of stopping to reflect is a skill that can be practiced and decided. Empowering ourselves as users choosing where and why to participate, deciding how to carry out our exchanges, what contents to read or see beyond the algorithmic regulation are collective and conscious daily exercises. In every case, they are learnings that are built gradually and that bring into play the old and the new and the possible associations established subjectively in a situated and specific context.
Teaching and learning, working or interacting in the new ultradigitized scenarios implies not only incorporating instrumental technical knowledge but also self-regulating our subjectivity to answer with emotional responsibility to the constant stimuli and the message overload. The augmented literacies are proposed as an articulation among varied skills: social, civic, expressive, play, data, narrative, and information skills. For instance, data literacy has become very important in the past few years, and this has become clear with the pandemic.
This opens up several possibilities for the classroom because we can establish a dialogue between any of the topics we need to teach and some of the portals offering databases to deepen the didactic approach with students: gender issues, tourism, transport, cultural consumption, human rights, etc. At this moment I am working with my secondary students on a proposal that explores their media practices and aims at generating visualizations to compare the cultural consumption quantity and quality in different social media: Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube, Twitch, etc.
In our current project I am the classroom teacher and I am assisted by the Computer Science teacher, who also has a BA in Information Systems. In Sociology we worked with qualitative and quantitative research methods last year; for example, with this same group we conducted surveys on different topics (alcohol consumption, social media uses during the pandemic, time spent preparing exams, etc.). Our current challenge is to work with open databases departing from a research question we propose to explore. Last year we dealt with topics that were more related to adolescence and school issues. However, this year the idea is to explore more general topics and to use data to learn about the different dimensions of a single problem: the environment, gender violence, analog cultural consumptions (movies, theater, books), etc. The main obstacle I found was accessing databases that would allow us to work with the topics and questions raised by the students. But this was quickly solved thanks to the enriching and powerful experiences I came across while searching for resources, which helped me to imagine my own proposal and adapt it to my context and possibilities.
About the student’s process, I included a final meta cognitive activity in order to start a conversation on how they found this new approach. As a result, there was a strong sense of authenticity in the proposal, the feeling of investigating real world topics with real world tools. All of this brings them closer to their future university and work prospects: working with databases from official websites of different organizations, experiencing the need to work in groups and to agree on working guidelines, and dealing with a topic coming from their own interests.
Corina Rogovsky coordinates the Education Technology Department at the La Salle Argentina network and, specifically at the La Salle Florida school, in Buenos Aires, Argentina La Salle Schools are present in 82 countries, and have been in Argentina for more than 100 years. Their learning methodology is based on the culture of thinking and on the permanent training of teachers.
In this interview, Corina talks about her first steps working at the Florida school , where she organized the incorporation of educational technology from scratch, and explains the strategies she chose and the resources she optimized. She also shares resources and advice to strategically and significantly incorporate educational technology in schools.
She coordinates the Department of Innovation and Educational Technology at La Salle Organization and is also the coordinator of Educational Technology at La Salle Florida School.
She is in charge of the Pedagogical Management of the Higher Diploma in Education and New Technologies at Pent Flacso and is a professor in that project. She is a member of the Research team, author of courses and formative experiences, and professor of UNC Masters and Flacso Uruguay.
She is coauthor of the book How to teach learning. Education, Innovation, and Technology in times of crises.
Eva Bach: “Without emotional health, there is no health, wellbeing or academic performance”.
Eva Bach is a pioneer in introducing emotional education in the learning and family environments in Cataluña as well as other autonomous communities in Spain. Teacher, trainers’ trainer and writer, she specializes in personal development, emotional intelligence, communication, and interpersonal relations.
mSchools talked to Eva about the importance of socio-emotional education.
The importance of social-emotional education
Let's have in mind that we are constantly doing emotional education, even if not formally or intentionally. When educating there is always emotional transmission, whether explicit or not, healthy, or unhealthy. This is because there are two types of emotional education: part of the official curriculum, which happens during the established time and within formal programs, and relational, which happens all the time, without needing official programs, through plain human contact and osmosis, . The best emotional education program in the world couldfail if whoever is applying it is emotionally incompetent.
Basic social emotional skills of faculty work around the 3 main axes of emotional competence, these must be applied and adapted to the classrooms:
Intrapersonal dimension: to feel good with oneself, with one's emotions and ways of feeling. Applied to the classrooms it means, among others, to know how to identify, express, contain and transform emotions or emotional states in a proper way, such as to avoid projecting them or transferring them to the students.
Interpersonal dimension: to have proper relation and communication skills, to feel good with others and to make others feel good with us. Applied to the classrooms it means, among others, to communicate and educate using emotions in a sound way , to empathize and to consider the student's esteem, to be emotionally in sync with the group, to maintain our own center, to know how to see and promote talents and skills for both, groups and individuals, and to know how to identify, express, contain and transform emotions and emotional group states. Or at least, to not make them worse with one's own.
Ethical and social or eco-social dimension: to leave a positive mark in our path, to contribute with health and global emotional sustainability through our actions and presence in the world. Applied to the classrooms this means, among others, that what we are as humans sustains , reinforces and guides to the best possible outcome what we do as professionals, such as the ability to spread nice emotions in the educational context and to create positive, motivational, powerful, and fruitful education environments.
Curriculum focuses on innovation and motivation but there is one essential thing that continues to be left out : Life, with capital letters, what happens inside and among people, what moves us in our daily life and during interactions with others and the world.
To have emotional intelligence and social skills are two of the great skills needed to succeed in a job and in a future that seems to be more and more robotic. We need to think about how to develop these global competences that make us grow as professionals and as people. ourselves, not only how children can develop them. This will surely happen if we redefine the learning environments. . To change this may mean to break certain rigid aspects that are still present in the school environment. If not , the gap between the four walls in the classroom and the reality outside will grow bigger.
To educate digital teenagers that live in the present and virtual dimensions, we discuss the need to educate in hybrid values that arise from transcending and merging dualities that have been dissociated, when not opposed. It is the symbiosis era among concepts, entities, attitudes, and skills that can no longer work on their own. In person or virtually, neural education, reason and emotion, homo sapiens and homo sentients, information-biology-society with technology, schools and companies, people and robots, human intelligence and algorithms, augmented reality and physical reality. According to the French philosopher Edgar Morin, we need to substitute the isolating and separating thought for the thought that discerns and connects.