Hybrid teaching, which combines conventional classes with online content and paves the way for the personalization of education, is considered one of the most consistent trends in the booming landscape of modern school.
But the teacher lacks a guide on how to put it into practice. In fact, it was missing, because there is already an online course created especially for Brazilians by the Lemann Foundation, in conjunction with the Instituto Península.
“Technology allows us to personalize teaching, but there was nothing structured in Brazil to help teachers become protagonists in this process,” says Flavia Goulart, Innovation Manager at the Lemann Foundation.
“Secretaries of Education and schools have invested in hardware and even in good software solutions, but the professor is still outside the digital world – he was not trained with the use of technology. He often ends up using digital resources the same way he used to. So the tablet is used only to read a book.”
The course is being offered on the Veduca platform, a portal that brings together classes from Brazilian and foreign universities, in two formats. The free course is now available. The payment, which will cost R$ 477, will go live in March.
There are 10 classes in a 50-hour program, scheduled to last 4 months. In this model, the class will be closed, with up to 300 participants, who will be entitled to certification and exclusive items, such as tutoring and additional teaching material. Lemann’s intention is to form four closed classes per year.
In addition to general modules, the course will also include specific classes on all the elements involved in the process of introducing hybrid teaching:
- The teacher – In traditional education the teacher has mastery of the content and passes it on to the student. But he needs to change his role, walking to become a mediator, exercising a mentoring role that will bring him closer to each student individually. The teacher can, for example, supervise the work of a student who does fraction exercises on an online platform while explaining a mathematical concept to another student.
- Space – It is also affected by technology. Instead of the class’s rigid structure with the attention entirely focused on the teacher and the blackboard, tablets and laptops allow students to take turns at workstations.
- Student – The student now has autonomy to search for content, for example. How to work this protagonism? With everyone learning at their own pace, there will be students who will arrive in some subjects at the college level, as is already the case with Khan Academy.
- Software – The course will introduce teachers to tested products that have a positive performance in improving learning, such as the Geekie platform.
- Evaluation – This is another area to be rethought with the advancement of technology. If there are already technologies that allow real-time evaluations, do the quarterly tests still make sense?
- School culture – Teachers with greater mastery of technology tend to take new things to school, which needs to get used to this dynamic and stimulate it. Management has to identify innovative professionals and allow them to help peers. In addition, there is the issue of students. With more autonomy in the classroom they may, of course, want to interfere more in school life.
- Management – Directors and pedagogical coordinators need to have a completely new approach to the issue of technology. One of these points is the changing role of Information Technology (IT) in the school. Today, often, the IT professional is a technician who goes to school once a month to maintain the laboratory. With the incorporation of technology it will be necessary to solve more complex problems, with larger structures. Equipment and software purchase decisions will also be much more strategic.
“It’s not just a matter of software and content,” says Flavia. It’s about changing the elements of how he organizes the class, what his role is and what the student’s role is.
In the process of setting up the course, the Lemann Foundation and the Instituto Península created last year a laboratory for experimentation, with 16 teachers from public and private schools in various states. “They didn’t necessarily have a mastery of technology, but a willingness to learn,” says Flavia.
With the mentoring of specialists, the group was testing solutions and creating lesson plans adopted with their students. The results of each project were discussed with tutors and the other teachers in the group.
“But we also looked a lot outside Brazil,” says Flavia. To develop the course, Lemann partnered with the Christensen Institute, an entity created by a Harvard professor who is considered a world authority on disruptive technologies.
Teams of the foundation also visited references in hybrid teaching, such as units of the charter school network (which receive public funds but have autonomy to operate) Summit Public Schools of Silicon Valley. The Summit has the majority of students in primary and secondary education.
One of the aspects that caught Flavia’s attention in a Summit unit was the difference between two shelves that were side by side. The book shelf was full and the computer shelf was almost empty, showing the students’ technological footprint. “They are schools without walls, with an open, dynamic environment.
Each student studies at their own pace, with autonomy, and they work hard with projects,” says Flavia, “the teacher has his ‘control panel’ and knows, at each moment, where the student is.
For Lemann’s Innovation Manager, the transformations caused by technology in education cannot be measured in a matter of decades, but years. “In Sobral, in the interior of Ceará, students use Khan Academy. In the next three or four years, we will see a lot of public schools using technology,” says Flavia, “not to mention that in 15 years the teachers will be digital natives.
After the hybrid teaching content, Lemann will launch two more courses. One will be to train principals for good school management and will be available on the American Coursera platform. “We already have the content of the in-person course and we are adapting it to the format of an open and massive online course (Mooc, the acronym in English),” reveals Flavia.