CESAR: transformative education projects that bring technology to the classroom

During 2017, the institute of innovation wishes to invest in partnerships and expand its projects to the whole country

To use or not to use technology inside the classroom is no longer the question. The big challenge now is how to integrate the new ways of teaching and learning into classroom activities. Faced with this scenario, CESAR, one of the country’s pioneering institutes of innovation, specializes in and develops proposals on how students can use technology within the classroom – whether programming, in robotics or even by creating games. In Recife, where the organization is located, these projects are already being implemented and elaborated, and the idea is that in 2017, its activities will expand throughout Brazil.

“As we are an institute of innovation, we realize the importance of technology being linked to education. But we are not saying that schools should include programming as a subject. It’s much more: it’s about bringing schools bang up-to-date and, above all, seeing to it that these students become ready for the job market, which today is very focused on technology,” explains Felipe Furtado, CESAR’s Manager of Projects.

One of CESAR’s education projects is Pernambucoders – Programming Clubs, an initiative that has been implemented in partnership with the Education Department of the State of Pernambuco, the Management Center of the Porto Digital, UFRPE and Softex. Having started in 2016 and being expected to be completed in mid-2018, this project will bring the content of programming to the students of the state education network. “Programming within the classroom opens up a range of opportunities for students, and I do not say this just with the focus on the job market. The project ensures that they improve their performance in other subjects, such as math, physics and even geography, in addition to which it further develops their creative potential. Having Pernambucoders means that programming emerges as a pedagogical tool and so it makes this link between the contents of the curriculum”, comments Furtado.

In total, 9 schools of the Metropolitan Region of Recife are being included. 2 monitors from each school are trained by CESAR. “The idea is that by the end of 2018 the program can be conducted definitively within the schools and that this will be expanded,” explains Felipe Furtado.

Connected Rural Schools
Another project that stands out for the institute is the Connected Rural Schools of the Fundação Telefônica Vivo in partnership with Qualcomm, in which CESAR acts as the executor partner. It consists of implementing a laboratory of innovative practices in a rural public school in the town of Vitória de Santo Antão (PE). Twelve schools with low connectivity were observed and analyzed, each of which had the characteristic of having students of several ages in the same classroom for physical space and pedagogical reasons. Based on this analysis, CESAR developed a methodology called Island of Knowledge (Ilha do Saber), which aims to extract, in the best possible way, the benefits of a classroom with this profile, within the context of a rural school.

After this diagnosis, teachers from 4 of these schools were trained for educational innovation, in addition to which the teachers were monitored when they were applying the new practices that they had learned, in the classroom. “According to the Census, approximately 50 million students in Brazil are enrolled, of whom 12% are in rural areas, studying in about 67 thousand rural public schools that present singular realities,” advises Felipe.

For 2017, the optimization is planned of the operational model of the Laboratory of Innovative Practices in the Manoel Domingos School (EMD) in Vitória de Santo Antão – PE, and gives high value to actively involving the community around the school, the Municipal Secretariat of Education and the management of School in setting and carrying out strategies to innovate the pedagogical proposal of the institution, by using technologies as tools for innovation.

NAVE – CESAR is a strategic partner in implementing and operating NAVE, the Advanced Nucleus in Education, a program created by Oi Futuro together with the Secretariats of Education of the States of Pernambuco and Rio de Janeiro. The proposal was audacious: to create a model of an integrated school, which covered high school and technical education in an integrated way. In addition, the idea was for the student to become qualified and fit to enter the job market.

In order to satisfy this model, CESAR developed a curriculum that was adapted so that the subjects of technical education – programming of digital games and games for the arts – were integrated into the subjects of regular education. Changes were also made to content, methods and management in order to stimulate student motivation.

The first NAVE was at the Cícero Dias State Technical School in Recife. After the NAVE model had been created, tested and operated, Oi Futuro launched it at the José Leite Lopes State College in Rio de Janeiro. Together, the two schools have a total of almost one thousand students, more than 30 regular education teachers plus 15 teachers from CESAR.

“In this project the results were numerous. Despite non-attendance, which has drastically decreased, students have learned technical and other skills that contribute both to their personal lives as well as to their academic and professional lives. Another important point was that the students took part in and got excellent results at prestigious events in the areas of games and technology, such as Anima Mundi, Campus Party,” comments the CESAR representative.

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