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The “digital inclusion”

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It is common, at least in Brazil, that more and more laptop computers are being given to public school teachers by some programs that promote “digital inclusion” to educators. The State government tries to create an utopian scenario for our educational system giving high tech computers, multimedia projector, etc to public schools. Do we really need more digital technology or more trained teachers to these high tech tools in our classrooms? Although it is old and clear the answer is we need better teachers, the situation remains to be the same.

According to some educational programs, laptop computers are being given to public school teachers justifying that they need computers to improve their research and to plan better their classes. Generally, the person who gives laptop computers to teachers are the governors through education departments. Therefore, it makes me think how the State just creates a program to give laptop computer to public school teachers and does not create one program to teach them how to use laptop computers and make them digitally literate. There is a fact that makes the idea of giving laptop computers to teachers seem inadequate for our education situation. “Average of computers per inhabitant in Brazil surpasses global number”, the research was published by the institution “Fundação Getúlio Vargas” and affirms that the number of computers per inhabitants surpassess 51% the world number, that means it is quite possible teachers already have a computer in their houses. I read about programs in some universities that promote real digital inclusion of teachers but is not relevant compared to the other kind of “digital inclusion” promoted by the government. It is a totally wrong reality! Every child needs a teacher and not just a high tech computer, every teacher needs a new pedagogy and not just a web 2.0 in their hands. This is the digital time, teachers without digital knowledge maybe could lose their spaces in classrooms. Nevertheless, there are teachers in classroom and there is no good teaching practice.

The program “Computador para o Professor” which means ‘a computer to a teacher’ has a great appreciation for the benefited teachers all over the country. There are statements like: “Technology moves fast and the teacher needs to have the necessary equipment to make your lessons. These notebooks provide the technology for the good development of our activities.” I really have to agree to certain extent because technology actually moves fast and the teacher needs an equipment but It is not enough to have the computer, but also to master the equipment. “Teacher knows less about computer than student” as stated by a research published by “TIC Educação”. There is a significant loss of teachers in classrooms if they don’t know how to handle a high tech tool. It is necessary to increase real digital inclusion and guarantee the teacher’s space in classes again.

We are kind of having a regression by the government's part, a serious education problem kicked into the long grass. According to institution “Fundação Getúlio Vargas” there are two computers per person in Brazil, so why are government programs giving a laptop computer to a person who already has one? Can It be a governor’s attempt to acquire votes or just the government decontextualized from our real education scenario? Both hypothesis seem to be true to me.

We live in education times where the machine dominates us and we, humans do not know how to master it. We have a high tech tool in our favor however we are keeping that old fashioned approach based on handwriting rather than typing.




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