Technological Structure for Technology Integration in the Classroom, Inspired by the Maker Culture

Juarez Bento Silva, Isabela Nardi Silva, Simone Meister Sommer Bilessimo
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research  •  Volume 19  •  2020  •  pp. 167-204

This paper presented the framework for the integration of digital technologies in education, implemented in InTecEdu Program, developed by Remote Experimentation Laboratory (RExLab), Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Brazil.

The main objective of the model presented is to arouse interest in science and technology among adolescents. Therefore, it sought to develop STEM competencies (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in children and adolescents. Understanding learning in STAM areas can favor the development of professionals who can supply the demand in related sectors, especially in the scientific-technological scope. To fulfill the main objective, strategies related to students and teachers were developed. With activities aimed at students, it was hoped to promote vocations to scientific-technological careers and encourage entrepreneurship. On the other hand, the activities related to teachers aimed at training them to integrate technology into their lesson plans. Inspired by the Maker Culture, the model sought to make it possible for teachers to become the main agents in the process of integrating technology in their lesson plans, since they were in charge of building and producing their digital content and other resources to support their didactic activities. The maker movement is a technological extension of the “Do It Yourself!” culture, which encourages ordinary people to build, modify, repair, and manufacture their objects, with their own hands. The training actions were preceded by a diagnosis, inspired by the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) model, as well as the lesson plans prepared and made available by the teachers.

Methodologically, the framework’s work plan was composed of five Work Packages (WP), which include management, resource mapping, strategies related to teachers, strategies related to students, and the dissemination and exploitation of results. In the 2014-2018 period, 367 teachers participated in training activities, intending to integrate technologies into lesson plans. At the end of 2018, 27 Basic Education schools, including an indigenous and a rural school, from the public-school system, in the states of Santa Catarina, Minas Gerais, and the Rio Grande do Sul, in Brazil, using the project’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). In these 70 teachers, 230 classes, and 6,766 students accessed didactic content, produced by teachers, at VLE. Also, 20 laboratories were available in 26 instances, for use in practical activities in disciplines in the STEM areas. Specifically, in the STEM areas, 3,360 students from 98 classes from 9 schools had integrated the Remote Laboratories, in lesson plans in the subjects of Physics and Biology (High School), Science (Elementary School).

The main results of the application of the framework are related to the training of human resources, knowledge production, and educational innovation. About the training of human resources, we sought to contribute to the training of teachers concerning technology in education and, with that, arouse greater interest on the part of students, as well as obtain improvements in their learning from teaching methodologies supported on the use of digital technologies. On the other hand, the production of knowledge, in the program and the socialization of research, is favored by the model based on open-source resources, both in terms of software and hardware and with open educational resources. This characteristic favor and expands the potential for reapplying research and, consequently, its contribution to educational innovation.

The results, about students, indicated an increase in motivation due to the creation of new teaching and learning opportunities. The fact of extending the classroom and school, through remote laboratories, to support practical activities and the use of VLE, was also pointed out as a very positive factor. On the other hand, the realization of the workshops, inspired by practices of the Maker Culture, provided an approximation of these to the skills of the real world, which will certainly favor their employability. Regarding the teachers, it is noticed the continuity and expansion in the use of technological resources in the classroom; many sought and have participated in new training actions.

Provision of a repository of practices for sharing and reuse of lesson plans developed by teachers participating in the research. Technical documents, manuals, and guides for robotics, computer programming, electronics and new technology workshops for students.

Technical documents, manuals, and guides for remote laboratories. Data collected in the applied questionnaires. Technical documents, manuals, and guides for robotics, computer programming, electronics and new technology workshops for students.

The main results of the framework application are related to human resources formation, knowledge production, and educational innovation. Regarding the formation of human resources, we sought to contribute to the formation of teachers concerning technology in education and, about the students the creation of teaching and learning opportunities, to extend the classroom and also the school, through the remote laboratories, to support the practical activities and the use of the VLE.

The socialization and reapplication of the framework since it is based on open-source resources, both software and hardware, and with open educational resources.

framework, integration, technology, teaching and learning, teacher im-provement, open educational resources, virtual and remote labs
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