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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 10, no. 44 (October 18, 2002).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c October 18, 2002
Assessment of a socio-constructivist model for teacher training : a case study / Luiz Antonio Joia.
Arizona State University.
University of South Florida.
t Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA)
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1 of 25 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 10 Number 44October 18, 2002ISSN 1068-2341 A peer-reviewed scholarly journal Editor: Gene V Glass College of Education Arizona State University Copyright 2002, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES .Permission is hereby granted to copy any article if EPAA is credited and copies are not sold. EPAA is a project of the Education Policy Studies Laboratory. Articles appearing in EPAA are abstracted in the Current Index to Journals in Education by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation and are permanently archived in Resources in Education .Assessment of a Socio-constructivist Model for Teacher Training: A Case Study Luiz Antonio Joia Brazilian School of Public and Business Administrat ion Rio de JaneiroCitation: Joia, L. A. (2002, October 18). Assessmen t of a socio-constructivist model for teacher train ing: A case study, Education Policy Analysis Archives 10 (44). Retrieved [date] from http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v10n44/.AbstractThis article assesses a socio-constructivist model for training K-12 teachers in Brazil, in the use of Informatics in ed ucation. The method applied combines both face-to-face exchanges and a WEB-based distance approach made possible by Internet technol ogy. The characteristics of such training and its main objec tives are analyzed according to the collected data presented. A descri ptive single case study research methodology is applied. The main conclusio ns reached by this researchÂ—based on the use of a systemic frameworkÂ—a re presented, mainly those addressing the importance of care and coherence for
2 of 25knowledge creation in a socio-constructivist traini ng model developed with the help of the Internet. Comparisons between this model and the traditional one are also presented.IntroductionIn 1997, the Brazilian Ministry of Education and Cu lture (MEC) defined and launched a national public policy for the use of Informatics i n Brazilian K-12 public schools, by means of a broad-based Program involving all 27 Brazilian St ates, known as PROINFO. While the Federal Government is in charge of investing in equ ipment and teacher training, the Brazilian states have autonomy to implement their Projects of Informatics in Education, as they think fit. PROINFO, The National Program of Informatics in Edu cation, aims to initiate the public educational system into the process of using stateof-art technology in the classroom, as well as to train human resources to develop their work adeq uately. In order to accomplish this target, PROINFO along with the acquisition and deployment o f the necessary equipment, has stressed the need for training the teachers, using partnersh ips with universities, as training agents. Hence, together with state and municipal government s, NTEs ( Ncleos de Tecnologia Educacional ) were created to work as hubs of teacher training. NTEs are decentralized structures to promote the dissemination of Informat ics within the pedagogical practice in public schools in each state. In these hubs, there are mul tipliers (teacher trainers) with qualifications (more than 360 course hours) in Informatics in Educ ation given by a university involved in the program.The greatest hurdle to the introduction of Informat ics into the educational system has been the development of qualified human resources to keep ab reast of the rapid transformations inherent to this area, along with the ever-present need to i mprove the quality of public education. Taking part in this project, Rio Grande do Sul Stat e, the southernmost Brazilian State, near the border with Argentina and Uruguay, has created 12 N TEs across the state in which 57 multipliers (teacher trainers) are already working. In Rio Grande do Sul, the State Commission in charge of implementing PROINFO across the state invited the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul Â– UFRGS ( www.ufrgs.br ) to be its partner in this endeavor. Thus, the uni versity developed the first training program for 57 multipl iers, based on a face-to-face approach. Due to the success of this course, the State asked UFRG S to stage a second course in order to train more multipliers.Research has been undertaken by the LEC (Cognitive Studies Laboratory) of UFRGS ( www.psico.ufrgs.br/lec/ ) in the ongoing use of instructional technology an d its role in the development of innovative educational practices. Co nsequently, new training methodology was developed by LEC to train the multipliers, combinin g face-to-face tuition with Web-based Instruction in order to be used for distance traini ng. This second training program started in July 1999 a nd ended in October 1999, involving 29 teachers from Rio do Grande do Sul State, who are e xpected to work as multipliers in the NTEs across the state.Impetus for Telematics-Based TrainingThe impetus for a new training model for teacher tr aining was based on the outcome of
3 of 25research developed by UFRGS in the realm of Informa tics in Education. This has already been translated into theoretical models leading to new m ethodologies to orient changes in classroom practice (Projeto EducadiÂ— http://educadi.psico.ufrgs.br/cursos/index.html ), combined with the universityÂ’s experience in the application of t hese models during the first specialization course on Informatics in Education given to the NTE multipliers of the PROINFO Program. Hence, it was concluded that it would be possible t o develop and implement a second course, based on both a face-to-face approach and Internetbased distance training, the theoretical background of which was based on the development of interdisciplinary projects using Telematics.The great challenge is to make the teachers of the public system aware of the need for incorporating new information technology in their d aily practice in the classroom. The use of the technology demanded by the course facilitates t he creation of learning and practice communities (Wenger & Snyder, 2000) involving both students and experts, as well as the exploration of the computer environment by both stu dents and teachers, leading to enhanced socio-cognitive development and a shared, collectiv e pooling of knowledge. It was expected from the positive results of the fi rst course, that this second course would permit the elimination of learning verticality and that each teacher and student of the course, would develop his/her own learning using a shared c onstruction model, leading to the accomplishment of autonomous knowledge. Hence, the course was geared to stress the development of projects by small groups, addressing three aspects ( www.psico.ufrgs.br/mec-nte2/ ): the student, seeking new technological resources in order to create knowledge leading to problem-solving related to all knowledge areas addr essed in the course; 1. the teacher interacting with other teachers and wit h students within computerized environments in the public educational system, tryi ng to grasp the established socio-cognitive relationships, as well as the parti cipative, albeit autonomous knowledge-creation process; 2. the tutor in charge of training new human resources in his/her place, attempting to understand the interdependency relationships and, a t the same time, the autonomous networks created by his/her peers, as the verticali ty of the system is eliminated and actual cooperative and truthful relationships based on rec iprocity are developed. 3.Operational Training TargetsThe training under scrutiny here had the following operational targets: (www.psico.ufrgs.br/mec-nte2/) To train the teacher trainers involved in PROINFO, through a course on Informatics in Education lasting more than 360 hours (a lato-sensu graduate course, in Brazil), in order to qualify them to be multipliers at the NTEs throu ghout Rio do Grande do Sul State; To develop this 440-hour course in such a way that 320 hours of it are based on a face-to-face approach in Porto Alegre (Rio Grande d o Sul State Capital), the remaining 120 hours to be dedicated to a distance training mo del, through the Internet; To take advantage of the 120 hours allocated to Dis tance Training, implementing the proposal presented in the Rio Grande do Sul State P roject on Informatics in Education, in the schools assisted by each NTE, the teachers o f which are attending the course.
4 of 25Course DescriptionCourse Methodology The methodology of the course is divided into thr ee main themes: face-to-face; mediated interaction and distance bas ed instruction, as explained below: face-to-face: at this stage there are thematic work shops and seminars to plan and develop the interdisciplinary and diversified projects. mediated interaction: at this stage the simultaneou s use of Internet services is intensified, namely: electronic mail, discussion lists, forums, real-time communication (IRC, Chat, MOOs, CuSeeMe etc.) and, concurrently a database fo r storing products like reports addressing the progress of each participant, texts, and on-going assessment portfolios is created, all of which are generated by the students during the course. Hence, the student activity records and data collection of their produ ction are stored. This material is published in a site located in the Internet server of the course, along with the teachers and studentsÂ’ home pages. distance-based instruction: at this final stage an interdisciplinary project is developed by groups of students, who are already on-site at thei r NTEs, by giving training to other teachers and receiving orientation through the Inte rnet regarding their dissertation Course Structure The course is divided into two stages, as present ed below: First Stage Â– Face-to-Face (320 hours)The first stage is compounded of two modules ( Module 1 and 2 ) over eight weeks, consisting of 40 hours per week. A section known as Autonomous Production Time Â– APT (8 hours per week incorporated in the 40-hour wee k) is programmed into this stage. Autonomous Production Time Â– TPA (64 hours/activity) This time is to be used by the students in activiti es such as individual or collective studies, interviews with experts whose expertise is addressed in the project being developed, experiments with teachers and pupils in the classrooms, tracking of schools which are using ICT to develop pedagogical projects finding solutions to challenges in the Informatics arena, information-searching on the Internet, data and information exchange through the Internet, instrumental softwar e training, to name but a few. All the communications, discussions and reflections as well as daily and final reports, are made available in a common area for the entire group under training, so as to permit interaction and exchange among the participants. Module 1 (132 hours/activity) Structured into thematic workshops to be developed according to the group interests and the problems encountered by them. Each group (of 3 members) takes part in the thematic workshops, which are developed on a project basis a pproach. The first project (40 hours/activity) focuses on pr oblem-solving in order to establish relationships between the different subjects of the curriculum. In this project the teachers are considered pupils addressing the basic level cu rriculum, formulating and solving problems, elaborating reports and evaluating their experiences.
5 of 25The second project (80 hours/activity) addresses th e understanding and analysis of the socio-cognitive and emotional relationships between teachers and students, and evaluates their ongoing knowledge acquisition in ICT-based le arning environments. The third project lasts 12 hours on a face-to-face basis with 120 hours of distance learning. The face-to-face stage focuses on the ela boration of the teacher-training project for use of ICT in the classroom. This project is de veloped by each one of the NTEs involved. The second stage is developed on a distan ce-learning basis, focusing on implementation of the project.Module 2 (124 hours/activity) Consists of three Basic Seminars: Â“New Information and Communication Technologies for Learning EnvironmentsÂ”; Â“Theoretical Basis for Learning in Computerized EnvironmentsÂ”; and Â“Methodologies of Educational In teraction and Intervention in Computerized Learning EnvironmentsÂ”. Second Stage Â– Distance-Based (120 hours)This stage is held in the studentsÂ’ original NTEs. Each NTE (group of 6 students) develops an integrated project, lasting one and a h alf-months, being both theoretical and practical, based on their experiences with the stud ents on the course and on their experience with the students of the schools belongi ng to each NTE. Geared towards motivating the students of the Basic Level to build relevant knowledge in computerized environments, the teachers involved in this experie nce are supported in the cooperative construction of relevant knowledge in order to assi st the students in the computerized environment. They are also assisted in the construc tion of sharing methodology for interaction and intervention. They are encouraged t o use the available ICT as enablers in this process. In this stage, the mentors of the cou rse assist the students of the course on a distance-basis approach, via the Internet. Research DesignAssessment generally has at least one of the follow ing three purposes: to improve, to inform, and/or to verify. The aims of this assessment are t o provide information that can be used to determine whether or not intended outcomes are bein g achieved and how the project can be improved. In addition, the assessment process was s tructured to inform decision-makers about relevant issues that affect the project. (Rogers & Sando, 1996) In this assessment process, it is important to dist inguish between Â“formativeÂ” and Â“summativeÂ” assessment. Formative assessment is the collection of data and feedback of results on an ongoing basis. Formative assessment is designed to provide information for the purpose of improving the project or process being assessed. (R ogers & Sando, 1996). Summative assessment is designed to produce information that can be used to make decisions about the overall success of the project or process. Hence, t his is a summative assessment. MethodologyThe research methodology used in this article was t he single case studyone. Case study is particularly suitable to answering Â“howÂ” and Â“whyÂ”q uestions and are well suited to generating
6 of 25and building theory in an area where little data or theory exists (Yin, 1994). It also enables the researcher to use Â“controlled opportunismÂ” to respo nd flexibly to new discoveries made while collecting new data (Eisenhardt, 1994). YinÂ’s tacti cs (construct validity; internal validity; external validity; and reliability) were carefully considered in this research. In particular, construct validity was dealt with in the study through the use of multiple sources of evidence, the establishment of a chain of eviden ce, and having the members of the group reviewing the draft case study report. Internal val idity issue is not necessary for descriptive case studies (Yin, 1994) and external validity in t he findings is taken into account, mainly by applying replication logic. Finally, the reliabilit y of the results was taken for granted by using a case study protocol and developing a case study dat abase. To conduct this research, some actions were underta ken and a theoretical framework was used. Several steps were conducted, in order to develop a working methodology to be applied in this research task. These steps are listed below: The project is presented in detail as conceived by its creators. The modus-operandi of the Program, i.e., its structure, is presented, so as to make clear how the outcomes are intended to be accomplished. Data to be analyzed are collected from different so urces. In this case the following data were collected: Data and Information about training, available on a n Internet site at the following URL: ( www.psico.ufrgs.br/mec-nte2 ); The rationale of the project taken from academic pa pers developed to depict the program itself (Nevado et al., 1999); Student portfolios and projects deployed on the Int ernet also made available Â– although in a reserved area Â– through permission gr anted by the training coordinators; Analysis of the outcomes of the project obtained fr om the application and consolidation of questionnaires and interviews with both the stud ents and teachers involved; Classroom observations and video-recordings, to ana lyze whether the teachers trained in a constructivist environment are applying this appr oach to train their students Â– the other teachers of the public education system; Comparison between the forecast and actual accompli shed objectives so as to evaluate the program; Analysis of the cost-effectiveness of the Program; Conclusions and analysis of the strengths and weakn esses of the training program. Theoretical FrameworkThe questionnaire and direct observation of the tra ining, mainly the WEB-Based Instruction stage were drawn primarily from the paper: Â“Effecti ve Dimensions of Interactive Learning on the World Wide WebÂ”, Reeves & Reeves (1997). This m odel has applications in research, implementation and assessment of Web-based Instruct ion Programs such as this project. The proposed model includes ten dimensions of inter active learning on the World Wide Web: (1) pedagogical philosophy, (2) learning theory, (3 ) goal orientation, (4) task orientation, (5) source of motivation, (6) teacher role, (7) metacog nitive support, (8) collaborative learning, (9) cultural sensitivity, and (10) structural flexibili ty. Each of the ten dimensions in this model is present ed as a two-ended continuum with
7 of 25contrasting values at either end. Needless to say, the world is rarely dichotomous and there is more complexity involved in learning than any of th ese dimensions represent. However, the individual dimensions themselves are not as importa nt as the interplay among the ten dimensions that represent the instructional designs of various WBI sites. Pedagogical Philosophy (Instructivist <=> Construct ivist) The debate between instructivist and constructivist approaches to teaching and learning continues through education and training (Kafai & R esnick, 1996). Instructivists stress the importance of objectives that exit apart from t he learner. Little emphasis is placed on learners per se, who are viewed as passive recipien ts of instructions or treated as empty vessels to be filled with learning. By contrast, co nstructivists emphasize the primacy of the learnerÂ’s intentions, experience and cognitive strategies. According to constructivists, learners construct different cognitive structures b ased upon their previous knowledge and what they experience in different learning environm ents. It is paramount for constructivists that learning environments be as ri ch and diverse as possible. Instead of an empty vessel, the learner is regarded as an indi vidual replete with pre-existing motivations, experiences, aptitudes and knowledge. Tasks to be accomplished and problems to be solved must have personal relevance to the learner. The constructivists believe that what we know is constructed Â– both ind ividually and socially Â– based on prior experience. 1. Learning Theory (Behavioral <=> Cognitive)According to behaviorists, the critical factor in l earning is observable behavior, and instruction involves shaping desirable behaviors th rough the arrangement of stimuli, responses, feedback, and reinforcement. A stimulus is provided (e.g. a short presentation of content), then a response is elicited, often via a question. Feedback is given as to the accuracy of the response, and positive reinforcemen t is given for accurate responses. Inaccurate responses result in a repetition of the original stimulus, and the cycle begins again. Cognitive psychologists place more emphasis on internal mental states than on behavior. A cognitive taxonomy of internal learning states includes simple propositions, schema, rules, skills, mental models and so forth. They claim that a variety of strategies Â– including memorization, direct instruction, deduc tion, drill and practice, and induction, are required in any learning environment, depending upon the type of knowledge to be created by the learner. 2. Goal Orientation (Sharp <=> Broad)The goals for education and training can range from sharply focused ones to general higher-order ones. Hence, the goal orientation of W BI systems varies in degree of focus from sharp to broad (Cole, 1992). 3. Task Orientation (Academic <=> Authentic)The context of learning is enormously important to adults (Merriam, 1993). An academic design would depend heavily on having the learners carry out traditional academic exercises. By contrast, an authentic design would e ngage the adults in practical activities such as preparing job applications, thereby situati ng practice and feedback within realistic scenarios. If knowledge, skills, and atti tudes are learned in a practical context, they will be used in that and similar contexts. 4.
8 of 25Source of Motivation (Extrinsic <=> Intrinsic)Motivation is a primary factor in any theory or mod el of learning (Amabile, 1997). Every new educational technology promises to be intrinsic ally motivating. This dimension ranges from extrinsic (i.e., outside the learning e nvironment) to intrinsic (i.e., integral to the learning environment). Intrinsically, motivatio n instruction is elusive regardless of the delivery systems. 5. Teacher Role (Didactic <=> Facilitative)The teacher role continuum ranges from didactic to facilitative. In the former role, the teacher presents information and asks learners to m emorize information and recall it later in tests. The latter role assigns cognitive respons ibility to the learners, as they should be responsible for recognizing and judging patterns of information, organizing data, constructing alternative perspectives, and presenti ng new knowledge in meaningful ways, wherein the teachers are mentors and tutors o f this process. 6. Metacognitive Support (Unsupported <=> Integrated)Metacognition refers to a learnerÂ’s awareness of ob jectives, ability to plan and evaluate learning strategies, and capacity to monitor progre ss and adjust learning behavior to accommodate needs (Flavell, 1979). The metacognitiv e support dimension is unsupported at one end of the continuum and integra ted at the other. Recapitulation of the studentsÂ’ strategies at any point in the proble m-solving process, as well as construction of Web-based portfolios are examples o f how support for reflection and metacognition might be provided in WBI. 7. Collaborative Learning Strategies (Unsupported <=> Integral) The Collaborative Learning dimension ranges from a complete lack of support for collaboration to the inclusion of collaborative lea rning as an integral feature. Cooperative and collaborative learning refers to instructional methods in which learners work together in pairs or small groups to accomplish sha red goals. 8. Cultural Sensitivity (Insensitive <=> Respectful)All instructional systems have cultural implication s. In an insensitive approach the training is developed regardless of the culture and diversity of the learners it is intended to address. On the other hand, a respectful approac h should be based on the diversity in the populations where the system will be used so th at the overall learning environment is enhanced. It is unlikely that WBI Training can be d esigned to adapt to every cultural norm, but sites should be designed to be as cultura lly sensitive as possible. 9. Structural Flexibility (Fixed <=> Open)Â“FixedÂ” systems, still dominant in education, are u sually limited to specific places, e.g., a classroom or laboratory, at specific times, e.g., 5 0 minutes class period. Independent of time and/or location constraints, the learner can u se Â“OpenÂ” systems. The World Wide Web provides opportunities for more asynchronous (o pen) learning, although some Web-based learning tools are temporally fixed (sync hronous), such as chats, video-conferences, MOOs and MUDs. 10.
9 of 25The research aims to have Table 1 completed by the learners so as to evaluate the programÂ’s outcomes.Table 1 WBI Assessment Parameters Data Survey and AnalysisTheoretical Model of Training applied by the LECThe LEC (Cognitive Studies Laboratory) has publishe d several papers addressing a socioconstructivist approach to train teachers using Inf ormation and Communication Technologies as enablers. According to LEC (Nevado et al. 1999) the answer to the question: Â“If new practices are recommended to the teachers under tra ining, why do the trainers themselves not apply this approach in their own classes?Â” lies at the foundation of a theoretical frame of reference upon which this practice is based.So, to design a new pedagogical model for computeri zed environments it is necessary to create a theoretical framework which leads the teachers to understand more fully the affective and socio-cognitive processes that are developed when s tudents are interacting with Information and Communication Technologies. This theoretical ap proach is even more necessary considering that the digital media increases the in teractive processes among the players involved (teachers, students, experts, community). This model can assist in developing interactive models for teacher training.According to Costa et al. (1997), the central idea of the theory, the basis of the model, is presented below in Figure 1.
10 of 25 Figure 1. Theoretical Framework for Teacher Trainin g Teacher Training Course DesignAs already stated, the design of the course is base d on two different but complementary moments: (1) face-to-face and (2) distance-basis, h aving as its rationale an interactive and problem-solving methodology and leading to a centra l axis relying on the development of interdisciplinary projects using telematic tools as enablers. The following Figure 2 presents, in brief, the basi c structure of the course, showing how the theoretical and methodological studies and the tech nology used are articulated around the Projects in practice.
11 of 25Figure 2. Basic Structure of the Training As can be seen, the training is heavily constructiv ist-based and student-centered, aiming to develop interdisciplinary skills in the trainees (m ultipliers), so that they can use this expertise in their classrooms to train other teachers. Hence, the main target of this paper is to know whether the training albeit developed according t o this constructivist paradigm was successful in developing a new classroom practice, which was observed when the trainees were back to their NTEs to continue the training of thei r peers. Web-Based Structure of the TrainingThe LEC (Cognitive Studies Laboratory) of the Feder al University of Rio Grande do Sul did not use any kind of off-the-shelf software package in order to develop the course. As real constructivists, they preferred not be restricted t o a hermetic, instructionist and behavioristic system, but rather to build their own Web-environme nt during the training. Since the beginning of the training, technology-med iated activities were developed via Internet services such as e-mail, discussion lists, newsgrou ps, real time communication (IRC, MOOs, CuSeeMe etc.) and spaces to store the practical and theoretical records of the groups, as well as contributions from the group.A virtual environment was created in www.psico.ufrgs.br/mec-nte2 aiming to permit exchanges among the students and between them and o ther communities. The site has a public area and a protected zone reserved only for the par ticipants of the course. In the public space, all the navigators have the fo llowing resources at their disposal: Support and Interactive resources, such as informat ion about the course, a library offering articles and research papers, links to int eresting sites, IRC, FAQs, a Guest Book and News about the Project; Learning Projects of the Groups of Multipliers that offer partial considerations resulting from the analytical work addressing the developed p rocesses and data obtained to date; Individual portfolios that encompass student home p ages, student diaries (relating their reflections about the student-teacher processes dev eloped both in individual and collective moments); their theoretical output and a space to store collaborative and cooperative contributions. In the reserved area, one can find: Group portfolios that keep texts and articles gener ated by discussions developed in a collective way, texts under production by the group enabled by the theoretical skill that has been developed through the discussions undertak en in the listserv of the site; Orientation for the dissertations to be developed b y the NTEsÂ’ groups. In this space, methodological suggestions of the tutors, reports a bout the implementation of the NTEs in each region and records of the exchanges between tutors and students are made available; The Cyber CafÂ—a meeting point to foment informal e xchanges, jokes, invitations etc. On the course site, the students can upload their i nformation through forms previously developed as templates. This information is immedia tely converted to HTML code and stored on the site. In this manner, their reflections, exp eriences, reports, critics, data to be used in
12 of 25shared projects and so forth can be easily deployed in the Web. QuestionnairesTwo types of questionnaires were used on the multip liers. The first, a quantitative questionnaire, followed the Theoretical Framework p resented in the Research Design. The second, a qualitative one, is presented in the Anne x. All of them were sent by Internet to the teachers and collected when the researchers were in Rio Grande do Sul State observing the multipliers training other teachers. All the 29 tra ined teachers fulfilled the quantitative questionnaire. The consolidated results led to the following table and exhibit:Table 2 Teacher Assessment Figure 3. Teacher Assessment As can be seen, the socio-constructivist approach w as largely understood and accepted by the teachers. The grades are very high though a small o bservation needs to be made concerning the motivation issue. The Â“source of motivationÂ” ranges from extrinsic (i.e., outside the learning environment) to intrinsic (i.e., integral to the le arning environment). Intrinsic motivation of instruction is elusive regardless of the delivery s ystem, but some proponents seem convinced that WBI systems motivate learners automatically, s imply because of the integration of music, voice, graphics, text, animation, video, and a user -friendly interface. Multimedia studies indicate that learners soon tire of these media ele ments (Reeves, 1993), as the results above show, and it should be obvious that motivational as pects must be consciously designed into WBI as rigorously as any other pedagogical dimensio n. During our visit to Rio Grande do Sul, the question naire presented in the Annex was also applied to the 29 teachers and the following result s were obtained: Before the course : Most of the teachers defined their pedagogical post ure as Â“traditionalÂ”, here understood as instructivist and teacher-centered, which they said was the way they were trained to be. Some
13 of 25of them tried to change their posture without succe ss, as stated below: Â“Before the course, I define my posture as both tra ditional (developed by practice) and innovative/constructivist (developed just in discou rse). As with most of my peers my teacher-centered approach is the result of my acade mic training in college. This posture could be classified as a content-based one, taking the social reality for grantedÂ” Â“Although I have tried to develop new pedagogical p raxis, my posture was traditional, teacher-centered and heavily based on knowledge tra nsmission. I did not believe social constructivism could be applied successfullyÂ”. After the course:Most of the teachers are conscious of the need to c hange their pedagogical practice, however they are realistic enough to say that they have not yet changed. As they said: Â“I cannot say I have changed my pedagogical posture Though I can say that I have reflected about my posture and am comfortable sayin g Â‘I donÂ’t knowÂ’, Â‘I may be wrongÂ’, statements which I would hardly have dared say a sh ort while agoÂ”. Â“After the course, I believe I have not made a radi cal transformation, as it will take time to put this into practice. But I do feel myself in a process of transformation as I realize that some of my postures must be changed, and I am frequently aware of the need to create constructivist situations for the students. Unfortunately, most of them are rarely implementedÂ”. Course Strengths and WeaknessesAccording to our survey the most cited Strengths an d Weaknesses of the course were as follows. Strengths: The trainersÂ’ sincerity and humility; the respect shown to the students and their opinions; their knowledge and their absolute coherence between practice and speech. Weaknesses: The course duration which was very intensive as we ll as some classes given by Â“technical expertsÂ” who did not follow the construc tivist approach of the course. Classroom Observation and InterviewsDuring the visit to Rio Grande do Sul State, we had a chance to interview the multipliers and also to observe their practice in training other te achers. Speeches of the trained teachers conveyed to us the conclusion that they are truly a ware of the need to change their pedagogical practice, and they see how to do that. They spoke v ery sincerely and the emotional component seemed to be very important for their forthcoming t ransformations. They explained that they suffered very much during the course, as they expec ted technical Cartesian training and became frustrated, as they wanted more technical skill dev elopment practice. Some teachers had already attended informatics courses on their own, and could not understand why these issues were not being addressed in the course. According t o one of the teachers, they needed to be totally deconstructed to relearn from scratch. When asked about how they were deconstructed they pointed out two factors as the main enablers: Lack of GuidelinesAlthough they waited for pre-established frameworks full of landmarks, the trainers spurred them to find their own way in the course. T his generated a considerable degree
14 of 25of frustration as they began to compete among thems elves and sometimes they felt they were falling behind. These frustrations were greate r among the women participants eliciting a profoundly emotional response. Some of them confessed that they almost quit the course in despair.The Error TreatmentAnother way they were deconstructed was having to d eal with a new perspective of error. The trainers said most of time they did not know th e right answers to the teachersÂ’ questions. This procedure confused them, and led th e group to being obliged to live with Â“answersÂ” such as: Â“I donÂ’t knowÂ”, Â“Try yourselfÂ” a nd so forth. We visited a training session in Gravata, a town a pproximately one hour from Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul State. There, some of the trained teachers were in the process of training some other teachers to use Informatics in their schools. Our observations showed that the teachers actually try to create a construc tivist environment, conveying the students to look for the solutions themselves, in a workgroup a nd learning community created with the other students. At the moment of the visit the stud ents were just beginning to create their own home pages on the Internet. They looked forward to having straight solutions and specific answers to their questions. The teachers were reluc tant to give them the solutions, as they were more interested in getting the students to learn ho w to find their own solutions. This posture embarrassed some of the students, mainly the more C artesian-oriented ones. Actually, it is a real battle, as the teachers have the impulse to pr esent the solutions, rather than letting the students think for themselves. The teachers must be aware at all times of their former ways. It became apparent that the gender influence must b e taken into account. According to the multipliers, the menÂ’s reactions are very different from the women, as they control their emotions. This is an issue LEC wants to research de eper, so as to understand how it works. However what we could again see clearly is the effe ct of the emotional component in a socio-constructivist approach, even on the Web. Thi s is an effect that cannot be disregarded and is better explained in the conclusions below.ConclusionsIt is important, before addressing any manner of co nclusions, to present the assessment frame developed by LEC for its own course.LECÂ’s Course Assessment The qualitative assessment of the course, accordi ng to LECÂ’s approach, was based on the following elements addre ssing the students: Regular construction and publishing of the individu al and collective production on the course website; Creation and publication of multimedia documents; Contribution in the shared spaces on the site; Publishing, follow-up and discussion of the project s developed; Personal use of the website resources, both in a sy nchronous and asynchronous way. A system (AccessWatch) was used to record interacti on among the students and between students and teachers. Subsequently, the quality of the interaction was analyzed. All assessment was based on the process of knowledg e creation, established by analysis of
15 of 25student portfolios, project evolution, student refl ections and student self-analysis developed throughout the course.We can conclude that according to LECÂ’s assessment factors, the training program was a success. The trained teachers are aware of the need to change their pedagogical practices, and they now know how to do that and are willing to dep loy what they have learnt in their schools, as soon as possible.Theory vs. PracticeThe practical training given by the multipliers (tr ained teachers) to the other teachers in a cascade process complies with the way they were tra ined, i.e., they try to apply the socio-constructivist approach in the training, usin g Information Technology as a tool and enabler to give a new awareness to the teachers abo ut how to spur the students to create their own knowledge.At one point one of the multipliers Â– almost as a t hrowback to her old mental model Â– tried to help a student by giving her the correct way of sol ving a problem. This should be considered normal, as the multipliers themselves are still und ergoing their own transformation process which takes time.Care and empathy are used all the time, just in the same way as they were used in the multipliersÂ’ training. They understand the de-const ruction process the students are experiencing as they have been through the same pro cess themselves. Coherence is the key-word for the success of the tr aining, and the students see this as the multipliersÂ’ discourse and practice lead the course to the same central objectives, namely to use the technology to create a new modus-operandi in the classroom, thereby enabling the students to create and socialize their knowledge.Naturally, coherence is not the only issue in the t ransformation of pedagogical practice, as shown below, but it is paramount for the success of the training itself. The use of the framework developed by Pettigrew & W hipp (1991) depicted below in Figure 4 can help us to better understand the role of cohere nce in the success of the training and, by extension, of teacher practice. This model can show us one of the possible ways to achieve a successful strategic change in the educational real m.
16 of 25 Figure 4. The Role of Coherence in Strategic Change Barriers to be overcomeThe greatest mistake one can make is to conclude th at training itself is enough to change pedagogical practice in schools. According to the f ollowing Figure 5, developed by Morton (1996) and adapted by the researcher for the educat ional realm, several issues in the educational environment are interrelated, thus a de ep and actual change affect all of them.
17 of 25Figure 5. Systemic Framework The diagram recognizes that organizations (in this case schools) can usefully be thought of a set of forces existing in a state of dynamic equili brium. On the one hand there are its strategy (the mission it wishes to accomplish), and all the tasks that make up that mission. There are also its organization structure and, more important ly, the corporate culture that makes that structure become alive and vibrant. There are also people and the roles they are being asked to play. The fourth major set of forces are the inform ation technologies. Holding all these four forces together are the management processes: the p lanning, the budgeting, and the control systems as well as the informal processes that repr esent the way the organization does its business. All these set of forces exist in an exter nal environment which consists of the social, political, economic, and technical forces.Analyzing the use of ICT in the schools after teach er training in a WBI constructivist environment, we can conclude that: OrganizationÂ’s Strategy Â– if the school principal i s trained in the use of ICT to develop a new pedagogical practice, it will become easier for the school to adopt a new praxis However, it is important to say that the schoolsÂ’ s trategy must conform to the educational strategy developed by the state governm ent as a whole; Organization Structure and Corporate Culture Â– rega rding schoolÂ’s structure, this is perhaps the most difficult issue to be changed as t he public authorities, themselves, have designed the schoolÂ’s organizational structure. As Chandler (1962) said: Â“Structure follows StrategyÂ”, so they are intimately linked. H ence, a radical change in the organizational design of the schools is essential i n order to reach a new level of pedagogical practice, which is more open, construct ivist and child-centered, otherwise new developed strategies will fail. Regarding corpo rate culture, the training gives the teachers new values, concepts and visions about edu cation and the role ICT can play in the classroom. By consequence, it can lead to a (r) evolution in school practice, so as to break with the old schemata (mental models) and define a new vision and missio n for the school. Information and Communication Technology Â– ICT can dramatically change the pedagogical procedures and processes applied by the schools, by reengineering and innovating old and outdated processes; Individuals and Roles teachers trained in ICT can socialize the benefits of the new educational approach by explaining and demonstratin g the use of ICT to their peers in the school, thus becoming catalysts in the transfor mation process. So, this is an issue the training can deal with successfully; Management Processes Â– as the management processes depend heavily on each school principal's way of guiding them, once again it is p erceived the importance of having the headmasters trained in how to use ICT in a construc tivist way; Now, we may depict the framework already presented in Exhibit 6, highlighting the Â“darkÂ” nodes of the model as the ones which a socio-constr uctivist approach associated to the use of ICT are unable to change or influence in a deeper w ay. So, by consequence, these items need to be addressed through the use of other strategies ra ther than via teacher training. Figure 6 below depicts this idea and presents a holistic view of a ll the issues that must be changed.
18 of 25 Figure 6. The Â“DarkÂ” Nodes of the Systemic Framewor k Regarding the Â“Environmental ScanÂ” (Hax & Majluf, 1 991) associated to the training, it can be concluded after several interviews with the persons in charge of the training that political discontinuityÂ—quite common in BrazilÂ—can jeopardize this educational endeavor. Besides, as technological innovations outdated very rapidly the hardware and software acquired by the Government, a constant influx of investments would be necessary. Unfortunately, severe financial constraints can accelerate the obsolescen ce process of the hardware and software purchased, as well as the obsolescence process of t he skills developed by the teachers during the training (Argote et al ., 1998). Regarding the Â“Internal ScrutinyÂ” (Hax & Majluf, 19 91) associated to the training, it can be concluded that Strategy and Structure associated wi th the schoolsÂ’ practice, hardly will be changed by the socio-constructivist training, as th ey are imposed in a top-down basis. These Â“dark nodesÂ” will influence all the others dimensio ns of the model, mainly the Management Process. According to the teachers interviewed, a m ore participative approach is needed so as to allow the schools to influence for a better orga nizational structure and strategy. The Influence of Care in the Training ProcessWe can thus see that care is fundamental in knowled ge creation, as explained by von Krogh (1998). According to Maturana & Varela (1987), cogn ition is a creative act of conjuring up a microcosm. Because knowledge resides in our bodies and is closely tied to our senses and previous experience, we will naturally create a wor ld in ways which are unique to ourselves. In this study, care engenders trust in the learning process and also gives rise to active empathy, making it possible to assess and understand what th e other person needs. Empathy is the
19 of 25attempt to put yourself in anotherÂ’s shoes, underst anding his/her particular situation, interests, skill level, history of success and failures, and f uture opportunities and problems. By means of active empathy, you proactively seek to understand the other person. Through active questioning and acute observation, you seek out ins tances where your efforts are needed. You practice dialogue rather than advocating only your own point of view. Care accomplishes precisely the sharing of positive and negative emot ions through active empathy. In this study, for example, the relationship between the student a nd the teacher in learning the use of Informatics in the classroom is made easier when th e teacher explains that he/she has had some of the same personal frustrations in learning a spe cific issue, and that speed in grasping the difficulty of this issue is not a gauge of the inte llectual capacity of the student, but one of the inherent characteristics of a long learning process Hence, it can be concluded that the approach develo ped in this specific training for knowledge creation was based on von Krogh, (1998):Table 3 Characteristics of Care in the Case Study Model As there is care in training, there is mutual trust active empathy, access to help among team members, lenient judgments towards participants in the team, and courage. In such a situation the student will bestow knowledge on others as well as receive active help from others (others bestowing knowledge on him/her). The environment is supportive, and the goal of the learning process shifts from obtaining Â“maximum gripÂ” to rea ching Â“maximum leverageÂ” on othersÂ’ knowledge. There is a mutual intent to help others to optimize their task performance, and, therefore, to share knowledge. The individual can e xperiment more freely in order to develop unconventional task solutions, and is emboldened in the pursuit of knowledge creation. The individual is integrated into the team. Other s tudents and teachers take an active interest in the learning process, and the individual is encoura ged to make knowledge explicit while learning. When care runs high, colleagues show inte rest and support, and the individual member can spontaneously articulate his/her knowled ge using unconventional language, metaphors, and analogies. Expressing personal diffi culties in knowledge creation will be met with lenience from other team members and active fe edback will be provided. The process of mutual bestowing provides fertile gr ound for a distinct process of creating social knowledge in a team: Indwelling Indwelling is of particular importance to the sha ring of tacit knowledge and concept creation. Polanyi & Pro sch (1975) suggested that dwelling in a concept can be understood as a dramatic shift of pe rspectives, changing the concept from
20 of 25Â“looking atÂ” to Â“looking withÂ”. In broader terms, i ndwelling is about commitment to an idea, to an experience, to a concept, or to a fellow human b eing. In developing shared tacit knowledge, the challenge for the teachers in knowledge creatio n is to dwell in the experiences, perspectives and concepts of other participants, or in other wor ds, to change from self-commitment to commitment to others. In changing such deeper-level commitments, participants literally make changes in their perceptions. When care runs high, team members extend help to each other in finding new means of conveying and sharing personal beliefs. Trust and lenience make it easier to articulate emotional aspects of an experience, a s was realized during this research. Again, it is important to stress that the emotional component, here translated as care, was a vital force for the success of this socio-construct ivist WBI training. Socio-constructivist training demands by its very nature high involvemen t of the teachers, both in the face-to-face stage and the distance-basis one. As the training a ims to lead the students to reprogramming their minds by challenging their Â“temporary certain tiesÂ”, some physical as well as emotional support is necessary. The students are conveyed to an Â“un-learnÂ” and Â“re-learnÂ” process, and sometimes they offload their mental models without having acquired a new schemata. At this moment care is absolutely necessary (von Krogh, 199 8) as they are emotionally deconstructed. Traditional vs. Socio-Constructivist Web-Based Trai ning As a summary of our conclusions the following Table 4 is presented comparing some issues addressed in traditional teacher training and in a socio-constructivist program:Table 4 Traditional vs. Socio-Constructivist Approach Final RecommendationsAs final recommendations that can improve the train ing analyzed above, we should highlight the following issues to be implemented: Mentoring Programs
21 of 25Mentoring programs must motivate the trained teache rs to share their knowledge with junior teachers and newcomers in the schools. Manag ement can achieve this by defining two sets of responsibilities for each individual, n amely to develop proportionally his/her ability to acquire expertise, in line with the resp onsibility to make his/her help accessible to those who need it as his/her expertise grows.Headmaster TrainingAs stated above, the role of the headmaster in the creation of a Â“new schoolÂ” is paramount, not just to motivate the teachers, but a lso to be fully involved in the other realms that hinder a true, radical transformation i n the pedagogical practice, as presented in Figure 6. Hence, their participation and involve ment in the training process is highly important for training targets to be fully accompli shed. Social EventsIt is important to reunite the trained teachers in social events, where in a face-to-face basis they can share the experiences, improvements and obstacles they are facing. These moments are as important as opening and maintaining a newsgroup on the Internet the participants of which are already trained in this s ocio-constructivist approach. All in all, this was a very innovative teacher trai ning initiative which fully complied with the trainersÂ’ paradigms and pedagogical philosophies, s eeking coherence at all times. Undoubtedly, as stated before, this alone will not change the ou tdated former teaching and learning praxis but it is an updated and powerful enabler for insti lling the necessary changes in the other remaining areas addressed in the whole educational process.ReferencesAmabile, T. (1997) Â“Motivating Creativity in Organi zationsÂ” California Management Review Vol. 40, No. 1, Fall, pp. 39-58Argote L. Beckman S. L. & Epple D. (1998). Â“The P ersistence and Transfer of Learning in Industrial SettingsÂ”, In: The Strategic Management of Intellectual Capital Klein D. (ed.), Butterworth-Heinemann.Chandler, A. D. (1962) Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the Industrial Enterprise Cambridge, MA, MIT Press Cole, P. (1992) Â“Constructivism Revisited: A Search for Common GroundÂ”, Educational Technology 32 (2), pp. 27-34 Costa, I.T., Fagundes, L.C. & Nevado, R.A. (1997) Â“ Projeto TecLec Â– Educao a Distncia e a Formao Continuada de Professores em Sistemas de Comunidades de AprendizagemÂ”, Anais do VIII Simpsio Brasileiro de Informtica na Educao (SBIE97), So Jos dos Campos, Instituto Tecnolgico da AeronuticaFlavell, J.H. (1979) Â“Metacognition and Cognitive M onitoring: A New Area of Psychological InquiryÂ”, American Psychologist 34, pp. 906-911 Hax, N. & Majluf N. (1991). The Strategy Concept and Process: A Pragmatic Approach,
22 of 25Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., USA.Kafai, Y. & Resnick, M. (Eds.) (1996) Constructivism in Practice: Designing, Thinking and Learning in a Digital World. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Lynch, R. (1997) Corporate Strategy, Financial Times, Pitman Publishing, pp. 778-779 Maturana, H.. & Varela, F.J. (1987) The Tree of Knowledge, New Science Library, Boston, MAMorton. S. (1996 ) Â“How Information Technologies ca n Transform Organizations,Â” in Rob Kling, Editor, Computerization and Controversy (San Diego: Academic Press) pp. 148-160 Merriam S.B. (Ed.) (1993) An Update on Adult Learning Theory San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Nevado, R.A, Magdalena, B.C. & Costa, I.B.T. (1999) "Formao de Professores Multiplicadores: email@example.com r ". Revista Informtica na Educao: teoria e prtica vol. 1, N.3 Curso de Ps-Graduao em Informtica na Educao. October. Nonaka, I. & Takeuchi, H. (1995). The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation Oxford University Press, New York. Pascale, R.T. & Athos, A.G. (1982) The Art of Japanese Management Simon & Schuster, New York, NYPeters, T.J. & Waterman, R.H. (1982) In Search of Excellence Harper & Row, New York, NY Pettigrew, A. & Whipp, R. (1991) Managing Change for Competitive Success Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, pp. 104.Polanyi, M. & Prosch, H. (1975) Meaning University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL Reeves, T. (1993) Research Support for Interactive Multimedia: Existing Foundations and Future Directions. In: C. Latchem, J. Williamson & L.Henderson-Lancett (Eds.), Interactive Multimedia: Practice and Promise (pp. 79-96). London: Kogan Page Reeves, T. & Reeves, M. (1997) Â“Effective Dimension s of Interactive Learning on the World Wide WebÂ”, In: Web-Based Instruction Khan B. (ed.), pp. 59-66 Rogers G.M. & Sando J.K. (1996) Stepping Ahead: An Assessment Plan Development Guid e Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, pp.1von Krogh. G. (1998) Â“Care in Knowledge CreationÂ”, California Management Review Vol. 40, No. 3, Spring, pp. 133-153Wenger E.C. & Snyder W.M. (2000) Â“Communities of Pr actice: The Organizational Frontier Â”, Harvard Business Review January-February, pp. 139-145About the AuthorLuiz Antonio JoiaBrazilian School of Public and Business Administrat ion
23 of 25 Rio de JaneiroAssociate Professor Â– Brazilian School of Public an d Business Administration Â– Getulio Vargas Foundation, EBAPE/FGV, Rio de Janeiro, Brazi l & Adjunct Professor Â– Rio de Janeiro State University, Uerj.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright 2002 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesThe World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is epaa.asu.edu General questions about appropriateness of topics o r particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, email@example.com or reach him at College of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 8 5287-2411. The Commentary Editor is Casey D. Cobb: firstname.lastname@example.org .EPAA Editorial Board Michael W. Apple University of Wisconsin Greg Camilli Rutgers University John Covaleskie Northern Michigan University Alan Davis University of Colorado, Denver Sherman Dorn University of South Florida Mark E. Fetler California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Richard Garlikov email@example.com Thomas F. Green Syracuse University Alison I. Griffith York University Arlen Gullickson Western Michigan University Ernest R. House University of Colorado Aimee Howley Ohio University Craig B. Howley Appalachia Educational Laboratory William Hunter University of Ontario Institute ofTechnology Daniel Kalls Ume University Benjamin Levin University of Manitoba Thomas Mauhs-Pugh Green Mountain College Dewayne Matthews Education Commission of the States William McInerney Purdue University Mary McKeown-Moak MGT of America (Austin, TX) Les McLean University of Toronto Susan Bobbitt Nolen University of Washington Anne L. Pemberton firstname.lastname@example.org Hugh G. Petrie SUNY Buffalo Richard C. Richardson New York University Anthony G. Rud Jr. Purdue University
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