Topics in Brazilian Education – Week 8 – Class Notes


We had the opportunity to hear from Engin Walter Bumbacher on “Remote Biology Laboratories for Model-based Science Inquiry” 

“Recent curricular frameworks (NGSS, 2013) are pushing for scientifically more authentic inquiry-based curricula that integrate relevant scientific practices revolving around data, models and theory. However, there are various obstacles to the classroom implementations of such a view of inquiry that range from logistical, structural and economic constraints (Abd-El-Khalick et al., 2004) to teachers’ knowledge and beliefs about science (Wallace & Kang, 2004). I argue that another important obstacle is the lack of proper learning tools and environments that integrate all the practices, yet that are robust enough to be used within the requirements and constraints of a science classroom. I will present a technological framework that provides an alternative approach to these types of labs; it combines remote biology labs with a modeling interface to enable inquiry-based activities that promote more authentic practices in line with the bifocal modeling framework (Blikstein, 2014). I will show results from a study implementing a first version of this technology in a middle school science lab. I am looking forward to the questions and discussions on these ideas.”

Brazilian Education – Week 6 – Class Notes

secretaria-claudia-costin.jpgWe had the honor of being lecture by Claudia Costin, the Senior Director of Global Education at the World Bank and the previous Secretary of Education of the city of Rio de Janeiro. The talk was on “Enhancing Education – Challenges and opportunities in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro’s case)” and the discussant was Martin Carnoy.

It was scary to see the level of Brazilian’s education compared to the rest of the world. Particularly interesting was the fact that even the best performing students in Brazil are doing worse than most.

Another interesting fact is that private schools are NOT producing better students… the reason being that the teachers are being trained in the same manner, or by the same institutions that teach teachers in the public education system.

Teacher PD has to be improved…

Brazilian Education – Week 5 – Class Notes

paulo_blikstein-010-croppedThis week Paulo Blikstein presented on the topic of equity in education and how technology could potentially help reduce it – with a warning that it might actually increase the gap between the privileged and the less privileged.

An interesting point was the distinction between Instructional and Constructionist technologies where the former talks about direct instruction while the latter, about engaging with the content and building knowledge from that interaction.


Brazilian Education – Week 3 – Class Notes

This week Izabel Fonseca, also a Lemann Fellow, presented her research to get some feedback. She presented one of her research topics: socio-economic factors associated with the transition from colleges to the labor market.

Was very interested in the concept of indexing higher education institutions in terms of how much better off a student might be after they graduate – how “much bang for the buck” would a student get from investing time and money in a certain institution.


Brazilian Education – Week 2 – Class Notes


During class we had the pleasure of hearing Prof. Ulisses Araújo, Director of USP’s Research Center for New Pedagogical Architectures, talk about his work around the “Challenge of Quality Education in Brazil: Technologies and Active Learning Methods as an Answer”. I was honored with the task of being his discussant during the Q&A session.

Prof. Ulisses also suggested to share the following articles that were closely related to the talk:

  • O uso de tecnologias educacionais na formação de professores para conteúdos de ética e cidadania: o curso de Especialização semipresencial em Ética, valores e cidadania na escola.
    International Studies on Law and Education, v. 19, p. 37-46, 2015.
    ARAUJO, U. F. ; GARBIN, M. C. ; FRANZI, J. ; ARANTES, V. A. ; SILVA, C. O.
    Ler artigo

  • The reorganization of time, space and relationships in school with the use of active learning methodologies and collaborative tools.
    ETD. Educação Temática Digital, v. 16, p. 84-99, 2014.
    Ler artigo

Presentation Notes:
(bold = questions I asked)

  • First true pure online university in Brazil
    • What are the affordances, advantages of being purely online?
      • What are the disadvantages?
  • Education has been historically a ONE-TO-ONE relationship
    • 19th century – classroom is ‘invented’ for the masses
      • Defines the architecture of education
      • Homogeneous
    • 3d revolution of education
      • Universalization
      • Inclusion of all differences in the classroom
  • Need homogeneous classrooms
    • How do you do that without creating an even wider gap in equity?
  • Lower the cost of education
    • Books are more expensive to produce than an online course?
  • Bringing new tools into education
    • Is there a resistance in the academic world to adopt open platforms or even ‘foreign’ technology?
  • Guiding principles
    • Problem and Project-Based Learning
      • Projects are defined by the cohort – a technique to scale up knowledge
      • Design Thinking – without implementation

Brazilian Education – Week 1 – Class Notes


Had a great talk about Bolsa Familia: here’s the call for the seminar:

Nadejda Marques, PhD

“Bolsa-Familía, healthy familia? Bridging the gap in health outcomes by linking school-based health care to conditional cash-transfer programs in Brazil”

With approximately 50 million beneficiaries, Brazilian Bolsa Familia has been considered one of the main programs to combat poverty in the world. The program seeks to reduce income inequality and expand access to education by providing a minimum level of income (cash transfers) to the poor, those with monthly per capita income of up to R$140 (US$35) with children of 0 to 17 years. Studies have demonstrated that the program has had a significant role in reducing extreme poverty in Brazil and reducing income inequality. The program has also succeeded in increasing school enrollment and attendance rates. However, it is not clear that the program has had significant impact in improving children’s health. What lessons does the Bolsa Família offer and how can it evolve to respond to challenges and health demands of the poor? 

Nadejda Marques is a research coordinator with the School Health Evaluation Research Project and a specialized researcher for General Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. She holds a PhD in human rights and development and has worked on issues of human rights and the right to health for over a decade. In 2011, she coauthored the book “The Cost of Inaction” on the impact of HIV/AIDS in children with the François-Bagnoud Xavier Center for Health and Human Rights based in Harvard School of Public Health.