05 abril 2007

Maresa Sprietsma: para que servem os computadores nas escolas?

Um dos projetos do novo Plano de Educação do governo federal é disseminar o uso de computadores e acesso à Internet nas escolas públicas do país, a um custo ainda desconhecido. Uma das idéias é adquirir o "computador de 100 dólares" produzido pela Medialab, do MIT, ou um equivalente, e dar um a cada estudante nas escolas públicas.

Há uma grande distância, no entanto, entre as esperanças que muitas pessoas colocam nos computadores, como forma de superar as deficiências do ensino, e o que mostram as pesquisas. Maresa Sprietsma, do Centre for European Economic Research em Mannheim, analisou o impacto do uso de computadores nos resultados do SAEB, e encontrou que eles têm um efeito negativo sobre o desempenho em matemática, e nenhum em relação do desempenho em português. Ela nota, no entanto, que as tecnologias e educação podem ser úteis para apoiar o trabalho dos professores,e para que os alunos se familiarizem cm este tipo de equipamento. Trata-se de uma pesquisa em andamento, com resultados ainda provisórios, mas vejam o que ela escreve:

Computers as pedagogical tools in Brazil: A pseudo-panel analysis

Abstract (March 2007) - Work in progress, please do not quote

Computers and software have been gradually introduced as teaching tools in many countries. Thanks to important public and private investment, the number of schools that have access to computers and internet in the classroom has increased exponentially since the beginning of the nineties. In the US, where this evolution was fastest, the number of students per computer has decreased from 120 to 20 between 1981 and 2000. The percentage of schools that have an internet connection has increased from 5% in 1996 to over 95% in the UK and to over 80% on average in European countries in 2001 (Twining, 2002). In Brazil as well, availability and use of computers and internet in schools represents an important investment and has increased rapidly in recent years. The percentage of teachers that use the computer and internet for pedagogical purposes has increased from 12 to 38 and from 3 to 18 percent respectively between 1999 and 2003. The percentage of schools with a computer laboratory increased from 17 to 35% in the same period (source : SAEB).

The most obvious purpose of introducing computers into the classroom is clearly the promotion of computer literacy, a much-demanded skill on the labour market. However, ‘computer assisted instruction’ (CAI), or the use of computers as a learning tool for acquiring other cognitive skills such as reading or mathematics, has come more and more under attention as well.

According to psychologists, there are several factors that could contribute to better learning when using the computer as a pedagogical tool. Most frequently quoted are the possibility for each student to learn at its own pace, to focus on its own difficulties rather than to follow a fixed content for the whole class, the possibility of immediate assessment, and resulting increased student motivation (Skinner 1958, Barrow and Rouse 2005). Clearly, there are also potential drawbacks to the use of computers in class. Possible reasons are inadequate software, lack of teacher training and student disruption of learning by side activities on the computer. Indeed, as shown below, there is little evidence that computers improve measured reading or maths skills. Of the four recent papers that try to estimate a causal effect of the use of computers in general, which corresponds better to our approach, three yield insignificant or negative effects of increased computer use on test scores. Goolsbee and Guryan (2004), using exogenous variation in funding for internet access in schools in the US, find no evidence of any effect of the availability of additional internet access on student performance. Angrist and Lavy (2002), using random additional funding for ICT in Israel, find no significant effect on 8th grade test scores, and a significant negative impact on 4th grade maths scores. Leuven et al.(2004), based on a regression discontinuity design, also find a negative effect of investing in educational software on pupil reading and maths test scores in disadvantaged primary schools in the Netherlands. These papers conclude that computer-based instruction methods seem less effective than traditional ones.

The question we would like to answer empirically is whether the availability and use of computers and the internet (ICT ) for schools is effective in improving test scores in maths and reading. We use Deaton’s pseudo-panel estimator on SAEB repeated cross-section data to estimate the effect of the availability and use of ICT in schools in Brazil on pupils’ performance. More precisely, we estimate the effect of the availability of a computer laboratory in school and the use of computers and internet as pedagogical resources by the teacher on 8th grade pupils’ test scores. We find that the availability of a computer laboratory affects test scores negatively in both disciplines and particularly in Maths. A possible interpretation is the existence of a trade-off between investing in a computer lab versus other more effective pedagogical means for schools and, for pupils, between sitting in the lab rather than doing other activities.

The impact of the use of computers by the teacher as a pedagogical resource depends on the discipline. While Portuguese test scores are not affected by the use of computers as a pedagogical resource, Mathematics test scores are significantly lower in cohorts where more teachers use computers. These results are in line with some recent studies in Europe and the US that find non significant or negative effects of the availability of ICT in schools, especially on mathematics test scores.

But we also find that the use of the internet as a pedagogical resource by the teacher has a significant positive impact on pupils’ test scores in both disciplines in Brazil. Therefore, we may conclude that although merely investing in ICT equipment such as computer laboratories does not seem to improve test scores, there seems to be scope for teachers using the internet as a pedagogical resource. Moreover, we should not forget that ICT in schools also promotes computer literacy, a much demanded skill on the labour market. The ineffectiveness of ICT in schools as a means to learn maths and reading is therefore not a sufficient reason to ban ICT from schools.



Maresa Sprietsma
Centre for European Economic Research
Department of Labour Markets, Human Resources and Social Policy
L7, 1
68161 Mannheim (Germany)
sprietsma@zew.de

2 Comentários:

Às 5:33 PM , Anonymous Armando Andrade, Jornalista, RJ disse...

Como não acreditar na postura de V. Sa. e após tantos anos de inércia na educação, incentivos sumidos, escolas quando existentes, em precárias condições (hoje, só pensam em áreas de lazer, píscinas, sala disso e daquilo) onde professores mal forjados e de baixos salários, criam igualmente, sementes que, por incrivel que pareça, se tornam formados e inabilitados ante o mercado.

A culpa é de todos pela eleição de pessoas sem noção do que se serve uma nação, das necessidades básicas de um povo e alforrias aos desmandos pecuniários.

O computador é uma máquina que veio para ficar. Infelizmente, o percentual de competição é muito baixo. Afora os games, tudo vira e-mails, pps, messenger, orkut, etc.

Nem mesmo as escolas que "dizem ensinar computação" primam pela qualidade. Junta-se ao inculto aulas de semi-incultos. A se ver, nivela-se por baixo.

O proselitismo no Senado, Câmara, governos federal, estadual e muncipal, também só pensam nas casamatas dos tributos e continua no vai da valsa. O importante são os seus.

Navegar na internet ou entrar em um chat é dose. O que escrevem e como escrevem chega a doer. Se colocarmos uma palavra mais erudita, pronto, a "tchurma" desaba.

E isso chegou às telas dos cinemas e tvs. Nas legendas, a criptografia, tipo "vc baxa q acerta".

Voltamos a uma espécie de barbárie do tempo e carecemos urgente remoldar o ensino, mesclado entre o iluminismo europeu e dos eua. Perdemo-nos em cultura, saber e técnica.

As palavras no seu blog reafirmam a superficialidade do saber, aponta o lado perigoso em que se encaminha, e até mais e mais submissão a que ou a quem.

 
Às 7:17 PM , Blogger Valdemar disse...

Olá a todos os leitores,

Muito oportuna a divulgação de que o computador na educação não é a maravilha que se pensa, muito pelo contrário.

Aos que se interessam pelo projeto "Um laptop por criança" (OLPC) e pelo uso de computadores e da Internet na educação, recomendo o estudo de meu artigo

Considerações sobre o projeto 'um laptop por criança'

em

http://www.ime.usp.br/~vwsetzer/um-laptop-por-crianca.html

que foi apresentado em um congresso internacional (4o. CONTECSI) e na 59a. Reunião Anual da SBPC em 7/07 em Belém, bem como vários outros artigos em meu "site":

http://www.ime.usp.br/~vwsetzer

Valdemar W. Setzer, Depto de Ciência da Computação da USP

 

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