The computer in the classroom
(O computador dentro da sala de aulas).
Kitty den Boogert and
Xavier Muianga, Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique
2005-January 2006, the Faculty of Education of the
Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique
has carried out a pilot project in two secondary schools.
The main activity of the project has been to support
teachers how to use the computer in the classroom,
complementary to the tasks they are normally doing.
ICT used as a resource for learning and not as a mere
typing machine or an administrative tool. Teachers
in Mathematics and Portuguese, using the internationally
known template of "WebQuests", have developed and
tested some exemplary lessons for grade 11. In 5 steps
-- introduction, task, process, conclusion and evaluation
-, students were encouraged to explore the Internet.
The project demonstrated that for teachers, the use
of the computer together with a new way of teaching
was a challenging, but certainly not an easy job to
do. There were not many ‘intrinsic’ obstacles for
the teachers to change their traditional teaching
strategies, but they simply had no experience with
student-centered ways of learning. During the project
they discovered how to plan tasks for active learning
and how to select websites that stimulate learners
to investigate a topic at a deeper level than before.
Students were extremely motivated to come into contact
with the bigger outside world through Internet, having
access to a big reservoir of resources in all possible
areas. They liked the group-work and the problem solving
tasks they had to carry out ‘independently’. Policy
makers and school leaders were convinced that developing
countries have to catch up with the digital divide.
It is a necessity to introduce more advanced electronic
tools (all over the country and not only in the cities),
even if there is a lack of the most basic tools like
chalk and pencil (in rural areas), paper and books.
In the project the teachers developed some lessons
on Internet and on a CD-rom for schools that have
no Internet connection. There is also a manual with
instruction, formats and more examples how to design
WeBQuests. The project learned that, apart from technical
and financial conditions, it are precisely the didactical
skills that are decisive whether the computer will
stay (unused) on the desk of the school leader or
whether it enters the classroom in the hands of students