labor – lat.: work, craft; at – prep. locative, also “@” in digital culture, at a certain place; laborat – lat.: that is working, operative
Laborat is a laboratory of applied research on education in formal environments, in which are developed projects specifically aimed at the production of appropriate training environments, simultaneously, adequate to the purposes of teaching and to curricular policies concerned with the inclusion of cultural and intellectual minorities. Applied activities bring into experimental level theoretic fundaments originally developed by Research Group Language, Human Cognition and Educational Processes, always in straight relation with public demand of the guarantee of universal wright to scholar education.
Our current field of experimentation is the regimen of primary teachers initial formation, under the expectation that those professionals properly assume a position in face of the emergence of guaranteeing universal right to Education. Even acting in this field, Laborat´s primary object is not teachers formation, but formative processes and applied instruments used in contemporary environments of formal education, strongly affected by IT resources. Such specific object doesn´t imply a loss of linking with determinant areas, as teachers formation and the other main areas of investigation held by our research group, once all formative processes maintain straight subordination to some precedent curricular project, whose objectives (specific and formatives) determine the conditions of teaching.
Our object of interest may be more specifically defined as the rite of the class in formal learning environments, inside and outside schools, under the impact of midia and resources derived from contemporary IT. The interest in this rite has arisen more lightful during the long-term sanitary emergency – the average, 48 months around the whole globe – along which IT resources have been abruptly disseminated into schools and universities in an attempt to keep students in course despite the need of social leave. Decurrent problems observed in levels of educational systems initially seemed to be associate to teachers lack of knowledge about new technological resources, but, as long as time went by, it was observed that problems came from the inadequacy between patterns of building, usage and didactic features of technological tools, as ordinarily disposed in manuals e specialized literature, and, the expectations of school culture about students formation. Emergent notions as video-classes, structured lessons and even instructional design were developed under extra-school parameters and directed to corporative staff training, destinated, therefore, to homogenous groups of subjected and strictly focused into formal contents. In contexts under domain of school culture, although, specific knowledge of the distinct disciplines is not sufficient to satisfy the whole process of students formation. Besides formal contents, schooling also consider a complex spectrum of formative competences in the same range of relevance (or as in the case of some curricular projects, even more relevant) for students integral education. Such aspects, inherent to teaching profession and, therefore, also inherent to formal education, are on demand of being properly introduced and implemented in contemporary classes with the use of IT, in special in distance or hybrid education regimens.
The laboratory streamlines hybrid formation experiences with approximately 450 undergraduate students per semester, regularly enrolled in bachelor courses of Primary Teachers Education offered at the Faculty of Education of the University of State Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), in both regimen (hybrid presential and DE). In the distance education regimen, implemented through the complex system maintained by the CEDERJ consortium of public universities, 6 of 7 geographic regions of the State of Rio de Janeiro are reached, represented by students from fourteen municipalities, what represents a good sampling of all the cultural diversity of this federative unity, as shown in the following image.
Applied research and knowledge production
Hybrid class is a concept yet to be defined.
Laborat streamlines our research group theoretic contributions, but two investigation areas have more specific adherence to the object of the applied projects under development, as to know the rite of the class permeated by IT technologies. Are they:
- (i) curricular strategies of teachers formation, and;
- (ii) policies of learning evaluation and monitoring.
Coherence between evaluation and training strategies results one of the most constraints in hybrid or distance education, in view of its greater dependence on technological resources, either as material support to the type of instrument to be adopted, or as an emulator of traditional evaluation practices, predominantly by means of measurement. Hence, if curricular training projects indicate evaluation and follow-up models must apply to other types of values beyond mere measurement, increasingly rises the cost of application and use of such resources ordinarily associated with technological tools used in non-strictly face-to-face teaching environments. For this reason, applied researches in the field of studies on the “non-classroom class” should not be alienated from a teaching context, defined by a curricular training project as well as from an evaluation and monitoring policy that provides the teacher with a coherent and effective monitoring of the development of teaching project.
Primary research object in the laboratory is the hybrid class, at the same time face-to-face and non-presential, synchronous and asynchronous, situated beyond boundaries of space and time. However, still, a class, something that is not to be confounded with other extra-school rites, even those that presumably have an instructional or informative intention. Hybrid class is a concept yet to be defined, in order to a well association between (i) the arrangement of technologies that support this hyperspatiality peculiar to it, (ii) the conditions of maintenance of the students in progress, aiming to reduce dropout costs, and (iii) the teaching-learning conditions that may ensure student’s development, though distant from teachers. In what does consist a hybrid class and under what structural features may be defined criteria of its evaluation?
In the study of such structural features, LaborAt lights two objects of information, both essential elements of hybrid class:
- (i) the process of class formal content categorization, providing the distribution of information into segments that can save redundancy in the different simultaneous teaching-learning spaces: classroom, virtual learning environments and any other complementary spaces connected by links; content categorization is also analyzed as a control device of audience timing, which regulates the flow and duration of blocks of information, according to the characteristics of each class or student, such as in the final years of primary education, in the first semesters or at the end of graduation, in the master’s or doctorate courses;
- (ii) IT resources and instructional design, considering suitability for each type of class, content and assistance; in the case of design, it is also considered the fact that, unlike the perspective under which its conventionally used, the hybrid class implies a multispatial approach, in which the design is planned as structure, appearance and bridge between different linked learning environments.
In the context of instructional design, appearance does not represent only an aesthetic-visual perspective; on the contrary, aesthetics in hybrid class design is a fundamental part of the categorization of content and student interaction features, especially when in the case of distance education. Any hybrid class is constituted by images – the class is an image, a complex mutant image – what brings the theory and resources of image production (fixed and dynamic) into the objects of primary interest of the laboratory of languages and hypertextual teaching environments. Knowledge about the nature of the image that composes the distinct types and purposes of hybrid classes is an important source of structural traits to be adopted in your organization and evaluation.
In summary, therefore, the investigative aspects in process in the laboratory involve the fields presented in the following image:
What is or proper of an organism formed by the crossing of two progenitors of different races, strains, varieties, species or genera; that or what is composed of different elements, heteroclitos.
The hybrid in Education does not in itself constitute a conceptual or heuristic challenge, because it is already present in formal experiences of AD since the last century, especially when they began to combine resources such as radio or TV programs with complementary teaching resources, such as handouts or, in more restricted cases, classrooms. Hybrid turns into a problem in formal education frameworks once it has been impregnated in ordinary teaching practice even in presential courses, affecting the notion of “presence to classes“, either by the use of real-time teletransmission resources, or by preserving the class in virtual learning environments. Theoretical and applied discussion on hybrid education turns lights to the figure of the teacher in class and, consequently, to his training as the main actor of one of the central rites of school culture: the act of teaching and forming. It is an experience inherent to the teaching practice and inalienable of the teacher´s figure in each area of knowledge. The hybrid nature of contemporary education consists of a rupture with the canonical structure of conventional class, but without prejudice to its primary condition of school education rite.
An essential feature of this hybrid in contemporary class is its ability to break with the space-time limitations of that traditional conception of the classroom. If in the past the classroom was the place of teaching-learning – where everything happens and where everything turns to – today the classroom is a complex, abstract place, without one here or now fixed, but still clearly organized as a teaching-learning space of certain formal education based on school culture. Planning and execution of a class today involves a complex system of variables, including since the different physiognomies of concurrent actors, to the technological tools that allow the articulation between people and didactic experiences. The teacher is a figure what varies among a physical presence, a video image, and just no more than a vestige expressed in the material available in his VLE. Likewise, the student, may be physically present and with full access to the teacher, or not physically present but present at a distance, as an audience, not always with immediate access to interactions with the teacher, or even a solitary interacting with the material available in the VLE. No matter where they are, these actors will always represent the same roles: teachers and their students. Synchronous or asynchronous, all learning experiences must clearly converge to the same point: a certain lesson. It is not about several classes on the same theme, but of the same class that unfolds simultaneously and with the same content and formative objectives for different spaces and times. This is one of central issues towards the consolidation of the hybrid in contemporary education.
Equity is a higher target:
What´s amazing is that Brazilians, proud of their so-called, as so-false, “racial democracy”, rarely perceive the deep abysses that divide the social strata (Darcy Ribeiro, professor).
Hypertextual learning environments offer a window of opportunity for contemporary formal education, especially concerning the implementation of social and inclusive education policies. Bringing together the best of face-to-face and distance-mediated education, hybrid environments have the potential to guarantee universal access to school education, without risk to the quality of education with effectively school standards, with shorter time of face-to-face activities and longer overall formation time. In addition, as internet access is universalized through digital inclusion policies, the lower the cost for implementing hybrid schooling programs, which tend to be incorporated into the ordinary practices of all teachers. A formal education policy capable of reaching everyone with equal formation perspectives is synonymous with equity, a primary goal of social inclusion policies.
From the perspective of the search for equity in the process of universalization of basic and higher education, “everyone” really means knowing and educating each one, not as an abstract mass of people, but as one singular subject. There can’t be a “whole” if someone doesn’t feel part of it. Children, young people, adults, the elderly, normal people each with their own talents and disabilities, superheroes or bandits, all are above all a singular.
Hypertextual learning environments are an instrument of the school subject’s singularization, leading to a new perspective on the notion of accessibility. Integrated with the investigations of the research group Language, Human Cognition and Educational Processes, LaborAt explores the use of information technologies as instruments of accessibility and social inclusion at the service of teachers in hybrid teaching.
LaborAt – Laboratory of Languages and Hypertextual Learning Environments : Associated to the portal www.senna.pro.br integrated environments, including AVAgpLinguagem and LuizAntonioGomesSennaUERJ (Youtube). Academically associated to the Graduate Program of Education (University of Rio de Janeiro State) and the Center of Sciences of Rio de Janeiro State (CEDERJ Consortium). This laboratory is funded by FAPERJ Foundation (Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro).
Rua São Francisco Xavier, 524 Sala 12.037-F / 20550-900 Rio de Janeiro / RJ