30 de junho de 2010

An African iPhone? There’s No App for That.


When I touched down in Lagos, Nigeria, this week, the first thing I did was buy a cell phone. The city's Saka Tinubu district hosts dozens of mobile vendors arrayed in small shops, piled high with all the major brands: Nokia, Motorola, Samsung. Among them is Belle-Vista Phone Warehouse, which styles itself as a "Blackberry Outlet." Young professionals stopped by after working hours to scoop up the Storm, the Curve, and other popular smartphones nestled in the display cases. Apple's iPhone -- ubiquitous in American cities, and about to become more so with the release of the product's much-anticipated version 4 today -- was nowhere to be seen.

The best-kept secret about Africa in the last decade is the continent's rapid and creative adoption of modern technology. African countries have for the most part leapfrogged the technologies of the late 20th century to adopt those of the early 21st en masse. There are now 10 times as many cell phones as land lines in sub-Saharan Africa, and since 2004, the region's year-over-year growth has been the highest in the world. When Nokia's billionth handset was sold in 2000, it was in Nigeria.

Africa is a multimillion-dollar mobile market, and plenty of the major technology companies, Western and otherwise, are there already. Multinational telecoms like MTN, Safaricom, and Zain are competing to cover a continent of 500 million mobile consumers, improving connectivity and dropping prices. Low-tech Chinese imports and no-contract, prepaid plans have made the technology easily accessible; Belle-Vista alone sells 500 phones a month. Nokia, which established its first African research center in Nairobi in 2008, has just unveiled a telephone that will allow consumers used to toggling between two or three devices to use multiple SIM cards in the same phone. BlackBerry has likewise responded to explosive demand by opening an office in Nigeria this year. Google, whose Android operating system is the strongest competitor to the iPhone, has had a presence on the continent since 2007 and now operates in 45 African countries, hiring and training African developers to convert its well-known suite of Web applications (Maps, News, Finance) for local use -- often over mobile devices.

These companies and their technologies are opening a line into the flattening world we've heard so much about, creating markets, enabling information access, and building relationships in ways that have changed poor countries from the bottom up. But it's hardly philanthropic work -- market leader Nokia's regional revenues were 1 billion euros in 2009, and Research In Motion, named Fortune's fastest-growing global firm in 2010, sold 1 million BlackBerries last year in South Africa alone.

So where is Apple?

The earlier-generation iPhones are, ostensibly, available on the continent -- Vodacom, a subsidiary of British Vodafone, signed a 10-country distribution deal with Apple in 2008 that included South Africa and Egypt, and the phones do work on local networks. Vodacom has also announced that it will distribute and service the iPhone4 in Africa in the near future. But for the vast majority of Africans, Apple effectively doesn't exist. The iTunes store's music offerings have never been available on the continent; African IP addresses are blocked. The iPhone goes for $1,000 at local retailers -- 10 times the current U.S. price for the same model, a big-enough markup that most iPhones on the continent are purchased abroad instead -- and because of limited bandwidth and apps availability, owning one is "like having a Maserati in traffic," according to Tayo Oviosu, CEO of Pagatech, a mobile banking firm in Nigeria.

This is a shame, considering what even inexpensive, basic cell phones have done for Africa. In poor countries, cell-phone penetration has been linked to positive economic and developmental outcomes. A 2006 study of emerging markets suggests that a 10 percent increase in mobile penetration correlates with a 0.6 percentage point increase in economic growth rates. In Africa, the trend is lifting all boats: A fisherwoman without refrigeration in the Democratic Republic of the Congo can keep her catch on the line in the water, waiting for customers to call; selling access to a mobile phone in poor or rural areas of Uganda has become a viable business model. Professionals stuck in Johannesburg traffic make deals on their BlackBerries; demand for skilled labor in the information and communication technology sector has created 400,000 jobs in Nigeria since 2000.

Foreign Policy

Wiring Democracy

After reading Evgeny Morozov's article, I thought of an analogy that shows why his article is flawed ("Think Again: The Internet," May/June 2010). Imagine a restaurant that has a dozen wonderful, freshly made soups on the menu each day. The waiters, however, have a nasty habit of spitting in the orders of those customers they do not like. Most people would rightly blame the waiters. Morozov's solution would be to ban soup.

All new technologies have some regrettable consequences. Indoor plumbing destroyed the social fabric of women accustomed to the camaraderie of the village well. Gutenberg's press led to the industrial-scale production of pornography. And cell phones are employed by terrorists to dreadful effect. The question is not, "Can I find examples of misuse of the Internet?" Sure, I can.

The real question is, "Does the Internet overtly help causes like democracy, freedom, the elimination of poverty, and world peace?" My answer is: It does these things naturally and inherently.

Here's why: The Internet is a path to education. Take any of the problems Morozov cites -- they are best solved by education. A poor and unjust world is an illiterate world. But an educated world is more able to discuss and more likely to understand its problems. One step toward an educated world is connecting children and providing each the means to learn.

The One Laptop per Child Foundation has so far placed 2 million laptops in more than 40 countries, in more than 20 languages. In one country, Uruguay, every child has one. Rwanda and Peru have committed to doing the same. Gaza is following.

What are we finding? We find kids in the poorest parts of the world teaching their parents how to read and write. We find kids in remote Peru, Cambodia, and Rwanda checking the commodity exchanges so their parents know the real prices of wool, rice, and coffee. We find girls in Afghanistan who dare not go to school connected and collaborating from home instead. Need I say more?

Nicholas Negroponte
Chairman, One Laptop per Child Foundation
Cambridge, Mass.

Evgeny Morozov replies:

I love Nicholas Negroponte's restaurant metaphor, but I think he draws the wrong conclusions from it. Even restaurants with "wonderful, freshly made soups" need to undergo inspections every now and then, if only to make sure that the soups are still wonderful and freshly made. My fear is that the soup in Negroponte's restaurant might have never been fresh to begin with; whether there are waiters spitting in it is beside the point.

I find Negroponte's belief that there is something "natural" and "inherent" in how the Internet helps "causes like democracy, freedom, the elimination of poverty, and world peace" extremely dangerous, as it blinds us to the negative externalities of our interconnectedness. We can educate kids in Uruguay all we want, but the reality is that the police in Iran will continue to hunt Iranian activists based on information they themselves post to social networking sites.

Overall, I wish Negroponte took the time to engage with the arguments in my essay as opposed to touting his own project as a panacea for all the world's ills. I don't deny that there are certain niches his product can fill, but to argue that One Laptop per Child has much impact on the speed or direction of democratization in countries like China, Russia, or Iran is simply naive.

27 de junho de 2010

The new ranking of Ibero-American universities

  • By Simon Schwartzman June 24, 2010 3:01 pm

    The SCImago Research Group has just published a new ranking of Ibero-American universities, based on their research productivity, which is available for download, in Spanish. The indicators are based on the scientific publications. The leading research university in the group, in volume of academic publications, is the University of São Paulo, USP followed by the Autonomous University of México, UNAM, University of Campinas, UNICAMP, and two Spanish institutions, University of Barcelona and Complutense de Madrid. Of the ten more productive institutions, five are Spanish, four Brazilian, and one Mexican; the University of Buenos Aires, UBA, is in the 11th place. Among the first 20, 7 are from Brazil, 8 from Spain, 1 from México, 1 from Argentina, 2 from Portugal, and 1 from Chile.

    In part, the high volume of publications of USP - (37.9 thousand) and UNAM (17.3 thousand) is a function of their large size. Still, USP is smaller than UNAM and the University of Buenos Aires, but has a much larger graduate education sector and research. Spanish universities have much higher scores in quality indicators such as international cooperation, average scientific quality and percentage of publications in high ranking journals than the Latin American ones.

    This ranking reflects the continuous expansion of Brazil’s graduate programs, which, with about 10 thousand Ph.D. degrees granted every year, has no parallel in other Ibero American countries. However, the data also shows that this expansion has had some cost in terms of quality. Almost all these programs are in public universities, which, however, account for only about 20% of enrolment in higher education in the country.

    The highest private Latin American university in the ranking is the Catholic University of Chile, 32, followed by the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro, in the 73th place. One of the reasons for the dominance of public institutions is that their budget is guaranteed by the governments and they are better placed to compete for research money when it is available. Private institutions, on the other hand, have to survive on student tuition, which cannot be very high, and have difficulty retaining high quality, full time staff. In some countries, Catholic universities have been able to compete with public institutions, and the Catholic University of Chile gets regular support from the government, which is not true in other parts. These religious institutions, however, are today just a small part of a much larger and expanding private higher education sector which, with some exceptions, deals only with low cost, undergraduate education, and no research that registers in the Scopus database.

La calidad pasa por los docentes

La formación y los incentivos para los maestros son claves para mejorar la experiencia del aula

Agustina Lanusse

Si se quiere mejorar la educación en la Argentina hay que concentrar la atención en los maestros. En la mejora de su desarrollo profesional, su formación, su motivación y en el apoyo que se les brinda está la llave para comenzar a revertir la crisis educativa.

Esa fue la conclusión central que se escuchó en el II Foro de Calidad Educativa, realizado anteayer, que organizó Proyecto Educar2050, asociación civil que trabaja para la mejora de la educación argentina.

El encuentro fue inaugurado por el ministro de Educación nacional, Alberto Sileoni, y participaron, entre otros, el ministro de Educación porteño, Esteban Bullrich; el de Córdoba, Walter Grahovac; el periodista Nelson Castro y Guillermo Jaim Etcheverry.

Ante 500 invitados, varios expertos coincidieron en señalar que los países que sistemáticamente obtienen los mejores resultados en las evaluaciones son aquellos que reclutan a los mejores docentes, les brindan desde el Estado y la sociedad civil un apoyo constante, cuentan con pocos pero eficientes institutos de capacitación, e instalan la cultura de la meritocracia para otorgar premios e incentivos.

Finlandia, que se encuentra primera en el ránking de calidad, exige a sus profesores seis años de estudio más una maestría. "De 100 aspirantes que se postulan, entran dos. Obviamente al aula llegan los mejores y la carrera goza de un prestigio envidiable", dijo Axel Rivas, director de Educación de Cippec.

Por supuesto, para atacar los problemas educativos argentinos (58% de chicos que no entiende lo que lee; altas tasas de repitencia y abandono en el nivel medio; sólo un 6% de escuelas con jornada extendida) no alcanza con concentrar los esfuerzos en la docencia.

Compromiso social

Según se escuchó, también son necesarias políticas públicas consensuadas de largo aliento, un gasto eficiente en educación (aunque es elogiable que la inversión en el área haya alcanzado el 6% del PBI), un sistema educativo y escuelas abiertas a la autoevaluación con miras a mejorar, la extensión de la doble jornada por lo menos en el 30% de las escuelas. Y, lo que no es menor, una sociedad civil comprometida.

Como dijo el rabino Sergio Bergman, "todos somos responsables de lo público. ¿Dónde están los empresarios? Vemos más hombres de negocios que empresarios comprometidos. Hacen falta dirigentes en todos los ámbitos y padres que ejerzan su autoridad sin temor".

En la misma línea, el presidente de la Fundación CEPP, Gustavo Iaies, mencionó una curiosidad que sorprendió al auditorio: la ley nacional de educación en vigor nombra 57 veces la palabra "derechos" y sólo siete veces dice "obligaciones". "La norma no obliga a mejorar la calidad educativa ni a padres, ni a alumnos, ni a directores, supervisores, medios de comunicación, facultades de Educación o municipios", dijo. Pero coincidió en la necesidad urgente de mejorar el trabajo del aula, poniendo el foco en sus actores privilegiados: los maestros. Insistió en otorgarles mayor autonomía y en implementar un sistema de financiamiento por mérito que los incentive a mejorar.

Como prueba de que el acompañamiento a maestros importa, la directora de la maestría en Educación de la Universidad de San Andrés (Udesa), Silvina Gvirtz, demostró que uno de los grandes pilares del proyecto Escuelas del Bicentenario, que desde hace cuatro años lleva adelante la Udesa -un programa de mejora de calidad en 132 escuelas públicas del país con niños desfavorecidos-, es la eficiente formación docente.

En tres años de capacitación en Lengua, los chicos mejoraron sustancialmente sus conocimientos: en las evaluaciones de 2006 obtuvieron 13% de respuestas correctas, mientras que en 2009 el índice trepó al 83%. "No necesariamente invertimos más dinero. Mejoramos la manera de trabajar y evaluar, y eso impactó en los resultados", comentó Gvirtz.

Cómo se debe trabajar con los docentes hoy y cómo debe ser un maestro del siglo XXI fueron los interrogantes que se planteó Aguerrondo. "El reto es contar con profesores que hayan podido hacer el pasaje del conocimiento de la modernidad a los saberes y competencias que necesita la sociedad del conocimiento actual. Hace falta enseñar de otra manera.Los conocimientos no se cortan hoy por disciplinas, sino que se precisan para resolver problemas concretos", afirmó.

24 de junho de 2010

Misteriosa América latina

Julio María Sanguinetti

Esta vez la crisis nació en Wall Street, en la catedral del capitalismo. Y América latina, que tantas crisis propias ha vivido, en esta ocasión surfea sobre las olas del tsunami financiero. Por supuesto, no todos los países están igual, pero ninguno adolece de las clásicas erupciones volcánicas: quiebra de bancos, dolarización, déficit de la deuda externa... Como siempre, damos la nota; esta vez, por fin, ella es afinada.

Es más: lejos de producirse una repercusión negativa sobre las instituciones, la crisis ha sido favorable a ellas. Latinobarómetro registra un progreso en la idea democrática y, en términos generales, una mayor conformidad con sus gobiernos. Algunos, como el de Brasil, el de Colombia, el de Ecuador, los recién culminados de Chile y Uruguay, han gozado de particular favor de la opinión pública, a juzgar por las encuestas. Ello es explicable: cuando en septiembre de 2008 quebró Lehman Brothers y el mundo parecía caer en una crisis como la de 1929, la gente se preparó para lo peor. Pero la situación se fue sobrellevando con éxito. Las fuertes reservas internacionales acumuladas no bajaron, y aun cuando haya habido alguna caída de la actividad económica, no estuvo ni cerca de lo que se esperaba. El discurso tranquilizador de los gobiernos se hizo creíble y no se vivieron fenómenos de inestabilidad. El caso de Honduras respondió a factores políticos, alejados de las repercusiones de la crisis económica.

Después de seis años de expansión económica rumbosa, 2008 fue el primer mal año (-1,7% del PBI), pero lo fue mucho peor para las economías de los países desarrollados que para una América latina, que ya en 2009 volvió a crecer. México es el que lo ha pasado peor (su PBI cayó más de un 6% en 2008), pero ha vuelto a su ritmo exportador y hoy espera terminar el año con arriba del 4% de crecimiento. Ese impacto inicial se explica por su íntima vinculación con la economía norteamericana, pero la recuperación que inició Estados Unidos mucho antes que Europa -sumergida aún dentro del temporal- lo está beneficiando. En la otra punta, Brasil -todavía el más cerrado y menos dependiente de las exportaciones- no tuvo dificultades mayores y espera una expansión superior al 6%. Alentado por la perspectiva de ser sede de un campeonato mundial de fútbol y de una olimpiada, actor internacional de relieve, su proverbial buen talante se expresa en una oleada de optimismo sobre su futuro.

América latina siente que sus políticas económicas más responsables, su equilibrio fiscal y su inflación controlada le han dado resultado. Con todo, la clave del buen momento permanece en los precios de los alimentos, el petróleo y los minerales. Con una China a pleno, un mundo asiático dinámico y unos EE.UU. comenzando a retomar su expansión, todo hace pensar que aún por algún tiempo se mantendrá esta demanda de productos primarios que estuvo en la base de su bonanza anterior.

El riesgo está en que la crisis capitalista ha renovado el brío dialéctico de los populistas del socialismo del siglo XXI, que han querido ver una crisis de las bases mismas del sistema. Por cierto, han confundido deseos con realidades.

Que los ciclos de expansión y retracción persisten nos lo ha dicho una vez más la realidad. Pero el capitalismo, lejos de desaparecer, sale reforzado de la situación. Ante todo, porque la alternativa no ha emergido. Y, además, porque al haberse llamado al Estado para que ejerciera un rol más protagónico, se ha consolidado su supervivencia. Y ahí nace la preocupación: el retorno del Estado es para regular mejor el mercado, para impedir el descontrol financiero y, sobre todo, para procurar acuerdos internacionales que nos prevengan de los desbordes vividos. No es para retornar a perimidos proteccionismos, que si fueron posibles y hasta válidos en tiempos de escasez y economías cerradas hoy son incompatibles con un mundo global que voltea fronteras.

Se ha vuelto a invocar a lord Keynes, lo que no es malo. Pero que lo use como sombrilla cualquier derrochador irresponsable es un sarcasmo. No es keynesiano gastar fortunas en armamento, generar enormes déficits y, sobre todo, despreciar el desafío de la productividad. Cuando hubo que pagar los gastos de la guerra, el genio británico defendió un ahorro forzoso sobre los salarios para impedir la inflación y, en 1945, repudió los proteccionismos, sosteniendo que eran "una locura".

La consigna hoy es corregir excesos. Pero no sustituir uno por el otro. Si el libremercadismo pecó por no poner límites a las finanzas internacionales, la nostalgia estatista no puede ahora llevarnos de nuevo al voluntarismo en el gasto, el desequilibrio fiscal, la inflación y un proteccionismo antihistórico. © LA NACION

Julio María Sanguinetti fue dos veces presidente de la República Oriental del Uruguay.

Female Presence Growing In Brazil's Gangs:

  • by Fabiana Frayssinet (rio de janeiro)
  • Wednesday, June 23, 2010
  • Inter Press Service

Those are the conclusions of the book 'Gangues, Gênero e Juventudes' (Gangs, Gender and Youth) published this month by the Latin American Technological Information Network (RITLA), with participation from Central Única das Favelas (CUFA, a movement of young slumdwellers), and the support of the Secretariat of Human Rights.

The study's coordinator, Miriam Abramovay, told IPS that 10 years ago, when she investigated the issue for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the female youths generally played an 'ornamental' role in the gangs.

Today, in contrast, the young women 'are taking over spaces through more active participation, seeking respect and visibility' in these organisations, states the study.

The researchers did not find -- as they thought they might -- women-only gangs. But among the 13 groups they studied in Brasilia, the nation's capital, they discovered that the women 'do not have the same subordinate role they did 10 years ago.'

Abramovay noted that there is a 'female sector,' which is defined within the gang structure as 'group F'.

The women are no longer limited to 'taking care of their men' or 'carrying his weapon,' as before, she said. They participate in group actions, like painting graffiti ('pichar' in gang slang) on public or private buildings to mark their territory against incursions from rival gangs.

However, like the society they are rebelling against, 'there are also gender differences' within these groups, which are expressed primarily in the power structure, said Abramovay.

Female participation in youth gangs and criminal organisations was a topic for discussion at the 4th Biennial Meeting of States on Small Arms and Light Weapons, held last week at UN headquarters in New York.

The motives for joining gangs are common in Brazil: the desire for prestige, recognition and identification with a group. Through these groups, individuals also express values like courage and loyalty.

Although women usually do participate in their gang's general meetings, they also have their own.

According to Abramovay, while the men talk about problems like their fights and revenge against other gangs, the women often discuss more 'specific' gender issues, such as 'how to gain respect within the group' or who the women can and cannot date within the gang.

The researcher pointed out that the gender terminology used for referring to these women has two sides.

Some are called 'donas de rocha' (literally, owners of the stone), which refers to their strength as women, and implies respect.

Those who might betray them are known as 'cabrinhas' (young female goats), and those who seduce members of rival gangs are known as 'little homemakers.'

'As for the gender question, bravery and courage are taken as male traits. Women, meanwhile, can incorporate attributes of courage and loyalty, though there is a certain resistance and even distrust about the female ability to play that role,' according to the study.

Abramovay makes several different readings of the matter. On the one hand, it can be seen that this 'culture of violence' and 'spectacle-based society,' held in high esteem by young people, is no longer only masculine.

'It's a male culture that demonstrates power, and now the girls want it too,' she said.

'It is distressing that girls are in the gang, but even more so is that we have this new model of the spectacle, in which the ideal is violence, being 'macho',' she said.

Unlike the youth gangs of other countries, like those in Central America, in general the Brazilian gangs have not turned into crime rings, although some of their members might steal or sell drugs, she said.

According to the study, their activities, beyond the graffiti, centre on gang wars, drug use, parties and the Internet.

The investigation found that gang territory has gone beyond physical geography, expanding into the virtual world, where it is possible to incite gang wars, for example, by posting provocative photos of drugs and weapons.

Max Maciel, CUFA coordinator in Brasilia, told IPS that to successfully insert these young people into broader society it is important that the government provide opportunities for them to 'show off,' through arts or sports, making the most of whatever talents they possess.

In his view, instead of trying to quash them, the authorities should find ways to develop the positive qualities of many of these youths, such as their leadership abilities.

Maciel works with gang members in alternative projects, and believes they 'want the prestige and the visibility' that society otherwise does not give them.

The social activist recommends 'any policy, public or private... that gives them the right to adrenaline without the risk of death,' through cultural activities in which they can express themselves and by providing tools that allow them to enter the workforce.

Gang activities entail risk: the members might fall from a building they are painting a graffiti, may be arrested or even get shot by a home or business owner, he said.

To prevent the youths from turning completely to crime, the government needs to develop preventative policies, agrees Abramovay. These should include projects for social inclusion and alternative spaces for recreation, education and job training.

The public policies should include both men and women, but some gender- specific policies are also needed, said Abramovay.

© Inter Press Service (2010) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

El español ya es la tercera lengua más usada en Internet

El potencial de un idioma

Sin embargo, hay grandes desigualdades en el acceso a la Web en América latina

Julieta Molina

Aunque sólo el 7,9% de los 1700 millones de usuarios de Internet en el mundo se comunica en español, nuestro idioma ocupa hoy el tercer lugar en las lenguas más usadas en la Web, después del chino y el inglés. Sin embargo, sólo el 30% de los ciudadanos latinoamericanos tiene acceso a Internet, según indica un informe que dio a conocer el Instituto Cervantes de España.

El estudio muestra que la penetración de la Web en América latina es de gran disparidad, con países como Chile y la Argentina, con una población usuaria de Internet del 50,4 y 48,9% respectivamente, y, en el otro extremo, países como Nicaragua, con 3,1%; Honduras, con 8,4%, y Bolivia, con 10,2%.

Según explicó a LA NACION el periodista especializado en nuevas tecnologías Leandro Zanoni, esta diferencia debería generar preocupación. "Existe una brecha digital enorme, y esto es lo mismo que decir una brecha social. Que las personas crezcan sin acceso a Internet es como no haber enseñado a los chicos a leer y escribir hace 50 años", precisó el especialista.

Entre los años 2000 y 2009, el incremento de internautas en América latina y el Caribe ha sido de un 890 por ciento. Un 700% más de argentinos navega en la Web desde 2000. En países como República Dominicana, el crecimiento de internautas ha sido del 5354,5% y en Paraguay hay 4371% más de usuarios.

"En los países en los que se observa un alto crecimiento de usuarios en Internet se ven, además, distintas variables que interactúan entre sí generando resultado positivos", explicó Zanoni.

Luego detalló variables como el incremento en el acceso a la banda ancha, que abarata los costos de acceso a Internet, y la mayor oferta de dispositivos digitales, como laptops, netbooks o teléfonos de alta tecnología, que ha promovido que las personas utilicen y necesiten Internet mucho más de lo que la usaban antes. Por último, la existencia de la Web 2.0 y sus redes sociales ha potenciado el uso de Internet en gran medida, "por ejemplo, con Youtube, que tiene apenas 5 años de existencia y 4 de uso masivo", detalló Zanoni.

Prioridad política

Sin embargo, el panorama es auspicioso para la región, si se tiene en cuenta que la penetración de Internet en América latina y el Caribe es del 30%, mientras que en América del Norte el uso de Internet se ha extendido a más del 74% de la población. El dato deja al descubierto el enorme potencial de crecimiento de usuarios hispanohablantes.

Por el momento, la lista de 20 países con mayor cantidad de internautas concentra al 76% de los usuarios de Internet. En ese ranking sólo hay tres países de lengua hispana: España, México y la Argentina. "La situación no va a cambiar hasta que los gobiernos tomen cartas en el asunto, realicen políticas para intervenir en el sector y fomenten emprendimientos en la Web o exenciones impositivas a las empresas", explicó Zanoni.

El informe también certifica que la cantidad de hablantes de un idioma es uno de los factores que determinan su potencial económico. Si se considera que el español está creciendo en la Red a una velocidad casi tres veces mayor que la del inglés, el potencial económico que no se aprovecha es cuantioso.

"El problema en América latina es que el acceso es muy lento para sectores carecientes. Tendría que ser una prioridad para los gobiernos, cada día que se pierde hace que sea más difícil insertarse después", dijo Zanoni.

23 de junho de 2010

Internet en el desarrollo de América latina

Alexandre Hohagen

La expansión de Internet es cada vez mayor en América latina, y la tendencia se incrementará aún más cuando los precios de los paquetes de telefonía celular resulten más accesibles y disminuya el poder de las operadoras entre los fabricantes de teléfonos móviles. Porque si bien nuestra región no ha arribado aún al punto de inflexión que, por ejemplo, la India ya alcanzó -sus compañías de telecomunicaciones han comprendido que los planes accesibles alientan la llegada de aparatos con recursos y servicios más sofisticados-, es sólo una cuestión de tiempo si tenemos en cuenta las últimas estadísticas.

Claro es que, en ambos lugares, existen problemas que requieren una más imperiosa solución. Pero lo cierto es que subsanar esta problemática, atribuible a los operadores locales que todavía no ofrecen paquetes de datos ilimitados, redundará a su vez en un acortamiento en la brecha digital que separa a sociedades desarrolladas de aquellas que están aún en vías de serlo.

Porque si bien América latina se cuenta entre las regiones con más teléfonos móviles del mundo (a razón de tres unidades por cada PC), la actitud de las empresas prestadoras todavía conspira contra el inevitable crecimiento del volumen de acceso a la Web a través de ellos.

Volviendo a la India, allí las operadoras ofrecen paquetes de acceso ilimitado por 5 dólares mensuales.

A lo mismo aspira Google en América latina; y si bien nuestra región continúa atrasada en este aspecto, no mucho más deberían tardar las empresas de telecomunicaciones en ver en esto una cuestión prioritaria. Porque la forma de lograrlo es, precisamente, fomentando el acceso a Internet hasta volverlo masivo a través de plataformas móviles de bajo costo, como las netbooks o los llamados teléfonos inteligentes y, por sobre todas las cosas, de una oferta creciente de planes más económicos.

No olvidemos que, en la actualidad, cerca del 65% de los accesos a Internet móvil ocurren por intermedio de los smartphones .

Google es muy consciente de que la Internet del futuro será vía celular y con servicios personalizados, ya que la plataforma móvil cuenta con evidentes ventajas sobre la red fija. Es por ello que, con el lanzamiento del Nexus, que se espera para mediados de año en América latina, nuestra empresa aspira a trasladar la plataforma clásica de la PC fija al dispositivo móvil, ofreciendo al usuario la experiencia de Internet en cualquier momento y en cualquier lugar.

En ese sentido, persuadir a las compañías de telecomunicaciones de la necesidad de abaratar los precios de sus paquetes forma parte de la estrategia de Google, tendiente a masificar el acceso a Internet.

Esperemos que sea éste el primer paso en el camino de una aún mayor penetración de Internet en América latina, y que en los próximos años se multipliquen las mejoras en la infraestructura de telecomunicaciones, las ofertas de paquetes más viables y el acceso al hardware , para así permitir la conexión a Internet de millones de personas de la región que aguardan expectantes su posibilidad de sumarse a la Red.


El autor es director general de Google para América Latina

22 de junho de 2010

Assessing the Effects of ICT in Education: Indicators, Criteria and Benchmarks for International Comparisons Send Send Print print Introduction | Tab

ISBN: 9789264079786
Publication: 2/6/2010

Assessing the Effects of ICT in Education: Indicators, Criteria and Benchmarks for International Comparisons

Despite the fact that education systems have been heavily investing in technology since the early 1980s, international indicators on technology uptake and use in education are missing. This book aims to provide a basis for the design of frameworks, the identification of indicators and existing data sources, as well as gaps in areas needing further research.

The contributions stem from an international expert meeting in April 2009 organised by the Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning, in co-operation with OECD (CERI), on benchmarking technology use and effects in education. The contributions clearly demonstrate the need to develop a consensus around approaches, indicators and methodologies.

The book is organised around four blocks: contexts of ICT impact assessment in education, state-of-the-art ICT impact assessment, conceptual frameworks and case studies.


The existing international indicators still mirror the first policy priorities of the early 1980s: securing student access to computers and the Internet in schools. Indicators such as ratios of students per computer or percentage of schools with broadband access, although still a concern in some countries, do not yet provide the most relevant information for today’s policy in the field: how is technology used in schools? Is this use truly supporting the emergence of the learning environment that a knowledge-based society requires?

Table of contents

  • Chapter I — Context and General Reflections
  • Chapter II — State of the Art
  • Chapter III — Conceptual Frameworks
  • Chapter IV — Case Studies

How to obtain this publication

Readers can access the full version of Assessing the Effects of ICT in Education: Indicators, Criteria and Benchmarks for International Comparisons choosing from the following options:

Related websites

20 de junho de 2010

Em 12 anos, número de doutores titulados no Brasil mais que triplica

O número de doutores titulados no Brasil mais que triplicou entre 1996 e 2008, revelou pesquisa divulgada pela Cade (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior) e realizada pelo CGEE (Centro de Gestão de Estudos Estratégicos), do Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia. No período, o crescimento foi de 278% - uma média de 11,9% ao ano.

Nesse período, mais de 87 mil pessoas obtiveram o título de doutor. Até 2008, o Brasil contava com cerca de 132 mil doutores titulados em diversas áreas do conhecimento. O número ainda é pequeno: representa apenas 0,07% da população brasileira total. Comparado com outros países, o Brasil ainda precisa caminhar muito na formação de doutores.

Para se ter uma ideia, o estudo mostra que para alcançar números semelhantes aos dos países desenvolvidos, o Brasil precisa multiplicar por 4,5 ou mais vezes a participação de doutores em sua população. Tomando por base os Estados Unidos, em 2008, o número de doutores titulados no Brasil representava um quinto dos titulados nos Estados Unidos.

Crescimento por área

Apesar de ainda não ter forte representatividade, o aumento do número de doutores titulados é generalizado e foi identificado em todas as áreas. As mais tradicionais, porém, foram as que mais cresceram em 12 anos – ainda considerando o período de 1996 e 2008.

Considerando a média anual de crescimento, de 11,9%, as áreas Multidisciplinar foram as que mais formaram doutores titulados por ano – o crescimento anual médio foi de 59,8%. Outras áreas cresceram acima da média, como a de Linguística, Letras e Artes (15,7%), Sociais Aplicadas (14,8%), Humanas (13,6%) e Agrárias (13,5%). Cresceram abaixo da média anual as áreas Exatas e da Terra (8,1%), Biológicas (10,2%), Engenharias (10,3%) e Saúde (11,8%).

“A tendência geral de crescimento mais acentuado das áreas do conhecimento menos tradicionais e mais lento das áreas de maior tradição na pós-graduação está certamente articulada com a trajetória de diversificação, consolidação e amadurecimento que vem sendo percorrida pela formação de doutores no Brasil, mas é preciso avaliar se a intensidade desse processo está de acordo com as reais necessidades do País”, consideraram os pesquisadores no estudo.

Mercado de trabalho

O estudo ainda mostra que entre os doutores titulados no período de 1996 e 2008, 71,8% estavam empregados. Para os pesquisadores, o número de desempregados, 28,2%, ainda é alto. Eles acreditam que uma das razões para que os doutores demorem para obter emprego está associada ao fato de o setor público absorver parte desses profissionais. Para entrar na área, porém, é preciso realizar concursos públicos – que são processos demorados, com periodicidade irregular. Outro entrave é justamente a formação específica e especializada. Devido a isso, os profissionais demoram para obter um cargo condizente com sua formação.

A pesquisa apontou ainda que é comum os doutores terem mais de um vínculo empregatício. Aqueles titulados entre 1996 e 2006 possuíam em média 1,3 emprego no final de 2008. E o número médio de empregos tende a aumentar quanto mais recente for a titulação. Doutores titulados em 1996, por exemplo, tinham em média 1,2 emprego, ao passo que aqueles titulados em 2006 tinham 1,5 emprego.

Considerando as áreas, os doutores titulados nas grandes áreas das Ciências Sociais Aplicadas e das Ciências Humanas são os que estavam empregados em maior proporção em 2008, 81,6% e 78,4%, respectivamente. Já as áreas de Engenharia, Ciências Biológicas e Ciências Exatas registraram as menores taxas de empregabilidade, 74,1%, 70,2% e 69,4%, na ordem.

Ainda entre os doutores que estavam empregados em 2008, 68,3% trabalhavam na região Sudeste, 14,7% na região Sul, 7,9% na Nordeste e 6,4% trabalhavam na região Centro-Oeste. Apenas 2,7% dos doutores titulados no período analisado estavam na região Norte. “Apesar de haver grande concentração de doutores empregados no Sudeste, essa região ainda é capaz de formar muito mais doutores do que absorve e, por isso, ela tem dado importante contribuição para a formação de doutores que vão trabalhar no resto do Brasil”, afirmaram os pesquisadores no estudo.

Educação é a área que emprega mais

Dentre as atividades econômicas, a Educação é a que mais emprega doutores. Somente no ano de 2008, 76,8% dos doutores que titularam entre 1996 e 2006 estavam empregados nesse setor. De cada dez doutores, oito trabalham em educação. Administração Pública, Defesa e Seguridade Social absorveu em 2008 11,1% dos doutores.

Naquele ano, os estados de São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais e Rio Grande do Sul foram os responsáveis pelo emprego de 63,4% dos doutores titulados entre 1996 e 2006.


Adults and cell phone distractions

Adults are just as likely as teens to have texted while driving and are substantially more likely to have talked on the phone while driving.

In addition, 49% of adults say they have been passengers in a car when the driver was sending or reading text messages on their cell phone. Overall, 44% of adults say they have been passengers of drivers who used the cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger.

Beyond driving, some cell-toting pedestrians get so distracted while talking or texting that they have physically bumped into another person or an object.

These are some of the key findings from a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project:

  • Nearly half (47%) of all texting adults say they have sent or read a text message while driving. That compares to one in three (34%) texting teens ages 16-17 who said they had “texted while driving” in a September 2009 survey.1
  • Looking at the general population, this means that 27% of all American adults say they have sent or read text messages while driving. That compares to 26% of all American teens ages 16-17 who reported texting at the wheel in 2009.
  • Three in four (75%) cell-owning adults say they have talked on a cell phone while driving. Half (52%) of cell-owning teens ages 16-17 reported talking on a cell phone while driving in the 2009 survey.
  • Among all adults, that translates into 61% who have talked on a cell phone while driving. That compares to 43% of all American teens ages 16-17 who said they had talked on their phones while driving in the 2009 survey.
  • Half (49%) of all adults say they have been in a car when the driver was sending or reading text messages on their cell phone. The same number (48%) of all teens ages 12-17 said they had been in a car “when the driver was texting.”2
  • 44% of all adults say they have been in a car when the driver used the cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger. About the same number of teens (40%) said they had been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a dangerous way.
  • Beyond driving, one in six (17%) cell-owning adults say they have physically bumped into another person or an object because they were distracted by talking or texting on their phone. That amounts to 14% of all American adults who have been so engrossed in talking, texting or otherwise using their cell phones that they bumped into something or someone.

These new findings for those ages 18 and older come from a nationwide phone survey of 2,252 American adults (744 of the interviews were conducted on cell phones) conducted between April 29 and May 30. In that survey, 1,917 were cell owners and 1,189 used text messaging. The margin of error in the full sample is two percentage points and in the cell subpopulation is three percentage points.

The findings for teens are based on previously released data from a separate nationwide telephone survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research International between June 26 and September 24, 2009, among a sample of 800 teens ages 12-17 and a parent or guardian. For a full discussion of the results from this survey, please see the “Teens and Distracted Driving” report.

Students' writing scores lower on computer tests

Bend-La Pine principals and district officials have puzzled over recent preliminary writing test scores showing students who took the online version of a state writing test scoring lower than students who completed a paper version.

Some administrators have suggested various culprits, from a lack of spell-check on the test's word processing program to students writing fewer drafts before turning in the test. But the preliminary test scores raise an issue about teaching writing, spelling and grammar in an age when students spend so much time on a computer.

Bend-La Pine Schools Chief Academic Officer Lora Nordquist, who oversees curriculum for the district, said elementary school students still learn spelling and basic grammar in a traditional manner.

"Students in the formative years, we are really focusing on them learning the skills," Nordquist said."Spelling is absolutely part of their instruction, as is usage and mechanics. ... Most of them are not diagramming sentences, but definitely the focus in elementary school is on teaching fundamental skills."

Part of the reason students study those subjects traditionally, Nordquist said, is limited access to laptops or computers on a regular basis.

"That's really primarily at middle school where that begins happening," she said."And a little of that at middle school is dependent on what the availability of computers is, so it differs a little from middle school to middle school."

When students use computers for writing, Nordquist said they're trained to use tools like spell-check and grammar-check.

"I think we would be remiss as teachers if we didn't do that," she said."We're not teaching writing for the Oregon state assessment. We're teaching it because it's important to do. In the adult world, all of us make use of these technology tools."

Oregon is offering the state writing exam to high schools in both online and paper-based formats; some middle schools tested the new online format this year.

But the tests have come under scrutiny because some schools around the district and state have reported significant score differences between the online and paper-based tests.

The Oregon Department of Education is planning to analyze the data to determine what, if anything, went wrong, but reports from schools around Bend and La Pine show that students were much less likely to pass the online version of the test.

The tests used the same prompts and were identical. The test scorers are trained to read both handwritten and typed essays.

Mark Molner, a writing teacher at Bend High, said he'd talked to his students about why they thought online scores had suffered.

Students gave three reasons.

One, they said they struggled with proofreading their work on-screen instead of printing their work out and editing it by hand.

"When we're working on a paper in class and we have access to computer labs, all my kids do multiple hard-copy drafts and edit on those, and they're quite successful at that," he said.

Two, Molner said students are accustomed to using word-processing programs that feature spelling and grammar tools.

"They've never used (a computer) that didn't have that," he said."So they're not as rigorous in their proofreading."

And three, students told Molner they seem to slow down and be more thoughtful when they handwrite a piece.

"I was surprised by that. I thought with word processors they'd start to keep up with their thoughts so they don't lose the thread," he said."But they said they kind of slow down and think of what they want to say more carefully."

Molner thinks that while spell-check may make some students less inclined to proofread, it is a tool that is here to stay.

"It is going to exist on every computer they're going to use," he said."People make the same argument about calculators and computation errors.

"But I think part of it is a pragmatic issue. Everything is done on computers."

And since students learn quickly that spell-check has its own quirks and errors, they usually learn to edit their work anyway.

While writing on computers is a part of reality these days, Bend High writing teacher Nikki Baird has seen a rise in writing problems stemming from the amount of time spent online."We see a lot more problems with students not knowing proper capitalization and punctuation, and that's more of a result of instant messaging and texting and things like that," Baird said."We're having to go back to get kids to refocus on things they learned in elementary school."

If she didn't have to spend so much time on those writing basics, Baird said, she could get into more sophisticated information like syntax, diction and analyzing authors' styles.

As it stands, her students spend much of their time in class writing with paper and pencil, rather than working on computers.

"I have them do drafts, and I mark different types of errors, and we go back and evaluate what they're doing wrong here," Baird said."And then we try to fix those mistakes in future drafts."

Baird said that in addition to the time students spend writing informally on instant messenger systems and texting on phones, they also read less, which affects their writing skills. Molner, on the other hand, said he has just as many voracious readers as he did 10 years ago, but he does see texting as having affected his students' writing skills. Baird said student reading is simply different from in the past.

"I do see a lot of kids reading, but they're reading small snippets, quick information focused on Facebook pages. And anything you get on the Internet tends to be short snippets of information as opposed to long, sustained pieces of writing," she said."They have trouble focusing their attention."


El militante de la cultura

Santiago Kovadloff

Tres son los hechos fundamentales que inscribieron a Portugal en el siglo XX. El primero de ellos fue la Revolución de los Claveles, que puso final a la dictadura de Oliveira Salazar y Marcelo Caetano. El segundo fue la inscripción de Portugal en la Unión Europea. El tercero, el otorgamiento del Premio Nobel de Literatura a José Saramago.

Los tres fueron factores decisivos en la reconfiguración de Portugal como una nación moderna. Detengámonos hoy en el perfil de José Saramago.

Audio: Kovadloff: «Como escitor, hizo un aporte fundamental»

Su papel fue decisivo en el reconocimiento mundial de la literatura portuguesa, una literatura que desde José María Eça de Queiroz a Fernando Pessoa y de él a Antonio Lobo Antunes y Saramago supo mostrar de qué modo en ese pequeño país confluían los más grandes dilemas del hombre de nuestro tiempo.

Conocí a José Saramago en los años 80 del siglo pasado. Invitado a exponer en la Feria del Libro, me tocó acompañarlo durante su estadía en Buenos Aires. Descubrí en él a un hombre apasionado por la historia y a un militante político de la cultura antes que de un partido.

Política y literatura fueron para él dos realidades interdependientes. Siempre consideró que Portugal estaba lejos todavía del proceso de autorreconocimiento indispensable para que sus políticas de Estado impulsaran simultáneamente su inscripción en Europa y el proceso de equidad social que infundiera a su sociedad el desarrollo cívico necesario.

Creo que cometió grandes errores ideológicos, como por ejemplo confundir sus discrepancias con algunas de las políticas del Estado de Israel y con la necesidad de liquidar al Estado propiamente dicho.

Su obra fue fecunda en la caracterización metafórica de todos los problemas que le importaron. Ejemplo de ello son El año de la muerte de Ricardo Reis, La balsa de piedra o El Evangelio según Jesucristo. Otras de sus obras, especialmente las últimas, me parecen esquemáticas, en las que la rigidez de la tesis congela la vitalidad de la exposición. Fue un hombre de trato ameno, que amaba nuestra lengua ?que fue la de su esposa? tanto como el portugués.


Morre Prêmio Nobel José Saramago

O escritor português José Saramago morreu na sexta-feira, 18, em sua casa em Lanzarote, Ilhas Canárias, aos 87 anos de idade. Ele foi hospitalizado diversas vezes nos últimos anos, principalmente por conta de problemas respiratórios. O autor recebeu o prêmio máximo da Literatura em 1988. Segundo a premiação, Saramago "permitiu mais uma vez apreender uma realidade ilusória por meio de parábolas sustentadas pela imaginação, pela compaixão e pela ironia". Autor de "O Evangelho segundo Jesus Cristo" e "Ensaio sobre a cegueira", Saramago vivia em Lanzarote desde 1993 com a jornalista e tradutora espanhola, Pilar del Rio.

Combate ao bullying na pauta

Breno Fortes/CB/D.A Press
Governo do DF e sindicato das escolas particulares desenvolvem ações para acabar com as ofensas e agressões nos colégios da capital


O combate ao bullying no Distrito Federal é feito dentro da sala de aula. Iniciativas das redes de ensino pública e particular candangas revelam que não existem tabus nos debates e ações promovidos para debelar o problema. A Secretaria de Educação do DF, por exemplo, criou conselhos de segurança nas escolas públicas como estratégia para identificar e minimizar as mais diferentes formas de violência praticadas no ambiente escolar. Entre elas, as humilhações e provocações praticadas entre crianças e adolescentes.

Esses conselhos contam com a participação de diretores, professores, orientadores educacionais, pais e estudantes. Em 305 das 600 instituições públicas na capital do país, os grupos já foram instalados. Os conflitos existem nas escolas. É objetivo dos conselhos fazer a mediação deles e discutir estratégias. Uma das atribuições é justamente identificar o bullying, uma violência que ocorre entre iguais. Ou seja, de aluno para aluno , explica a subsecretária da Educação Integral da Secretaria de Educação do DF, Ivanna Sant Ana Torres.

Reuniões, debates e palestras sobre o tema ocorrem com frequência nos colégios em que os conselhos estão em funcionamento. O trabalho dos grupos também se faz em parceria com outros agentes públicos, como a Polícia Civil, a Polícia Militar e a Secretaria de Saúde do DF. Esse tipo de problema deve ser trabalhado em casa e na sala de aula. Por conta disso, acho que não somos a capital brasileira do bullying, como diz a pesquisa do IBGE. Talvez sejamos a unidade da Federação que mais discute o assunto e, assim, conhecemos mais o termo , avalia Ivanna.

O Centro de Educação Infantil (CEI) 210 de Santa Maria aparece como uma das instituições públicas do Distrito Federal com o conselho de segurança estruturado. As reuniões do grupo ocorrem às quartas-feiras à noite, nas dependências do próprio colégio. A diretoria, os professores e os orientadores educacionais trabalham diretamente com os pais os problemas dos filhos, como dificuldades na fala, sexualidade e limites. Mas também combatemos o bullying, que existe na educação infantil , explica a diretora do CEI 210, Lidi Ane Oliveira Nascimento.

Um dos casos recentemente discutidos e trabalhados pela escola é o de um menino de 4 anos. O garoto tinha dificuldades em conviver com negros, além de evitar objetos de cor preta. A orientadora educacional Ione Patrícia Ferreira ajudou a contornar a situação a partir do desenvolvimento de várias atividades. Segundo os professores e os diretores, a intervenção e a mudança de comportamento da criança ocorreram antes mesmo de os colegas negros se sentirem rejeitados ou excluídos. O resultado foi percebido em uma festinha, na qual o garoto dançou com uma professora que pintou o rosto com tinta preta.

Em Santa Maria, a Diretoria Regional de Ensino (DRE) prevê palestras sobre o bullying em todos os colégios da cidade. Mas também admite dificuldades nas unidades que abrigam muitos alunos, como é o caso da escola de ensino fundamental onde os alunos do 6º ano se tornaram alvos dos mais velhos. O bullying exige intervenções constantes. E o trabalho de prevenção precisa ser desenvolvido desde a educação infantil, e sempre dando atenção aos pais , afirma a chefe do Núcleo de Monitoramento Pedagógico da DRE de Santa Maria, Flávia Maria Barbosa.

Atenção aos sinais

Especialistas e educadores concordam que pais e professores devem ficar atentos aos primeiros sinais de bullying. Desculpas para faltar às aulas, pouca motivação nos estudos e pedidos repentinos de mudança de sala podem revelar o problema (leia arte). Segundo Flávia Barbosa, quem sofre e quem pratica as brincadeiras abusivas e repetitivas têm perfis parecidos. As vítimas são normalmente os mais tímidos e mais pacientes. Os que praticam têm perfil de liderança, às vezes são mais fortes do que os demais , descreve.

Para a socióloga Miriam Abramovay, o bullying é mais um dos fenômenos graves que ocorrem nas escolas do Brasil. Enquanto o termo virou conceito por conta de um estudo realizado na Noruega, no Brasil, explica a especialista, as relações de conflito ultrapassam as agressões verbais e ameaças. Classificamos três tipos de violência nos ambientes escolares brasileiros. Vão desde aquelas previstas no Código Penal até as que ocorrem no cotidiano, como um bate-boca, a pichação e o racismo , detalha a coordenadora de pesquisa da Rede de Informação Tecnológica Latino-Americana (Ritla).

As dificuldades da vida escolar do país são descritas no livro Revelando tramas, descobrindo segredos: violência e convivência nas escolas, publicado pela própria Ritla em 2009. Além de Miriam, assinam a publicação Anna Lúcia Cunha e Priscila Pinto Calaf. Esses conflitos são problemas sociais e não individuais. O que temos de entender é que eles prejudicam a qualidade do ensino. É preciso adotar políticas públicas para solucionar essa problemática , defende a socióloga, que estuda o assunto há cerca de 10 anos.


O bullying no DF também recebe atenção das escolas privadas. O Sindicato dos Estabelecimentos Particulares de Ensino do Distrito Federal (Sinepe-DF) faz treinamento e capacitação de educadores há oito anos. A entidade também organiza palestras. Foram quatro no ano passado em centros de ensino localizados fora do Plano Piloto. Estamos extremamente atentos. Não fazemos de conta que o tema não existe. As crianças devem ter informação até para poder denunciar , alerta a presidente do Sinepe-DF, Amábile Pácios.

O incentivo às denúncias aparece no site do sindicato, responsável pela publicação de dois livros sobre o assunto. Na página inicial, há um cartaz da campanha do Disque 100, da Secretaria Especial de Direitos Humanos da Presidência da República. Os atendentes recebem a comunicação de casos de violência contra crianças e adolescentes, como agressões físicas, verbais, psicológicas e morais e os repassam para os representantes do MP e do Conselho Tutelar da região. Não é preciso se identificar.

Caso de polícia No mês passado, uma adolescente de 12 anos registrou ocorrência na Delegacia da Criança e do Adolescente (DCA) por estar sofrendo bullying no Centro de Ensino Fundamental 24, em Ceilândia. Ela recebeu um apelido pejorativo dos colegas e a situação ficou fora de controle, chegando até a comunidade. Na época, a escola orientou a jovem a registrar o caso na polícia. Segundo o delegado Francisco Antônio da Silva, a ocorrência é curiosa por ser o primeiro caso nesse sentido apurado pela DCA.

Nesse mesmo centro de ensino de Ceilândia, localizado na QNQ 3, foi registrado neste ano outro caso de bullying. De acordo com o supervisor pedagógico do colégio, João Batista de Oliveira, trata-se de cyberbullying. Tivemos problemas entre alunas que se ameaçavam e se xingavam nas redes sociais , explica. O supervisor disse que a questão foi resolvida após uma conversa entre as meninas. Agora, uma das envolvidas até está participando dos programas de conscientização , comemora.

Peça de teatro

João de Oliveira lembra que, no ano passado, a escola promoveu uma série de palestras e atividades voltadas para o combate à prática de bullying e cyberbullying. Recebemos o programa Superação Jovem, da Fundação Ayrton Senna, que propõe que seja trabalhado o protagonismo juvenil. Vieram vários projetos e, entre as propostas, surgiu a discussão do bullying.

Pesquisas com professores, alunos e servidores foram feitas antes de o programa ser realmente produzido. Os alunos prepararam uma peça de teatro. Na época, a situação ficou resolvida. Mas este ano já tivemos dois casos , lamenta. Depois do cyberbullying e do caso que foi parar na polícia, a escola reativou o programa.

Miriam Abramovay
Rede de Informação

17 de junho de 2010

Manifesto pede mais ciência nos países em desenvolvimento

Grupo de Universidade de Sussex, na Inglaterra, defende pesquisas voltadas para o bem estar dos países mais pobres

Um manifesto lançado nesta quarta-feira (16/6) pelo Centro de Rumos Sociais, Tecnológicos e Ambientais para a Sustentabilidade da Universidade de Sussex, Inglaterra, defende uma ciência mais voltada para o cidadão e que possa ser democraticamente compartilhada.

O documento, denominado "Inovação, Sustentabilidade e Desenvolvimento: um novo manifesto" defende a busca por resultados sustentáveis e critica o atual quadro científico. Segundo os signatários, o foco dos pesquisadores têm sido o tamanho do investimento e o grau de inovação tecnológica proporcionada.

O manifesto defende, então, uma metodologia 3D - diversidade, direção e distribuição. Os países também deveriam estabelecer órgãos que revisassem as políticas científicas de modo que os recursos possam ser mais bem distribuídos.

O documento pode ser lido no link http://anewmanifesto.org/wp-content/uploads/steps-manifesto_small-file.pdf

O texto é uma renovação de manifesto lançado há 40 anos pela mesma universidade a pedido das Nações Unidas.

Class Management Systems Monitor Student's Monitors

Instructional-technology teacher Kelley Ward has the ability to control students’ screens from the computer at her desk at Barr Middle School in Grand Island, Neb.
—Lane Hickenbottom

Classroom-management systems let teachers see what students are doing.

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Maura Hendrickson didn’t like peering over her elementary school students’ shoulders while they worked on desktop computers. Yet, with no other way to see their monitors, it was the best defense she had against a student getting distracted, falling behind, and doing poorly.

“The pain it takes [for students] to sit there and wait for someone to help can be [frustrating],” says Hendrickson, an integration specialist at Lincoln Elementary School in the 8,000-student Grand Island, Neb., school district. “You may have become disconnected with what you’re working on.”

But with Apple Remote Desktop, or ARD, the Grand Island district’s classroom-management software, Hendrickson can watch students work on lessons from her own machine, guide them through tough problems, distribute documents or software to multiple students’ hard drives, and show slides for lectures directly on their monitors.

“This is a very funky thing,” Hendrickson says. “It’s not just something you can imagine. It’s hard to believe one piece of software can control all those machines.”

Sixth grader Christina Slattery works on a multimedia project about global warming in teacher Kelley Ward’s instructional technology class at Barr Middle School.
—Lane Hickenbottom

As schools become increasingly dependent on computer labs and 1-to-1 computing approaches, more are enlisting ARD or similar software from competitors like Orem, Utah-based LanSchool or Calgary, Alberta-based SMART Technologies to help save time, money, and other resources.

Typically, the software allows teachers or administrators to take over multiple machines on a network at once and either operate them as if they were sitting at the keyboard or just peer in on the student’s use of the machine. The idea is to help teachers keep tabs on students in 1-to-1 computing environments, but more savvy instructors say the software is much more flexible than that.

“I find new uses for it all the time,” says Kelley Ward, who teaches instructional technology at Barr Middle School in the Grand Island district and has utilized ARD to take inventory of technology hardware and documents for students who either don’t know how to open them, or don’t have access.

Benefits and Drawbacks

Yet with models for computer-based instruction evolving and concerns about online privacy growing, how best to incorporate classroom-management software into learning is open to debate.

Ted Lai, the director of technology and media services for the 13,600-student Fullerton school system in California, is among the technology experts who say overuse of classroom-management software can counteract the benefits of computer-based learning.

While 2,200 students at nine of the Fullerton district’s elementary and middle schools participate in a 1-to-1 program with school-issued Apple iBooks or MacBooks, Lai estimates only 5 percent of the teachers in 1-to-1 environments regularly use ARD. And while he praises teachers who use it to improve instruction, he cautions that using classroom-management software can feed a teacher’s instincts to remain at the center of the learning process, the so-called “sage on the stage” approach that good use of technology is supposed to counteract.

“I think that one of the biggest things [in using technology] is to differentiate learning as much as possible so that students are not just listening to lectures, but that students are directing learning and discoveries,” Lai says. “In our district, we haven’t pushed a system like this as much as we’ve pushed an environment where we can monitor in a different way.”

Lai encourages teachers to use ARD to display how students have successfully solved a problem during a lesson, but not to use it to replace face-to-face interactions.

Apple’s Remote Desktop allows teachers to remotely lock all the screens in a room when they are giving instruction to prevent students from getting distracted.
—Lane Hickenbottom

At the 1,300-student Hemlock public schools in Michigan, technology coordinator Tom Lockwood is preparing to pilot a 1-to-1 computing program with special education and Title I students, though details of who is issued how many laptops or netbooks haven’t been finalized.

Lockwood says the LanSchool software the district uses is essential to help a small school system expand its technology profile. And in his district it is particularly useful for teachers who can use the software to lead students through calculations in high school accounting courses, or features of computer-aided design. He adds that it could also hold an appeal for districts wishing to conserve resources and teachers wishing to conserve energy.

“If you really need more than one teacher in the lab just to supervise what’s going on, you can’t afford the extra person, so it could save money,” says Lockwood. About keeping students off social-media sites, such as Facebook, and online games during class time, he adds: “If you’re dealing with kids in a lab environment, it can be a pain in the neck. There’s motivation to learn [to use the software].”

Beyond Keeping Tabs

Some technology directors concede that the public perception of classroom-management software is that it’s mainly used for spying on students. And some teachers have the tendency to note the restrictive benefits of the software before the instructive ones, which some experts see as a misguided perspective.

Apple’s Remote Desktop allows teachers to share their screens with students’ screens, monitor individual students’ screens, or project a student’s screen for classroom demonstrations.
—Lane Hickenbottom

Kathy Moore, the media coordinator at Pine View Middle School in the 26,000-student Washington County district in southwestern Utah, praises LanSchool’ssoftware for letting her monitor what students do online when they visit the library at lunch, or before or after class.

“I think it does make them more productive. If they’re not, I very quickly know,” she says, adding how she has opened Internet windows students minimized on their own screens.

Michael Williams, the technology director and a former office-technology teacher in the 2,400-student Early County school system in Blakely, Ga., says that while he purchased SMART’s software to do some “very refined teaching,” educators in his district can and do use the system to monitor how students use the Internet.

Nebraska’s Grand Island system, however, is among the districts that actively discourage administrators and teachers from using software as a spying device without just cause.

Barr Middle 7th grader Ever Rosales works on a multimedia project about feudalism in teacher Tim Hekrdle’s instructional technology class.
—Lane Hickenbottom

“We are very, very clear with our technology-support people that they are not to be using [Apple Remote Desktop] to scan networks and monitor what people are doing,” says Sue Burch, the technology director at Grand Island schools. “There’s enough paranoia about Big Brother watching.”

Burch says a better strategy is to be aware of signs of network abuse, like slowed network speed or a student’s sagging performance, and then investigate the situation.

While teachers continue to explore appropriate use of classroom-management software in class, the biggest benefits may actually occur outside of class time. Such software can solve little logistical problems—such as retrieving group work from a classmate’s computer when he’s home sick—or bigger ones, like installing a virus update on several hundred netbooks in a few minutes.

“It’s the ability to administer a network without having to go room to room to room,” says Burch. “It’s the ability to sit on the couch in the evening and restart our servers or update our servers. It’s the ability when you’re out of town on a conference, and a teacher or administrator says something is not right, to see the desktops of users.”

Teaching Secrets: Hang on to the Magic

Premium article access courtesy of TeacherMagazine.org.

It was a Monday last spring in the middle of testing season. At the lunch time “venting” session, people were whining and complaining about the testing schedule, which was indeed an indescribable disaster. I totally understood why people were so angry and frustrated, and I didn't blame them for getting their frustrations out among friends. However, as we were leaving, one of the young teachers in the room said something that really resonated with me: “Twenty-six years and four days.”

It took us a moment to get what she was saying. What did that random time period have to do with anything? Then it hit me: She was pointing out how long it would be until she could retire. The other teachers and I kind of giggled nervously. But it got me thinking. What kind of a profession are we in where people count down the days and years to retirement? How could such an amazing young teacher become so disheartened in her fourth year of teaching?

When I thought more about these questions, I understood the reason for her despair. She would absolutely tell you that her unhappiness has nothing to do with the kids, and everything to do with the forces outside of her control. They’re the same things that drive every teacher crazy. Politicians. Testing. Merit pay. Budget cuts and teacher furloughs. Parents who don't care. Parents who care too much and hover. People in charge of our work who are clueless and don't know what they're doing. All the extraneous forces that combine to suck the life out of even the most positive teachers in the profession.

As I thought about this wonderful young woman who is like the daughter I never had. As I thought about future novice teachers who will face the same issues, I asked myself, “How can I be part of the solution? How can I help young teachers see that, despite the current insanity around our work, this job is still the most magical one there is? I offer the following to the novice teachers out there who are about to embark on their careers.

Lesson one: Acceptance. One of the best prayers ever is the Serenity Prayer, which teaches us to accept the things we cannot change. The way education is set up in this country, teachers do not control their own work. Until legislators get out of the middle of it all, we will continue to struggle with top-down decisions that aren't good for kids. We can rant and whine and cry about it all we want, but we still have to get on with the business of teaching the kids who come to us every day. (Although I firmly believe that if enough legislators had to be in a building for even one day, standardized tests would end tomorrow.) Thus, we must take a deep breath, remind ourselves to control the things we can control, and go from there.

Lesson two: Holiness. No, I don't really mean this in the religious sense. What I mean is, what we do with kids is holy and sacred because it changes lives. We provide lifelines to kids who have no one. We turn kids on to knowledge. We listen to their dramas, let them cry themselves out, help them work through their problems....I could go on and on about what millions of teachers do for millions of kids every day. The excellent teachers in the world are not in the classroom to deliver knowledge and skills alone; they are also there to provide life lessons to children whose futures will be brighter because a teacher cared for them.

I was watching M*A*S*H the other day (my favorite show, ever, forever) and thinking of all the lives that were saved by units like these in the last few wars. I was also thinking, “What must it feel like to know you saved a life?” And then I realized I've done the same thing many times in my classroom. Not literally, of course, but just as importantly. When I help a kid learn a new skill, when I help him or her try one more time instead of giving up and quitting school or making life-altering negative decisions, I am saving lives, too.

Lesson three: Don't take it personally. This lesson is especially important for high school teachers. When we pour our time, energy, and hearts into planning lessons for students, and then they grouse and complain and aren't engaged, we get our feelings hurt. Let go of that. The students' lack of interest and snarky attitudes are not about you as a person. The flip side of this, of course, is to spend the time and energy to create the most engaging lessons possible, but we have to understand that we can't reach every kid every day.

Lesson four: Understand that there are people out there who are content to be mediocre. When I first came to a public school after 12 years of teaching in a private school, I jumped in with both feet and got involved in as many leadership positions as I could. While many of my new colleagues were supportive, others were a little judgmental and critical. I went to a trusted administrator about it, and she told me, “If you step out in front, there will always be people who try to shoot you down.” Step out anyway.

Lesson five: Stay away from the Dark Side. You will learn quickly who the positive people are. Gravitate to them in your department and in your building. Stay away from the people who hate their job and are counting down the days until school ends. They will pull you down with them if you let them.

Lesson six (a corollary to lesson five): Don't let the turkeys get you down. College in the 80's was all about how many buttons you could display on your clothing or your bag. One button I still have in my classroom is a picture of an elephant who is lying on his stomach with his legs spread everywhere. He is covered in turkeys. Enough said.

Lesson seven: Be in balance. Remember that your job is not your life. Your life is your life. When you leave the building, leave everything in it: the kids you can't reach, the kids who are hurting, the Eeyorish colleagues, the insane demands, all the negative stuff. Do not burden your spirit with it. After all, it will all still be there when you come back. Work out, be quiet, worship, sleep, read, laugh. You'll be suicidal by Thanksgiving if you don't.

Lesson eight: Own your power. I have written in other places about how to take charge of your classroom. This version of owning your power is about realizing that every day of your life, you have the power to make a child's life better or worse. You will interact with hundreds, if not thousands, of children through your career, and you will not remember them all. But they will remember you and how you made them feel—whether it was good or bad. Choose your words carefully, take deep breaths, and understand the impact you can have on a child.

Teaching is an art and a science. It is hard every day and challenging every day. But every day something akin to miracles happen in teachers' rooms. Use these lessons to make your room miraculous.