The good mood of Gilmar Santos, 52 year old teacher, blocks all negative impressions and expectations in the most feared subject: Mathematics. “The students go home thinking that it is difficult. Having a good mood makes it easier,” says the teacher who has 32 years of classroom experience. “I’ve already retired, but I’m still very young, I do not intend to stop,” he jokes.
Carolina Romero, teacher at Brandão Educational Center (CEB), removes borders and brings countries to her 6th through 9th grade Geography students, leaving them right at students’ fingertips. Romero, 32, recalls her early teaching years when large printed maps would hang in front of the chalkboard. The printed maps left students at a distance and unengaged. Now, with the use of mobile technology, the content is literally in the hands of each student.
In the 90s, when Mario Abbondati left the classroom the leading technology was chalk. Abbondati, now 62 years old, continues his work at the Bandeirantes School in São Paulo in a field in which he is passionate. The difference is now he is surrounded by tablets and computers and focuses on supporting mathematics teachers to integrate technology in the teaching and learning process.
To some, the concept of personalized teaching and learning may seem out of reach. Often we do not understand student difficulties or struggles because we simply do not have access to accurate, real-time information regarding student progress. By integrating technology into the teaching and learning process, this information becomes attainable, particularly through learning analytics, enabling teachers to guide students in a personalized way.
With tablets in hand, 5th grade students walk quietly accompanied by their teacher Maria de Lourdes to the library of the Campinas Community School to continue data collection and research activities. Those who see this inspiring scene note that insubordination is a word that does not fit in the vocabulary of these children, some as young as 10 years old.
Why? Maria de Lourdes calmly responds, “Students need to feel respected, responsible, and involved in the learning process. When they feel this way, a partnership is established which results in a commitment to the construction of knowledge from the students.”