The integration of information and communication technology (ICT) in Brazilian education has gone through several phases and brings in its trajectory an innovative educational perspective (Andrade & Lima, 1993), which distinguishes it from related actions of other countries and respective policies for the sector . In Brazil, the role assigned to the computer was that of a catalyst for pedagogical changes (Valente and Almeida, 1997) from a perspective focused on the teaching and transmission of information to a pedagogical practice focused on learning and knowledge construction by the student. The interrelationship between research, training and pedagogical practice with information and communication technologies has been the basic characteristic since when speaking about informatics in education.
Informatics began to spread in the Brazilian educational system in the 1980s and early 1990s, in the twentieth century, with an initiative of the Ministry of Education. Initially the MEC sponsored a project, called EDUCOM, aimed at the development of research and methodologies on the use of the computer as a pedagogical resource, in which five public universities participated, in which pilot centers were developed to develop investigations focused on the use of computers in learning (Almeida and Valente, 1997) while at the same time giving feedback to the practices in schools. One learns to know, to learn to do and to reflect on this doing.
Next, the MEC adopted a policy that aimed to establish in each State a Center for Informatics in Education (CIED). In order to enable these centers to function, the FORMAR Project was developed, which carried out lato sensu specialization courses in order to prepare teachers for the use of information technology in education, as well as to act as multipliers in the training of other teachers in their institutions of origin. The participants of the FORMAR were teachers from different areas of activity and training, which made it difficult to develop autonomy in relation to the field of technology and, on the other hand, enriched the discussions with the different points of view and styles of computer exploration, as well as the different reactions to cognitive, affective and social challenges and conflicts (Almeida, 1996).
According to Almeida (2000a), one of the contributions of FORMAR refers to the change of perspective regarding education, learning and life, propitiated by the experiences of the course, which was revealed in the posture of several participants, who, when they returned to their institutions of origin, set new course for their actions. Concomitant with this training project, investigations were carried out and produced knowledge that fed the activities and promoted the innovations.
The pilot centers of the EDUCOM Project developed their research in partnership with schools where the use of the computer was a usual practice, although characterized as an extracurricular activity or as an eventual classroom practice. Also the FORMAR has not advanced in the direction to insert the computer in the activities of classroom. Nevertheless, teachers and students linked to these schools or to CIEDs used the computer to express their ideas, develop projects and solve problems, which brought significant advances in the learning of different areas of knowledge, highlighting the construction of mathematical concepts (Sidericoudes , 1996) and the development of written production (Maraschin, 1995).
In 1990, during the management of Prof. Paulo Freire as municipal secretary of education of the city of São Paulo, the Genesis Project was started, with the aim of integrating information technology into the curriculum as an interdisciplinary tool, working with generating themes. This project sought to create conditions to “contribute to a change in the pedagogical posture of the teacher and to a rethinking of his / her own practice” (Menezes, 1993, p.17).
In the Genesis Project, knowledge was seen as something socially constructed through cooperative projects developed with the use of the computer from generating themes that emerged from students’ everyday life “as an alternative practice within the curriculum” (Almeida, 1996, 60). ), which allowed the students to represent ideas and concepts, as well as the understanding of everyday problems and the proposition of alternatives that could solve them or better understand them. For this, teacher training took place in an environment conducive to the establishment of dialectical relations “between theory-practice and between action-reflection”, provoking changes in social relations (PMSP, 1992, p.17).
In addition, a number of initiatives have taken place at the state, municipal and private levels. The latter, with greater resources and autonomy to acquire equipment had in computer science a strong ally to attract students, but also faced challenges related to the preparation of the teacher to use the computer with their students and the need to adapt to rapid and frequent changes in the equipment configurations. The launch and dissemination of 16-bit computers compatible with the IBM-PC line and later, the emergence of the Windows environment, have rendered obsolete the small computer park available in institutions, requiring the development of executable software versions on new computers whose acquisition is it was pressing.
The reflection, the change of posture in the teachers’ practice and the articulation between research centers and schools presented themselves as common characteristics of these projects (Menezes, 1993; Valente, 1993; Freire & Prado, 1995; Almeida, 1996) , although the teacher was assigned all responsibility for incorporating the computer into the school with a view to student learning through a constructive process. There was also awareness of other factors to be considered for the implementation of an innovative program of computer integration in education, highlighting the availability of computational resources, political-pedagogical-institutional support and the redefinition of knowledge concepts, teaching and learning.
New ICT inclusion projects in education
Currently, the National Program of Informatics in Education – ProInfo, from the Ministry of Distance Education of the MEC, developed in partnership with the state education secretariats, is introducing information and communication technologies – ICT in school, aiming at its incorporation into pedagogical practice of different areas of knowledge, favoring student learning with emphasis on work projects. In order to reach the student, ProInfo works in the training of teachers in a process that integrates technology mastery, educational theories and pedagogical practice with the use of this technology.
In the interrelationship between research, teacher training and pedagogical practice with the use of ICT, the area of knowledge technology in education is fed, transformed and progressed from the results of research and new knowledge produced. One of the aspects that has changed substantively in recent years was the training of teachers for the use of ICT in pedagogical practice in view of the emphasis of current activities in contextualized formation in the reality of the school and in the performance of the teacher.
The subproject Informatics in Education, developed by PUCSP, from August 1997 to October 1998, in partnership with the State Department of Education, in the Continuing Education Program (PEC), was characterized as a teacher training program. pedagogical coordinators for the educational insertion of the computer, with characteristics related to the contextualized formation and with the involvement of the subjects in their entire human being.
In the PEC-PUCSP, the teacher-in-training experienced the conflicts and imbalances inherent in the subject of his own learning and had the opportunity to recontextualize this experience to his pedagogical practice allowing the student to express his thought in the computer through drawings, written texts and development collaborative projects. The analysis of this subproject in a doctoral thesis (Almeida, 2000b) allowed us to recontextualize the theory about the formation of teachers for the incorporation of the computer to the pedagogical practice and reelaborar new proposals of formation, as well as to deepen the understanding on the authorship of the apprentice.
It was evidenced that to insert ICT in school it is fundamental to invest not only in the training of teachers but to involve all those who work in the school (managers, coordinators, employees, students, parents and community around the school) in the use of learning environments interactive activities that favor the representation of ideas, the construction of knowledge, the exchange of information and experiences, and meaningful and enjoyable learning, having as background the development of projects and the study of everyday problems. Similarly, teacher trainers become involved and commit to the training process when they have the opportunity to be co-authors in the design of the project, in the planning and elaboration of the training support material, acting as subject of a group in formation, in which, according to Paulo Freire (1987), all learn together and in communion.
Information and communication technologies and written production
The advent of information and communication technologies resulting from the combination of information technology and telecommunications has created new challenges and opportunities for the incorporation of ICT in school in relation to the representation and communication of ideas. The use of virtual learning environments in a perspective of interaction and construction and collaborative knowledge evidenced the potential to promote the development of writing skills, reading and interpreting texts. Hence the great impact of these environments not only on the educational system, but also on human development and Brazilian culture, traditionally oral.
For Cury (2001), the oral transmission, imposed by colonization and slavery allied to moral and Christian faith, prevented the Brazilian population from accessing the school, as well as from the world of reading and writing and the consequent formation of readers and writers.
With the use of information and communication technology, teachers and students have the possibility to use writing to describe and rewrite their ideas, communicate, divulge daily facts, exchange experiences, produce stories and develop projects. Thus, in order to solve problems of the context, they can represent and disseminate their own thinking, reading, assigning meanings, exchanging information and building knowledge, in a movement of writing, reading, reflecting and redoing, which favors personal, professional and group development, as well as the understanding of reality and acting in the transformation of society.
Forming writers implies assigning to writing the meaning of recording, understanding, and interfering in personal history and the transformation of the world. According to Kramer (2001, p. 114) writing is to allow oneself to be marked by the traces of lived and of writing itself, to rewrite texts and to be a reader of written texts and of personal and collective history, marking it, sharing it, changing it -a, inscribing new senses in her.
The insertion of ICT in education has the potential to break with the walls of the classroom and the school, integrating it with the surrounding community, the information society and other knowledge-producing spaces. By using ICT to bring the object of the school study closer to everyday life, the student gradually awakens the pleasure of reading and writing as a representation of his thinking and interpretation of the world, making possible the constitution of a society of learning writers.
To reach the level of a society of reading, writing and learning, it is necessary to face numerous challenges, many of them existing inside the school. Among the latter, the most compelling are:
? the desacralization of the computer lab and the computer password;
• access to information and communication technology by all those who work in the school (leaders, teachers, employees, students and the school community);
• the use of this technology for the understanding of everyday problems, which break with the disciplinary boundaries, articulate different areas of knowledge and, at the same time, foster the deepening of specific concepts and lead to the production of new knowledge;
? flexible use of school space and time to learn;
• the development of the autonomy for the search and exchange of significant information in different sources and for the respective use of the technological resources appropriate to each activity in development;
• openness to new forms of written representation that break with the linearity of the printed text.
Facing these challenges implies a teacher’s action in order to rescue the student’s speech, listen to him, observe and read his writing, seeking to grasp his cognitive, social and affective universe, his language, living conditions, spontaneous concepts and framework as well as revealing himself to the student (Freire & Shor, 1986). Thus, the use of ICT in school favors access to the universe of the student, whose interpretation helps the teacher to create conditions that facilitate learning, reading and writing.
Reading and writing through ICT
The emphasis given by the school to reading and writing has been directed to the elaboration of something produced to be corrected and little is a practice aimed at awakening the pleasure of writing and reading. It is often observed that teachers complain that their students do not know how to express themselves through writing. For their part, students have pointed out that the school leads them to read and write about what has no meaning for their lives and reality or to make copies and repeat disjointed words.
Who does not remember the dictation of words and grammatical rules decorated without the knowledge of the situation in which they could be used? In the same way, without being able to attribute meaning, historical dates, geographical accidents, mathematical formulas and bones of the human body were memorized and resolved endless sequences of exercises with the justification that one day would be useful!
In his text Dígrafos, Rubem Alves (1999) recalls that dictation, syntactic and morphological analysis and other analyzes necessary for the improvement of writing do not develop the pleasure of reading and comprehension of the text nor the taste for writing. However, classroom activity excels at grammatical, textual, and discursive analyzes at the expense of reading and interpreting the world, the search for understanding the other, and writing to represent ideas, communicating, recording one’s own history and know yourself better.
This does not mean that the content has lost its importance. However, it is urgent to change the way of working concepts, information, procedures and rules, trying to identify what is significant for the student and create situations that favor transforming common-sense knowledge into scientific knowledge. Scientific rigor is necessary, but it can not be a starting point. Likewise, it is necessary to understand the new forms of writing production and access to reading provided by ICT to use its potential in school.
However, the teacher is not to blame for this situation. He was prepared to fulfill the role of holder of a scientific knowledge that supposedly could be passed on to all students in a homogeneous and increasing order of difficulty, prioritizing the notational language of the subjects and the linear reading of the printed texts, distributed sequentially from the left to the right and from top to bottom, in ascending order of the number of pages (Soares, 2001). Thus, the teacher’s performance should be turned to the teaching of a programmatic content defined outside the classroom, to be followed as printed in the books and consumed in the same way in different contexts to produce the same results.
Fortunately, practice became an action on the world, developed by subjects little by little gaining an awareness of their own doing about the world (Freire 1994: 102). Thus, the contingent of teachers who are unhappy with this situation increases abruptly, in search of alternatives to find new ways in which they can use writing and other forms of representation to tell their story, to record their daily life, their school and the your world, develop projects related to reality problems, understanding the past to act in the present and build the future.
Due to the continuum between teacher training and student education, the starting point of student education is consistent with the starting point of teacher education (Freire, 1987). Therefore, the central question for the formation of educators is how to transfer this need for self-representation and reading of the world to their pedagogical practice in order to awaken in their students the desire to become writers of their own histories and experiences, subjects of their lives and projects.
Other technological resources also allow the recording of ideas and world views through writing. However, to date, only information and communication technology has the characteristic of doing, reviewing and redoing continuously, transforming the error into something that can be revised and reformulated (debugged) instantly to produce new knowledge.
Reviewing what was seen before almost always implies seeing unobserved angles (Freire, 1995, 24), is the motto of formation, which seeks to arouse epistemological curiosity and provoke reflection on the learning process itself, visualized through representation with ICT, whose hypertexts break with the linearity and temporality of reading and writing.
ICT and hypertext
Access to the representation of a thought occurs according to the organization structure used by the issuer that expresses its idea. The forms of expression of thought change according to the technologies employed. Books and printed materials characterize a way of presenting ideas in linear succession of characters arranged in a plane and sometimes also in columns. It is possible to skip some parts in the reading of a book, but it can not break with the pre-established linear structure. Based on the system of organization of human thought, associative and non-linear, the concept of hypertext was developed as a chain of information interconnected by associations of thought.
The incorporation to the computer of resources from different media such as words, pages, images, animations, graphics, sounds, video clips, etc., associated with the concept of hypertext organization gave origin to hypertextual systems, which favor a reading exploration or navigation) based on indexing, connections between ideas and concepts articulated through links (nodes and links). This way, when you click on a word, image or phrase defined as a node of a hypertext, you will find a new situation, event or other related texts.
The use of hypertext breaks with the static and linear sequences of single path, with beginning, middle and end previously fixed. The author offers a range of informational possibilities that allow the reader to give hypertext a singular movement by interconnecting information according to their interests and momentary needs, navigating and constructing their own sequences and routes. By jumping between information and establishing your own links and associations, the reader interacts with the text taking an active role and becoming a co-author of the hypertext. For Soares (2001), the reading of the hypertext on the screen is made in layers, beginning and ending at the point that the reader decides, which can have freedom and autonomy to intervene in the text and to rebuild it. Thus, communication on the screen is creating not only new genres of writing, but it is also innovating the writing system (ib, 2001, p.39).
Pierre Lévy (1993) defines hypertext as a set of nodes (concepts, theories, ideas …) and connections (inter-relations between nodes). Nodes can be presented in different media and interconnected in a network in which a fundamental node is not identified and whose connections form a stellar frame that characterizes multidimensional interactive processes, such as Web interaction.
Lemos (2001) compares web browsing with idle walking in the city, leaving marks wherever he goes, making singular connections on the walk, writing and appropriating space, the objects he meets along the way. Every hypertext system allows this form of writing, in which reading and writing is to interact, create own paths, leave marks, reconfigure spaces and create personal narratives. For this author, “both the city and the hypertexts are (un) organized in order to promote a nonlinear (written) mark, indexed to associations of ideas and concepts. Here the map is not the territory. “
Some authors, among them Fiderio (1988), define hypertext in two levels. The basic level, refers to a database manager that allows the connection between information windows through associations, as is the case of hypertexts on CD-Rom. The advanced level of hypertext deals with virtual environments and software for developing collaborative activities, interactions, creation, representation of ideas and construction / reconstruction of knowledge.
Virtual environments of learning and writing production
In a virtual learning environment, each person has the opportunity to navigate different paths, nodes and connections between information, texts and images; create new connections, connect contexts, media, and resources. Each node represents a space of reference and interaction that can be visited, explored, worked, not characterizing place of obligatory visit.
Participants in a virtual learning environment are encouraged to read and interpret one another’s thoughts, to express one’s thinking through textual and hypertextual writing, to coexist with diversity and uniqueness, to exchange ideas and experiences, to perform simulations, to test hypotheses, to solve problems and create new situations, engaging in the collective construction of an information ecology, in which they share values, motivations, habits and practices. Each participant in the environment becomes a receiver and transmitter of information, reader, writer and communicator.
A virtual learning environment characterizes an information ecology, created in the activity of all that are inserted in that context, that transform the way of representing the own thought and they transform each other in the dynamics of the relations that are established, at the same time that they transform the environment.
The information ecology (Nardi, 1999) characterizes a dense network of interrelations between artifacts, people and their practices in a context in which the focus is not technology but human activity in realization, with total interdependence between ICT and its use. For Nardi (ib), the concept of information ecology brings the sense of diversity, continuous evolution and locality, which favors understanding the movement of virtual learning environments in which human activities, resources and multiple media adjust one to the other and co-evolve in these environments.
The sense of locality refers to virtual space, whose conditions are continuously contextualized in the actions under development in the environment and decontextualized in the appropriation of these actions to other situations and ecologies in which the participants are involved.
Even if there is an attempt by the designers of a virtual learning environment to approximate the structure of the environment or the proposed activities of linearity and its control and direction, the inherent interactivity of this system drives the coming and going through nodes and connections, not imprisoning who uses it. Each person takes the risk of choosing their own ways, of venturing into the unknown and of finding themselves lost or of finding new discoveries.
The use of virtual learning environments redefines the role of the teacher who can finally understand the importance of being a partner of his students and writer of his ideas and proposals, the one who navigates with the students, pointing out the possibilities of new paths without the concern of having tried to go through them someday. The teacher causes the student to discover new meanings for himself by encouraging work with problems that make sense in that context and that can awaken the pleasure of discovery, writing, reading the thought of the other and the development of collaborative projects. It develops the awareness that one is read to share ideas, knowledge and feelings and not just to be corrected.
Problematizations, generator theme and projects
The use of ICT in education is directed towards the reading and critical selection of information to establish articulations with knowledge put into action or knowledge in use (Papert, 1985) in the development of projects related to daily problems for the shared production of new knowledge , represented in texts or hypertexts.
The learning by projects and problematizations arises from something that is significant in the universe of the student (generating theme) and develops through the interaction and articulation between knowledge of different areas, connections created by apprentices, whose expectations, desires and interests are mobilized in the epistemological questions that incite the construction of scientific knowledge.
Everyday knowledge emerges from the problematic under study as a unitary whole, therefore without disciplinary fragmentation, and is driven by intrinsic motivations. It is up to the teacher to raise awareness about the concepts represented and their respective formalization, but it is necessary to employ common sense and respect the work of the student to make the interventions at the appropriate moment in order to destabilize the inadequate certainties and to impel the search for the scientific rigor in research and transformation of common-sense knowledge into scientific knowledge. In addition, this knowledge is put into action to provoke reflections about the world and the situation of the student as the subject of this world. In this way, the student can become aware of his participation and commitment as a historical subject of his time.
The study of problems and development of projects with the use of ICT, allows the registration of this constructive process in texts or hypertexts, creating conditions to develop the domain of ICT in use, the competence of written language and the understanding of specific concepts of areas of knowledge. This way of using ICT works as a resource for the diagnosis of the level of development of the learner, their difficulties and potentialities, and, mainly, favors the identification and correction of errors and the constant re-elaboration without loss of what has already been created.
In this adventure, the teacher is also challenged to assume an active, critical and creative learner posture, articulating teaching with research, constant researcher on the student, his level of cognitive, social and affective development, his language form, expectations and needs, their writing style, context and culture. The teacher is an artist who seeks to lay the foundations of an intrinsically motivating curriculum for the student to become a reader and writer. It is not the teacher who plans for the students to perform, both are partners and subjects of the knowledge process, each acting according to their role and level of development. For Freire & Shor (1986), the educator does with his students and does not do to the students.
The teacher who acts in this perspective, has an intentionality as responsible for the learning of his students and this constitutes his project of performance, designed to respect the different styles and rhythms of work of the students, to encourage collaborative work in the classroom in the classroom. which refers to the planning, choice of theme and respective problematic to be investigated and recorded in terms of the process and its productions through textual and hypertextual representation.
The use of hypertextual representation in education exposes it to a dynamism, mobility and flexibility similar to those found in social movements, representing an opening of new perspectives that allow: breaking with the disciplinary grades and with the rigor of school spaces and times; encourage imagination, delightful reading and creative writing; to favor initiative, spontaneity, questioning and inventiveness; collaboration, dialogue, sharing and solidarity. In this way, education moves towards writing, favoring the freedom to express and communicate feelings, to register perceptions, ideas, beliefs and concepts, to reflect on the represented thought, to share and re-elaborate knowledge, to transform education into an act of knowledge of reality.