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UNESCO evaluation shows student achievement increases by combining professional learning, compelling interactive digital content and technology in the classroom

Eight million jobs will go unfilled in Brazil in the next three years due to shortage of qualified workers. Dell invests in research and development with local universities to better prepare students for 21st century competitive workforce.

Evaluation indicates student achievement is enabled by the adoption of classroom technology, including digital content, combined with professional learning activities to the teachers and community support.                            

Technology, when integrated with interactive digital content, teacher training and community involvement, has a positive impact on student learning and performance, according to the results of the "Interactive Class" project evaluated and released by UNESCO. Dell announced that it will extend research on technology's impact on teaching and learning in emerging and developed countries.                            

Participating middle school students improved their performance in math by 20 percent - seven times better than a non-participating study group. According to the study, 44 percent of students said that lessons using technology became more interesting and 54 percent said the lessons encouraged interest in studying.                            

The 18-month evaluation initiated by Dell in partnership with the Secretary of Education of Sao Paulo State, and with participation from University of Sao Paulo and management from Eldorado Institute, evaluated the impact of professional learning, interactive content and technology in the classroom. The evaluation spanned 23 schools in Hortolandia, Sao Paulo, Brazil and included approximately 6,000 students and 100 teachers.                            

The evaluation also identified factors that have a critical impact on optimizing the degree to which technology can enhance student performance:                            
Teacher interaction and professional learning: The more teachers interact with students in the classroom, the greater the students' interest in studying, collaborating, sharing knowledge and taking initiative. Through more frequent use, teachers begin to develop and refine the skills they need to use technology and digital content to promote more attractive instruction, reducing the gap between students and teachers and promoting a collaborative learning environment in the classroom.                            

Digital Content readiness: Interactive lessons offer a great opportunity for creating autonomous material with new learning objects aimed at assisting students in developing the 21st century skills such as creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration. The availability of classroom-ready digital content is a determining factor in a teacher's ability to integrate interactive learning methods into their curricula.                            

Community Involvement: Educational technology is most effective when communities, including parents and educational decision-makers, actively support the use and dissemination of educational technology, including digital content.                            

Public Policy: The "Interactive Class" project's lessons reinforced "a need for a public policy that effectively implements the use of ICT in the classroom." Policymaking that encourages the adoption of classroom technology is a key component of enabling skills and knowledge that prepare students for a 21st century workforce.                            

Research details and project results                            

In almost every Latin American country, governments have increased spending on education by building schools, adding teachers and enrolling more children. These efforts have clearly expanded the geographic reach of education, but the region continues to scores near the bottom on global achievement tests including the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).                            

The evaluation compared results from students in the participating schools to the results of non-participating schools. The way technology was introduced in alignment with pedagogical programs, interactive content development and teacher training, paired with an involved community; it generated both social and educational results:

  • Increased opportunities for students to build their 21st century skills and competencies including collaboration, team work and problem solving.  
  • Improved student/student horizontal learning and student/teacher/student cooperation work giving room for different classroom initiatives.                            

  • Increased opportunities for teachers to have a new pedagogical look, adhere to new languages and thereby strengthen their relationships and collaboration with students.    

  • Attracted students who felt they were digitally included by taking part in an innovative project thereby starting a new approach to obtaining knowledge because of the challenges of creativity and the use of technology; 44 percent of students said that lessons using technology became more interesting and 54 percent said the lessons encouraged interest in studying.                            

  • Strengthened the disposition of teachers who already master these technologies and revealed to others how urgent it is to move towards utilizing more technology in the classroom.                            

  • Improved performance - middle school students improved their performance by 34 percent in Portuguese and 20 percent in Math, results that are two to seven times better than the results obtained by the non-participating student control group. High school students also achieved better results than the control group. In addition it became clear that the more interaction in the classroom the teacher provided the greater the student's interest in studying.                            

Vera Cabral, teacher training school coordinator of the Education Secretary of Sao Paulo State "The Secretary of Education of Sao Paulo State believes that the proper use of technology in the classroom -- including equipment, content and training -- can change the reality of the educational system. The results from the experience in Hortolandia prove that we are on the right track, and it encourages us to study the expansion of the project on a larger scale."    

Ana Maria Goncalves Rocha, Portuguese teacher at the Professor Paulina Rosa State School "This project shows that education in Brazil may have a solution. It is a starting point for a new way to teach - with innovation, interactivity and participation. I believe that this is the right path to take!"                            

Rebeca Cristina Silva de Oliveira, student at Manoel Ignacio State School "Now, I'm more interested in the classroom because it is more interesting and has more resources; I learn more because it is much easier to see and listen to what is being taught."                            

- Hortolandia Interactive Classroom Video:                    #p/u/0/runzBV_V134
SOURCE: Dell Inc.