Oh, Brazil, about what good things will you make me tell?

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fullsizerender-6Our time in Brazil wrapped up with a visit at the Mayor’s Office and a meeting with University of Pernambuco at the British Consulate. At both of these meetings planning for the future took place. Great progress has been made with local schools and partners here over the last 13 days and moving forwards with the onebillion maths intervention seems likely. On my final visit to ABA Global school I was presented with a gift from peace linguist, and President of the Board at ABA Global Education, Francisco Gomes de Matos:

“Oh, Brazil, about you what can I foresee well? You will be internationally admired. You will be educationally developed. You will be scientifically and technologically advanced. You will be interculturally comprehended.”

This resonates with me and our trip here. This articulates the aims we have for working with Brazil and assures me that Brazil makes a perfect partner in our projects and research.

In my first post about this trip I explained 3 projects that we were bringing to Brazil:

  • Closing the Gap in Maths – how can mobile technology and the onebillion software support marginalised learners?

In March 2017, Laura Outhwaite returns to Recife to work with ABA and DAMAS schools and pre-test children. Teachers will then implement the intervention for 12 weeks. This will happen in English, Portuguese and with a control class – a design based on an international model used in England, Canada, South Africa and Milawi. During this visit, teachers have been trained to use the onebillion software and there is a real excitement around this intervention. The teachers have also had a hand in designing the study so that it works with their curriculum and timetable. Laura will return again in June for a post-test and feedback to teachers. Afterwards, the findings will be included in an international, cross-cultural evaluation of the software. And as the research is teacher-led, the schools will continue using the software and support the likely expansion of this project in Recife. Beyond the pilot study, there has been great interest with other partners in this work. We look forward to the possibility of expanding this project beyond the pilot study.

  • Stories of a Lifetime – How might we keep local legends, myths and fables alive whilst also sharing our place in the world?

ABA and DAMAS schools both joined with project, and in our second week here a 3rd school, Red Balloon, joined as well. These 3 schools will use the project with different aged children who will research and retell folklore from Brazil and Recife. On my final project day in Recife, I taught a group of children at ABA Global School. Part of this lesson time introduced them to the Stories of a Lifetime project. They learned the story of Robin Hood, designed their characters and retold the story in their own words using Puppet Pals. I will share this response to the story back in my school with Digital Leaders and upload this work to the Stories of a Lifetime website.

  • Connecting Classes Across Continents – “How might we develop deeper understanding through the use of global connections to broaden learners’ perspectives?”

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In my second week I returned to ABA Global School to work with a group of Year 5 children on this project. They spent time with me learning about Nottingham and they read the book about Burton Joyce, authored by Year 6 children form my school. They met with the Burton Joyce children over FaceTime and exchanged knowledge about each other’s place in the world. Following this visit, they will work on their own school book to share with Burton Joyce children and a second call with take place when I return to work. These two books will be combined as a case study text and published to the iBooks Store in the same style as the collaborative book my school published with St. Francis Xavier, Goa.

dsc_0694-1I have learned that visiting schools is a great way to share knowledge and expertise. Being in a setting gives many more opportunities to collaborate and provide practical ideas bespoke to that place. I’ve learned this through my own consultancy role in England, and from managing the Apple Regional Training Centre in Nottingham. But applying this to an international context has been a beneficial way to further develop my skills as a leader and advocate of educational technology.

An international visit is much different to working with schools at home. Even though we had an agenda planned, opportunities arose that were unexpected. New relationships brought about detailed discussions so our plans evolved quickly. We had no contacts to rural schools before this trip but we were able to make a visit because of the relationships we formed in our first few days. The advice from The British Consulate gave new avenues for collaboration beyond our visit, we have so many more contacts and dsc_0713-1ideas to explore now. Meeting teachers in schools with technology gave new opportunities for me to share my projects and develop them in new, exciting ways with educators beyond the Apple Distinguished Educator network. Our priority was to launch a pilot study of the onebillion software in Recife, and this was finalised by the end of our trip, with training provided to teachers and an implementation designed with school coordinators.

img_6657Working with researchers and academics has been very interesting also. My partnership with The University of Nottingham began over 18 months ago with the evaluation of the onebillion apps in the UK. I’ve been involved in study design, implementation and evaluation of this research in the UK. To have an involvement in the beginnings of a new pilot study in Brazil has been very rewarding. I have been able to offer my own, first-hand knowledge and experience as a teacher and leader who has implemented a similar, successful pilot study. I’ve been able explain the positive impact this study has had on the children that I teach, in maths and other areas of learning. I look forward to offering support to these educators as they begin implementing their pilot of the onebillion software in Recife.

What I’ve learned most about working internationally though is that time is precious, relationships are key to success and the work is hard. The moments of high energy and inspiration are met with moments of complications or tiredness. Problem solving, decision making and patience are needed as agendas change and challenges arise. Our plan altered on a daily basis and we were always on the go, preparing for the next, unexpected meeting whilst reflecting on the one we had just had. But when you see the children who deserve quality education, and you believe that technology can unlock talent, you know that the hard work for these children will certainly be paid off.img_5881

Jose Guido Correa de Araujo, Emeritus Professor, International Relations Officer, University of Pernambuco

As I board my first flight of 3 back to the UK, I leave Recife looking forward to collaborating with all of the friends I have met here. I look forward to seeing Connecting Classes grow with a new link school and case study publication grow. I look forward to seeing Brazilian legends told in Stories of a Lifetime. And I look forward to working on Brazil’s first pilot of the onebillion software in March 2017.

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“Oh, Brazil, what will be your legacy to every coming generation? Oh, Brazil, may all of these things happen to you; may you inspire Brazilians only good things to do”

 

img_6768I would like to thank Squirrels for their support with this visit, for sharing my story and showcasing what is possible when technology enables quality learning. I need to thank the Apple Distinguished Educators who work tirelessly on projects which have a truly global reach. I thank them for committing their own time to these innovations and for encouraging me to share them beyond our community. I also send much love to Marie Neves for her friendship before, during and after this trip; see you in December! And also to Ricardo; our dedicated driver, intelligent interpreter and gracious guide.

I must end with a thank you to my partners at The University of Nottingham, particularly Dr. Nicola Pitchford. The time that you invest in my work, and the support you give me, means so much. This trip has been a career highlight. Thank You.

 

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