EDUCATION AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES

There is no doubt that today, the use of new forms of online interaction meets the new needs of students; the incentive to active and meaningful learning for the student can already be proven through several projects already developed in every country; rapid and efficient access to relevant and diversified information is evident and the improvement of the quality of communication between teachers and students is made possible by the interactive tools.

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Today, technology is useful for learning, because its ignorance has generated in the modern world the same kind of exclusion that the illiterate suffers in the world of writing. But now comes the following question, what is necessary? This is a difficult question to answer, because it depends on the context, the reality in which one lives and the autonomy of each one. What can be said, without error, is that it is necessary to understand that the essential thing is to believe in the cognitive potential of each one. “It is essential to discover the joy of knowledge, because it is the basis of autonomy and subjectivity.”

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Another important measure is not to listen to myths. Will the issue of computers take the place of teachers? It is always placed, which reinforces the idea that the teacher refuses to innovate. But what really exists is the lack of comfort with the use of technology in educational environments, which is due to the scarce government investment in teacher education and updating policies.

For the teacher who sees in technology a way to better qualify his pedagogical practices, it is fundamental to see reality and especially to fight against the paralyzing neoliberal discourse that dominates the educational environment. It is necessary to know the mistaken policies that are part of the history of the use of information technology in education in Brazil.

To avoid resistance through ignorance is to understand that the computer and educational software, whatever it is, is an auxiliary tool of the student’s learning process. A bad class is bad with or without technology, and a good class will always be good regardless of the technology used. This means that: quality is in the content that must be well planned and made available so that it is possible for the student to acquire knowledge.

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The media should be appropriate to the content as this comes first. Technology does not create environments that do away with the teacher, it is necessary for the teacher to take on the task of designing didactic material and pedagogy to be used in the teaching process. Not to innovate in the production of didactic material and in the learning methodologies, means to leave to the charge of professionals of the technological area, the task of teaching through software developed without the bias of education, which in general has been occurring frequently.

It is a fact that the profiles of the professionals, who today plan educational software, are of computer programmers, who are not aware of the educational area. Planning a good project requires the formation of a multidisciplinary team, whose participants complement the project using their specific and diversified skills.

Today much is said about the need to educate oneself to the means, that is, to educate for the use of the own tool of the digital world. But much is said and done little about the preparation of teachers in the student’s orientation to these new concepts and new relationships that arise in this technological world. It is in this context that information from different directions reaches individuals whose reality does not allow them to develop critical analytical capacity, fundamental competence to avoid the collapse of important values ​​for the development of citizenship, ethics and solidarity. Through this approach, the use of technology integrates new knowledge into the educational practice, providing the teacher with a greater critical capacity of his pedagogical action and a greater range of possibilities in the search for the interest of his students.

  1. EDUCATION AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES

In the area of ​​education, of course, a simile. The educator always felt the need to update himself, not only in the field of his knowledge, but also in his pedagogical function. The traditional teaching methods are those consolidated over time, which dominate in educational institutions. Still persists, with many teachers, the method where the teacher speaks, the student listens; the teacher says, the student writes; The teacher commands, the student obeys. Most, however, are already more malleable: the teacher talks, the student discusses; the teacher makes a note; the teacher asks, the student ponders. In specific cases, the student speaks, the teacher listens, the group debates and everyone takes notes, including the teacher, trying to meet the needs that arise.

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This and other issues lead to the crisis of education, from primary to university. The use of the overhead projector, or overhead projector, that deserved the nickname of “retroprofessor” was widely used in institutions. It made the teacher’s life easier, not needing to always write on the board, especially when the teacher teaches the same discipline to more than one class, contemporaneous or not. Incidentally, even the chalkboard and the chalk has been modernized: today the white board with the special cancelable brush is very common. But what harms is not the use of the overhead projector, as in other technological applications, but the misuse of the same.

First and foremost, we must be careful about excesses: the teacher should not only read, dictate, or write or even project transparencies throughout the class. Should offer alternative. The use of a technique, such as the overhead projector, for more than one continuous hour, becomes tiring, and students lose concentration. Another projector, which is not so used due to the quality of the projection, is the episcopio, or projector of opaque. It allows the projection of images or texts of a book, without the need to create transparencies. But to design texts is not advised, because it needs a dark room and loses much quality in the visualization.

The video device, with a monitor (TV), is increasingly popular. Most universities, public and private schools have, in the audiovisual sector, 20-inch televisions with built-in video, making it easier to transport and use them. A data show, which projects the image of video on a screen, as in a movie theater, you find in certain situations, such as in conference rooms and graduate courses. Having a video library available at the university would be ideal, but few institutions organize such a sector. In addition to very interesting documentaries produced mainly by public television, we have films that are classics of literature or dealing with controversial themes or cultural interest.

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Whoever makes a better university is not only a dean, but everyone participates in the process. Teachers and students are largely responsible for this. They may not be aware of this. When it is required from an institution, it may be indifferent at first. But if the requirements persist the institutions can not be made blind and deaf. Thus, for example, if a university does not have a video library, this need has probably not been demonstrated. The equipment for didactic use is becoming more and more sophisticated. New overhead projectors, for example, project the image sharper, regulate more easily, have more sensitive focus and screen size commands, or even remote control.

Modern videos have heads, four for image and three for audio; allow you to stop the image without distortion, to go back or forward frame-to-frame, that is, they are more and more like an editing island. But they are already becoming obsolete, with the appearance of the DVD. Dates Show and multimedia projectors allow you to project the image of a video or computer onto a large screen, and you can use videotape, floppy disk, cd, dvd or hard disk. They are replacing all other equipment, making it much easier to work with them. Images are better, be it fixed or animated, colors or black and white, text or photo.

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Technology changes the mass media and, in parallel, the means of teaching, not only in the classroom, as I have said so far. It is changing even the classroom itself, with the introduction of distance learning, for example. First were the traditional post office that encouraged home teaching by correspondence. Private lessons no longer needed the teacher’s presence. Then came the radio: the teacher talks to you without being by your side physically, no matter where you are as long as you have a radio on. The vinyl records and the “K-7” tape made their time, until the appearance of CDs, along with television and video, making it even easier to teach at a distance: sound and image at your disposal. Now we have the internet, with an almost infinite variety of possibilities. The mail is still present: sending tapes and disks, audio, images and multimedia, in addition to the handouts. The internet is slowly becoming more and more reliable.

  1. TEACHING AND TRAINING

“Globalization” and teacher work: in the context of technologies, it is globalization, the object of Torres’ studies (1998, p. 28), characterized as ideological construction, be it as some, as an explanatory concept of a new world order, aspect of this reality can not be ignored: education as a whole and teaching work in particular are being reconfigured.

In other words, in the perspective of “globalization” and “globalitarianism”, a term coined by Ramonet (1999) to account for the kind of dictatorship of the single mind that regulates ideological construction, the school must break with its present historical form new challenges. The pretension, in this work, is to analyze the determinations (concrete and presupposed) and the (hegemonic and disputed by hegemony) meanings of this reconfiguration, based on the discourses that introduce and justify the current teacher education policies.

Another aspect seems to be consensual in the reconfiguration of work and teacher training: the possibility of the presence of so-called “new technologies” or, more precisely, of information and communication technologies (ICT). This presence has been increasingly constant in the pedagogical discourse, understood as both the set of language practices developed in concrete situations of teaching and those aimed at reaching a level of explanation for these same situations.

In other words, ICTs have been identified as a defining element of current teaching discourses and teaching, even if they prevail in the latter. Nowadays, in the most different spaces, the most diverse texts on education have, in common, some kind of reference to the presence of ICT in teaching. However, such a presence has been attributed so diverse senses that it disallows singular readings. Thus, if there is apparently no doubt about a central place attributed to ICT, there is also no consensus as to its delimitation.

Lévy (1999) affirms that, in the limit, ICT is put as a structuring element of a new pedagogical discourse, as well as of social relations that, because they are unpublished, support neologisms like “cyberculture”. At the other extreme, what new technologies support is a form of real-world murder, with the liquidation of all references, in simulacrum games and simulation (Baudrillard, 1991).

For Moran (2004) in the interme- diary, they may constitute new formats for the same old conceptions of teaching and learning, inscribed in a conservative modernization movement, or even, in specific conditions, instituting qualitative differences in pedagogical practices. In summary, the presence of ICT has been invested with multiple meanings, ranging from the alternative of overcoming the limits imposed by “old technologies”, represented mainly by chalkboard and printed materials, to the response to the most diverse educational or even for socioeconomic-political questions.

In the words of Mattelart (2002, p.9), the second half of the twentieth century was marked by the “formation of beliefs in the miraculous power of information technologies”. Even if it seems naive in principle, this last movement is inscribed in a mode of ICT objectification inextricably linked to the conception of the ‘information society’.

  1. ICT for Distance Education

According to Fonseca (1998), international organizations have forced, through the establishment of “conditionalities” for the granting of credits and the application of sanctions for their noncompliance, the incorporation of ICT as a central element of any educational policy attentive to the transformations engendered by the call scientific-technological revolution and the needs of the economy.

In the words of Barreto and Leher “A brave new world emerges with globalization and the technological revolution that propels it towards the virtuous future.” (…) From this premise, international organizations and governments echo the same proposition: education must be reformed from top to bottom, making it more flexible and capable of increasing the competitiveness of nations, the only means of obtaining a passport for the select group of countries capable of competitive integration in the globalized world “(2003: 39).

In this movement, a new educational paradigm has been announced. The announcement is recurring on the website of the MEC, whose formulation, it is worth insisting, has led the speech of international organizations to the last consequences, positioning the technologies in the place of the subjects. This paradigm is constituted by technological substitution and instrumental rationality, is inscribed in “flexibilization”, especially in the precariousness of teaching work, being coherent with the logic of the market: the greater the presence of technology, the less the need of human labor.

Chaui (1999) predicts fewer and fewer teachers and students, on the grounds that the performance of the latter depends less on the formation of the former and more of the materials used. Strictly speaking, the MEC discourse operates two inversions: it substitutes the logic of production for circulation and the logic of work for communication, in the belief that, “without changing the process of teacher training in basic education and without changing their salaries demeaning, everything will go well with education as long as there are televisions and computers in schools. “

As Mattelart (2002) points out, “Internet access to ‘universal knowledge’, which will necessarily have its source in the existing knowledge monopolies, would solve the problem not only of the digital fracture, but also of the of the social fracture “(Mattelart, 2002, p.164). In these terms, the proposal of “technologies for all” is formulated, such as overcoming the so-called “digital divide”.

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On the other hand, as the World Bank itself points out, as Leher (1997, 130) points out, that the use of technology is the “privileged instrument for inserting countries into the hegemonic flow of Time”, it also recognizes the impracticability of countries characterized by slow (developing, peripheral, southern) times to be inserted in the fast pace of the (central) (central) countries.

Thus, while new possibilities are proclaimed, such as overcoming the digital divide, a kind of educational apartheid on a planetary scale is instituted, based on its own re-signification. While the discourse deals with the democratization of access, social practices show that this kind of dividing line between the included and the excluded is not about access or lack of access, but about the ways in which it is produced and the senses that it is invested.

  1. Current Trends

For Freitas (1992), the turn-of-the-century formulations, albeit on a new basis, are no more than a resumption of the proposals produced in the 1970s. “Its fundamental characteristic remains here: an analysis of the education torn from its determinants historical and social “. Therefore, they take a markedly neotechnicist trait, from the management of education through competences, to the so-called “self-instructional” materials, to the alternatives of a society without schools.

What is new are much more elaborate speeches, from the most diverse points of view, as well as more agile in the conquest of thicker materiality. Thus, in the relations between discourse and social change, the “commodification” of educational discourse goes beyond the limits of the symbolic dimension and establishes, concretely, the place of over-commodification of education: courses as packages, provision of educational services, . Or, from another angle, the field of ideology would have been reconfigured to promote the conditions most favorable to the intended changes.

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In any case, the relations between discourse and social change need to be the object of careful political analysis, in order to account for new cliches that, circulating, contribute to the production of an imaginary which makes a particular interpretation appear as the necessary to sustain the legitimation and fixation of hegemonic meanings.

It is worth remembering that from the discursive point of view, ideology corresponds to the hegemony of meaning. The hegemonic sense of ICT points to the primacy of the technical dimension, erasing the fundamental issues. When it comes to its educational incorporation, there seems to be no room for the analysis of its modes and meanings.

In the Manichean perspective of “plugged or lost”, any objections may be the target of the disqualification that marks the second group. In the meantime, in the first, discussions can be based on questions such as the differences between cooperative and collaborative learning, or between constructivism and constructionism (Papert, 1993), within the limits of the pedagogical sphere, without referring to its economic, political and social.

In this context, it is important to verify the affirmation of a “new paradigm”, recurrent in the MEC website, or emergent paradigm, usually associated with the removal of the supposedly simplistic objectivities towards complexity (Morin, 1998). It is undeniable the hegemony of the teaching virtualization movement, from the perspective of e-learning, whose most common translation has been “distance education via the Internet”: a form of learning in which technological mediation is highlighted in the most diverse “learning environments”.

Even without entering into the merits of the polysemy of this expression, it is important to point out that it no longer contemplates teaching, concentrating on the second element of the pair: learning. The teaching-learning unit is broken, which has given support to the most diverse studies on educational practices, supposing learning without teaching or even teaching fully identified with the materials that support the alternatives of e-learning. In any case, this break can not be dissociated from the “new place” of the teacher, as a professional of teaching.

As for the clichés in circulation, it is possible to observe a significant shift from “one does not learn only in school” to “one does not learn in school”, in that it refers to the tendency of deterritorialization of the school. Not only is all the emphasis being placed on learning environments, but the texts already contemplate diverse “educations” materialized in the expressions “academic education” and “corporate education”.

To return to the starting point of this set of reflections, it is possible to affirm that the proposed deterritorialization can not be thought outside the market parameters and the assumption that the school must break with its present historical form to face the challenges of “globalization”. Rejecting this logic, the biggest challenge is to face the attempt to erase the historical and social determinants of the school. In the words of Alves (2004: 218):

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What is at stake is not only the competent discourse: “One who can be uttered, heard and accepted as true or authorized because he has lost his ties with the place and time of his origin” (Chaui, 1989, p.9). It is, among other issues, the reduction of ICT to EAD, as a material form of “commodification”. These are the contemporary clashes between the proposal of education as a commodity and its defense as emancipatory law and practice.

  1. The Use of New Technologies in Education

Studies show that the use of new information and communication technologies (NICTs), as a tool, makes an enormous contribution to the practice of schools at any level of education. This use presents multiple possibilities that can be realized according to a certain conception of education that pervades any school activity.

It is important to note that, since the beginning of the 1990s, public schools in several states have been equipped with a true arsenal of technologies: TV School, video-school, computer centers, etc. All these projects have the pretension to teach with the support of the machines and thus to improve the pedagogical practice. Certainly such technologies have at some point aided the teaching process and perhaps the learning process, but the result has been little observable in practice and formal education remains essentially unchanged.

For LOING (1998), the introduction of NICTs in education must be accompanied by a reflection on the need for a change in the conception of learning that is practiced in most schools today.

According to LITTO (1992), the current educational system is a mirror of the mass industrial system, where students pass from one series to another in a sequence of standardized materials as if it were an industrial assembly line. The accumulated knowledge is poured into their heads; students with greater ability to absorb facts and submissive behavior are placed on a faster track while others are placed on the medium speed track.

“Defective products” are taken off the assembly line and returned for “repair”. We are living in an era of transformation, an era of global interdependence with the internationalization of the economy and the overvaluation of communication and information. Industrial society organizations structured to perform hierarchical tasks of command and control are being replaced, due to their competitiveness and complexity, by forming groups around specific projects.

Command and control give way to learning and response, in an attempt by each organization to be the first to reach the market with good quality products or services. The appropriate environment for doing this type of work has been the one that privileges face-to-face meetings of groups, but also provides instant access to the Internet and disks and disks containing answers to enable group decision making. Thus proving that the learning or working environment determines, in part, the nature of the product.

With the technological and scientific revolution, society has changed a lot in recent decades. Thus, education does not only have to adapt to the new needs of this knowledge society, but, above all, it has to take a leading role in this process. The technological resources of communication and information have developed and diversified rapidly. They are present in the daily lives of all citizens, who can not be ignored or despised.

Although it is possible to teach and learn without them, schools have invested more and more in NICTs. Because of the enormous influence that these ICTs, especially computing, have currently exerted on education, it is necessary to reflect on the conception of learning that should permeate the use of this technology in educational practice.

A very widespread idea in education is that ICTs, especially informatics, serve to facilitate the process of teaching and learning. This idea is linked to the fact that technology has entered the life of man to facilitate. In this way, the use of ICTs is based on a Behaviorist learning conception, where learning means displaying appropriate behavior. Thus the primary purpose of education is to train students to exhibit a particular behavior and to control it externally.

A second idea is the use of the computer in education as a device to be programmed, carrying out the description – execution – reflection – debug – description cycle, which is extremely important in the acquisition of new knowledge. According to VALENTE (1998), faced with a problem situation, the learner has to use all his cognitive structure to describe to the computer the steps to solve the problem using a programming language.

The description of the problem resolution will be performed by the computer. This execution provides feedback only from what was requested by the machine. The learner should reflect on what was produced by the computer; if the results do not match the desired one, the learner has to seek new information to incorporate them into the program and repeat the operation. In this way, the computer complicates the life of the learner instead of facilitating it.

With this cycle, the learner has the opportunity to find and correct his own mistakes and the teacher, to understand what the learner is doing and thinking. Therefore, the process of finding and correcting the error constitutes a unique opportunity for the student to learn about a particular concept involved in solving a problem or on problem solving strategies.

The execution of the description – execution – reflection – debug – description cycle does not happen simply by placing the apprentice in front of the computer. Student-computer interaction must be mediated by a professional learning agent who has knowledge of the meaning of the process of learning through the construction of knowledge so that he can understand the ideas of the learner and how to act in the process of building knowledge to intervene appropriately in situation in order to assist you in this process.

This idea is based on the principles of Piaget’s constructivist theory, which starts from the premise that knowledge comes not only from the subject’s innate programming, nor from his unique experience of the object, but is a result of both the reciprocal relationship of the subject with his environment, and of the articulations and disarticulations of the subject with this object. From these interactions arise successive cognitive constructions capable of producing new structures in a continuous and incessant process.

Therefore, the use of NICTs in education should aim to mediate the construction of the students’ conceptualization process, seeking the promotion of learning and developing important skills to participate in the knowledge society and not simply facilitating their teaching and learning process. learning. For NICTs to promote the expected changes in the educational process, they should be used not as teaching or learning machines, but as a pedagogical tool to create an interactive environment that provides the learner with a problem situation to investigate, and refine their initial ideas, thus building their own knowledge.

The use of NICTs in education will not guarantee the learning of the students, since they are teaching instruments that can and should be at the service of the process of construction and appropriation of the learners’ knowledge. The introduction of these resources in education must be accompanied by a solid training of teachers so that they can use them in a responsible way and with true pedagogical potentialities, not being used as fun machines and pleasant to pass the time.

  1. Computer science as an object of study

We must propose IT as an object of study and not just as a teaching-learning resource. This study should be informed by research in the area investigating:

The question of the use of information technology in education, based on experience and practices not developed by the a priori defense that this use is to improve the teaching-learning process and meaningful learning;
Culture of informatics and its relations with school culture and other cultural universes.
It is necessary to ask: to what extent does the use, for example, of the Internet favor the construction of an intercultural perspective in the school or the strengthening of monocultural positions or prejudices in relation to the culture of the different ones, or to what extent does the use of the internet a different culture, in the intertwining of cultures in school.

It is also necessary to study, in the processes of distance education mediated by the computer:

The relationship of time flexibility to teaching-learning activities with questions of intensification of teaching work;
The new characteristics of the teacher’s role and evaluation processes.
Finally, we must deal with the technological resources of the knowledge society in a critical way, which involves the understanding that:

These resources are inscribed in capitalist relations of production, in a context of redefinition of the theory of human capital, which is reconceptualized in the new organizations with intellectual capital;
These resources are articulated with current issues of structural unemployment and underemployment;
No entanto, o conhecimento o conhecimento e o desenvolvimento tecnológico são forças materiais também na concretização de valores que se relacionam com os interesses dos excluídos, contradizendo os valores próprios da acumulação capitalista;
Em todo contexto discutido, a educação assume papel crucial na socialização e construção do conhecimento e da cultura, podendo ultrapassar o caráter instrumental do conhecimento, tendo em vista a formação de cidadãos comprometidos com: a igualdade e a inclusão sociais; a tolerânciae o diálogo intercultural.

CONSIDERAÇÕES FINAIS

As transformações nas formas de comunicação e de intercâmbio de conhecimentos, desencadeadas pelo uso generalizado das tecnologias digitais nos distintos âmbitos da sociedade contemporânea, demandam uma reformulação das relações de ensino e aprendizagem, tanto no que diz respeito ao que é feito nas escolas, quanto a como é feito. Precisamos então começar a pensar no que realmente pode ser feito a partir da utilização dessas novas tecnologias, particularmente da Internet, no processo educativo. Para isso, é necessário compreender quais são suas especificidades técnicas e seu potencial pedagógico.

As Novas Tecnologias e Educação visa discutir as possibilidades que o ciberespaço oferece para a criação de novos padrões de aquisição e construção dos conhecimentos, ao permitir o uso integrado e interativo de diversas mídias, a exploração hipertextual de um volume enorme de informações e a comunicação a distancia.

University education and curriculum flexibility: importance of compulsory and non-compulsory activities

Compared to other Latin American countries, such as Chile and Mexico, Brazilian higher education can be considered young, as it was found that the first non-theological courses appeared in the nineteenth century and the first Brazilian university was created in the twentieth century (CUNHA, 1980 ) tcc, monografias, monografias prontas, dissertação de mestrado e tese de doutorado. However, from the foundation of the first Brazilian university to the contingent of 2281 higher education institutions present in the country, according to data from the National Institute for Educational Studies and Research Anísio Teixeira (INEP, 2007), a broad movement of transformations resulting from educational laws and policies. , followed the history of Brazilian higher education.

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In particular, this article begins with a reflection on modifications in the proposals for university education resulting from a specific legislation, the Law of Guidelines and Bases of National Education (Law 9394/96).

It is known that this new educational legislation follows the trend towards democratization of the country in the political aspect, which began in the 1980s and culminated in the drafting of the new Constitutional Charter of 1988 tcc, monografias, monografias prontas, dissertação de mestrado e tese de doutorado. The principles of democratization present in the national constitution are also in the National Education Guidelines and Bases Act of 1996, which sought to overcome the authoritarian tradition of the previous legislation. In the curriculum and student training, there is a movement of overcoming proposals based on minimum curricula1 for actions that enable the principles of didactic, financial and administrative autonomy.

Article 53 of Law 9394/96 refers to the exercise of autonomy by the university, foreseeing, as a function of this institution, the possibility of creating, organizing and extinguishing higher education courses and programs provided for by the law, in addition to setting the curricula of its courses. and programs, observing the relevant general guidelines (BRASIL, 1997a).

Pereira and Cortelazzo (2003) signal the importance of reflecting on the term flexibility, since, in the academic context, it should not be understood as adaptation and conformism. Contrary to the view that flexibility is synonymous with passivity and obedience, in the educational context “the term means a time when the institution no longer bows to the inflexible, no longer assumes servile obedience, does not put power in other sources. decision, action and mutual responsibility “(PEREIRA and CORTELAZZO, 2003, pp. 118-119).

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However, it is noteworthy that curricular flexibility does not mean professional flexibility, as a neoliberal view of the university presupposes, which conceives capital and the market as regulators of educational institutions (GOERGEN, 2001) tcc, monografias, monografias prontas, dissertação de mestrado e tese de doutorado. In a neoliberal conception of a university, flexibility is associated with a business perspective of competitiveness and employability, prioritizing faster training that produces subjectivities consistent with consumerism, production and competitiveness, essential characteristics of the economic order based on the logic of capital. (BASTOS and PEREIRA, 2005; DIAS SOBRINHO, 2000). Moreover, Chauí (2001) pays attention to the fact that curriculum flexibility is not synonymous with adapting curricula to the professional needs and demands of companies, overlapping business issues with social ones.

But, on the contrary, flexibility presupposes “another educational theory and a philosophical option that values ​​educational actors, the contextualized development of educational practices, the autonomy of the institution, the teacher and the student” (PEREIRA and CORTELAZZO, 2003, p. 119 ). In short, university autonomy and curriculum flexibility open the possibility, among other things, for the construction and implementation of a pedagogical project in which innovative and differentiated conceptions of student graduation are present (MANCEBO, 1997; VEIGA, 2000).

The understanding of higher education, particularly university education, is not a consensus in the literature and the discussions about the purposes of formal education are not recent. It is assumed that the purposes of higher education are not simple or one-dimensional, but operate with a very defined set of purposes that are widely accepted. Bowen (1977) already pointed out that, with the intentional set of educational actions, a broader formation is sought to guarantee the integral development of the student.

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In order to make possible the principles of a growth in the academic, professional and cultural aspects of the students, the universities have presented a diverse set of work proposals, composing the political-pedagogical projects of the courses tcc, monografias, monografias prontas, dissertação de mestrado e tese de doutorado. This increases the understanding of curriculum, not restricting it to the course disciplines. The following illustrates some actions taken by universities that contemplate the principles of curricular flexibility.

Experience reports on new curriculum configurations

Among the institutions that have brought different suggestions, one can point out the experience of the State University of Campinas, Unicamp, a public university located in the interior of the state of São Paulo. Pereira and Cortelazzo (2003) present that, in order to offer students a more flexible curriculum and that allows the articulation between various fields of knowledge, the university academic community proposed the creation of Multidisciplinary Activities (AM). These are experiences that aim to provide students with a broader background and enable students to choose freely those that meet their intellectual and social interests. These experiences are developed in two to four hours per week throughout the semester and are attended by invited experts to discuss topics such as: ethics, environment and health practices. Participation in these experiences reverts to student credit.

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Within the set of these activities, Pereira and Cortelazzo (2003) highlight the activities of Community Works aimed at the students’ performance in projects in the social area tcc, monografias, monografias prontas, dissertação de mestrado e tese de doutorado. The student may choose to participate in projects already developed by the university or present the planning of a community activity. In addition to these experiences, the institution values ​​the education of students beyond their university space, offering the possibility of conducting courses in other public institutions.

At the Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas, a confessional university located in the interior of the state of São Paulo, there is a movement of curricular flexibility, with the incorporation of activities called Training Practices. These are experiences that extend the student’s degree, adding contact with various areas of knowledge and experience. At this university, the Training Practices are an integral part of the curriculum and must be compulsorily attended by the students in all semesters of the course, offering the student the opportunity to choose which activity to perform2.

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Moreover, still based on the principle of autonomy and curricular flexibility, many universities have brought, together with the composition of their courses, a set of activities called complementary. The curricular flexibility provided for in the Guidance for the Curriculum Guidelines of undergraduate courses, approved by Opinion No. CNE / CES 776/1997 (BRAZIL, 1997b), adopted on 12/03/1997, gains a particular aspect in the National Guidelines specific to each course through the suggestion that complementary activities be performed tcc, monografias, monografias prontas, dissertação de mestrado e tese de doutorado. Therefore, the curriculum of various courses starts to value and account credits to a set of experiences that go beyond the boundaries of the course disciplines and that ensure, among other things, one of the principles of the National Curriculum Guidelines that refers to the practice of studies. and independent activities with interdisciplinary and optional characteristics, in order to enrich and implement the trainee’s professional profile.

From this brief exposition on experiences that illustrate the assumptions of curricular flexibility, it is emphasized that the course proposals incorporate the possibility for the student to choose, from a set of activities, some experiences foreseen by the institution as relevant to the conclusion of the course and that, often, they enter the calculation of the credits for the payment of the same. In this sense, these training proposals go beyond the conception of curriculum as the set of disciplines focused on the basic and specific area of ​​the course, rigid and built on the logic of technical control (GERALDI, 1994; PEREIRA and CORTELAZZO, 2003) and come to value the freedom of the university student to choose, from a range of experiences, those that will compose his academic career.

Thus, the current proposals incorporate greater flexibility in the composition of the courses, and university experience goes beyond the scope of fixed and predetermined experiences. This occurs by valuing, including crediting, a broader set of activities that make up the curriculum. Broadening the understanding of university education involves understanding these experiences, a theme to be developed below.

The activities present in higher education

From the understanding of curriculum “as the set of learning experiences experienced by students, whether or not planned by the school, in or out of class and school, but under the responsibility of the school, throughout its school career” (GERALDI, 1994, p. 117) tcc, monografias, monografias prontas, dissertação de mestrado e tese de doutorado, it is observed that students also compose their academic trajectory with experiences that have been termed in the literature as complementary, elective, extramural, extracurricular and non-compulsory. These are activities that are supported by or under the direct responsibility of the institution, but they have in common the offering of diverse experiences for the different students of the same course or of a university, and which are characterized by greater freedom of choice. the student about the activities to be developed.

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Thus, broadening Geraldi’s (1994) definition of curriculum, he understands it as the set of activities experienced by students and which may have both obligatory characteristics, when they belong to the set of activities that are previously defined as essential to the conclusion of the course, as well as non-compulsory, characterized by the activities experienced by students inside or outside the classroom or the physical space of the university, in which there is greater student autonomy in selecting the experiences with which to engage. These activities can be illustrated by participating in monitoring, scientific initiation, student representation bodies, congresses and scientific events, among others.

Data from the literature indicate that the involvement of students in various activities contributes to a series of changes in them (KUH, 1995; TERENZINI, PASCARELLA and BLIMLING, 1996) tcc, monografias, monografias prontas, dissertação de mestrado e tese de doutorado. Among the main characteristics of the changes that students undergo during the undergraduate period are the development in cognitive, social and affective areas, with gains in intellectual skills, mastery of specific knowledge and attitudinal, psychosocial and moral dimensions (ASTIN). 1993; KUH, 1995; PASCARELLA and TERENZINI, 1991, 2005).

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More specifically, participation in non-compulsory activities triggers diverse contributions to students such as: increased course satisfaction, improved leadership skills, ease in interpersonal relationships, development of altruistic values. These data demonstrate that the benefits of non-compulsory experiences are reflected in several aspects that may assist in the development of the student as a whole (PASCARELLA and TERENZINI, 1991, 2005; BAXTER-MAGOLDA, 1992).

Involvement in non-compulsory activities may also favor the construction of commitment to the course, which is an important variable for the permanence in higher education (BRIDI and MERCURI, 2000). According to Astin (1993), students who participate in any kind of non-compulsory activities are less likely to evade and are more likely to be satisfied with their university experiences. Almeida et al. (2000) also state that involvement in these activities also contributes to a better integration in the university context, an important element for the student’s academic performance and psychosocial development.

The importance of non-compulsory activities has been recognized in the literature since the 1990s, with studies by Kuh, Schuh, Whitt et al. (1991), who sought to understand the experiences carried out outside the classroom, and currently in international academic production, these activities are still the focus of several studies tcc, monografias, monografias prontas, dissertação de mestrado e tese de doutorado (BAKER, 2008; KEEN and HALL, 2009).

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In addition, in order to contextualize the presence of non-compulsory activities during undergraduate studies, Kuh (1993, 1995) conducted a large study with university students from 12 North American institutions, with the aim of verifying which experiences outside the classroom. class were associated with learning and personal development. Among the main experiences described by the students are the experience in leadership activities, peer interaction, academic activities, contact with teachers, work, travel and general institutional context.

Based on the contributions presented by Kuh (1995), in the national context, Capovilla and Santos (2001) investigated the influences of extramural activities on the development of dentistry students. The work was done with graduating students and pointed out that they participated in various extramural activities, which were associated with changes in reflective reasoning, social competence, notion of purpose, academic skills, autonomy, vocational competence and reflective reasoning. Using the same taxonomy of responses as Kuh (1993, 1995), Fior and Mercuri (2003) conducted an exploratory study with students enrolled in a Brazilian public university to analyze the contributions of non-compulsory activities to student education. More specifically, the study sought to identify the relationships that undergraduates established between participation in non-compulsory activities and personal change, and participation in these activities was associated with a broad set of changes that address aspects related to interpersonal competence, cognitive complexity. , humanitarianism and academic knowledge and skills.

The data from these studies signal the importance of non-compulsory activities in student education and demonstrate that the benefits of these experiences are reflected in broad aspects that may favor student development as a whole (BAXTER-MAGOLDA, 1992; PASCARELLA and TERENZINI, 1991). .

However, as pointed out by Huang and Chang (2004), there is still a question about the amount of involvement experienced by students, seeking to identify if more intense participation in one area could decrease the likelihood of students getting involved in another. Although the data are not conclusive, Davis and Murrell (1993) and Pike (1995) provide indirect evidence of the importance of integrating diverse experiences throughout student education, but research that investigates this integration is less prevalent.

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However, it is well known that the path to broadening learning involves creating conditions that motivate and inspire students to invest their time and energy in activities for both compulsory and non-compulsory educational purposes tcc, monografias, monografias prontas, dissertação de mestrado e tese de doutorado. Given this, this study aimed to understand, from the perception of university students, the importance associated with compulsory and non-compulsory activities for the process of university education.

Methodological Paths

Sixteen students of both sexes, ranging in age from 20 to 24 years old, enrolled in undergraduate courses at a Brazilian public university located in the southeastern region of the country and characterized by a strong research tradition, participated in this study. All participants were volunteers and interested in participating in the study. During the selection of university students, an equation of the course’s working period was sought, ie, day or night. Due to the nature of the desired information, it was necessary that the student, participating in the research, had a university experience of at least five semesters. With this condition, it was intended to interact with students who have already had enough time in undergraduate studies and have faced several possibilities to perform activities in the university context.

Considering the exploratory nature of this study, we chose to use interviews based on self-report. According to Pike (1995), self-report constitutes a valid and reliable procedure of student involvement in academic activities and their development.

The interviews were based on a script divided into two stages: a) identification data (gender, age, course, period of study) and b) aspects related to university experience, more specifically about: (i) activities that contributed to the training; (ii) identification of the nature of these activities (mandatory / non-mandatory); (iii) importance attached to compulsory activities and non-compulsory activities for training.

Content analysis was the set of techniques used for data analysis. In this study, the theme was the unit of meaning obtained through the interviewees’ report, starting from the theoretical references previously presented. From the content analysis of the transcripts of the reports, we initially sought to highlight the activities that contributed to the formation of the student. For this analysis, two categories were initially established: compulsory activities and non-compulsory activities. Subsequently, the importance of these activities was analyzed and, in this case, there were no previous sets of categories to be used, and they emerged from the data.

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Initially, the activities or experiences that, according to the students, contributed to their formation are described. In the sequence, it will be emphasized the study of the perception of university students about the importance of compulsory and non-compulsory activities. Excerpts with speeches from the participants are used to favor the understanding of the aspects presented. These excerpts are followed by the initial of the student’s name and mention is also made of the area of ​​knowledge in which the course in which the student is enrolled is located.

The university experience: the coexistence between the obligatory and non-obligatory experiences

From the set of individual reports, we highlight the fact that all students interviewed mention, among the activities or experiences that deserved attention, those of a non-compulsory nature. There have been extreme cases where they are the only activities mentioned in the evaluation. However, the obligatory experiences were also flagged by the participants.

Regarding the nature of the described activities, it was observed that, among the compulsory ones, the students perceive a varied group of experiences ranging from the experience of the course itself as a whole to some specific activities. Among these more punctual experiences are the classes that, as understood by Cunha (1997), constitute the moment of teaching realization, the meeting between teacher and students, or a continuous process of collective knowledge construction. These activities accompany all educational levels and, according to the perception of university students, played a central role in their formation process “Let’s say that class is a fundamental thing” (O., C. Exatas), as they enable contact with new students. contents and the explanation of any difficulties that occur during the learning process “the class contributed to the training (…) because it exposes the subject and [clarifies] doubts that arise during the classes” (O., C. Exatas) . This report corroborates information from Tinto (1997), according to which the class creates conditions for the education experience, in the formal sense, to be lived, especially for students who travel daily or those who have many obligations outside the university.

Other activities that took place under the requirement of the required subjects are present in the participants’ reports as important in their academic career. Included are the reading of bibliographic references, the production of syntheses, texts and reviews, and the presentation of debates, as illustrated in the following excerpt “the activities that contributed were the academic activities (…) the classes and what I read, what I had to read and write “(T., C. Humanas).

Still present as a mandatory element, activities with practical characteristics are highlighted by students, as they create conditions to assume the role of student / professional, experiencing aspects of daily work. The internship, as a compulsory activity, was valued by the students, as it made possible the acquisition of practical experiences in the area of ​​formation, as illustrated by the following statement: “The internship is obligatory and [is contributing] to my formation because there I train people. manual skills and help to fix the theoretical contents learned in the theoretical classes “(C., C. Biologicals).

Regarding non-compulsory activities, which, according to the students’ perception, contributed to their formation, the participation in the scientific initiation projects is highlighted, as shown in the following report. “In my case I do scientific initiation and I I think it contributed a lot “(R., C. Exatas). In addition, under the name junior company, there are non-profit, student-run organizations that have made it possible to carry out various practical activities, as illustrated by the following excerpt: “I can point out that I worked during my first two years of I graduated from [company name], which is the junior computing company. I worked on a lot of things. I worked as a project manager, as a consultant “(R., C. Exatas).

Both the actions developed from the scientific initiation, as from the junior company, can be considered as important in the student’s academic trajectory, especially for the possibility of the learner having a reading of both the scientific and professional field of his course, favoring the construction questions essential to the learning process (CUNHA, 1997).

Other non-obligatory experiences, characterized by the presence of colleagues, were present in the students’ verbalizations. The informal activities of study groups, student meeting for solving exercises and doubts exemplify these actions. “[Contributed to] meetings with my friends from the music course. I have met many people who have a good command of the instrument, good musical knowledge. and I believe they are enriching me a lot “(L., Arts). Thus, the construction of support groups or extra classes, as well as the participation in experiments, conducted by teachers or by the students themselves, such as monitoring, deserved emphasis on the verbalizations made by the university students, pointing out the presence of the other, whether their peers or their peers. teachers in the learning process.

Students also reported on a variety of activities ranging from library attendance, research and study centers, computer labs to music activities, participation in colleges and collegiate bodies, organizing events such as congresses and specific course weeks as non-compulsory experiences that excelled in the academic trajectory.

In addition, the interpersonal relationships experienced in the university environment, conversations, discussions and participation in sports activities were examples of the diversity of experiences present in the university context, developed under the responsibility of the institution and mentioned by the students.

Given this, considering that both activities have a significant space in the student’s graduation, it became essential, when analyzing aspects related to university education, the search for understanding the student’s perception of the importance attributed to each of these activities: obligatory and non-obligatory, in order to understand the action of these experiences.