Who are we?
A typical class in any school in Brazil is almost exactly the same as 200 years ago: 1 teacher and 40 students who must remain passive to absorb the information written on a blackboard. Ref.: The Challenges of Education in Brazil, Brock, Colin and Schwartzman, Simon. Oxford studies in comparative education, Symposium Books, UK 2004
This reality brought us to this question:
With the technology available today, is it possible to offer more effective classes than were available 200 years ago?
Our biggest goal is to combat the serious educational problems in Brazil by providing teachers from both public and private institutions, free or inexpensive materials and innovative teaching methods. Currently, the courses are functioning as a proprietary laboratory in which we are testing new teaching methods and content with both teachers and students. After the testing is concluded, those courses will then be available for use by schools.
Today in addition to the blackboard and print textbooks, we have the Internet with audio, video, social applications, and the list continues. We have a myriad of possibilities yet to be explored. While Brazil is investing little by little in the technological infrastructure of its schools, now is the time to start thinking about the educational content that will be used when this infrastructure is ready.
How does the project work?
The role of the student
The student has an essential role in the project, as the main tester of the new methods and technologies and by providing feedback about which methods are working best. Also, at this Stage 1 EMBRYONIC phase the student is the main source of funds for the project by paying for classes.
The role of the teacher
At the forefront of collecting feedback from students, the teacher contributes directly to the development and improvement of both technological and non-technological methods, by applying their pedagogical knowledge. We currently have a community of 20 teachers associated with the project.
The role of the developer
The developer contributes by creating and perfecting interactive applications and educational games for different platforms: tablets, smartphones and PCs. These applications are used as tools to assist the teacher in the task of teaching and the student in the task of learning.
The role of the Academy of Development
echnology is the key to the creation of innovative teaching tools. The Academy of Development is an important part of the project aprenda2.org. In poor communities, there are many talented people who only need an opportunity to flourish. The Academy will serve as a forum for recruiting these talented young people to teach them about software development. With these skills, these young people will have an opportunity that can change theirs and their families’ realities by putting them in a position to enter the technology sector.
During their training, they gradually participate in the development of teaching tools that will be used by the project aprenda2.org. Ultimately, at the conclusion of their training, some of these young people will be hired to continue the development of this same project. Others will be absorbed by the labor market and in particular by partner companies that are project investors.
An additional opportunity available to the most talented and highest achieving of our trainees will be a three-month internship in Quebec, Canada.
The role of the Adminitration
The Administration takes care of back office tasks such as marketing, financial management, event organization, internal communication, building partnerships and all other relevant tasks in order to ensure the seamless functioning of the entire project.
The role of the investor
We are living in post-industrial knowledge based era in which a growing number of people need to invest in their selves. What are the expected outcomes of this project by ensuring people can learn what they need, in a more effective and efficient manner?
While there are enumerable ways in which the outcomes of this project can be measured but the biggest is to provide access to quality education for underprivileged people, helping them to transform their reality and escape poverty.
Corporate Social Responsibility, while a fairly new concept in Brazil serves to better society, better the morale of employees and increase brand visibility. Socially Responsible companies are increasingly perceived by the public as ethical companies, earning the respect of people, attracting talent, and generating a positive image to customers. In the stock market, the shares of companies that invest in social and environmental projects are seen as more attractive.
This a high worth investment for companies concerned about creating their future workforce and customers. We would be happy to make a presentation to your Directors about the development of a partnership that will best serve all parties.
The Role of the University
aprenda2.org’s project aims to be a facilitator for research and development, attracting researchers from universities to interact with the educational data generated by the project.
The knowledge gained through this experience will be disseminated in the scientific community through academic theses.
Why French, why Portuguese?
Funding for the project comes mainly from the service fees generated by enrollment in French and Portuguese courses. However, in the next stage, we are going to diversify our activities and our services so diversify income streams.
In addition to content, we are developing the shape and the approach of language learning methodologies. It is as if we were developing a bottle (the shape), whose contents could be orange juice (French), water (Portuguese) or tea (mathematics). At the time the project was created it was easiest and more highly demanded to put our ideas into operation with language lessons. French and Portuguese are therefore the starting point for other disciplines.
The project is divided into two stages: STAGE 1 - EMBRYONIC and STAGE 2 - MATURE.
At this point the project is in its embryonic stage. The main objective of this stage is to build the bases and foundations to ensure the autonomy of the project and then get to STAGE 2 - MATURE, where the project results will be widely visible.
Here are the different stages of the aprenda2.org project:
By Alessandro Orefice
It was the film "Pay it Forward" which inspired this project. This film tells the story of a little boy who takes his teacher's homework very seriously: find an idea to make the world a better place and put it into practice. He decides to help three people he knows. Each of these three people must help three others. And so on.
In 2009, I experienced almost perfect happiness; mainly because I had bested several obstacles and won several significant battles in my life. I had finally achieved most of my dreams: I was a successful professional having received the top achievement award from my company. I was well paid and I loved what I was doing; I felt I was admired and respected by all my colleagues.
On top of that, my academic ideas were also rewarded when I received the Accenture academic top award for my dissertation about the development of intuitive, humanized and universal technology (entitled HOT - Human Oriented Technology).
Finally, in my personal and love life, I was living out the final scene of a fairy tale in which a young man who had survived the hard reality of the Sao Paulo slums was celebrating his wedding in a castle in France. The love of my life was Audrey and we had experienced a number of challenges and difficulties to get there.
However, if this scene was marking the end of one fairy tale, then another was just beginning. This one began when Audrey and I decided, for our honeymoon, to follow the Santiago de Compostela Way. We walked 800km in 34 days. During this period we got to know some marvelous people but above all we got to know ourselves. Many people say that this route changes their lives forever. It was the same for me. In deed traveling the Compostela Way was a fantastic experience which enabled me to understand myself better and it gave me the confidence I needed to face a new challenge.
Having that time to myself allowed me to reflect on my life and to go over all the events I had lived through. I began by evaluating my experiences and looking at the world around me. Everything was going well for me and I saw my life like a beautiful tree full of fruit. That's when I thought: where did the seed for this tree come from and who planted it? I then realized that my success would not have been possible without the education my family gave me and without the educational project of the Non-Governmental organization <Liceu de Artes e Oficios> in Sao Paulo. It was this institution that provided me with the skills needed with a future profession. This organization was my springboard from modest beginnings to a position with social standing.
The American philanthropist, Jacqueline Novogratz, stated about her work in India, "When you see people with a small income come out of poverty just a little, one of the first things they do is think of how they can help others in the same situation." I have been able to put many of my academic ideas into this aprenda² project. With the project aprenda² we want to make a difference through education and contribute to the development of a world of which we can be proud.