ANALYSIS OF STUDENTS INTERACTION IN A PROJECT-BASED LEARNING STRATEGY INTENDED TO DEVELOP TECHNOLOGICAL COMPETENCES IN COLOMBIA
Technology is an element that increasingly integrates several fields of society ranging from recreational to academic and working areas. For this reason it is necessary to promote processes that contribute to technological literacy in society. In Colombia, the concept of technology is restricted to the use of computers and basic software, a concept that seems to be made up of the approach given to technology in basic and media education. Additionally, although the Ministry of National Education (MNE) has defined guidelines for the development of technological competences, their integration with teaching strategies seems to be an elusive goal. These factors could prevents the proper progress of technological literacy in the country.
To tackle this educational issue, a teaching-learning strategy was designed and implemented in five Educational Institutions (EI) of Colombia. This strategy allows teachers to relate the specific context of the EI, the interests of the educational community and the technological competences to be improved in the instructional design of technology courses. The strategy is based on the methodology of Project Based Learning (PBL) due to its usefulness to gather into one educational project, the technological competencies proposed by the MNE and the real context of students. Furthermore, PBL has been recognized for its ability to motivate students to learn, to give meaning to the content of the subjects, to involve teachers as an important element in achieving the objectives of the class, and to promote a collaborative and cooperative interaction between the students, among others advantages. Thus, it is expected that a teaching-learning strategy based on PBL promote the development of technological competences in Colombian middle education students.
Through the implementation of the strategy described above, it is expected to answer the following research question: How is the student’s interaction in the implementation of a teaching-learning strategy under the constructivist approach for technology courses in five EI of Colombia? And how it is related with other variables such as teacher’s role and the use of technological resources? To achieve this goal, a personal accompaniment was performed during the sessions of strategy implementation, where information related to student’s interaction was collected through different instruments. A teacher planning analysis was used to observe if interaction among students is fostered through specific planned activities, and an instrument of non-participant observation was implemented to report the student’s interaction during technology course sessions.
Results show that during the implementation of the strategy, collaborative or cooperative interaction among students is promoted. According to the observations, the student’s interaction was collaborative in 46% of the classes and cooperative in 41% of the sessions observed. This data matches with the teachers session planification, since activities to foster cooperative and collaborative interaction among students were identified in 46.7% of the sessions planned. In addition, results showed that planning collaborative or cooperative activities is related with planning a coach attitude, a positive climate in the classroom and the use of technological resources. However, observed data doesn’t show a significative relation between students interaction and other observed variables.