Watson Chronicle


Watson College News

WCE Collaboration with Brazil Provides Opportunities for Students, Educators

Thursday, December 08, 2022

The Watson College is pleased to announce a new collaboration between UNCW and the Federal University of Ceará in Brazil. The work, led by Dr. Daisy Barreto and Dr. José Aires de Castro Filho, focuses on Integrating STEAM and English in the Brazilian Public School System.

Dr. Filho is a professor at the Federal University of Ceará, where he specializes in educational informatics, cognitive psychology and mathematics education.

Dr. Barreto is an associate professor in the Department of Instructional Technology, Foundations and Secondary Education, and coordinator of WCE’s Master of Science in Instructional Technology (MIT) program.

In October, Dr. Filho gave a public lecture at the Watson College titled, “Using Digital Educational Resources to Foster Mathematics & Language Learning.”

During the presentation, he explained that Digital Education Resources involve software, video, animation, images, video games or simulations that have an education purpose. In his work, Dr. Filho combines DERs with gamification, which involves the use of game mechanics such as goals, rules, challenges and awards.

“Technology provides a means to create different contexts, explore concepts and use multiple and dynamic representations,” he said. “And gamification is a proven way to engage broad audiences.”

joseaires.JPGSince 2018, Dr. Filho has designed 30 Digital Education Resources for use in elementary school classrooms. The programs, with names like “Operation Island” and “Aljabar Kingdom,” use adventure narrative, fantasy contexts and avatars to help students enhance their math and language skills. To date, the programs have been tested by teachers and more than 5,000 students in schools in northeastern Brazil.

This fall, as part of the new collaboration between UNCW and the University of Ceará, Watson College students are partnering with Dr. Barreto and WCE professor Eleni Pappamihiel to develop online modules to support teacher training that will enable Dr. Filho and his team to implement an integrated ESL and STEAM curriculum in Brazilian schools, along with the development of a deeper understanding of equity in teachers’ pedagogical practices. The participating students are Ariane Hamm, a student in WCE’s MIT program, and William Mitchell, who is enrolled in WCE’s master’s program in Teaching English as a Second Language. The materials they are working to develop will provide guidance to help teachers plan lessons and effectively implement an integrated ESL and STEAM curriculum in Brazilian schools with students in grades 1-5. Work on the modules began in November and is targeted for completion by the end of January 2023.

A grant from the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Brazil, supplemented by a mini-grant from the Watson College Dean’s Office, funded the visiting professor lecture and faculty-student collaboration on supporting training modules.

The Digital Education Resources presented by Dr. Filho were developed in HTML5. They can run in any browser on a desktop or mobile device, and are designed for use online or offline so they are accessible even for schools without internet access. The programs are all in Portuguese, but could easily be translated into other languages, Dr. Filho said.

“It would be great to have partners to help us expand the program,” he said. “With the DERs, students use math operations to solve everyday problems, so the concepts can apply anywhere. We would welcome partners to help with language translation and the introduction of our programs beyond Brazil.”

Plans are also underway to explore applications to higher order math including algebra and trigonometry.

“We are very excited about this new collaboration with Dr. Filho and the Federal University of Ceará,” Dr. Barreto said. “There is so much potential to help students improve English and math skills through STEM, and it’s a great connection to our instructional technology programs here at Watson. We hope the public lecture and our partnership in developing training resources for teachers in Brazil is just the start of a long and fruitful collaboration.”

Students and educators interested in learning more about the integrated ESL and STEAM curriculum in Brazilian schools as well as the use of Digital Education Resources in the classroom, and UNCW’s new collaboration with the University of Ceará in Brazil, are invited to contact Dr. Barreto at barretod@uncw.edu.

About Watson’s Instructional Technology Programs

WCE’s Master of Science in Instructional Technology (MIT) provides a pathway to a high paying career in the $110 billion educational technology industry. Students with a bachelor’s degree in any field are eligible to apply. Courses are fully online, and applied learning opportunities offered throughout the program enable MIT students to develop a professional portfolio of work prior to graduation.

Post-baccalaureate certificate programs in Instructional Technology, Multimedia and Instructional Web Development, and Online Teaching and Learning are also offered. For more information, please visit the Instructional Technology website.

About Watson’s ESL Programs

The Watson College offers several programs to prepare professionals to meet the education needs of English language learners. The programs include a Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) minor for undergraduate students; a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program for students with a bachelor’s degree who would like to teach ESL; a Residency Licensure program for teachers seeking ESL certification; and an M.Ed. and graduate add-on licensure program for certified teachers looking to enhance their knowledge in this specialty field.

For more information, please visit the ESL website.