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Article

Rocío Rueda Ortiz and Alejandro Uribe Zapata

Particularly since the turn of the new millennium, the field of cyberculture and education in Latin America has undergone significant development. Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary studies have focused on the rise of a novel sociotechnical network, the product, on the one hand, of advances in information and communications technology, computing, and a broader reach of the internet, and, on the other hand, of the diverse appropriations of these advances by individuals and collectives. In general, the research questions addressed in this field analyze the continuities and transformations in areas such as the creation, circulation, and legitimization of information and knowledge inside and outside the educational institution; the forms of socialization, communication, and construction of individual and collective identities; and the modes of citizen participation, all of which have been catalyzed by the new technological ecosystem. In an initial stage, this field was marked by national and international policies of incorporating information and communications technology into education and, as a result, by the discussions on access to this technology, the digital divide, and the scope of technological infrastructure. This first stage was criticized for an instrumentalist and determinist emphasis on statistics regarding computer access and use in education that ignored the diverse and unequal processes of social and cultural appropriation of these factors. In a second stage of critical cybercultural studies, efforts were made to overcome technological determinisms, understanding information technologies not as something completed, closed, or definitive, but rather as part of the process of humanization—in other words, as devices that are transformed through interaction with individual and collective subjects, just as these latter reconfigure themselves to the extent that they interact with the former. What is highlighted here, on the one hand, is that the processes are heterogenic and sometimes contradictory in respect to what this sociotechnical interaction produces in the subjectivities; and, conversely, that imagination and invention are inherent to the technical objects. The human artifacts are thus not simple instruments mechanically joined to the social and cultural life of people. A third stage envisions challenges and new fields of research and creation in the production of knowledge arising from the peculiarity of Latin American educational, social, and cultural problematics. In particular, there is an emphasis on the need to include in an interrelated way intergenerational dimensions of race, gender, region, and social class in order to analyze the different and unequal forms of inclusion and appropriation of technologies. Similarly, studies begin to appear on “Commons” and “Commoning” as new ways of producing and sharing knowledge, as do grassroots educational proposals from the decolonial, situated feminist perspective calling for an intercultural dialogue on and recognition of indigenous, peasant, and Afro-descendant knowledge, worldviews and lifestyles that have appropriated technologies in diverse ways and for different purposes in the region.

Article

International comparisons demonstrate considerable educational inequality across Latin America. Since the return of democracy in the region in the mid-1980s, these educational disparities have become an important object of studies and public policies, not least because educational inequality reflects, and entrenches, deep social inequalities across the region. Studies of this phenomenon are multifaceted, with distinctions between qualitative and quantitative approaches corresponding to distinct disciplinary fields (sociology, psychology, history versus economics, notably), university departments (colleges of education, sociology departments versus economics departments), and gender (women versus men). Qualitative approaches examine a limited number of cases, usually using interviews and ethnographies, to examine a circumscribed space of social action, often limited to a small set of institutions within a single national framework. Studies carried out in this perspective support the construction of hypotheses that can then be tested with a larger number of cases. They are particularly suited to identifying multiple, mutually influencing causalities, thus enabling a dense description of the complex dynamics that lead to the reproduction of educational inequality in the region. At the same time, these approaches have not tackled comparative analysis nor have they addressed the global dynamics affecting education in the region.

Article

Since the second half of the 20th century, research practices in social science and the humanities in Latin America and the Caribbean have been developed alongside criticisms of positivist methodologies. Some of the main interventions are reviewed by scholars such as Orlando Fals Borda, João Bosco Guedes Pinto, Michel Thiollent, Paulo Freire, Carlos Rodrigues Brandão, and Oscar Jara. Participation is central to all of these, but each contain nuances that must be identified, explained, and analyzed. Furthermore, these interventions relate to the field of popular education or, more broadly, to practices associated with critical educational proposals.

Article

This article examines the possibilities of a comparative approach for ethnographic investigations on teachers’ work. It draws on contributions from a study carried out from 2006 to 2010 in private schools in Buenos Aires. Due to the deep socioeconomic crisis in Argentina in the 1990s, those schools reorganized themselves into cooperative schools. From a holistic approach, the study develops a comparative analysis related to the presencias estatales (state presences) in schools and how teachers experienced this. As the investigation progressed, a series of correlations between theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches were unfolded, allowing teachers’ work, from their “lived experience” perspective, to be recontextualized. The article is organized in four sections. The introduction presents the aim, the methodology, and an overview of the international context for developing comparative ethnographic investigations. The next section provides an overview of studies on teachers’ work in Latin America and Argentina, as well as the possibilities of comparison in the particular thematic field. Moving forward, it describes: (a) the theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches in detail through comparative analysis about the presencia estatales in cooperative schools, and (b) the ways in which teachers experience this. The conclusion presents a synthesis of the comparative analysis and propose new inquiries for further investigations.

Article

Vani Moreira Kenski and Gilberto Lacerda Santos

Important changes have taken place in the field of educational technology over the last few decades due to leaps in informatics, the explosive growth of the use of computers in schools, and the popularization of the Internet as a tool for teaching and learning. This scenario demands a broader understanding of the educational potential of new resources and didactic materials available to schools and innovative modes of individual and collective action in an increasingly digital society. Such changes have been faster since the start of the 21st century, which saw increased interest in educational technologies and many researchers orienting their studies to the modus operandi of the process of teaching and learning mediated by various types of digital technologies, be they presential, non-presential, hybrid, mobile, collaborative, cooperative, interactive, individualized, assistive, active, ubiquitous, and so on. With this, research in the field of educational technology has been consolidated and has begun to adopt methods of qualitative research that take account of this diversity of objects. This article seeks to point out the contributions of qualitative research methodologies in the formatting of this field of knowledge in Latin America. This is based on an examination of the most widely used scientific journals in the region, drawing on almost 100 articles published between 2016 and 2017. The analysis indicates that educational technology is evolving in Latin America, mainly due to the continuous and accelerated advance of digital information, communication, and expression technologies (DICETs). At the same time, there remains a great lack of scientific journals in the area, an issue that must be addressed given the strategic importance of this field of knowledge for the universalization of education in Latin America. Peer-reviewed journals have prioritized studies based on research and development (R&D) methods that emphasize media engineering for education and have a predominance of case studies. But they also present research problems related to qualitative issues that arise from the use of DICETs in specific teaching and learning situations. The scenario under analysis shows that research in this area has gradually evolved from a strongly technical perspective to a humanist one through qualitative analyses focusing on the limits and possibilities of DICETs. Thus, they raise important clues for future research, such as the challenges of adopting collaborative and interdisciplinary research approaches aimed at better understanding the processes and educational relations mediated by technologies; the new possibilities of hybrid education that can be addressed in different school contexts; and the question of teacher training for this new scenario. Such developments are crucial for advancing knowledge about educational technology in Latin America.

Article

There are several different ways of understanding ethnography. On one extreme there are studies that use certain “ethnographic techniques” for practice observation, and on the other, there is the assumption that it is a complex theoretical-methodological framework that implies an ideological, political, and sociocultural approach, in order to describe the perspective of the participants. A third perspective seeks to broaden the understanding of the complex construction of scientific knowledge in the classroom. Surveys can unearth a clear tension between the etic and emic approaches, each one related to the theoretical-methodological allegiances of their researchers which can be modified somewhat through their findings. A future inquiry into the complex and heterogeneous contexts of Latin American classrooms can suggest a way to bridge macro with micro contexts of different socioeconomic and cultural and political conditions. Other growing topics that could be developed more thoroughly in the future are, for example, the multimodality of communication processes within the classroom, and studies on scientific education from an intercultural perspective, particularly considering the debt we have with the 50 million indigenous people in our region in taking into account their cultural perspectives and contributions to knowledge.

Article

A specific comparative framework that incorporates an interpretive process dedicated to developing a more complex understanding of teaching knowledge incorporates the specific local contexts in which studies on teaching knowledge are conducted. Research on teaching knowledge within the region grew and diversified from the 1980s and 1990s. There are two key thematic contributions of this body of research: the nature of teaching knowledge and pedagogical approaches to teaching specific curricular content focusing on early literacy. Points of comparison between the different contributions of studies addressing teaching knowledge can be found. Additionally, institutional and social inequalities are manifested in schools and education in Latin American countries. Teaching knowledge, which teachers produce in and adapt to different social spaces (in other words, through practice), is crucial for fostering the development and learning of the students who attend school under the challenging conditions of the schools in these countries.

Article

Latinx curriculum theorizing is a constellation of curriculum scholarship rooted in the histories, knowledges, and everyday lives of peoples from across the Latin American diaspora. It is a framework that pushes back against demonizing stereotypes, caricatures, and colonial generalizations of an entire diaspora. Born out of resistance and liberation, it comes from the histories and practices of Latinx peoples in creating counternarratives, education reform, and activism. Specifically, Latinx curriculum theorizing includes the following: (a) Latinidad as a collective point of entry, (b) Latinx as a term, (c) history and circumstance as curricular knowledge, (d) counternarratives and testimonio as curriculum theorizing, (e) cultural knowledges of Latinx students and community as theory, (f) cultural knowledges of Latinx teachers, and (g) Latinx communities generating critical pedagogies and education initiatives. Latinx curriculum theorizing draws from a variety of Latinx philosophical traditions, including critical race theory, Latina feminist philosophy, Latinx and Chicanx studies, and various strands of Latin American, Continental, Caribbean, and Africana philosophy. While scholars who do Latinx curriculum theorizing are trained in theories such as critical race theory, feminist theory, and post- and decolonial theories, because of the subject matter and the people, this framework is the next step up in putting such foundational theories into conversation with one another. It is therefore a newly emerging framework, in the early 21st century, because it draws upon all these perspectives to account for a very transitionary, contradictory, and messy Latinx experience. What makes something distinctly Latinx curriculum is an engagement with a state of transition and liminal spaces, both pedagogically and epistemologically, with the varied and multilayered trajectories of Latin American-origin realities. Far from being a monolithic and static framework, Latinx curriculum theorizing is itself malleable, contested, and in transition. Just as Latinx itself is a contested term within academic and activist spaces, Latinx curriculum theorizing is a point of contestation that makes it a framework with porous boundaries that can explain and even redefine the Latinx educational experience. As such, Latinx curriculum lends itself to nuanced analysis and praxis for issues of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, language, migration, racial hierarchies, and colonial legacies. This type of curriculum theorizing also points to power structures from multiple social locations and offers pathways for social change and liberation.

Article

Diana Milstein, Angeles Clemente, and Alba Lucy Guerrero

There are epistemological, methodological, and textual dimensions of collaborative educational ethnography (CEE) in Latin America that have spread and consolidated over the last twenty-five years. The beginnings of CEE were marked by sociopolitical struggles (social resistance movements and repressive dictatorships) but also were enlightened by thinkers like Fals Borda and Freire, who foresaw social transformation through a theory/action/participation tie. The result was several educational ethnographic studies carried out by groups of researchers working in networks. To a large extent, they aimed to problematize contradictions between official school education and the sociocultural realities of teachers and students. This type of research also aimed to understand and intervene in social change processes, which encouraged the incorporation of teachers as researchers in ethnographic studies. Teachers’ participation in research processes opened debates about fieldwork, but more particularly about relationships between researchers and interlocutors. In short, the history of CEE in Latin America reveals a marked development of collaboration, from being enacted but not made explicit in the written ethnographic report to open, explicit, and declared participation of nonacademic collaborators of all sorts: teachers, children, youngsters, indigenous communities, and so on. The work of these collaborative teams not only differs in ways and degrees of research involvement (co-interpreting, co-investigating, co-authoring, and co-theorizing) but also in what a dialogic and sometimes contested research process entails in terms of knowledge production for counteracting Eurocentric, androcentric, adult-centric prejudices. Teachers’ participation, children/youngsters as active collaborators, and language as a topic of research and as a research tool are three main themes. The stance of the researcher in CEE inevitably connects with his or her interlocutors as situated others—subjects with agency and rights and capable of involving the researcher in a joint process of reflexivity. Moreover, collaborative experiences in educational ethnography create new and feasible possibilities for the development of knowledge not only in education but also in research approaches to ethnography.

Article

Paula Andrea Echeverri-Sucerquia and Carlos Tobon

The historic agreement signed between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government, as well as the peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN), mark the beginning of an end to decades of raw violence in Colombia. Against all odds, Colombia has found ways to survive the pain, to heal, and to begin anew. The Colombian experience mirrors that of many other Latin American nations, as well as others around the world, where a history built in the midst of war, violence, and resilience has shaped people’s ways of interpreting the world and building knowledge. Evidence of this is the focus of conference papers, theses, and dissertations presented at international conferences by and about Latin Americans. Undeniably, in spite of the particularities that describe the Latin American social experience, the hemispheric North has exerted a great epistemological influence in the South. However, Southerners have imprinted their idiosyncrasies, their own ways of understanding, creating, and transforming. A review of educational qualitative research in Colombia illustrates this tension: on the one hand is the focus on evidence-based research, highly influenced by academic work in the North, and, on the other hand, there is a struggle for research that strives for social justice. Such complex tension entails both challenges and opportunities for qualitative research in education.

Article

In the past decade, ambitious plans for digital inclusion have been developed in Latin America. These plans included a strategy of massive and universal distribution of equipment at a 1:1 ratio to students at different levels of the education system (i.e., a computer for each student). The programs were accompanied by both policy analyses and independent studies hoping to account for the program’s successes and achievements. These studies can facilitate analysis of the orientations and dimensions of these investigations, considering them as practices of knowledge production that imply the construction of a perspective, as well as indicators and problems that make visible certain some aspects of policy and mask others. They constitute forms of problematizing the social, that is to say, the construction of themes or topics that return to a problem that requires attention, which many times are taken as a reflection of reality and not as the product of an predetermined evaluative perspective. It is also significant that among these evaluative studies, a number were conducted through qualitative perspectives, which facilitate more complex and plural approaches to the processes of technological integration and digital inclusion within the classroom. In these qualitative studies, the construction of categories was part of the research and covered a multiplicity of meanings that the policies took for the actors involved, thus opening a richer and potentially more democratic perspective on the construction of knowledge about educational policy in the region.