Liane Maria Ribeiro Marcondes
This profile was prepared when Liane Maria Ribeiro Marcondes was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1993.
The New Idea
Liane Marcondes says that her work began with a question: "Education is changing: what can we do with it?" She has pioneered the use of computers as a classroom tool, helping Brazil to leapfrog its severe shortfall of qualified schoolteachers and educate its children for the future. Through her program, children learn to use computers, an important skill in the emerging information era. Moreover, the technology facilitates a degree and range of student involvement that was previously all but impossible. A child can, for example, listen to a presentation of a realistic social situation that includes racial and class elements and then discuss it among a diverse group of his or her peers. That same child can learn alone about history and math or create a personal data base. The "teacher" in each case is a computer, programmed with special software to ask questions and in turn respond to children's answers put to work in classrooms by teachers Liane has trained. The interactive computer and multimedia curricula that Liane and her team are developing is Brazil's first. Beyond its benefits to children, her work is demonstrating that computers are economically beneficial to the country. They leverage teachers. They reduce the waste of high grade repetition rates (and demoralization of black and poor students). They produce computer literacy in the work force. And they give a window of discovery and escape for the high talent and/or motivation minority.