In 2008, Brazil passed legislation to help promote inclusive education. Now, Santa Fe College has partnered with the State University of Sao Paulo to bring several inclusive projects to light. Join our host Dr. Vilma Fuentes as she speaks with Klaus and Eliza Schlünzen, two visiting professors from Sao Paulo State University (UNESP), as well as two of SF’s own instructional designers, Andy Sheppard and Jason Frank. Learn all about how Legos are leading educational innovation and what inclusivity really means in Brazil.
Vilma Fuentes: 0:00
Welcome to Santa Fe College. My name is Vilma Fuentes, and this is our podcast on developing global citizens. Today we're joined by a very special set of guests. We're honored to host here. Ah, Dr Klaus Schlunzen Junior and Doctor Elisa Schlunzen from the State University of Sao Paulo. [Portuguese] Um, as well as by two of Santa Fe College's Instructional designers: Dr Jason Frank and Andy Shepherd. Welcome to all of you.
Vilma Fuentes: 0:38
Um, Klaus, Elisa. Welcome once again to Santa Fe College.
Klaus Schlünzen: 0:44
It's for a purpose. For us its is a pleasure to be here. It's the second time here, but our partnership with Santa Fe Court it's very, very important for us. And now we're working on inclusion. It's very important for not for Brazil but all the world in this project. It's interesting, and I hope to continue this project.
Vilma Fuentes: 1:16
Thank you. So for our listeners and those who may not know, Santa Fe College has had an international cooperation agreement with UNESP, the State University of Sao Paulo for the last 5-6 years. It's an agreement that is now in the process of being renewed, Yes? Um, Klaus, tell us your rector just signed the new revised agreement when?
Klaus Schlünzen: 1:44
In the next year. And I think that started in five years.
Vilma Fuentes: 1:51
yes, it will be renewed. His rector just signed it a few days ago now at the end of 2019 and we anticipate that this will go into effect in 2020: a partnership that will last for five years. But today we're here, in particular, to talk about one project that has been sponsored by Santa Fe and UNESP. It's a project, as Klaus was saying, to promote inclusive education. Andy, Jason, if from your perspective, can you share with us for a moment, What specifically you've been working on with our Brazilian counterparts?
Andy Shepherd: 2:32
Sure and just by way of context, when we first met her Brazilian colleagues close to two years ago, we were immediately impressed by how advanced they were in the area of accessibility that is supporting students with disabilities. And to give it for context. So as Santa Fe College, if you're a student with a disability, you need to self disclose in order to get certain types of support. But we were very delighted to learn that in the Sao Paulo State University. Or, I should say, UNES, any student can instantly have access to fully accessible materials. They go to the website, they check a box, they can turn on captions, they check a box that can turn on a sign language interpreter. And so when we saw that, we thought wow, this is possible. We've never seen content that accessible on so many forms.
Jason Frank: 3:20
Jason. Well, a couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to go down to Brazil to attend a conference and to meet with Klaus and Elisa and and some of the individuals down there to get a sense of what they were doing and really to explore the opportunity for a partnership. And one of the things that we, uh, that one of things that we realized as we were discussing that probably the best bang for our buck, if you will, would be to look at ways that we could support faculty through professional development. How could we leverage their expertise in the areas of accessibility and our experience in terms of developing professional development? We had just, uh we had just been working on our coding program--the certificate for online designed an instruction that that was into its fourth or fifth iteration. We're feeling pretty confident with how that was going, and it was time to look at branching out. And by partnering with them, it just seemed like a perfect opportunity.
Vilma Fuentes: 4:20
So, Klaus, Elisa, um, the two of you are Professors, tenured professors, at UNESP. Klaus, you're professor [foreign language], but you are both affiliated with the Center for the Promotion of Inclusion. Digital and social inclusion. Um, why were you interested in working with Santa Fe? And I know you can answer in English or if you'd prefer, you could do so in Portuguese.
Klaus Schlünzen: 4:53
I trying English, but for us, Santa Fe is ah, a different context in Brazil. But here, um, the administration and there are the team in the production material. It's very, very Ah, um, interest engaged with the inclusion. The first time here because, uh, Elisa, the master student Elisa, the first time here, um, make up a research about the Brazilians sign language and with America sign language. This is the 1st activities with the Santa Fe College. And when I was here the first time I know they work. Jason and Andy...It's fantastic, wonderful work and the produced material. Then this is why, ah, there's at first it is not our interest in Santa Fe College. The opportunity that is change experience and in different cultures and build, um, environment accessible and material accessible and exchange experience in and to build inclusive culture.
Vilma Fuentes: 6:31
So, um, Jason, Andy, what in particular did you decide to do what project? Um after class. And Elisa left after their first visit. And And Jason after you returned from Brazil?
Jason Frank: 6:47
It took us a little while, but we settled on developing training around inclusivity and accessibility. Um, the idea as we developed this training Initially, we started looking at at skills around multi media skills around making content more accessible. But as we as we discussed and explored this with a couple of doctoral students from UNESP, we realize that the first step that we were looking for is you know, what can we do to implement a culture shift? What can we do to address ideas of unconscious bias or ideas of greater empathy and perspective shifting for faculty. And this was, you know, once once we settled on that, it all came together, you know, relatively quickly. We did it. We did it. We were meeting. We're teleconferencing weekly and kind of building things on both ends. The two students, Deborah and Anna, came, came out to Santa Fe almost two years ago, and that was a really great experience to have them out here and brainstorm face to face. And I'm just kind of, uh yeah, moving forward that way.
Vilma Fuentes: 8:08
So how long did it take you to build this? So what's the title again of this training program?
Jason Frank: 8:15
It is the certificate for accessible and inclusive practices or cape. We really like her acronyms
Vilma Fuentes: 8:22
cape. So how long did it tell? Did it take you to build cape, huh?
Jason Frank: 8:29
It took us about I would say about 18 months from when we had a workable framework, to implementation to roll up.
Vilma Fuentes: 8:40
And this was a project between our Brazilian counterparts at UNESP and Santa Fe College
Jason Frank: 8:46
So we worked with two doctoral students. Um, and they were both contributing to the development of the program and looking at how we might use the program as part of their research into faculty professional development.
Vilma Fuentes: 9:01
And Klaus, you supervise these two students? So why did this project interest you?
Klaus Schlünzen: 9:09
Ah, yes. This part is very interesting for us because ah, use the approached [unintelligable] Significant approach.
Vilma Fuentes: 9:22
Which you developed?
Klaus Schlünzen: 9:24
No, Elisa developed. But it's ah ah um opportunity. Do you use this approach to make? Ah, of course. And with ah experience in Santa Fe in building a course think it's very, um, important to train to be professor. No, not only only in Santa Fe, but in the world, because the problem in the inclusion is the how can make in an education environment occasion. For me, for us, is nature to change the pedagogic approach. It's not only enough, the accessibility in material and videos, but it's necessary to change the pedagogue approach and lovable in the CCS approach and [construction is contest allies significant approach]. It's ah, it's um, it's a It's a possibility to make a change in the education environments.
Vilma Fuentes: 10:35
So could one of you give me an example of a change and pedagogy that might be required? Um, anyone of you, like Andy?
Andy Shepherd: 10:51
Yes. So, of course, at Santa Fe college. Like most institutions, we have students of varying abilities. Students with disabilities. We serve students who are hearing impaired, some of visually impaired. And if we use just one single way of presenting that, that information, there's a barrier. So, uh, we have a similar framework. We embrace the concept of universal design were also constructed. We're getting very nerdy with the technical terms aren't go ahead share. It was inevitable. You have to instructional designers here. We embrace the concept of universal design, which is providing content in multiple forms. So present visuals, but also make sure you provide information and text format provide information an auditory format so that every student can be included. So our approach gel very nicely with the pedagogical approach. Now share one example. You know, it's not uncommon when we teach in an online course to start with a video. That's what we're sort of inclined to do, but with working with our Brazilian peers, they really challenge us on that notion. They said, Why are you giving him all the information, help them arrive at the information, create opportunities for them to interact with the content and then arrive at the conclusion, and that just really challenges to really rethink how we present our information? And so now you'll find in this particular course, the videos typically occur at the end to sort of fill in any gaps that weren't arrived at. Just one particular way. We kind of changed the way we deliver our instructional content.
Vilma Fuentes: 12:12
So, um, take us into the course, please. So for our listeners, maybe somebody who's never signed up for the Cape, But they could if they were a Santa Fe faculty member, or even for maybe students or members in the community, just walk us through it. What might we see or learn?
Jason Frank: 12:30
So the certificate for accessible, inclusive practices is built around four basic modules, and those modules are unconscious bias, uh, using accessible multimedia, the principles of universal design and then advocacy and the idea of the courses that you would, you know as you work through it, that you're going to understand, or at least arrive at some of the biases that we all hold and how they affect our interactions, how they affect our communication and how they affect our teaching. The hope is, as we look at universal design and specifically multimedia, that the instructors will gain a few a significant skills or talents in terms of adapting their existing material or in creating new material that meets certain criteria of accessibility. And then, finally, the principle of advocacy. You know, the hope is that once you see this that you become an advocate, they become an advocate for these principles. But more importantly, that you become an advocate for the students and one of the things that we had done in terms of how we built this course we actually we used a Joseph Campbell's A Hero's Journey right? The Myth, the cycle myth that George Lucas used in all of his Star Wars movies. You see, Lord of the Rings, King Arthur, Legends, The Matrix and and this idea of like what does it look like when you go on a journey? The hero's journey is this idea that you go through experiences, and these experiences ultimately transform you so that you can return home changed, better, evolved. And we walked these students through, or we walk these these faculty through their own personal hero's journey. And and we even we highlight certain aspects of the, you know, there's the invitation or the call to adventure right there. The mentors that you meet along the way, there is the inevitable failure, right, and and and then you learn from that failure and you grow. And how do all of these steps, if you will, relate to the challenge of being more inclusive, being more accessible? We want faculty to to see and feel, you know not only the importance of relevance, but you know, the inherent virtue in being more accessible.
Andy Shepherd: 14:53
And in terms of the instructional content. Of course, we felt it was important to model the principles were advocating for. So there is a massive variety of instructional content. We have info graphics. We have audio podcasts. Jason and I were reminiscing how we're just doing the same type of thing for the course: sitting in front of these microphones. Because too often we forget that audio only could be a very effective way to break through what is otherwise, let's be honest, many online courses are just boring text based courses. So we get to model the model we're trying to advocate for and ultimately, our hope is to demonstrate the valley of using that approach in a way that's that's convincing
Jason Frank: 15:32
One other thing I just want to throw it is it was really important that is as we developed this course that it be fun, right? That there be a level of engagement and we incorporated principles of Gamification into the course. So there was a sense of progression, or of leveling up as you work through the course and and one of the things that I really like and this was a principle that I discovered in the writings of Jane McGonigal who is a game researcher who's done some really interesting work., is this idea of the power up. And so what we did in each module at about the halfway point after they had done some work and kind of wrestled with some of the ideas, we introduced an inspirational story around accessibility to give them just kind of an emotional boost, a little bit of a push, that they can get a little more momentum to see it through. And that was that's been really, positively received.
Vilma Fuentes: 16:21
So let me turn to the Brazilian context for a second here. So is the idea of inclusion or accessibility new in Brazil,
Klaus Schlünzen: 16:32
in Brazil it is that is his new in the
Vilma Fuentes: 16:35
I'm asking, Is it new?
Klaus Schlünzen: 16:37
The subject? Inclusion? No,
Vilma Fuentes: 16:41
I knew the answer. I just want to tell us because that doesn't your aren't you? Don't The federal laws of Brazil's mandate
Klaus Schlünzen: 16:49
More 10 years ago, there are there is, ah, law about inclusion. But the difficulty is, um how can I, um, make inclusion in the school and there are many problems. And the education professor, education teachers, to make inclusion in school. In Brazil there are other problem, for example...there is no money to buy the resources to implement inclusion.
Vilma Fuentes: 17:30
So if I could you mean the adaptive technologies that you use sometimes so that a blind student or a deaf student might access material. Is that what you referred to or no?
Klaus Schlünzen: 17:42
no, no. It's, um yes. Uh, I need to to, um in Brazil, um there are, Ah, the perspective is inclusive. The problem is t he teacher in this in the classroom needs the professional and special education. Help you make the inclusion, but the
Vilma Fuentes: 18:10
The regular teacher doesn't know how to make it inclusive.
Klaus Schlünzen: 18:12
Yes. Um, we can, ah, train this just teacher in the regular class. But, um, she or he needs, ah, some professional special education to help you. And but it's articulate work. It's, um it's inclusion know, integrate work, its inclusion. The for example, the children, the ah children makes the same activities in the same place in same environment. It's not disconnect activities. It's it's the same activity. Then I need ah, sensibility material, but pedagogue approach. Ah, that it's it's possible to do this. There are many, many problems, but in Brazil there is ah, Brazilian law inclusion Brazilian law, but
Vilma Fuentes: 19:12
fascinating. And it's 10 years. So passed in 2009?
Klaus Schlünzen: 19:18
2008 11 years ago. Yes.
Vilma Fuentes: 19:21
Fascinating. Now, Elisa. Um, and I know that your response will be in Portuguese, so I asked our listeners to be especially attentive to this. But at least tell us, please. Um you are now part of a special pilot program in Brazil, right? Where with, Ah, eight other universities. You're launching the first Masters program in inclusive education. Um, tell us about that project, please.
Eliza Schlünzen: 19:50
Vilma Fuentes: 19:58
So, this project was born out of ah course that she was the academic coordinator of this course.
Eliza Schlünzen: 20:04
Vilma Fuentes: 20:10
And they trained 1600 k through 12 professors in the state of Sao Paulo.
Eliza Schlünzen: 20:14
Vilma Fuentes: 20:16
In seven areas
Eliza Schlünzen: 20:18
Vilma Fuentes: 20:22
Eliza Schlünzen: 20:23
Vilma Fuentes: 20:26
Eliza Schlünzen: 20:27
Vilma Fuentes: 20:29
in visual deficiencies.
Eliza Schlünzen: 20:31
Vilma Fuentes: 20:33
auditory. people with auditory problems
Eliza Schlünzen: 20:36
Vilma Fuentes: 20:37
Eliza Schlünzen: 20:39
Vilma Fuentes: 20:40
and physical disabilities.
Eliza Schlünzen: 20:42
Eliza Schlünzen: 20:45
The autism spectrum
Eliza Schlünzen: 20:46
Vilma Fuentes: 20:56
and also [Speaking Portuguese]. That's like students that are gifted, gifted students. Okay,
Eliza Schlünzen: 21:05
Vilma Fuentes: 21:21
And as a consequence of that project, the idea arose to be able to give Masters level training to K through 12 teachers specifically on the issue of inclusive education,
Eliza Schlünzen: 21:32
Vilma Fuentes: 21:38
And they said they proposed the project to a federal funding organization.
Eliza Schlünzen: 21:44
Vilma Fuentes: 21:47
and it was approved in 2018, Last year
Eliza Schlünzen: 21:51
Vilma Fuentes: 21:56
and this'll Pilot project will run five years.
Eliza Schlünzen: 21:59
Vilma Fuentes: 22:05
The first year they're going to train 150 students at the masters level
Eliza Schlünzen: 22:11
Vilma Fuentes: 22:15
It will involve seven universities.
Eliza Schlünzen: 22:17
Vilma Fuentes: 22:27
All public universities in Brazil and they hope to expand this in the next five years.
Eliza Schlünzen: 22:31
Vilma Fuentes: 22:37
and the master's degree can be completed in two years, so that's wonderful. Really exciting work. And Klaus, you were just sharing of us another exciting project you have under development related to inclusive education. Dealing with Legos, I believe.
Klaus Schlünzen: 22:52
Yes, this is the new the current project for and we are developing with the Dorina foundation by for blind and the lack of foundation in UNESP. The idea it's used, the bricks, the lego bricks, it's possible to teaching literacy to blind Children. But it this in perspective, inclusive in the perspective. Inclusive because, um, the the Lego Braille bricks, it's it's it's, um it's a research, um, where the conception is inclusive because a child, blind or not blind can use the same bricks, the lego braille bricks, in the same activity because the idea is, uh, the bricks, uh, has the letters, and the the Braille system is stamped in the bricks. Then the teacher in the classroom can make the same activities with the Children, it's very, very interesting.
Vilma Fuentes: 24:23
So, um, Jason You're a big lego fan. Did you know? Did you know about these? Ah, Lego Braille bricks. What did you know? What did you learn today by having our Brazilian friends here with us.
Jason Frank: 24:37
Jason Frank: 24:37
So this is ah, hobby of mine. Anyone who visits my cubicle sees all of the Legos on display that my wife won't let me set up at home. But what I, uh it's really funny, Because I do. Yeah. This is where I have confessed. I frequent a couple of websites devoted to adult fans of Legos, so I actually found out about this. I found out about this, this initiative before, before I was told from from Anna and Deborah, I got really excited because I saw that Brazil was one of the initial partners, and I just on one of our conference calls. As soon as I read this, I said, did you know about this? And she said, Well, yes, we're doing this. It got me very excited. I I've just been every, you know, every chance I get saying, you know, how can I How play in this in this toy.
Vilma Fuentes: 25:37
So, um as I understand it, let's see to repeat what you were telling us before the show. So the Lego Foundation has partnered with you will at UNESP to help create a few special kits of Lego Braille bricks. Right? So each little brick has a letter in braille which, I don't know are the pings? One of the things that stick up...the studs, right? The little studs will actually teach A,B,C,D. And then, uh, these kits...what are you doing with the kits? Uh, do you do you play with them or because I I believe so. So this project is being piloted in Brazil and among a few countries. And so you're taking these kits and you're doing what? Are you giving it to Children? Are you training teachers?
Klaus Schlünzen: 26:28
The UNESP friendly teachers and then the teachers Um ah, the teachers they make an intervention plan in their school. Then, um supervised this this work in in classroom and it's possible to see how the teacher used the Lego braille bricks and, um, finally Ah, we can build, um, community the then uh, the teachers can exchange experience projects and then environment and in very pro environment and can learn it with us. We'll go there. And if it's it's other
Vilma Fuentes: 27:27
So Ah, the project just launched in 2019. Correct? Yes. And how many schools have you worked with so far?
Klaus Schlünzen: 27:37
In schools in Brazil? The next, the next..
Vilma Fuentes: 27:40
No, right now in 2019
Klaus Schlünzen: 0:00
No, in in three cities. [unintelligible] But, um, almost 10 schools in 300 Children involvement in this project now
Vilma Fuentes: 28:13
So 10 schools 300. And how many Braille brick sets? Lego Braille Creek sets? Are you expecting to receive in Brazil?
Klaus Schlünzen: 28:21
only ten kids
Vilma Fuentes: 28:23
Well, 10 kids this year, but they you were sharing that in 2020. You're going to receive how many?
Klaus Schlünzen: 28:30
Uh, 10,000 kids.
Vilma Fuentes: 28:32
How exciting. So you've just really started testing the waters and now in 2020 you will receive 10,000 bricks and very exciting. And I know for anybody out there listening. If you've never heard of these Lego Braille breaks, you could just google it. And there's already some information out there. But you have already being distinguished for your work and your partnership with Lego. Um, you are about to present at a special conference.
Klaus Schlünzen: 29:04
yes, uh, in in London? Yes. Next in 8th, 9th December. Ah, in the romantic location. Ah, because ah, we are on the finalists and the the re-imagine education and how it works in the k-12 category.
Vilma Fuentes: 29:27
Wonderful. So excited for you. Congratulations. So, thinking ahead about what the next five years of collaboration might bring for UNESP and Santa Fe, what do you see as the future of our collaboration? At least in the area of inclusive education?
Klaus Schlünzen: 29:45
I hope that it's ah, great collaboration for Santa Fe College. Um, I hope that it's continuing the work in the cape. It's very important. Um, I think it's important to spend this project maybe in Brazil. And there are some universities interested in this project and maybe the in Lego bridal bricks Ah, with Jason and Andy. Maybe it's Ah ah today. Ah, we showed the video about the experience. If the blind person used the Lego on the podcast to how to build in the with Lego, it's very, very interesting in a way. I think it's it's very...there are many possibilities, too, to exchange experience with Santa Fe College and UNESP
Vilma Fuentes: 30:46
Elisa. You also had some special ideas of how you wanted to collaborate with Santa Fe,, specifically applying it to your master's program. Could you tell us about that, please?
Eliza Schlünzen: 31:00
Vilma Fuentes: 31:18
So she's hoping that the cape can be used as a component of the overall master's program on inclusive education that they're launching now in Brazil. And she has clarified that she has now retired from UNESP, but that she is currently working with the Universidad de Oeste Paulista and that as part of that university, she would love to bring the cape in and again as a component of this master's programs that's really exciting. And Jason and Andy?
Jason Frank: 31:52
you one of the things that we talk a lot about here it's Santa Fe College is the importance of internationalization. We devote a lot of resources sending our students abroad because we believe that these experiences are going to have a huge impact on the paths they choose to take throughout life. Um, I think it's just as important that we as faculty, that we as a staff at this college, look to partners internationally to see what they're doing. We've learned a ton in working with with our friends, and it has. It has been one of the highlights of my professional career developing this project because of the, you know, the the ways in which I've grown personally and the insights that I've gained--that I wouldn't have gained in any other in any other context.
Andy Shepherd: 32:42
And I'll just add, there's there's so many directions we can go. Cape two is one idea we've been bouncing around. There's also opportunities to explore certain disabilities in greater detail. Yeah, cape is about 15-20 hours to complete. Um, and I feel like we're just scratching the surface. Um, we could probably delve into the area of those invisible disabilities a bit further. So we're pretty excited about exploring potentials in that area. Learning disabilities, cognitive impairments, anxiety, autism. Um, these are all ripe for us to explore. So we're very anxious to, uh, see how we can continue this collaboration moving forward.
Vilma Fuentes: 33:20
Um, well, thank you, but and I just want to say you're absolutely right, Jason. I do agree. You know, we we do focus a lot on students and internationalizing our students, giving them global competencies. But part of what we've been trying to highlight also through this podcast, is that it's just a valuable to expose our faculty or administrators Are instructional designers to these experiences. Um, Santa Fe does allocate resource is limited amounts to be able to support faculty exchange programs to be able to host visitors from abroad. We always apply to grant opportunity, especially from the federal government to be able to internationalize. Um and even when all else fails, I think this Cape project has shown through the course of 18 months that it took to develop it that we can also tap into virtual technologies, right and through Skype through zoom and through other types of virtual technologies. We can still engage with partners and other parts of the world to develop some really fantastic things.
Jason Frank: 34:16
I just want to add that that this process isn't super efficient, right? It actually takes it, takes more work. You've got language barriers. You've got culture barriers. You've got technological barriers. To think about this partnership as leveraging or being more efficient, I think it is to go about the wrong way. But if you're looking for a richer experience or a more profound experience, it it was in every in every sense of the word.
Vilma Fuentes: 34:45
Well, thank you all for your commitment to innovation, to inclusive education and globalization.
Klaus Schlünzen: 34:51
Jason Frank: 34:52
Thanks for having us
Andy Shepherd: 34:53