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Colégio Uirapuru: Cloud technology as an ally to the educational process

About Colégio Uirapuru

Colégio Uirapuru was founded 31 years ago by educator Arthur Fonseca Filho and is well-rooted in the advancements of education and related subject areas widely discussed in the 21st century. The school is headquartered in the city of Sorocaba, state of São Paulo, and comprises 280 employees and 1,700 students, from nursery to high school.

Industries: Education
Location: Brazil

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About Nuvem Mestra

Nuvem Mestra is a strategic consulting firm focused on technology and educational innovation. It develops integrations, deploys Google Workspace for Education, and designs structured projects for K12 and higher education institutions. With operations in Brazil and Latin America, and specializing in the education market, the firm is a Google Partner for Chrome, Google Workspace, and Google Cloud and has achieved PD and Transformation certifications.

Working with Nuvem Mestra, Colégio Uirapuru revamped the school routine for teachers and students with Google Workspace for Education and Chromebooks.

Results

  • Integration between Google Workspace for Education tools and others, such as Khan Academy
  • Solution application expanded from classrooms to school management areas
  • Easy management for the school's IT staff
  • Greater convenience, as well as enhanced collaboration and customization choices for teachers and students
  • Overnight migration to remote schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic

School allocates one Chromebook per student from fifth year onwards

In 2020, schools across Brazil were faced with the need to adopt technology tools to conform to remote education and sustain students’ learning while social distancing measures were in place. For many schools, this was a major challenge. After all, only 28% of K12 and high school education institutions in the country provided effective online learning environments or platforms the previous year, according to the TIC Educação 2019 [2019 ICT Education] survey, conducted by the Internet Steering Committee in Brazil (CGI.br).

In the case of Colégio Uirapuru, in Sorocaba (SP), classes remained on track. Since 2016, the school has been using Google Workspace for Education tools, which have been fully integrated into the everyday routines of students and teachers with the help of Nuvem Mestra—a strategic consulting firm focused on technology and educational innovation and also a Google Cloud partner.

“We never stopped. In-school classes were suspended on a Wednesday and the next day students already had access to fully running Google Meet and Google Classroom platforms,” Maura Bolfer, Colégio Uirapuru’s general coordinator, recalls. “Had we not been at that stage, we would have had to close doors and quickly think about what to do and how to prepare our staff and learners to handle the situation.”

Migrating such a structure, with about 1,700 students and 130 teachers, to remote education overnight was only feasible due to the school’s vision of its educational process as fully integrated with technology. This had them equipped and acquainted with the Google Workspace for Education tools.

Technology as a tool to diversify methodologies

Digital technology tools were first adopted at Colégio Uirapuru in the 1990s. At that time, the education and management teams went after training in digital education. Teachers who were inclined to technology acquired a more active role and worked together with the IT staff to structure computer labs and come up with projects for development.

The evolution of digital technology and its expanding use by the school led to the setting-up of two dedicated areas: the Coordination of Educational Technologies, which is constantly seeking new pedagogical resources; and the IT Management, which takes care of the school's entire infrastructure.

“We believe that technology works as a tool to diversify methodologies, shorten boundaries, and explore new paths to collaboration, connectivity, and creativity.”

Maura Bolfer, Colégio Uirapuru’s general coordinator

This design enables the school to incorporate technological propositions in the planning of the teaching year, invite teachers for training, and further prepare those willing to include such tools and resources in their classroom activities.

However, there came a time when the staff at Colégio Uirapuru realized that the several tools they were using were actually not mutually connected. “This makes it difficult for the teacher to cope, as you have different approaches for each different tool. And we needed an instrument that would provide us with greater integration,” explains the general coordinator.

The solution was found in 2016, when the institution learned about the work developed by the Sorocaba Law School with Google Workspace for Education, in partnership with Nuvem Mestra. They decided then to rely on the same partner and also implement the tools, starting with Docs, Slides, and Google Classroom.

Teacher training on Google Workspace for Education started in January, and in February the solution was already in use in classrooms. The school also replaced desktop computers and notebooks with Chromebooks, shared by first- through fourth-year students and used individually by students from the fifth year onwards. Impacts were perceived throughout the school.

An ongoing transformation process

Solutions within Google Workspace for Education are easy to integrate with each other, as well as with other tools, such as Khan Academy—a marked feature that soon caught the school team’s attention. Google Classroom became an everyday tool among students, where they would perform online activities. Over time, other tools have been added, such as Forms, Meet, and, more recently, Sites, where the school is developing the students' portfolios. This was all done in partnership with Nuvem Mestra, which still provides training, guidance, and technical advisory to Colégio Uirapuru.

“When we introduce a new feature or even when the Uirapuru team asks us about a new feature, a major question is always whether it can be integrated with their Google accounts. Such spirit took over the school,” says Marciel Rocha, coordinator for New Learning Experiences at Nuvem Mestra.

The tools have not only leveraged collaboration, interaction, and productivity among students and teachers, but have also led into possibilities for customization, as they are not ready-to-use solutions, in a closed format.

“Google Workspace for Education tools are open. So teachers create based on them and one can perceive each teacher's identity and subjectivity in each activity performed. Such flexibility, personalization, and feeling of self-creation by the teacher is critical for the work and renders the students a deeper meaning, an actual learning experience.”

Maura Bolfer, Colégio Uirapuru’s general coordinator

For students, performance can be closely monitored, as well as skills achieved and individual points of attention. To that end, teachers use Forms to apply specific skill tests to students. Then, data is populated into a monitoring panel in Looker Studio, created with the help of Nuvem Mestre, to provide a view of the overall and individual performances.

Other school areas are also taking advantage of the Google Workspace for Education tools, for activities such as HR time tracking, visitor control, and student retention records, among others. For the IT team, the cloud solution streamlined equipment and infrastructure management, as software updates and backups are no longer required.

Beyond the walls of the computer lab

As Chromebooks were incorporated into their daily routine, Colégio Uirapuru saw no more sense in having dedicated computer lab spaces. After all, technology was already existent through the entire educational process as a learning tool—not as an extracurricular class.

“Uirapuru did embrace this transition and put an end to the classroom as a physically dedicated space. Now, the computer room is anywhere. Everywhere you look, you see a student with a Chromebook.”

Diego de Domingos, Digital Transformation coordinator at Nuvem Mestra.

The steady partnership between Colégio Uirapuru and Nuvem Mestra is set to conquer even higher levels. The school plans to expand performance monitoring through Looker Studio for all grades, as for now it has only been implemented in first year of elementary. The targeted assessments should be strengthened with Forms and Classroom tools. And one of the main goals is to migrate what remains of the school’s internal network to Drive.

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Colégio Uirapuru

Colégio Uirapuru was founded 31 years ago by educator Arthur Fonseca Filho and is well-rooted in the advancements of education and related subject areas widely discussed in the 21st century. The school is headquartered in the city of Sorocaba, state of São Paulo, and comprises 280 employees and 1,700 students, from nursery to high school.

Industries: Education
Location: Brazil

About Nuvem Mestra

Nuvem Mestra is a strategic consulting firm focused on technology and educational innovation. It develops integrations, deploys Google Workspace for Education, and designs structured projects for K12 and higher education institutions. With operations in Brazil and Latin America, and specializing in the education market, the firm is a Google Partner for Chrome, Google Workspace, and Google Cloud and has achieved PD and Transformation certifications.