I can hardly believe that our two week study tour has flown by and I am now back in sunny, yet still freezing, Cambridge Massachusetts. As my classmates have posted, the trip proved to be an incredibly well-planned, jam-packed, crash-course in the Brazilian educational system, culture, and economy.
A private, non-profit organization, SENAI began in 1942 by developing courses to prepare students to work in all segments of industry across Brazil. SENAI now focuses on skills-based education, preparing students through technical programs that use simulation and augmented reality to build skills needed for a particular job or industry.
SENAI looks to find and test the best technologies, then effectively integrate those technologies into the classroom. I was impressed by the way the employees spoke about the education process as one necessitating "mutual communication and integration" between the teachers, students, and technology. Everyone seemed to truly understand the importance of "learning how the students learn, and adapting" in order to create the most effective courses, technologies, and learning environments.
We had the unique opportunity to experience some of SENAI's simulation technology first-hand. While we discussed the use of their process simulator for training deep sea oil rig staff at length, once we went into the augmented reality room they let us try out the roller coaster and the solar system simulations. These may be less practical, but they were a lot of fun! What an exciting visit. Thanks for teaching us so much AND giving us a virtual roller coaster ride SENAI!