Promoting the educative use of the internet in Portuguese primary schools: a case study

Manuel J.C.S. Reis (Dept Engenharias/CETAV‐CITAB, Universidade de Trás‐os‐Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal)
Gina M.M.C. Santos (Dept Engenharias/C.I., Universidade de Trás‐os‐Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal)
Paulo J.S.G. Ferreira (SPL – Signal Processing Laboratory, Dept Electrónica/IEETA, Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Publication date: 21 March 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to summarise the authors' experience in furthering the educative use of Information Technology and the internet in the primary schools of northeast Portugal. The main goal of the Programme “Internet in Schools” is the development of Information Technology in Portuguese schools. It focuses on the use of the technology, rather than on its immediate pedagogical use. The characteristics of the target regions help in understanding this aim: teachers and students, as well as the population in general, were largely unaware of the potential of IT in general.

Design/methodology/approach

The project, the first and still the largest of its kind in Portugal, ultimately involved 1,137 schools, more than 1,700 teachers, and roughly 13,000 pupils. It was decided to centre the training process in the schools and communities themselves. The methodology implemented is distributed rather than centralised, and involves a series of school visits interspersed with training sessions.

Findings

The transfer of the training process from the university campus to the schools and communities themselves allowed for a very high degree of teacher participation. The first school visit was vital, allowing for the creation of a strong feeling of empathy between the trainer and the teachers and pupils. This was undoubtedly one of the main factors that lead to an easier and more enthusiastic participation from the teachers. The efforts to put theory into practice in the classrooms were rewarded by a quicker rate of acceptance of IT in the classroom. The use of the internet, namely of web services and e‐mail, was stimulated through the various training and awareness raising sessions (supported by Netmobiles) directed at the community in general. Such sessions enabled many individuals in the region to have their first contact with and experience of IT. This constitutes a sound and valuable contribution in terms of awareness raising, training and development towards IT in the region. The following factors played a very important role in the achievement of the goals: the training team was always present or could be easily contacted; both teachers and pupils contributed with material and resources; there was a continuous exchange of experiences; a vast number of individuals and entities participated in the project.

Originality/value

This was the first and still the largest approach of its kind in Portugal, and this is the only paper purposing and describing the used methodology in detail and the main conclusions reached.

Keywords

Citation

Reis, M., Santos, G. and Ferreira, P. (2008), "Promoting the educative use of the internet in Portuguese primary schools: a case study", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 60 No. 2, pp. 111-129. https://doi.org/10.1108/00012530810862455

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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