1 Themis Research Centre (ITALY)
2 University Roma "Tor Vergata" (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 7036-7042
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.2680
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
In recent years, the topic of responsible use online of digital technology has become particularly important. Due to its pervasiveness it now regards any person and, given that digital devices are used by younger and younger students, it is wise to start since early school educational actions aiming at developing in students a good awareness in the use of digital technology. The importance – for an appropriate use – of knowing the basic concepts and principles of these technologies unfortunately is too often neglected.

The Italian project “Programma il Futuro” [INTED 2015, ITICSE 2017] has the goal of spreading in Italian schools both a basic knowledge of scientific principles regarding digital technologies and the basic concepts for their responsible use. It has just completed its fourth year, and during school-year 2017-18 it has involved more than 30,000 teachers and 2 million students, each of which has done an average of 15 hours of informatics.

During the last school year, the project has investigated the level of awareness of students in the online use of digital technologies through a questionnaire sent to teachers, which has gathered 2,422 answers, belonging to all levels of schools (from primary – with 59% of participants – to upper secondary).

The main outcomes are the following:
- parents and teachers have a key role in developing a responsible online use of digital technologies by students
- students generally show a low awareness of the risks they are exposed to while using online digital technologies
- educational activities are sorely needed to strengthen awareness in the online use of digital technologies

Most of the teachers (87%) have more than 10 years of seniority in the job, hence able to reliably evaluate their students’ situation.

The questionnaire has investigated 6 areas:
1. motivations for using digital devices,
2. risk awareness,
3. competence and risk exposition,
4. influencing factors,
5. requirements for responsible use,
6. educational role of “Programma il Futuro” project.

Digital devices are used mostly to play (84%), to communicate/share with friends/classmates (57%), to listen/watch/download music (45%), and in just 17% of cases to get information (multiple answers were possible).

According to the teacher’s perception, students generally have a scarce awareness level to risks (e.g., bullying, harassment, fraud, etc.) they are exposed to when online. In fact, 43% of the sample reports a low awareness, 37% average, 18% good and 2% very good.

The majority of teachers (55%) reports not to see any difference in the exposition to risks between competent and not-competent students.

Parents and teachers have a highly positive influence on the online behaviour while friends/classmates have a non-negligible negative influence.

Finally, spreading knowledge and awareness has been perceived as the most important factor and the role of “Programma il Futuro” is seen as relevant to this goal.
Digital Technologies, Awareness, Informatics.