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J. Pinheiro Peixinho, R. Marques Vieira

CIDTFF University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
In the last decades, we have witnessed a technological revolution characterized by a shift towards a digital world that has become evident in several scopes of the social and cultural world. This increasingly fast digital change is not a stranger to the educational setting. It is now impossible to overlook the increasingly binding role that technology, especially digital educational resources, plays as a supportive tool for teaching and learning.

Hence, the need for critical and reflexive work on the analysis of these digital educational resources is justifiable and imperative. It is therefore necessary to develop a rigorous analysis process that will help the various educational actors to obtain a degree of quality regarding those digital educational resources, so as to be able to develop or select the most profitable and appropriate ones in their context of teaching and learning. Among these digital educational resources, the digital textbook [DT] raises a growing range of issues and concerns due to its proliferation in recent years. This is also because it is an artefact that has been present for several decades, in a conventional format, within the educational scope and, due to its purposes in the very specific teaching and learning process, it often even guides teachers to what is taught and how it is taught.

It is in this context that this proposal of a DT tool of analysis appears, directed in particular to the DT of science education in the first years of schooling. It aims to identify the technical, technological and didactic-pedagogical specificities of science education that must be contemplated in it. Thus, being encouraged by the inexistence of an instrument of analysis focused mainly on the DT, we developed an analytical tool which is able to reach the potential of this digital educational resource in different contexts of both teaching and learning.

In its basis for development, the DT tool of analysis had a theoretical reference of support to the problematic and results obtained with focus groups, with specialists of the multimedia/technology areas of education, and with specialists in the didactics of the sciences. The analysis instrument is organized into three distinct levels, from the broadest to the most specific: Categories, Dimensions and Indicators. The defined dimensions and categories are the organizing axis of the indicators.

This DT tool of analysis of Science education allows an attentive, distanced and critical view of the three categories of DT:
1) structural component;
2) technological component;
3a) educational didactic component;
3b) component of science education.

Accordingly, it tries to demonstrate the possible criteria that teachers (such as evaluators and users of textbooks) and authors/editors (as producers of textbooks) should consider in order to guide the analysis of these digital educational resources, capable of gaining important characteristics in a teaching and learning context. Therefore, rather than providing a final classification of the analysed product, it tends to be an important tool for the detailed reflection on the didactic-pedagogical and technological value of that educational resource in a given educational context. Furthermore, it assists teachers in the moment of choosing digital textbooks before exploring them; and, at the same time, it is an important tool to guide editors/authors at the time of development, namely at the design and production stage of digital textbooks.

"This work is financially supported by National Funds through FCT - Foundation for Science and Technology, I.P., under the Project SFRH/BD/84470/2012 and Project UID/CED/00194/2013”.