ICT´S IMPORTANCE IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS - PARENTS AND STUDENTS´ PERCEPTIONS
Research Unit for Inland Development (UDI)/Guarda Polytechnic Institute (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has altered the different ranges where we move, the way we interact with society, the way get information and the way we work. ICT is, undoubtfully, the innovation that is more responsible for change once “technology is in everything, all the times, anywhere”. ICT is used as an educational tool that has a huge potential. Its use is unavoidable in everyday school life, no matter the age or the school level of the students. ICT can be used to improve learning/teaching process or even to introduce new challenging approaches.
Since the eighties (XX century) the Portuguese government have supported a set of projects with the aim of promoting the integration of ICT in different school levels. As far as the primary school is concerned, we can highlight the Minerva, Nónio Século XXI, uARTE, EDUTIC and Equipa de Missão Computadores, Redes e Internet na Escola projects, among many others. All the referred projects shared the objective of stimulating the use of ICT in educational environments, through the formation of both students and teachers, in financing equipment acquisition and in supporting the development and dissemination of contents.
In the scope of the modern information society and facing the role technology may have in the improvement of educational practices, it is necessary to assess truly the impact of ICT in changing processes and educational practices.
The project Interactive Approaches in Education is being carried out by researchers from the Research Unit for Inland Development (UDI), from the Polytechnic Institute of Guarda. Our main goal is to assess the actual influence of the use of ICT in education in all Guarda’s elementary schools, namely as far as computers and software are concerned – in general – and the Magalhães computer in particular.
Besides the analysis of the integration and use of ICT in the overall context of elementary schools, we intended to study the development of competences in ICT and the digital literacy of the students and their parents and ICT’s influence in the construction of knowledge from a multidisciplinary point of view.
The study was carried out from April 2012 to June 2012. In a first phase, the study implied the development of the questionnaire and its validation. The methodology used is empirical and descriptive. This methodology allows to describe the characteristics of population. The questionnaire was the tool used to collect data for our study.
Thus, the target market of our research has involved all the students, teachers and parents from the public primary schools in Guarda’s county.
We are presenting partial results of the study, currently highlighting assessment of the perceptions of parents and students from primary schools in Guarda’s county, their habits in using computers and their sensitivity towards Magalhães computer.
From the results obtained, we can conclude that almost all students have a permanent contact with technologies, that parents value this sort of practice. It can also be observe that the practice is held in different contexts and for different finality.
Keywords: ICT, elementary schools.