PERCEPTIONS OF ICT USE IN GUARDA'S PRIMARY SCHOOLS
We have been witnessing the rise of a different model in education, starting in primary school.On one hand, teaching is very student-centered, on the other, technology is spreading and taking room in school environment. Consequently the roles of the teacher/pupil/parents and the interaction itself have changed. In Portugal, there have been some programs sponsored by the Ministry of Education, since the eighties. We highlight three major programs: Minerva, Programa Internet na Escola (Program Internet at school) and Plano Tecnológico na Educação (Technological Plan in Education). One of the goals of this last program aimed the increase of the use of ICT in at least 25% of the classes. Another goal was to achieve the ratio of 2 pupils for a computer provided with internet access. In order to achieve the goals, a new computer was created, specially designed for children: the Magalhães which was supplied by the Ministry at a very reasonable cost according to the families' income all over the country.
The project Interactive Approaches in Education was carried out by researchers from the Research Unit for Inland Development (UDI), from the Polytechnic Institute of Guarda. The main objective is to assess the influence of the use of these programs in elementary schools, in Guarda's county. This project tried to assess the use of ICT in all primary schools by teachers, pupils and parents. Issues such as the integration and use of ICT in the overall context of elementary schools, the perception of the digital literacy of the students, teachers and 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 the final results of the study, currently crossing data from the perceptions of parents, students and teachers 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/teachers have a permanent contact with technologies, that parents value this sort of practice. It can also be observed that the practice is held in different contexts and for different finality.