The use of Internet by students in Portuguese schools


  • Sofia Viseu


Two national programmes were developed during the 90’ in order to provide ICT equipment to Portuguese schools: Internet in School and Information and Communication Technologies in Education- Nónio Sec. XXI. Through the first programme a PC was given to all schools along with an Internet connection to be installed in school libraries. The fact that the Internet became available to students in non-supervised contexts, such as school libraries, brings new challenges both to school organization and students themselves. On the one hand, the school needs to develop a new social system for the Internet supply, on the other hand, students have a new powerful resource for theirs school tasks. In order to study this process in greater depth, research was developed in three Portuguese, secondary schools using various data collecting techniques (questionnaire, observation and interview). The results reveal a lack of educational use of the Internet by the students in these contexts. We find four dimensions to explain this phenomenon: Internet characteristics; Internet supply options; the teachers’ work; the students’ perspective about their role at school. Yet, some other results yield new, future possibilities for the educational use of the Internet through the potential of school libraries and the students’ active role in the process.