Learning with digital technologies in prison: a scoping review


  • Rita Barros Centre for Research and Intervention in Education – CIIE, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences – University of Porto, Porto, Portugal; Research in Education and Community Intervention - RECI, Piaget Institute, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3596-9992
  • Angélica Monteiro Centre for Research and Intervention in Education – CIIE, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences – University of Porto, Porto, Portugal; http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1369-3462
  • Carlinda Leite Centre for Research and Intervention in Education – CIIE, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences – University of Porto, Porto, Portugal http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9960-2519




Prison education, Digital inclusion, Digital technologies, Online learning, Scoping review


The challenges of a knowledge-based society require the development of digital skills recognizing the potential of learning supported by technologies. Within this scope, and based on research published over the last decade, a scoping review of 66 articles was performed to create a framework derived from existing literature to analyze approaches to identify views about learning supported by digital technologies in prison environments. The results allowed both the presentation of an evolutionary perspective of the state of art regarding digital technologies in prison education and to identify four views: Technical, Humanistic, Regulatory, and Organizational, and Community. These views and the critical recognition of the approach that underpins them can contribute to understanding complementary roads to reach the political goals recommended for contemporary prison education, putting the focus on the promotion of conditions of lifelong learning in line with the challenges of the 21st century.

Author Biographies

Rita Barros, Centre for Research and Intervention in Education – CIIE, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences – University of Porto, Porto, Portugal; Research in Education and Community Intervention - RECI, Piaget Institute, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal

Professor at Piaget Institute. PhD in Educational Sciences at University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Graduation and Master's Degree in Psychology at FPCEUP (Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Porto, Portugal). Specialist in Educational Psychology and Clinical and Health Psychology by Portuguese Psychologists Order. Research Member at Research in Education and Community Intervention and collaborator at Center for Health Technology and Services Research (University of Porto). She is conducting post-doctoral research at the Center for Educational Research and Intervention (CIIE) at FPCEUP. Her research interests focus on adult development, learning, and training, including issues of innovative teaching-learning methodologies and digital literacy.

Angélica Monteiro, Centre for Research and Intervention in Education – CIIE, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences – University of Porto, Porto, Portugal;

PhD in Educational Sciences. Master in Multimedia at University of Porto. Researcher at CIIE -Centre for Research and Intervention in Education.  She has wide-ranging experience and expertise in participating in collaborative research and networks in technology and education. Her research interests focus on adult education, digital literacy, social inclusion and prison education. She coordinates international projects in digital literacy and social inclusion and is the author of several books and articles.

Carlinda Leite, Centre for Research and Intervention in Education – CIIE, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences – University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

Full Professor at the University of Porto - Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Portugal - and senior researcher at CIIE (Centre for Research and Intervention in Education), serving as President of the Ethics Committee and co-chairing the research community Curriculum, Evaluation, Teacher Education and Educational Technologies (CAFTe). She has coordinated several projects in teacher training, evaluation and in curriculum studies and is the author of several articles.



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