Internet in Brazilian Public Schools: Policies beyond Politics

May 24, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is a good paper that gives us some insight into trends of internet usage in schools in Brazil, though caution is warranted as the methodology - which included online surveys, focus groups, and in-class observations - tends toward people who already use the internet frequently. Most interesting are the generational differences between young teachers, who had a much greater degree of expertise, especially in more advanced applications, and those who were older. The younger teachers were less likely to recommend classes and professional development in internet technologies, neither for themselves nor their students, reflecting (suggest the authors) a "naturalization" of internet knowledge. And most striking was the difference of opinion regarding the assertion "A school's adoption of new media depends, above all, on the motivation level of its teachers," which was supported by only a small minority of younger teachers, yet agreed to by 90 percent of the older teachers.
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