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Digital skills and gender equality: perceptions among primary school teachers

Marina Duarte, Centro de Investigação e Intervenção Educativa (CIIE) da Universidade do Porto; Ana Nobre e Ana Mouraz, Laboratório de Educação a Distância e E-Learning (LE@D) da Universidade Aberta;
Project selected in the Call for supporting research projects about technology and society (FP21-1B)

The DIGEQUALGENDER project aimed to take advantage of the impetus that the covid-19 pandemic brought to the digitalisation of education and pedagogical practices and educational activities among primary school teachers in mainland Portugal, to find strategies that can promote gender equality in Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the first years of basic education. The 3,871 valid responses to the questionnaire provided, which represent 18% of primary school teachers, enabled confirmation that they perceive themselves as digitally competent for performing the essential part of their teaching tasks. The majority already had experience of using a diverse set of pedagogical practices and activities based on the use of digital resources. However, nearly all claimed that they found no differences in the use of digital technologies by boys and girls, which also means that they do not act to promote digital skills among girls in a differentiated way.
Key points
  • 1
       89% of primary school teachers perceive themselves as digitally competent to teach, but 17% of them do not use their skills to provide instruction in differentiated contexts and resources.
  • 2
       54% of primary school teachers already had experience of using a diverse set of pedagogical practices based on the use of digital resources. The most used and most effective are those that are associated with the principle of differentiation and inclusion. Graded assessment practices are the least used and the least effective.
  • 3
       The digital skills of 67% of primary school teachers enable them to promote activities that make use of digital basic tools.
  • 4
       94% of primary teachers claimed that they did not notice differences between boys and girls in the way they execute activities that use digital resources.
  • 5
       The 143 primary school teachers that did notice differences between boys and girls in terms of the use they make of their digital skills, more frequently propose activities that favour boys.

There is a clear difference between the digital skills that teachers recognise that they have and mobilise to work in a differentiated way with their pupils, and the lesser use that they make of them to work differently with boys and girls.

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