CM - časopis za upravljanje komuniciranjem
how to cite this article
share this article


  • citations in SCIndeks: 0
  • citations in CrossRef:[2]
  • citations in Google Scholar:[]
  • visits in previous 30 days:3
  • full-text downloads in 30 days:3


article: 1 from 1  
2013, vol. 8, iss. 29, pp. 171-197
More technology, better childhoods? The case of the Portuguese 'one laptop per child' programme
University of Minho, Communication and Society Research Centre, Minho, Portugal
Keywords: one laptop per child; child; education; political discourse; information society; technology
In 2008, the XVII Portuguese socialist government launched the initiative 'e.escolinha' as a programme within its 'Technological Plan for Education'. This initiative aims to ensure access for all primary school children to a personal computer named 'Magalhães' with educational content and generalize the use of computers and the Internet in early learning. This paper presents a documental analysis of policy documents, complemented by interviews of policy makers, examining the ways children and children media users are (re)presented. We started from the position that these sources draw on both of these conceptions in order to present the 'e.escolinha' initiative, and we are interested in a deconstruction of those notions. Based on questionnaires administered to children aged 8-10 years old, the paper also focuses on the ways children experienced this policy. We find that this policy is more centred on access to technology and the Internet than on children. The child is conceived in terms of his or her future, seen as an adult in the making. Technology is a kind of passport to the future, enabling success in a competitive labour market. In general, the sources reveal an idealised political vision of the benefits of technology for the teaching and learning process and for children's educational success, which contrasts with both the way the children experienced this policy and mainly with the way that the children use the 'Magalhães' computer. We conclude by discussing the importance of taking into account the socially and politically constructed nature of technology and emphasizing the social dimensions of use and access.
*** (2007) Resolução do Conselho de Ministros (Resolution of the Council of Ministers): Plano Tecnológico da Educação (Technological plan for education). Diário da República, n.º 137, 1ª série - N.º 180, de 18 de setembro de 2007. Accessed: 10.11.2010. URL:
Almeida, A. (2009) Para uma sociologia da infância. Jogos de olhares, pistas para a investigação. Lisboa: Imprensa de Ciências Sociais
Belloni, M. (2009) O que é a sociologia da infância. Campinas: Editora Autores Associados Ltda
Facer, K., Furlong, J., Furlong, R., Sutherland, R. (2001) Constructing the Child Computer User: From public policy to private practices. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 22(1): 91-108
Harden, J., Scott, S., Backett-Milburn, K., Jackson, S. (2000) Can't Talk, Won't Talk?: Methodological Issues in Researching Children. Sociological Research Online, 5(2)
Jenkins, H. (1998) Introduction: Childhood innocence and other modern myths. in: Jenkins H. [ed.] The children's culture reader, New York: New York University press, Accessed 02.05.2013. URL:
Lee, N. (2001) Childhood and society: Growing up in an age of uncertainty. Maidenhead: Open University Press
Moran-Ellis, J., Cooper, G. (2000) Making Connections: Children, Technology, and the National Grid for Learning. Sociological Research Online, 5(3)
Pereira, S. (2007) Por Detrás do Ecrã: Televisão para Crianças em Portugal. Porto: Porto Editora
Pereira, S., Pereira, L. (2013) Digital media in primary schools: Literacy or technology?: Analysing government and media discourses. in: Educational policy, Sage Publications, Published online before print June 20, 2013, Doi: 10.1177/0895904813492378
Ponte, C. (2012) Digitally Empowered?, Portuguese Children and the National Policies for Internet Inclusion. Estudos em Comunicação, (11): 49-66
Prout, A. (2005) The Future of Childhood. London: Routledge
Qvortrup, J. (1991) Childhood as a social phenomenon: An introduction to a series of national reports. Vienna: European Centar, Eurosocial - Report,36
Selwyn, N. (2003) 'Doing IT for the kids': re-examining children, computers and the 'information society'. Media Culture & Society, 25(3): 351


article language: English
document type: unclassified
DOI: 10.5937/comman1329171P
published in SCIndeks: 20/01/2014

Related records

Sociološki pregled (1994)
Children's rights and social work
Obretković Mirjana M.

CM - Commun Manag (2013)
Introduction: Children's cultures and media cultures
Ponte Cristina

CM - Commun Manag (2013)
Dress up and what else? Girls' online gaming, media cultures and consumer culture
Mascheroni Giovanna, et al.

show all [4]