News Release 

The arrival of the laptop in the classroom and parental mediation

A study describes the views of families concerning the arrival of the laptop through the eduCAT1x1 regional program in Catalonia

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Barcelona

A study by Carme Bach, a lecturer with the Department of Translation and Language Sciences at UPF, and Cristina Aliagas, a lecturer with the Faculty of Education at the UAB, both members of the GR@EL research group, analyses the view of families regarding the eduCAT1x1 programme, an education reform implemented in Catalonia by the Escola 2.0 programme, a state-wide project to introduce ICT into the education system through the 1x1 (one computer per student) model, which aimed to fit out classrooms with the necessary technological infrastructure and connectivity to thus orient the practices of teaching/learning.

The paper explores the tension between education reform and parental mediation, published in Revista Complutense de Educación under the title "El vaivén de los portátiles entre las aulas y el hogar: la perspectiva de las familias sobre la reforma educativa de la Escuela 2.0".

In a 1x1 class each student has a laptop connected to the Internet and actively uses it to carry out academic tasks both in and out of the classroom. "The laptop tos and fros between school and home and its function becomes defined in this coming and going between social spheres (school, home, group of friends) that are sustained by different value systems on the role of screens in the social and school life of children and young people", Bach and Aliagas claim.

"Parental mediation is a key factor in children's digital life as it is within the family that children and parents negotiate actively and on a daily basis such issues as access to and the use (purpose and time) of digital devices available within the home", the authors add.

The impact of education reform beyond the classroom

The view of families complements educational research conducted on classroom digitization, now from a new perspective, the impact of education reforms beyond the classroom. Analysis of 16 interviews conducted on families for this study shows that while parents believe technology to be beneficial for the academic and professional future of their children, they also feel unrest at having to manage the out-of-school uses they make of the laptop, where leisure and social communication compete with academic activities.

As Bach and Aliagas point out in their research: "Reforms like those of eduCAT1x1 where each student becomes a laptop 'owner', influence family decisions governing the use teenagers make of ICT".

Some families do not feel empowered regarding the education reform

From the analysis of the interviews, the authors point out that some families do not feel empowered regarding the 1x1 education reform and refer to several reasons: classroom digitization has been improvised and rapid; the introduction of the laptop to the lives of their children has caused changes in approaches to studies (and not everyone considers them as being positive) and digitization has involved a loss of control by parents over the lives of their teenage children.

The study suggests the need to coordinate education reforms with family dynamics, since family mediation is essential to ensure not only the success of educational innovations but also the deeper social transformations that are pursued.

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This study is part of more extensive ethnographic research directed towards documentation over three years (2013-2016) on the appropriation of the eduCAT1x1 innovation programme in Catalonia with interviews held with 22 school principals, 104 teachers, 59 students and 16 families, classroom observations and the analysis of digital textbooks, within the project Identitats i cultures digitals en l'educació lingüística - Digital identities and cultures in language education (ICUDEL), funded by the Spanish government.

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