e-Literacy, schools and municipalities towards a common goal : e-citizenship

Fonseca, Tania Marisa Dias Almeida (2014) e-Literacy, schools and municipalities towards a common goal : e-citizenship. (PhD thesis), University of Lisbon, University of Aveiro, New University of Lisbon, .


International guidelines advocate for citizens participation in government decision-making processes through information and communication technologies mediated by the Internet (egovernance and e-government). However, the levels of youth participation are still unsatisfactory, and international studies show little effectiveness of media literacy education in Portugal, underlying electronic participation literacy. Consequently, the research question—“How can education for media literacy be conducive of a participatory e-citizenship among young people?”—engaged in light of the mismatch between e-governance strategies with regard to young people’s civic engagement, on the one hand, and young people’s perceptions of themselves as e-citizens on the other. The study population consisted of 12 mayors and 12 municipal technicians, two formal youth institutions, 12 directors of public secondary schools, and 131 teachers and 1392 students of 11th and 12th grade. The data was obtained through questionnaires, interviews, and website analysis. A mixed methods approach allowed the conclusion that weak e governance political goals aimed towards young people allied with weak educational citizenship and media literacy strategies determining the young people’s informal and formal online participation. In support of this, 14.5% of the variance (R2=0.145,F(4)=38.22, p<0.001) of their levels of formal online participation is predicted by regular meetings with mayors, students’ levels of media literacy, students’ informal online participation, and students’ perceptions of their possibility to participate. In addition, 15.7% of the variance (R2=0.157, F(4)=47.45, p<0.001) of students’ levels of informal online participation is predicted by students’ formal online participation, students’ levels of media literacy, and the opportunity to participate in action and innovation projects at school. Students’ formal online participation is also positively correlated with students’ perception of possibility to participate [r(1136)=0.114, p<0.001] and their mobile Internet access [r (912)=0.073, p=0.028].

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