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Digital Manuals Improve School Performance In The Autonomous Region Of Madeira.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been pointed out as a driver for the implementation of distance learning. However, the future of the digital school is made essentially at face-to-face level as shown by the results about the project developed by Samsung Portugal in partnership with the Regional Secretariat of Education of the Autonomous Region of Madeira. The ongoing project aims at a student-centered model of content digitization and adaptation, involving the Regional Government, Municipalities, Schools, Teachers and Parents

During the 2019/ 2020 school year, Leya and Porto Editora Digital Textbooks were made available through Samsung Galaxy tablets to all 5th grade students and one 6th grade class in the region.

In the first period of this academic year, there was an increase of around 2.5% in the average results in all subjects in comparison with the average of the last three academic years, particularly in Mathematics, which recorded an increase of around 4.3%. The ongoing project presents a 75% student satisfaction rate and a usage rate of more than 80% at home. The next step will be to make Digital Textbooks available to all students of the 2nd and 3rd cycles of schooling by 2023 in the Autonomous Region.

The Project – The Results

The project, which resulted from a partnership established in 2018, has as its main goal the provision of Digital Textbooks through Samsung Galaxy tablets to all 2nd and 3rd cycle students by 2023. The results, achieved in the pilot project that involved a single 5th-grade class in the 2018/ 2019 school year, led the Executive to move forward in this last school year to deliver devices to all 5th graders and a 6th-grade class in a universe of 2200 students and 600 teachers from 25 schools throughout the Autonomous Region. In 2021, a total of 4704 students, 850 teachers of 24 schools are in the program.

At the end of the first period, and after the grades for each subject were released, a satisfaction survey was conducted among all those involved, including parents, and the conclusions could not be more promising. The school performance increased by about 2.5% in relation to the average of the last three school years (1st period), with emphasis on Mathematics, Science and Portuguese, with increases of 4.3%, 2.4% and 2.0%, respectively. On the other hand, the occurrences considered as deviant behavior decreased by 25%, with emphasis on the increase of useful time for each class and a better performance by each student.

In a universe of more than 2,500 devices, more than 80% were used very frequently or frequently at home, and 74% at school.

In a universe of more than 2,500 devices, more than 80% were used very frequently or frequently at home, and 74% at school.

The students’ opinion is also unanimous when considering the use of the Digital Manuals as
an added value for their learning through a comfortable (lighter) device such as a tablet.

Another example that this is an effective model is in the answers given by teachers and parents to the survey. On the teacher’s side, 74% admit using Digital Textbooks in their classroom often or in all classes. Regarding the teaching and learning process, teachers also consider that the use of Digital Manuals allows them to diversify teaching strategies, that they feel more motivated and innovative, and that they can better monitor their students’ progress. Regarding parents, the opinion is also unanimous on the advantages surrounding the use of Digital Textbooks.

Satisfaction Survey – Sample
The announced study was carried out by the Regional Secretariat of Education of Madeira during the 1st period of the school year 2019/2020. The data presented compares with the average grades of students in the Autonomous Region of Madeira in the three previous years and also reflects the conclusions of a survey of Teachers and Parents about the use of Digital Textbooks in that period.

Sample: 605 teachers, 334 responded; 1470 of 2200 students responded; and as for Parents, 778 responded.

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