Brazilian educational policy does not provide a specific definition of Information and communication technologies (ICTs) or Education Technology; however, the term “digital technologies” is commonly used in the policies,
Constitution and laws: Brazil’s 1998 Federal Constitution makes no mention of the incorporation of ICT in education or digital education in the education system. The 1996 National Education Guidelines and Bases Act (as amended in 2009) includes under the goals of basic education the training of citizens in the natural and social environment, the political system, technology, art, and societal values. In the case of secondary education, it outlines the objective of training students in the scientific and technological basis of the production process by integrating theory to practice in the instruction of each subject. The 2014 Internet Civil Framework ( Law No. 12.965) establishes the principles, rights, and responsibilities for the use of the Internet in Brazil.
In 2000 the Fund for the Universalization of Telecommunication Services was established by Law no. 9,998 (amended in 2020 by Law no.14.109/2020)) to encourage the expansion, use, and improvement of the quality of telecommunications networks and services.
Policies, plans and strategies: The Government of Brazil has long engaged in policy efforts to integrate ICT into the education system with numerous strategies. The National Programme for Informatics in Education (ProInfo, 1997-2007; ProInfo Integrado, 2007-17) was created by the Ministry of Education in 1997 through Ordinance No. 522 on 1997 to promote the use of technology as a pedagogical enrichment tool in public elementary and high school and provided long-term policy efforts in digital education. Previously, the EDUCOM Project establish in 1985 until 1991, the project’s specific objectives were to establish Research and Development Nucleus for Informatics in Education (Núcleos de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento de Informática na Educação) and Pilot- centers for Informatics in Education (Centros-piloto de Informática e Educação).
The National Education Plan 2014-2024 (Plano Nacional de Educação – PNE), approved by Law No. 13,005, is the instrument that defines the guidelines and policies of education in Brazil. It aims to introduce digital technologies into the education system and proposes the following strategies for the use of technology in Brazilian education:
- Strategy 5.3: "Select, certify and promote educational technology for child literacy (...)"
- Strategy 5.4: "Encourage the development of educational technologies and innovative pedagogical practices that ensure literacy (...)"
- Strategy 5.6: "Promote and stimulate the initial and continued training of teachers for child literacy, building capacities related to new educational technologies and innovative pedagogical practices (...)"
- Strategy 7.12: "Encourage the development, select, certify and promote educational technologies for early childhood, elementary and high school education, and encourage innovative pedagogical practices (...)"
- Strategy 7.15: "Universalize, until the fifth year of the duration of this National Education Plan, access to the worldwide network of computers in high-speed broadband and, by the end of the Decade, triple the computer/student ratio in basic education public schools (...)"
The Connected Education Innovation Policy (2021) builds upon the PNE with the objective of supporting the universalization of internet access to schools and promoting the use of digital technologies in public schools. It seeks to coordinate the efforts of the Union, the States, the Federal District, and the municipalities, as well as schools, the private sector, and civil society, in order to create the necessary conditions for the integration of technology as a pedagogical tool in elementary and secondary public schools.
The 2018 Brazilian Digital Transformation Strategy (E-Digital), established by Decree No. 9,319, an inter-ministerial initiative, integrates governmental programmes under one framework. It outlines the following intervention axes: infrastructure and access to ICT; research, development, and innovation; trust in the digital environment; education and professional training; and international dimension. Regarding the Education axis, the E-Digital Policy seeks to promote broad access for students and teachers to quality teaching resources and enable practical innovative pedagogical practices through universal access to high-speed internet in public elementary schools; ensuring long-term funding in collaboration with states and municipalities; encouraging student and teacher autonomy in the adoption of technology for education; and periodically evaluating, in a systematic and systematic manner, the implementation of educational technology.
Brazil's National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (2021) establishes nine thematic axes, including the "Qualifications for a Digital Future" axis, which includes the development of digital literacy programs at all educational levels and the establishment of technological training programs for teachers.
In 2020, Bill 4513/20 to establish the National Digital Education Policy was introduced for legislative consultation. In 2022 the National Policy on Digital Education was approved by the House of Representatives, currently pending approval by the Federal Senate. It aims to promote the expansion of access to digital and technological education in basic education and is structured in four axes to expand access to technology in schools: digital inclusion of the Brazilian population; ensuring digital education for students and teachers; training actions of the labour market; and encouraging innovation, research, and development.
Digital competency frameworks: Brazil does not have a formal digital competency framework. However, the National Curricular Common Base (BNCC), the National Curriculum Guidelines for Initial Teacher Education, the Common National Base for Initial Teacher Education (2019) (BNC-Formaco), the National Curriculum Guidelines for Continuous Professional Development and the Common National Base for Continuous Professional Development (2020) (BNC-Continuada) all consider digital competencies within their respective frameworks.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: The National Council of Education (CNE) and the Ministry of Education (MEC) provided guidelines to schools for the planning and implementation of remote education. However, no coordinated large-scale national effort was developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Brazilian state and municipal governments were in charge of adopting interventions and strategies to support remote learning. The National Council of State Education Secretaries (CONSED) orchestrated collaboration spaces for state education secretaries to share best practices, learn from other states, and strengthen remote learning solutions.
At a national level, relevant initiatives were introduced, such as the Brazilian Strategy for Artificial Intelligence (EBIA), amends on the Fund for the Universalization of Telecommunication Services (Fust) (amended in 2020 by Law no.14.109/2020), the Connected Education Innovation Policy (2021) and the Bill 4513/20 to establish the National Digital Education Policy, which impact ICT in the education sector.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Electricity: The National Education Plan 2014-2024 , approved by Law No. 13,005, intends to ensure that all public elementary schools have access to electricity, clean water, sewerage, and solid waste management. Law 12111/2009 regulates the supply of electricity in isolated systems, access to electricity is a right of anyone who wants to obtain this service in Brazil. The federal government created in 2003 the National Program for Universal Access and Use of Electric Energy – Light for All (Luz para Todos – LPT).
Computers and devices: The National Education Plan 2014-2024 aims to provide digital technological equipment and resources for pedagogical use in the school environment to all public schools of basic education, as well as to create mechanisms for the implementation of the necessary conditions for the universalization of libraries in educational institutions, with access to digital computer networks, including the internet. The Connected Education Innovation Policy (2021) includes the acquisition or contracting of electronic devices, digital educational resources or their licenses. The One Computer per Student Project (UCA) and One Computer per Student Program (PROUCA), aimed to increase the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in classrooms through the provision of portable computers to students in the public school system. Established by Law N. 12,249 (2010), PROUCA aimed to promote pedagogical digital inclusion and the development of teaching and learning processes for students and teachers in Brazilian public schools.
Internet connectivity: The National Education Plan 2014-2024, approved by Law No. 13,005, proposes strategy 7.15 to universalize access to the world wideband computer network and triple the computer-to-student ratio in public elementary schools, thus promoting the pedagogical use of information and communication technologies. In accordance with strategy 7.15 of the National Education Plan, in 2017, Decree No. 9,204, establishes the Connected Education Innovation Programme, which absorbed many of the initiatives under ProInfo, a Federal Government initiative designed to promote and support the universalization of high-speed Internet connection and to foster the pedagogical use of digital technologies in basic education. In 2021 the Connected Education Innovation Policy (Piec, Poltica de Inovaco Educaco Conectada) was established by Law No. 14,180. Among the actions developed in the scope of the Program, participating schools are required to install the Connected Education Meter in order to assess broadband characteristics. The Connected Education Meter enables schools to assess historical data and performance. The findings can track the performance of broadband. It verifies school networks' CEIP compatibility.
The Fund for the Universalization of Telecommunication Services was established in 2000 by Law no. 9,998 (amended in 2020 by Law no.14.109/2020)) to encourage the expansion, use, and improvement of the quality of telecommunications networks and services, reducing regional disparities, and to support the use and development of new connectivity technologies to promote economic and social development.
The 2018 Brazilian Digital Transformation Strategy (E-Digital), includes a strategic action to expand broadband connectivity in urban and rural schools, combining connectivity solutions through fiber optic cabling, radio and satellite networks, increasing the speed of access in schools.
The federal government launched the Broadband in Schools Program (PBLE) in 2008, enacted by Decree 6424, which changes the General Plan of Targets for the Universalization of Switched Fixed Telephone Service Provided by the Public Regime (PGMU). The initiative provides assistance to all primary and secondary public schools in urban areas that engage in E-Tec Brasil programs.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
The provision of distance education and open resources is mentioned in numerous government policy and strategy documents. The National Education Guidelines and Bases Act (1996) as amended in 2009, stipulates that distance education, organized with special openness and regime, will be provided by institutions specifically accredited by the Union; the Unions will regulate the requirements for the performance of exams and registration of diplomas related to distance education courses; the standards for the production, control, and evaluation of distance education programs; and the authorization of distance education programs. The National Education Guidelines and Bases Act, enacted in 1996 and amended in 2009, specify that for high school curriculum requirements, educational institutions may enter into agreements with distance education institutions; it also includes the option of distance education or face-to-face education mediated by technologies; and they stipulate that elementary school will be face-to-face, with distance learning serving as a supplement.
Objective 3 of the National Education Plan 2014-2024 aims to ensure that all children are literate by the completion of the third year of basic education. As a strategy, it proposes to select, certify, and disseminate educational technologies for children's literacy, ensuring the diversity of methods and pedagogical proposals, as well as monitoring the results in the education systems where they are applied. Moreover, Objective 7 aims to improve the quality of basic education at all stages and modalities. It proposes to develop, select, certify, and disseminate educational technologies for early childhood, elementary, and middle school and to encourage pedagogical practices that improve school flow and learning. Free software and open education. The Brazilian Digital Transformation Strategy (E-Digital) includes a strategic action to encourage the production and dissemination of digital content created by teachers and students, as well as encourage the open sharing of publicly-funded resources with and between public and private educational networks, giving preference to open educational resources.
Some states have adopted online or distance learning, such as the use of television, to increase student enrolment and participation. The Media Education Centre of Amazonas (Centro de Mídias de Educação do Amazonas, 2007) targets rural students facing teacher shortages, broadcasting live teacher-led classes to students supported by in-person tutors.
To mitigate the negative effects of school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, Brazil’s education system reacted in different ways. The National Council of Education (CNE) and the Ministry of Education (MEC) provided guidelines to schools for the planning and implementation of remote education However, no coordinated large-scale national effort was developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Brazilian state and municipal governments were in charge of adopting interventions and strategies to support remote learning. State education secretaries in Brazil delivered remote learning solutions through channels that were appropriate to the context, including physical workbooks that came with guidelines on how to use the material, a TV learning program, and a mobile application.
The National Education Guidelines and Bases Act (enacted in 1996 and amended in 2009) states that the curricula of early childhood education, elementary school, and secondary school must have a common national basis, which shall be supplemented, in each educational system and in each school institution, with a diversified part based on the regional and local characteristics of society, culture, economy, and students. (Art. 26) The National Common Core Curriculum recommends the development of competencies and skills related to the critical and responsible use of digital technologies both in a transversal way and targeted way. The axes proposed in this curriculum permeate all stages of basic education are digital culture, digital technology, and computational thinking. Axis 1 - Computational Thinking: the ability to systematize, represent, analyze, and solve problems. Axis 2 - Digital World: physical and virtual components that enable information to be codified, organized, and retrieved when necessary. Axis 3 - Digital Culture: interdisciplinary relations of computing with other areas of knowledge, seeking to promote fluency in the use of computational knowledge to express solutions and cultural manifestations in a contextualized and critical way.
There have been efforts to include additional digital technology learning abilities into the classroom setting. Brazil's National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (2021) thematic axis on the "Qualifications for a Digital Future" proposes to evaluate updating the BNCC to incorporate elements related to computational thinking, computer programming and introduction to Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. The Brazilian Digital Transformation Strategy (E-Digital), includes as a strategic action the prioritization of the implementation of Computational Thinking competencies in middle school, as defined in the National Common Curriculum Base.
The National Common Core Curriculum acknowledges in the general competence numbers 1, 2 and 5 the importance of digital skills. According to the National Common Core Curriculum the General Competencies of Basic Education include (1)"Value and use historically constructed knowledge about the physical, social, cultural, and digital world to understand and explain reality, continue learning, and contribute to the construction of a just, democratic, and inclusive society.” (2) “Exercise intellectual curiosity and use the approach typical of the sciences, including research, reflection, critical analysis, imagination and creativity, to investigate causes, develop and test hypotheses, formulate and solve problems, and create solutions (including technological solutions) based on the knowledge of the different areas.” (5) “Understand, use, and create digital information and communication technologies in a critical, meaningful, reflective, and ethical way in various social practices (including school) to communicate, access and disseminate information, produce knowledge, solve problems, and exercise protagonism and authorship in personal and collective life.” Technology is also a strategy to achieve the other competencies provided for in the BNCC and is mentioned several times throughout the document.
Brazil's National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (2021) thematic axis on the "Qualifications for a Digital Future" promotes the creation of mechanism to increase the interest of Brazilians in disciplines of the STEM group (mathematics, sciences, technologies and engineering) in school age, with a special focus on gender and race inclusion programs in these areas. Additionally, the Brazilian Digital Transformation Strategy (E-Digital), includes a strategic action to prioritize, in the New High School model, the strengthening of STEM subjects (mathematics, science, technology, and engineering) and technical qualification tracks for sectors of the digital economy, with an emphasis on encouraging girls and women to pursue careers in ICT-related fields.
At the level of initial and continuing teaching training, the National Curriculum Guidelines for Initial Teacher Education and a Common National Base for Initial Teacher Education (2019) (BNC-Formação), are organized in line with the learning prescribed in the BNCC of Basic Education. The National Curriculum Guidelines for Teacher Education state that courses for initial teacher training in Basic Education must incorporate the use of innovation and digital languages as a resource for the development of skills aligned with those specified in the BNCC. The Guidelines further mention the use and understanding of digital skills, such as basic understanding of digital phenomena and computational thinking, as well as the implication for contemporary teaching-learning process and experience, learning and use of digital language. In addition, the National Curriculum Guidelines for Teacher Education state in general teaching skills 2 that “Research, investigate, reflect, perform critical analysis, use creativity and seek technological solutions to select, organize and plan challenging, coherent and meaningful pedagogical practices”; 5 that “Understand, use and create digital information and communication technologies in a critical, meaningful, reflective and ethical way in different teaching practices, as a pedagogical resource and as a training tool, to communicate, access and disseminate information, produce knowledge, solve problems and improve learning.”
Resolution CNE/CP No 1 of October 27, 2020, sets the National Curriculum Guidelines for Continuous Professional Development and a Common National Base for Continuous Professional Development (2020) (BNC-Formação Continuada), stating that courses and programs for continuing training may be delivered via face-to-face, distance, semi-presence, hybrid, or other non-face-to-face methods. These steering documents establish professional standards for teachers aligned with the BNCC. Teacher competencies cover three interdependent domains: knowledge - mastering content; practice – managing classrooms; and engagement – interacting with stakeholders. Each domain contains specific skills. Concerning ICT, the aforementioned documents emphasize the need for teachers to "Demonstrate knowledge of various resources - including Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), capable of cognitively and emotionally involving students in their learning." Furthermore, "demonstrate understanding of the relevant issues and strategies available to support the safe, responsible, and ethical use of ICTs in learning and teaching" for the Dimension of Professional Practice-Institutional.
The National Education Plan 2014-2024, approved by Law No. 13,005, aims to promote and stimulate the initial and continued training of teachers for child literacy, building capacities related to new educational technologies and innovative pedagogical practices. The Brazilian Strategy for Digital Transformation (2018) includes as a strategic action to improve the initial and continuing training of teachers of basic education, considering technological transformations and providing practical guidance as to the use of technology in the classroom. Brazil's National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (2021) thematic axis on the "Qualifications for a Digital Future" proposes the design and continuing education for teachers of Basic Education of the curricular components of Digital Culture and Citizenship, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence.
The Connected Education Innovation Policy (Institui a Política de Inovação Educação Conectada), established by Law No. 14,180, aims to encourage the training of teachers and managers in pedagogical practices with technology and for the use of technology. It also includes offers of teacher training courses, including for the use of digital technologies in the classroom. The Digital Teacher Skills Self-Assessment for teachers is a free online tool that allows basic education teachers to identify their digital skills so that they can develop professionally. It was developed by the Centre for Innovation in Brazilian Education (CIEB) in partnership with other organisations.
At the level of in-service training, the Innovation Centre for Brazilian Education (Cieb) developed and made freely accessible the Reference Curriculum in Technology and Computing (2018), which provides axes, concepts, and skills aligned with the BNCC and is targeted specifically at the development of skills for the exploration and application of technologies. The Portal do Professor (Teachers’ Portal) is a virtual environment with educational resources that facilitate and dynamize the work and a space for exchange of experiences between elementary and middle school teachers. The content of the portal includes suggestions of classes according to the curriculum of each subject and re- sources such as videos, photos, maps, audio, and texts.
2.4.1. Data privacy
The 2018 Law No. 13,709 Brazilian General Data Protection Law (LGPD revised in 2019) regulates the processing of personal data in physical and digital media in Brazil and establishes new standards for the collecting and processing of children's data.
The 2014 Internet Civil Framework ( Law No. 12.965) establishes the principles, rights, and responsibilities for the use of the Internet in Brazil, as well as the guidelines for the actions of the Union, the States, the Federal District, and the Municipalities in this regard. Article 3 provides, among other principles that regulate the use of the internet in Brazil, the principle of protection of privacy and personal data, and Article 7 provides, as rights and guarantees of internet users, the inviolability and confidentiality of the flow of their communications and the inviolability and confidentiality of their stored private communications, unless ordered by a court.
Article 17 of Law No. 8069 Statute of the Child and Adolescent and Makes Other Arrangements (1990) establishes the right to respect as the inviolability of the child and adolescent's physical, psychological, and moral integrity, covering the preservation of image, identity, autonomy, values, ideas and beliefs, spaces, and personal objects.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
The National Education Guidelines and Bases Act (1996 amended in 2009) mentions that educational institutions, respecting the common standards, will have the task, among others, to promote measures to raise awareness and prevent and combat all types of violence, especially systematic intimidation and bullying within schools.
Law No. 13,185 establishes the Program to Combat Systematic Intimidation, which addresses cyberbullying and suggests countermeasures, such as teacher training, communication programs, and guidelines. The National Education Plan 2014-2024 approved by Law No. 13,005, proposes to ensure policies to combat violence at school, including the development of actions aimed at training educators to detect the signs of its causes, such as domestic and sexual violence, favoring the adoption of appropriate measures to promote the construction of a culture of peace and a school environment endowed with security for the community.
In Brazil, the education system is highly decentralised. At the Federal level, the Ministry of Education (MEC) is responsible for coordinating national education policy in collaboration with the National Council of Education (Conselho Nacional de Educação, CNE). Within the MEC, the Undersecretariat for Information and Communication Technology (STIC), is an organisational unit subordinate to the Executive Secretariat to serve as the Ministry of Education's Management Unit for Information and Communication Technology resources. Specific programs are also coordinated with other ministries, such as the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MCTI). MEC collaborates with other ministries as well as with stakeholder which participates in education policymaking and regularly convenes subnational representatives, civil society, and professional organisations.
In the federative context of basic education, municipalities are responsible for Preschool Education. The responsibility for primary education is shared between municipalities and states. Secondary education is the responsibility of states, and the federal district has the same responsibilities as the states and municipalities. Each level of government can enact legislation and formulate policy, but the Ministry of Education (MEC) leads the system through national standards and frameworks.
There is currently no federal rule regarding the usage of mobile devices in school settings. In 2007, there were legislative measures to control the use of mobile phones in the classroom, but they were not implemented. Some states have enacted regulations on the use of communication equipment, electronics, and other similar devices in educational establishments.