Page 1

Home Africa Asia Europe Middle East Americas Beats

Opinion Multimedia Correspondents Mission Passport



Best of Global Education

Technology in the Classroom ❍

China's challenges

Chile's wired classrooms

Turkish program offers photographers a future

English teacher's helper

Education: the virtual TA

Rwanda's schoolyard tech

Sweden to host first Think Global School trimester

Teaching Twitter in Havana

Education Heroes

Italy: Poetry and podcasts mix By Fulvio Paolocci- Special to Globalpost November 4, 2010 8:04 ET Photo caption: Luca Piergiovanni uses educational podcasting, mixing new technology with old knowledge, to revamp his students' curriculum. Behind, his alumni put together another episode of the Chocolat3B podcast. (Fulvio Paolocci/GlobalPost) COMO, Italy — One typical school day near Lake Como, a group of eighth graders walked up to the principal’s door with a rare request. They wanted to stay after school to study poetry. Their new literature teacher was “very cool,” they said. The principal was stunned, but agreed.

China: Found in translation

Fighting the powers that be

Teaching immigrants Italian

Reversing the poverty cycle

Fighting corruption at India's universities

Championing disabled students

Soweto principal transforms school

A school for Manila's slums

Education of Girls in a Traditional Society ❍

Toronto hosts G(irls)20 summit

That’s how middle school teacher Luca Piergiovanni— a 37-year-old former disc jockey with a degree in literature — began an unprecedented experiment in Italian schools last year.

UN works to boost girls' educations

By bringing in his mixer, microphone and CDs, he taught the basics of poetry analysis through music — and podcasting. What started as an after school project, with students recording radio shows on poems and pop songs, soon evolved into a class website, with podcasts available for free on the iTunes Store. The students were hooked.

French Muslim girls flee to private school

Pakistan: Educating girls

Educating girls in India

Teaching Senegal's girl house servants

Bikes boost girls in Zambia

India: The challenge of educating Muslim girls

“Today’s students are digital natives, their brain patterns have changed with technology,” said Piergiovanni, sporting a shiny piercing under his lip. “If they get bored in class, it’s usually the teacher’s fault,” he said. Piergiovanni’s class website,, has already garnered international acclaim. The site is a colorful patchwork that features podcasts on everything from information technology and multimedia to poetry and pop music. “Everything has become more exciting, more interesting for us students,” said Federico Battaglia, one of the Chocolat3B producers, who is now in high school. “Doing podcasts entices us to study poetry,” he said, “something that clearly didn't happen before.” Piergiovanni uses the students emotional reaction to poetry to trigger their critical thinking. In one podcast, the students explored commonalities between a desperate poet writing from a trench during World War I and a mournful, anti-war songwriter from the 1970s. In another podcast, the students analyzed a break-up song from the 1980s that was inspired by a chapter on tragic love from Dante’s "Inferno." Choosing podcasting as an educational tool wasn’t just a matter of giving traditional teaching techniques a makeover. Piergiovanni says this new medium has also given students an entire new set of skills. “The educational value of podcasting in schools is huge,” said Piergiovanni. “Students learn how to work in a team, give each other tasks, and do all the research needed to interview experts for the podcast,” he said. Chocolat3B podcasts have inspired similar initiatives in other countries, from Turkey to New Zealand. However, Piergiovanni admits he himself was inspired by a pioneer teacher in the United States. Jeanne Halderson of Longfellow Middle School, in La Crosse, Wisc., created Coulee Kids in 2005. She is now an Apple Distinguished Educator. Piergiovanni wasn’t snagged by Steve Jobs — rather, he lost his job. Because the Italian school system is entirely based on seniority, widespread layoffs in education this year forced

New Frontiers ❍

In Hungary, segregation begins at school

Bible study goes 2.0

Teaching with computers

Teaching with cell phones

Latin America focuses on early learning

Educating indigenous students

India's super rich educators

Educating Karachi's women

Education Entrepreneurs ❍

Rwanda: Educating motorbike entrepreneurs

Education that's bad for business?

Generated by at 11/14/2010 12:02:15 AM URL:

Piergiovanni out. He now works part-time in a new middle school, with a salary less than that of a custodian. The bad news quickly reached Roger Schank, the CEO of Socratic Arts, a virtual company that promotes innovation in education. A self-defined “revolutionary of education” who has studied learning processes for the past 35 years, Schank offered Piergiovanni a job. The teacher is helping Schank create a new curriculum for first-grade teachers. “Luca’s first project,” said Schank, “is to have the children retell the story of 'The Ugly Duckling,' by writing a rhyme and setting it to music,” he said. In this activity, children will have to use a computer tool to develop choreography, prepare props to accompany the song and produce a video to showcase their work — a far cry from traditional storytelling. “School as it is today is boring and irrelevant,” said Schank. “This is true in every country.” Schank, a former professor at American universities, is also familiar with the education system in Italy. Ten years ago he got in an argument with Italy’s minister of education who was boasting that Italian high schools still teach Latin, unlike the rest of Europe. “I told him that was nothing to be proud of,” said Schank. Piergiovanni spent last summer preaching the advantages of podcasting to his colleagues in 40 schools throughout the Como region. He was promoting a new project called “PodClass,” in which he teachers how to podcast on his own time. In the end, only 15 colleagues joined him. “Many think students already spend to much time in front of their computers,” said Piergiovanni. On the contrary, both he and Schank believe that technology is the key to engaging students in learning. “Plato said that people only learn by doing; generations of scholars have echoed his idea, but the schools completely ignore it,” said Schank. “If this was somewhat understandable before the availability of computers, today it is simply deplorable,” he said. Share This Article:


A cure for fear?

Poland: empty university degrees

Training entrepreneurs to transform India

Muslim world turns to Turkish model of education

Indian school teaches how to become an entrepreneur

Syria's education crisis

Funding a British education

Globalization of Marketing & Education ❍

A college for the worldly stud...

Bringing future US leaders to...

Erasmus exchanges help Europea...

Lacking students, US colleges...

Georgia looks to replace Russi...

Italian school lunches go orga...

Germany: integrating Muslims t...

Will India open up to foreign...

Math and Science ❍

South Korea: Happiness a missing variable in math class

Ghana TV quiz promotes math and science

Whetting young appetites for science

India: Science school leads global trend in higher ed

Foreign teachers help Indian professors up their game

Saudi Arabia maps genome and educational future

Morocco excels in mathematics

India builds data network to reach the stars

Treatment of anxiety disorders — more common in women - are the topic of groundbreaking research. Natasha Wallace | GlobalPost

Best of Global Education ❍

Senegal project aims to educate 10,000 girls

A cure for fear?

Italy: Poetry and podcasts mix

Rwanda: Dancing off the streets

Photo story: Sex ed, in pictures Murals teach Tanzanians to practice safe sex by avoiding parties, sugar daddies and big butts. News Desk | GlobalPost

The One Room Schoolhouse

Senegal project aims to educate 10,000 girls Tutoring lessons become a booming export business run by young women. Drew Hinshaw | GlobalPost

Coming in December: One-Room Schoolhouses A global survey of education systems in rural areas – what works, what doesn’t, the challenges, successes and failures of educating students in non-urban areas.

Intel Weighs in ❍

Rwanda: Dancing off the streets Performing arts education gives street children new lease on life. Jon Rosen | GlobalPost

Intel believes that young people are the key to solving global challenges, and a solid math and science foundation coupled with skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, and digital literacy are crucial for their success. That is why we get directly involved in education programs, advocacy, and technology access to enable tomorrow’s innovators.

South Korea: Happiness a missing variable in math class Better known for rote memorization, schools in Seoul are making more room for fun. Michael Alison Chandler | GlobalPost

Home | Countries | Correspondents | Opinion | Multimedia | Passport | About | Contact Us Advertising | Syndication | Jobs | Staff | Feedback | Terms Of Use | Site Map | GlobalPost Headlines Widget | GlobalPostaton Facebook 12:02:15 | GlobalPost Generated by 11/14/2010 AM on Twitter URL:

Copyright 2010 GlobalPost – International News

Generated by at 11/14/2010 12:02:15 AM URL:


Best of Global Education


Best of Global Education