__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1


Research

Education

VI | N. 1 | June 2014

Media


REM

Research on Education and Media VI | 1 | 2014 June

Aim and Scope

REM – Research on Education and Media is devoted to research on Education and Media in the broadest sense: Media Education, e-Learning, Education Technology, Teaching and Learning with Technologies, Digital Citizenship,  Youth  Media  Consumption.  The  journal serves the interest of researchers, educators and teachers, and publishes original research works, case studies, systematic reviews, along with editorials and brief reports, covering recent developments in the field. Issues on Education and Media are discussed with the aim to encourage debate and stimulate new research.

The Journal is peer-reviewed Official Journal of

SIREM Italian Society for Research on Education and Media

Referral process

Each article is anonymously submitted to  two anonymous referees. Only articles for which both referees will express a positive judgment will be accepted. The referees evaluations will be communicated to the authors, including guidelines for changes. In this case, the authors are required to change their submissions according to the referees guidelines. Articles not modified in accordance with the referees guidelines will not be accepted. Journal founded in 2009 and published by Erickson Ltd until 2012.

Registered at no. 15 in Court of Lecce on 19th July, 2013 ISSN: 2037-0830 (print) ISSN: 2037-0849 (on line)

© 2014  Pensa MultiMedia Editore srl Via A.M. Caprioli, 8 - 73100 Lecce www.pensamultimedia.it • info@pensamultimedia.it


Editor in Chief Pier Cesare Rivoltella President of SIREM Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Editorial management • Michele Baldassarre Università di Bari • Andrea Garavaglia Università di Milano-Bicocca Editorial Board • Ignacio Aguaded Gomez Universidad de Huelva • Evelyne Bévort CLEMI, Paris • Andrew Burn University of London • Ulla Carlsson Göteborg University • Bill Cope University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaigne • Thierry De Smedt Université de Louvain • Floriana Falcinelli Università di Perugia • Monica Fantin Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina • Luciano Galliani Università di Padova • James Paul Gee University of Arizona • Walter Geerts Universiteit Antwerpen • Mary Kalantzis University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaigne • Diane Laurillard University of London • Pierpaolo Limone Università di Foggia • Laura Messina Università di Padova • Juan De Pablo Pons Universidad de Sevilla • Nelson Pretto Universidade Federal de Bahia • Vitor Reia-Baptista Universidade do Algarve

• Mario Ricciardi Politecnico di Torino • Pier Cesare Rivoltella Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore • Pier Giuseppe Rossi Università di Macerata • Jeffrey T. Schnapp Stanford University • Maurizio Sibilio Università di Salerno

Secretary Alessandra Carenzio – CREMIT Largo Gemelli, 1 – 20123 Milano Tel.: (0039)02-72343038 Fax: (0039)02-72343040 E-mail: rem@sirem.org

Editor VI | 1 | 2014 Luciano Galliani Università di Padova Pierpaolo Limone Università di Foggia

Note to the Authors

To make a submission go to: http://www.sirem.org/submission/ Further information about submission and author guidelines can be found at http://www.sirem.org/rem/


5

Introduction ICT in Higher Education and Lifelong Learning by Luciano Galliani and Pierpaolo Limone

TEACHING

9 25

index

39

Davide Parmigiani, Valentina Pennazio, Andrea Traverso Web, ICT and idea of competence in the upper secondary schools

Alessandra Carenzio, Serena Triacca, Pier Cesare Rivoltella Education technologies and teacher’s professional development. The project Motus (Monitoring Tablet Utilization in School) run by Cremit

Rosaria Pace, Anna Dipace, Assunta di Matteo, Francesco Contò On-site and online learning paths for an educational farm. Pedagogical perspectives for knowledge and social development

UNIVERSITY

57

VI | 1 | 2014 June

67 87

Nicola Cavalli, Paolo Ferri, Arianna Mainardi, Andrea Mangiatordi, Marina Micheli, Michelle Pieri, Andrea Pozzali, Francesca Scenini A picture of University Students and Facebook: Perspectives for Academic Learning Antonella Nuzzaci ICT, Lifelong Learning and Control Quality Centre: which strategies for an integrated system for the development of a “Smart University”?

Maria Cinque Stop and Rewind. University Students Reflecting on their Digital Practices

LIFELONG LEARNING

101 111 121 137 149

Floriana Falcinelli, Chiara Laici Teacher training to enhance ICTs as resources for an inclusive teaching

Serena Triacca, Simona Ferrari, Pier Cesare Rivoltella Coaching and Teachers Training. An Overview of “HSH” Project in Lombardy

Juliana Elisa Raffaghelli, Patrizia Maria Margherita Ghislandi, Nan Yang Quality as perceived by learners: Is it the dark side of the MOOCs? Serena Triacca, Livia Petti Tutor 2.0: a moderation proposal in Social Networks

Valeria Ines Valentina Tamborra, Stefania Attanasio, Michele Baldassarre Professional Identity, Digital Competence and Teacher Training: the Importance of Post-lauream training as a Context for Reflection on Today’s Competences, Technologies and Educational Mission.


ICT in Higher Education and Lifelong Learning

by Luciano Galliani and Pierpaolo Limone ICT in and for higher education and lifelong learning was the central issue of SIREM 2013 National Conference. The scientific meeting was held on November 14th and 15th 2013 in Bari, Italy and this volume was born in order to collect and present the work of the conference days. The volume is supported by the Scientific Society and edited with the cooperation of the University of Foggia and the University of Bari “Aldo Moro”. The conference opened an interdisciplinary debate on the role of technology in higher education and lifelong learning, offering an in-depth reflection on new strategies for instructional design, innovative teaching methods and approaches, effective systems for assessment. The conference also enabled SIREM scholars to collect the state of the art of the Italian scientific research and the best teaching experiences on the following topics: – – – – – – – – –

Technologies in higher education Digital skills and lifelong learning Technological innovation and vocational training Digital literacy and adult education Technologies for lifelong learning Innovative methods and techniques for e-learning Models and assessment tools of e-learning Mobile learning environments (M-learning) for adult education Social learning and lifelong learning.

Diana Laurillard, a scholar from the Institute of Education in London, participated to the conference with a keynote presentation about “Teaching as a design Science: investigating the integration of technology with pedagogy”. Her contribute opened to the international research and reflexion about innovative strategies for learning design. The whole issue collects theoretical analysis and filed experiences, offering a selection of papers presented during the conference. Scholars from several Italian universities met to discuss emerging issues in the educational field, to present different but complementary perspectives and analysis, with the aim of mapping an evolving scenario. The sharing of experiences and research actions, as well

5


6

as studies and design examples, appears crucial to track the work of the scientific society, both on the theoretical and on the applied level. The aim of the work is to engage both an academic and public debate, as cultural, economic and social conditions require flexible and highly qualified experts, with cross-sector skills, including digital ones. Throughout the work educational models in which digital technologies are tightly integrated in pedagogical innovation are presented. Together with distributed, multimodal, open learning environments. The volume is structured in three main sections, physically divided but undoubtedly interrelated: Teaching, University and Lifelong Learning. The issue opens with an article by Davide Parmigiani, Valentina Pennanzio and Andrea Traverso. Focusing on the concept of competence, the authors address a key issue in higher education. Their research was conducted within upper secondary schools and tried to understand if and how instructional actions are focused on skills improvement. The second article in the “Teaching” section is proposed by Alessandra Carenzio, Serena Triacca and Pier Cesare Rivoltella. The work presents the main results of the Motus project, focused on the introduction of mobile devices within nine Italian schools located in Lombardia, Emilia Romagna and Marche regions. The article focuses on the need of designing effective teacher training related to the use of educational technologies, starting from a proper design methodology. The massive introduction of information technologies in the schools can be risky or even counterproductive from a pedagogical point of view without a significant and strategic training of the teaching staff. The last paper of the first session describe an example of educational farm as learning environment. The authors Rosaria Pace, Anna Dipace, Assunta Di Matteo and Francesco Contò present a natural space integrated into the media system through the Learning by Design methodology, in order to effectively respond to users’ educational needs and to scaffold meaningful learning. The learning design also include some game activities integrated and addresses the innovative topic of gamification as a methodological approach to foster motivation and effective learning assessment. The second session explores the context of higher education, with three articles that present some interesting results about the role of ICT in academic settings. In particular, Nicola Cavalli and collegues paper describes a survey on the use of Facebook by students of the University of Milano-Bicocca. This study is part of a research about “media diet” and ICT use carried out by the New Media Observatory (NuMediaBiOs) of the University of Milano-Bicocca. In this paper the authors propose some reflexions on Facebook use in educational environments, in light of the survey’s results and of an international scientific literature review. The second article of this section is written by Antonella Nuzzaci and focuses on strategies for the development of a “Smart University” integrated system. In this paper the author presents a reflection on the quality process that took place at the Presidium of QP-UNIVAQ, created at the University of L’Aquila on February 2013. The objective of this process was to promote the development of the University through a connection between internal and external assessment and the interrelation among different institutional actors for the construction of an integrated services model.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


The last article of the second section, proposed by Maria Cinque, presents a three case studies research that aims at analyzing the dynamics learning with web resources. The aim of the work is to clarify whether particular activities and situations could improve the development of lifelong learning skills. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered within a Personal Knowledge Management framework and the results suggest interesting ideas both for teachers and learners. The Lifelong Learning section opens with the article on inclusive education proposed by Chiara Laici and Floriana Falcinelli. The article gives a detailed description of teacher training on ICT’s use for an inclusive teaching. The paper describes the research-action project named “Didattica inclusiva e nativi digitali” (Inclusive teaching and digital natives) carried out in the Umbria region (Italy) and completed on May 20th, 2013. The research involved in-service teachers of kindergarten, primary and secondary schools. The study demonstrated how teacher training is a complex process, that needs continuous scaffolding, monitoring and on-the job research. The paper proposed by Serena Triacca, Simona Ferrari and Pier Cesare Rivoltella deals with a research and training project promoted by the Regional Office of the Ministry of Education, CREMIT, addressed to hospital-home-school teachers of Lombardia region. The educational process proposed is accomplished through using the “BLEC” model: BL is for blended learning, E for e-tivity and C for coaching. This model allows both organizational changes in the hospital school system and the adoption of new technology to support teaching and learning. The educational quality perceived by users of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is the central theme of the article presented by Juliana Elisa Raffaghelli, Patrizia Maria Margherita Ghislandi and Nan Yang. Their work tries to answer the following main questions: which are the elements attempting against MOOCs quality? Specifically, how do the MOOCers perceive the elements attempting against the quality of their learning experience? How can complex psychopedagogical processes like the perception of quality in a situated learning experience be characterized, through an holistic and non-reductive way? The authors describe some tracks to answer these questions through a qualitative approach. The paper written by Serena Triacca and Livia Petti presents a moderation model in 2.0 environments within the Early Childhood Education Degree Course at the Catholic University of Brescia (2011/12 academic year). The article describes the strategic importance of being part of a group created in an informal digital environment and the Tutor role within the group. Finally, the paper proposed by Valeria Ines Valentina Tamborra, Stefania Attanasio, Michele Baldassarre refers to teachers’ professional identity and professional training. The paper describes the initial phase of a larger project aimed at investigating the learning needs of future teachers in terms of digital presence and e-awareness, as transformed by the rapid evolution of the contemporary modern educational system. These contributions help to outline a rich and varied scene, which represents a meaningful but not exhaustive contribution on the topic of “ICT in Higher Education and Lifelong Learning”. Meanwhile, the dialogue among scholars continues, and it develops through specialist publications, international conferences

Liciano Galliani | Pierpaolo Limone

7


and scientific meetings, within university courses, schools and informal educational contexts. This agile volume is a fragment of a deep and interesting work related to the media education in Italy, which in these pages can be shown only in a superficial way. The book is also a platform to share perspectives and solutions and to feed a never-ending debate around ICT, pedagogical models and educational challenges. The iterative and choral debate could be one of the keys to find innovative solutions and answers to big but pressing current questions.

8

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


Davide Parmigiani

University of Genoa davide.parmigiani@unige.it

Valentina Pennazio

University of Genoa valentina.pennazio@unige.it

Andrea Traverso University of Genoa a.traverso@unige.it

KEYWORDS: Competence, ICT, Web, Upper Secondary School.

This article has been developed jointly by the authors. Davide Parmigiani wrote the sections: 2. Research design; 3. Data analysis (except 3.2 Qualitative data); 4. Discussion and conclusion; Valentina Pennazio wrote the section 1. Theoretical Framework; Andrea Traverso wrote the section 3.2 Qualitative data.

9 Š Pensa MultiMedia Editore srl ISSN 2037-0830 (print) ISSN 2037-0849 (on line)

abstract

This research was aimed at highlighting the development of the idea of competence in the upper secondary schools. In particular, we wanted to stress the teaching strategies used by the teachers in the classroom in order to understand if the instructional actions are directed or not towards the development of competences. Inside this study, we underlined the role played by the web and the ICT in supporting such development. We involved 23 upper secondary schools with an unbiased stratified sample of teachers (N = 411) and students (N = 2893). The quantitative data analysis indicates that both teachers and students consider web and ICT as important factors in carrying out instructional actions. Instead, the qualitative analysis shows that web and ICT are seen by the students as key elements for the development of competence, but only for their future outside the school.

teaching

Web, ICT and idea of competence in the upper secondary schools


1. Theoretical framework

10

The competence (Castoldi, 2011; Pellerey, 2004) has become a key aim for the instructional contexts in general and, in particular, for the upper secondary schools. Such purpose has to be achieved through challenging changes regarding mainly the teaching styles and the ways teachers manage the learning environment. For this reason, in order to develop competence, teachers have to rethink both teaching and assessing strategies. This change can be attributed to a new paradigm (Castoldi, 2011) amending the idea of knowing and knowledge. From a methodological and organizational point of view, it is necessary to develop: situated, problematic and dialogic approaches (Rivoltella, 2013), collaborative work and critical and shared thinking. ICT and, in particular, the diffusion of the mobile devices can help the development of learning environments oriented towards competence. Therefore, it would be necessary to promote the use of web and ICT at school in order to clarify the role of technologies in developing the competence through quantitative and qualitative studies. First of all, it is necessary to reflect on the concept of literacy. This concept does not involve only the ability to read, write and calculate, but it includes all aspects which can promote the development of life skills for all pupils. These skills are needed in the society of knowledge (Ryken & Salgamik, 2007). There are many literacies associated with the information and communication technology (Midoro, 2007; Ranieri, 2010): the Information Technology Literacy, the know-how to choose and use technologies to obtain specific objectives (Levy & Murnane, 2001; Ryken & Salganik, 2007); the Information Literacy, the know-how to find, evaluate, select and manage information (ACRL, 2000; UNESCO, 2008); the Visual Literacy, the know-how to read and interpret visual images and content (Wileman, 1993; Benson, 1997; Branton, 1999); the Media Literacy, the know-how to analyse, understand and critically interpret media (Rivoltella, 2005; Buckingham, 2006, 2007); the Literacy network, the know-how to access in the network, to share knowledge and collaborate in the construction of new knowledge (Caviglia & Ferraris, 2008). Therefore, the concept of literacy is a skill that includes several issues. Some of these concepts are specific of an instrument, other concepts are independent on the kind of technology (Ranieri, 2010). In fact, these concepts include both technical-computing skills and critical thinking skills, problem solving, collaboration and inquiry. The result is a threedimensional view (Calvani, Fini & Ranieri, 2011; Jenkins et al., 2010) of the concept of competence given by a complex combination of skills, abilities and knowledge. Therefore, in order to pursue the development of competence, teachers should structure multidimensional learning environments. They should modify, in a systemic perspective, some learning environment aspects such as: the physical and contextual factors involved in the learning process (spatial and instrumental organization), the time spent, the objectives, how to achieve objectives (teaching strategies), the tasks and activities and, if necessary, tools and technological applications to use (Antonietti, 2003; Salomon, 1996). In this way, the learning environment can be built through the combination

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


of different variables (Baldascino, 2008) directed toward specific student competences, such as: to look for and select significant information in hyper-information contexts; to identify and achieve objectives useful for various tasks; to find creative solutions through different strategies (e.g. the best strategy for time spent, quality or resources used); to be able to communicate effectively; to express themselves, listen, compare with others, build, affirm or disprove the thesis through logic, conceptual frameworks and shared evaluation systems; to work with the group; to accept and debate ideas; to make decisions together and meet the commitments; to manage, direct and promote creativity; to translate ideas into action by evaluating the time spent, resources, opportunities and criticalities (Carletti & Varani, 2007; Cacciamani & Giannandrea, 2004).

2. Research design

2.1 The context and the research questions

This research was aimed at underlining the didactical situation in the Ligurian upper secondary schools. In particular, we wanted to highlight the teaching strategies carried out by the teachers in order to understand if the instructional actions are directed or not towards the development of competences. Regarding this issue, the research question was: 1. what happens in the classroom? In particular, which teaching strategies are used by the teachers during the everyday classroom activities?

In order to reach this target, we collected quantitative data through the procedure explained in the following paragraphs. In addition, we wanted to underline the ideas of the competence that teachers and students have developed. Regarding this issue, the research questions were: 2. what is the idea of competence of the students of the upper secondary schools? 3. what is the idea of competence of the teachers of the upper secondary schools?

In order to do so, we collected qualitative data through the procedure explained in the following paragraphs. Included in such big questions, we investigated the role of ICT and web in developing learning environments oriented towards competence. This paper is focused on this topic. 2.2 The samples Teacher sample

The research involved 23 upper secondary schools (with students aged from 14 to 19) of the region of Liguria. The teacher sample was composed of a group of teachers as indicated in Table 1.

Davide Parmigiani | Valentina Pennazio | Andrea Traverso

11


Teaching area

12

Kind of school

languages

scientific

technical

total

% observed

% expected

Senior high schools

109

42

17

168

40,94

40,94

Technical school

45

63

36

144

34,86

34,86

Vocational school

33

36

30

99

24,20

24,20

total

187

141

83

411

100,00

100,00

% observed

45,46

34,31

20,23

100,00

% expected

41,79

34,49

23,72

100,00

Table 1. Teacher sample

In order to create an unbiased stratified sample, we followed some precise steps:

1. we created a list of all upper secondary Ligurian schools, subdivided into three kinds of schools: senior high schools, technical schools and vocational schools; 2. we chose 23 schools at random among all Ligurian schools, selecting 7 senior high schools, 8 technical and 8 vocational ones, from four different regional areas (Imperia, Savona, Genova, La Spezia); 3. all teachers of each school filled in the questionnaire; 4. finally we chose at ramdom the questionnaires to be considered for the sample, according to the percentages related to the two strata shown in Table 2: kind of school and teaching area. The teacher sample was composed of 71,8% of females and 22,2% of males. In addition we discovered that the teachers were divided into different ages and length of service, as shown in Figure 1 and 2. 35,00

28,71

30,00 26,76 25,00

20,00 15,33 15,00

8,76

10,00

5,00

9,25

7,79

2,68 0,49

0,24

0,00 AGE ...-29

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-54

55-59

60-64

64-...

Figure 1. Teacher ages

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


30,00 24,09

25,00 20,00 15,00

11,44

9,73

10,00 5,00

15,57

14,60

12,65

8,52

3,41

0,00 length of service

5-9

1-4

10-14

15-19

20-24

25-29

30-34

13

35-...

Figure 2. Teacher length of service

Student sample

The student sample was composed of a group of students as indicated in Table 2. Student classes

%

Kind of school

II

IV

total

Senior high schools

658

588

1246

43,07

43,02

Technical school

495

450

945

32,66

32,84

Vocational school

424

278

702

24,27

24,14

total

1577

1316

2893

100,00

100,00

% observed

54,51

45,49

100,00

% expected

54,51

45,49

100,00

% observed % expected

Table 2. Student sample

In order to create an unbiased stratified sample, we followed some precise steps:

1. we chose 4 second classes (students aged 15-16) and 4 fourth classes (students aged 17-18) at random in each of the 23 schools; 2. all students of those classes filled in the questionnaire; 3. finally we chose the questionnaires to be considered for the sample at random, according to the percentages related to the two strata shown in Table 3: kind of school and student classes (II or IV).

The expected percentages were calculated on the basis of the official data delivered by the School Regional Office. We would like to underline that we could reach one out of seven Ligurian students and one out of seven Ligurian teachers. For these reasons, we can state that our sample is representative both of the student and teacher population of Ligurian schools.

Davide Parmigiani | Valentina Pennazio | Andrea Traverso


2.3 Instruments and procedure The structure of questionnaires

14

Two questionnaires were administered to teachers and students. The questionnaire for the teachers was composed of 84 closed-ended questions and 2 openended ones. All closed-ended questions were focused on the potential teaching strategies that teachers can use at school. In addition, they were split in two parts. The former was focused on the agreement regarding the teaching strategy indicated by the item. A five-point Likert scale was used to register the responses and it ranged from “I totally disagree” = 1, “I partially disagree” = 2, “neither agree nor disagree” = 3, “I partially agree” = 4, “I totally agree” = 5. In the latter, the teachers were asked to indicate how many times they really use the strategy indicated by the question. In this case, a four-point Likert scale was used to register the responses and it ranged from “never” = 1, “sometimes” = 2, “often” = 3, “always” = 4. The aim of the structure of this questionnaire was to highlight, on the one hand, the agreement and the idea of teachers about the different teaching strategies and, on the other hand, the real use of each strategy in the classroom. Instead the questionnaire for the students was composed of 71 closed-ended questions and an open-ended one. All closed-ended questions were focused on the potential teaching strategies used by the teachers at school. As the previous questionnaire, they were split in two parts. The former was focused on the agreement regarding the teaching strategy indicated by the item. A five-point Likert scale was used to register the responses and it ranged from “I totally disagree” = 1, “I partially disagree” = 2, “neither agree nor disagree” = 3, “I partially agree” = 4, “I totally agree” = 5. In the latter, the students were asked to indicate how many teachers of their classes really use the strategy indicated by the question. In this case, a four-point Likert scale was used to register the responses and it ranged from “none of my teachers” = 1, “some of my teachers” = 2, “many of my teachers” = 3, “all my teachers” = 4. The aim of the structure of the questionnaire for the students was to compare the previous questionnaire results through the students’ view. In the open-ended question, both teachers and students had to explain their idea of competence. In particular, the teachers had to answer the following questions: – when do I understand that my students are competent? (question #62) – when do I understand that my lessons have a positive effect on the students’ learning? (question #63)

Instead, the open-ended question for the students was: – indicate an instructional situation carried out by your teachers, during which you felt yourself competent. Try to explain such a situation, saying in what way you felt competent (question #53).

As you can understand, the closed-ended questions were aimed at collecting the quantitative data in order to respond to the first research question. Instead,

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


the open-ended ones were aimed at collecting qualitative data in order to respond to the second and third research question. The questionnaire areas

The questionnaires were structured in several areas focused on the different teaching strategies. The Table 3 shows the questionnaires’ areas and sectors. area

sector

!"#$%&'()*+,#+"(&"*)

Lesson significance Word use ICT use Time management Lesson aims Guided discussion Group work Role playing Problem based learning Educational contract Concept maps

-')+%")$.#**,//0)

Use of space Relationships Competences Planning methods

1**"**0"'+)

Formative assessment Assessment aims Competence assessment Assessment methods Summative assessment

Table 3. Questionnaire areas

The questionnaires were administered online through the software Limesurvey. The teachers could fill in the questionnaire autonomously, whereas the students filled in the questionnaire in the computer lab of each school, led by a member of the research team. The focus group In order to collect further signifcant qualitative data about the competence idea, we carried out 46 focus groups also, 2 for each school involved: one with second class students and one with fourth class students. We chose 8 students at random from all second classes and 8 students from all fourth classes of each school. The leading questions are as follows: – In your class, do your teachers use teaching strategies focused more on the theory or the practice?

Davide Parmigiani | Valentina Pennazio | Andrea Traverso

15


– What does it mean to be competent? – Will the knowledge and the skills that you learn at school be useful outside the school? – Will the knowledge and the skills that you learn at school be useful in the labour market? – Regarding what you have said so far, what should your teachers do? 

16



Those questions were directed to debate and clarify even further the ideas of competence of students but they are not connected to the topic of this paper.

3. Data analysis 3.1 Quantitative data

The quantitative data were analysed with the software Spss. In this paper, we want to point out to the questions related to the sector “ICT use” included in the area named “Teaching strategies”. The teacher questionnaire included the following two questions:

– question #17: during the school year, I use ICT to manage my lessons  – question #18: during the school year, I use the web to manage my lessons.  60,00

53,35

52,11

50,00 40,00

33,00

30,00

22,83

20,00 10,00

20,10

8,19

6,70

3,72

0,00 17

18 never

sometimes

often

always

Figure 3. Frequencies of the questions on the use of ICT and web (teacher questionnaire)

As you can see, ICT are used “often” and “always” by 41,19% of teachers whereas 23,82% of teachers use the web for their lessons. We can state a large number of teachers use ICT but few teachers use the web. Those data are only partially confirmed by the students. In fact, only 10,88% of the students indicate that “many” or “all of their teachers” use ICT and 8,73% of the students indicate that their teachers use the web during the lessons.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


70,00

64,27

60,00

49,26

50,00

42,01

40,00 30,00

24,85

20,00

9,79

10,00

7,78 1,09

0,95

0,00 17 none of my teachers

18 some of my teachers

many of my teachers

17 all my teachers

Figure 4. Frequencies of the questions on the use of ICT and web (student questionnaire)

It is important to underline that 83,63% of teachers agree (“totally” or “partially”) on the use of ICT in the classroom (M = 4,19; SD = .772) and 69,63% agree on the use of the web (M = 3,82; SD = .918). ) 50,00 45,00 40,00 35,00 30,00 25,00 20,00 15,00 10,00 5,00 0,00

46,42

45,66 37,97

23,21

21,23 13,90 7,90 0,25

2,23

1,23 17

18 II partially partially didagree disagree

I totally disagree I partially agree

neither agree nor disagree

I totally agree

Figure 5. Frequencies of the questions on the agreement of the use of ICT and web (teacher questionnaire)

Likewise, 81,34% of students agree on the use of ICT (M = 4,24; SD = .966) and 77,18% agree on the use of web in the classroom (M = 4,09; SD = 1.1). 60,00

50,54

46,38

50,00 40,00

30,80

30,80

30,00 20,00 10,00

12,93 2,49

12,61 4,42

3,23

5,79

0,00 17

18

I totally disagree

I partially disagree

I partially agree

I totally agree

neither agree nor disagree

Figure 6. Frequencies of the questions on the agreement of the use of ICT and web (student questionnaire)

Davide Parmigiani | Valentina Pennazio | Andrea Traverso


18

Examining the differences between the schools through the analysis of teacher questionnaire, we can point out a significant difference between the vocational and the senior high schools for the question #18 (use of the web). The chi square (13,64, df = 3, p<.005) indicates that vocational school teachers use the web more during their lessons compared to the colleagues of the senior high schools. Likewise, the chi square (18,8, df = 3, p<.005) shows that technical school teachers use the web more compared to the colleagues of the senior high schools. These data are confirmed by ANOVA analysis that indicates a value of F(2,400) = 10,34 with p < .001. The post-hoc analysis conducted with Bonferroni method specifies that the difference between senior high schools (M = 1.84) and vocational ones (M = 2.13) is significant (.287*, p < .05). As for the difference between senior high and technical schools (M = 2.22; .372*, p < .05). In addition, we can observe that the level of the occurrences for high rates (3 = “often” and 4 = “always”) for the use of the web (question #18) are concentrated in the technical (46,87%) and vocational (30,21%) schools compared to the percentage for the senior high schools (22,92%). We must consider that the expected percentage should be similar to the sample: 40,94% for the senior high schools; 34,86% for the technical schools and 24,20% for the vocational schools. These data indicate that the web is mostly used in the technical and vocational schools, even if included in an overall situation where the use of the web is generally low. 3.2 Qualitative data

On the one hand, the quantitative data indicate the agreement on the use of web and ICT as teaching strategies and, on the other hand, the real use in the everyday classroom activities. Instead, the qualitative data allow us to focus our attention on role played by web and ICT in developing the idea of competence by teachers and students. The qualitative data arise from the analysis of the texts written by the students in answering to the open-ended question #53 (questionnaire for students) and by the teachers for the questions #62 and #63 (questionnaire for teachers). The data have been analysed with the software T-LAB. First of all, we found many references to web and ICT in the students’ responses whereas the teachers used such words very little. The words “technology” and “computer” do not appear while “Internet” is quoted only in the responses of three teachers (in both questions). For these reasons, we focus our attention on the analysis of student responses. Our analysis focuses on three reference words: “technology”, “internet” and “computer”. Our aim is to highlight the relationships of these terms with the ideas of learning and competence. In particular, the word “technology” can be represented by two groups of words: the core “future-building-competenceapplying” and the peripheral group, distant and contrasted, “class-lesson-participation-teaching-teacher-experience”. The two different groups show the distance between the students’ expectations for the competence development and the real application in the classroom. A student wrote: “I understood everything during a lesson with technology because the topic was interesting and I wasn’t worried about the assessment”.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


19

LEMMA

COEFF

C.E.(A)

C.E.(AB)

CHI!

BUILDING

0,16

52

4

54,524

FUTURE

0,096

36

2

18,509

APPLYING

0,081

51

2

12,074

DESIGNING

0,061

91

2

5,378

EXPERIMENT

0,058

100

2

4,627

COMPETENCES

0,056

106

2

4,201

SKILLS

0,052

123

2

3,231

NEED

0,047

37

1

3,602

Figure 7. Radialgraph of word “technology”

The analysis of the association of the second word “internet” highlights the two different possible conceptions of the web: a tool to use to look for information (using-inquiry-information-culture) and an opportunity to reflect and think about the future (debating-talking-participation-world-of-work-designing-computer). A student said: “I felt competent during a lesson of history. We had to use internet to look for significant information”. Another student quoted: “When we talk about the theatre, I feel competent because it’s my passion. I look for information about it with internet”. Another student: “Our English teacher told us to carry out inquiries using internet. I felt competent and proud because I could present the results to my schoolmates”.

Davide Parmigiani | Valentina Pennazio | Andrea Traverso


20

LEMMA

COEFF C.E.(A) C.E.(AB)

CHI!

USING

0,205

102

8

88,15

INQUIRY

0,134

59

4

36,368

INFORMING

0,125

68

4

30,691

CULTURE

0,113

21

2

26,644

DETAILED STUDYING

0,102

103

4

18,102

CLASS

0,093

494

8

9,666

ASKING

0,092

198

5

12,31

COMPETENT

0,089

1220

12

4,924

LESSON

0,087

1074

11

4,789

EXPLAINING

0,086

143

4

11,342

TASK

0,077

100

3

9,308

TEACHER

0,077

1120

10

2,286

BUILDING

0,072

52

2

8,734

FINDING OUT

0,072

13

1

10,363

CLARIFYING

0,071

53

2

8,508

TALKING

0,069

223

4

5,279

ASSESSING

0,069

127

3

6,385

CONCEPT

0,068

57

2

7,685

Figure 8. Radialgraph of word “internet”

The third focus is the word “computer”. This term shows a direct association with the labour market and the ability to “feel competent”, whereas it remains detached from school contexts, teacher and learning. Some students said: “I felt competent when we used the computer. I was able to carry out inquiries and presentations”; “I felt competent when we carried out group activities around the computer because we had to reason and explain our ideas and opinions”.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


21

LEMMA

COEFF C.E.(A)

C.E.(AB)

CHI!

LABOUR_MARKET

0,113

198

9

16,572

CARRYING OUT

0,113

245

10

15,317

USING

0,105

102

6

16,447

ENGAGING

0,097

30

3

17,077

COMPETENT

0,096

1220

19

0,815

ORGANIZING

0,095

171

7

10,422

LESSON

0,092

1074

17

0,802

MOTIVATION

0,089

99

5

10,628

LEARNING

0,086

207

7

7,034

TALKING

0,083

223

7

5,92

PLANNING

0,083

41

3

11,159

CHANGING

0,077

21

2

10,633

INVOLVEMENT

0,076

434

9

2,092

EXPLANATION

0,075

200

6

4,468

DESIGNING

0,074

91

4

6,594

Figure 9. Radialgraph of word “computer”

4. Discussion and conclusion

We must underline some key points after the data analysis in order to explain the relationship between web, ICT and the development of the idea of competence perceived by teachers and students. From a quantitative point of view, both teachers and students consider ICT as an important factor to carry out meaningful lessons in the classroom but teachers quote a bigger use whereas few students declare that “some of their teachers” use ICT in the classroom: why can we find such difference? Probably, some

Davide Parmigiani | Valentina Pennazio | Andrea Traverso


22

teachers use ICT in directive ways (presenting data or showing pictures) so students see these lessons as “verbal” even if teachers use ICT. The web is considered and used a little bit less then ICT by the teachers instead the students would use it more frequently; probably the teachers have some difficulties in managing lessons with internet both from a technical point of view (lack of wifi connection) and from a didactical perspective. The most important issue is as follows: why would teachers like to use ICT and web during their lessons but they cannot? The answers might be several: lack of devices; lack of flexibility of the school organization (time spent and space in particular); lack of technological skills by the teachers. The key consequence is the lack of relationship between web and ICT and the development of competence. In fact, the qualitative data underline that the words “technology” and “computer” are close to the idea of competence, explained by the terms like “future”, “building”, “applying”, “labour market” but, unfortunately, they are still badly related to the world of school. Curiously, the word “internet” is seen by the students as a tool to look for useful (or interesting) information but it is not correlated either with the world of school or with the labour market. In any case, the most important issue is how to connect the use of web and ICT with the competence in a meaningful way. This research indicates that the simple use of tools or devices is not enough to clarify to the students the role of web and ICT in developing their competences. It is necessary: – to apply the informal student inquiry skills inside the instructional experiences carried out at school in order to plan activities connected to the real world; – to allow students to create multimedia artifacts with various kinds of devices; – to start from problem situations but to structure consistent and situated knowledge and skills.

Summarizing, technology has to be “embedded” in the educational actions because, in this way, students can catch the sense of the competence connected to the use of web and ICT. Otherwise, technology is seen only like a tool to do something. At the moment, the most suitable strategy seems the episodes of situated learning (Rivoltella, 2013). Such a teaching method allows teachers to focus their attention on the learning environment where web and ICT play the role of enhancing the students’ skills in managing information, building an multimedia artifact that can present their ideas, debating about the findings of their inquiries. In addition, this method is quick enough to allow teachers to identify the pros and cons of the instructional actions through frequent feedback. So they are able to modify, assess and implement their own lesson plans. Ultimately, web and ICT can become key factors for the development of the competences if technology acts inside the learning environment, in order to meet the student informal competences with the formal paths of school learning, through a correct use of the mobile devices. In this way, the knowledge of a specific subject can dialogue with the transversal competences, resulting in competences for the labour market and the life.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


References ACRL (2000). Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Chicago: American Library Association. Antonietti, A. (2003). Contesti di sviluppo-apprendimento come scenari di scuola. In C. Scurati (Ed.), Infanzia scenari di scuola (pp. 31-56). Brescia: La Scuola. Baldascino, R. (2008). Ambienti integrati di apprendimento: l’ambiente fisico e la sua influenza. Rivista dell’istruzione, 2, 90-96. Benson, P.J. (1997). Problems in picturing text: A study of visual/verbal problem solving. Technical Communication Quarterly, 6(2), 141-160. Bonaiuti, G. (2009). Didattica attiva con la LIM. Trento: Erickson. Branton, B. (1999). Visual literacy literature review. (Retrieved april 2011 from http://vicu.utoronto.ca/staff/branton/litreview.html). Buckingham, D. (2006). Media Education. Milano: Feltrinelli. Buckingham, D. (2007). Digital Media Literacies: Rethinking Media Education in the Age of Internet. Research in Comparative and International Education, 2(1), 43-45. Cacciamani, S., & Giannandrea, L. (2004). La classe come comunità di apprendimento. Roma: Carocci. Calvani, A., Fini, A., & Ranieri, M. (Eds.) (2011). Valutare la competenza digitale. Trento: Erickson. Carletti, A., & Varani, A. (Eds.) (2007). Ambienti di apprendimento e nuove tecnologie. Nuove applicazioni della didattica costruttivistica nella scuola. Trento: Erickson. Castoldi, M. (2009). Valutare le competenze. Percorsi e strumenti. Roma: Carocci. Castoldi, M. (2011). Progettare per competenze. Percorsi e strumenti. Roma: Carocci. Caviglia, F., & Ferraris, M. (2008). Rete e apprendimento: utenti esperti di fronte a un problema informativo. In A. Andronico, T. Roselli, & V. Rossano (Eds.), Atti DIdamatica 2008Informatica per la Didattica, Parte II (pp. 955-959). Bari: Laterza. Jenkins, H., Purushotma, R., Weigel, M., & Robinson, A. (2010). Culture partecipative e competenze digitali. Media education per il XXI secolo. Milano: Guerini. Murnane, R.J., & Levy F. (2001). Key Competencies Critical to Economic Success. In D. Rychen, & L. Salganik (Eds.), Defining and Selecting Key Competencies. Kirkland, WA: Hogrefe & Huber Publishers. Midoro, V. (2007). Quale alfabetizzazione per la società della conoscenza? TD-Tecnologie Didattiche, 2, 47-54. Parmigiani, D. (2009). Tecnologie di gruppo. Collaborare in classe con i media. Trento: Erickson. Parmigiani, D., & Pennazio, V. (2012a). Web e tecnologie 2.0 a scuola: strategie di apprendimento formali ed informali. TD Tecnologie Didattiche, 20 (2), 99-104. Parmigiani, D., & Pennazio, V. (2012b). Web and tool 2.0 affordances for formal and informal learning strategies: the role of the educational project. REM-Research on Education and Media, 4(1), 71-84. Pellerey, M. (2004). Le competenze individuali e il portfolio. Milano: La Nuova Italia. Pennazio, V., Traverso, A., & Parmigiani, D. (2012). Emerging digital profiles during 2.0 activities at school. What are the main learning environment features? REM - Research on Education and Media, 4(2), 187-204. Pennazio, V., Traverso, A., & Parmigiani, D. (2013). Digital literacies a scuola. I profili digitali degli studenti. TD – Tecnologie Didattiche, 21(1), 35-40. Ranieri, M. (2010). La competenza digitale: quali definizioni e politiche per conseguirla? In A. Calvani, A. Fini, & M. Ranieri (Eds.), La competenza digitale nella scuola. Trento: Erickson. Rivoltella, P.C. (2005). Media Education. Fondamenti didattici e prospettive di ricerca. Brescia: La Scuola. Rivoltella, P.C., & Ferrari, S. (Eds.) (2010). A scuola con i media digitali. Milano: Vita e Pensiero. Rivoltella, P.C. (2013). Fare didattica con gli EAS. Brescia: La Scuola.

Davide Parmigiani | Valentina Pennazio | Andrea Traverso

23


Ryken, D.S., & Salganik L.H. (Eds.) (2007). Agire le competenze chiave. Milano: FrancoAngeli. Salomon, G. (1996). Studying novel learning environments as pattern of change. In S. Vosniadu, E. De Corte, R. Glaser, & H. Mandl (Eds.), International perspectives on the psychological foundations of technology-based learning environments (pp. 363-377). New Jersey: Erlbaum. UNESCO (2008a). Towards Information Literacy Idicators. Parigi: UNESCO. Wileman, R.E. (1993). Visual communicating. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

24

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


Catholic University of Milan serena.triacca@unicatt.it

teaching

Education technologies and teacher’s professional development. The project Motus (Monitoring Tablet Utilization in School) run by Cremit

Catholic University of Milan piercesare.rivoltella@unicatt.it

25

Alessandra Carenzio

Catholic University of Milan alessandra.carenzio@unicatt.it

Serena Triacca

Pier Cesare Rivoltella

KEYWORDS: Teacher Training, Mobile Devices, Technology, School Innovation, Professional Development.

This article has been developed jointly by the authors. Alessandra Carenzio is the main researcher of the project; she wrote the sections 1. "To tech or not to tech": how school seems to run after technologies; 1.1 Fostering the introduction of technology in the classroom: "Scuola Digitale" and "Generazione Web"; 3. Teachers as innovators: main results in brief; 4. Final remarks; Serena Triacca took part in the project, monitoring teachers' classroom activities, she wrote the section 1.2 State of art: mobile devices and formal education; Pier Cesare Rivoltella is the scientific coordinator of the project, he wrote the section 2. A proposal for teacher's professional development: monitoring tablet utilization in school.

© Pensa MultiMedia Editore srl ISSN 2037-0830 (print) ISSN 2037-0849 (on line)

abstract

This paper intends to deepen the relationship between teachers’ professional development and technology as educational issue, through the discussion of a case study - the project Motus that combines research and intervention as core actions – focused on the introduction of mobile devices in nine Italian schools (located in Lombardy, Emilia and Marche). The outcome of the project, recently discussed, allows us to highlight some of the dynamics in teachers’ innovation-related practices, reducing the weight of many conversations that combine innovation with technology, bypassing the human context in which the innovation would find place and meaning. The aim of the project was, in fact, to give teachers the opportunity to undertake a course on the pedagogical use of the device, and enquiry into the main pedagogical problems and opportunities related to the use of mobile devices in the classroom, with the support of a research center and the competence of a team of researchers: teachers were at the same time the main actors of the research – as researchers – and the most important “object” of the study, within the methodological framework (Blec Model) developed by Cremit.


1. “To tech or not to tech”: how school seems to run after technologies

26

The idea of discussing the introduction of mobile devices in the classroom is not new, but it seems to be important especially considering three factors: the political intervention, that will be discussed in regard to Lombardy (the Region where our research has been conducted and framed), with some brief hints to the national context related to the introduction of technology in education (see the section 1.1); the current discussions against the technology market (that tries to introduce devices in the classroom with no pedagogical reasoning) or in favor of technology as a sort of miracle able to transform school; mobile learning and the need for changing the setting of the classroom itself with mobile devices (see the section 1.2). The process of massive introduction of mobile devices (like many other instruments), if not supported by high-quality training, monitoring processes and teacher’s support, mainly generates turbulence without results, running three risks: 1. it does not change traditional teaching practices, which simply remain the same with some slightly variation; 2. it considers the contribution of technology at the level of its simple technical use (that means for teachers, if you can put the device on, you can handle it, but it’s not just a matter of technical confidence); 3. it tends to mortify students’ participation, boring them and causing frustration, considering that, although not necessarily digitally wise, students perfectly know the potential of technologies as they use them in their informal learning, playing, socialization and private life.

The situation actually seems to feed a sort of run towards technologies, with no attention to education, teachers’ real practices and what concretely teachers will do with the brand-new devices they bought. It is a big lack. Motus, a one year research project that supported the introduction of tablet in nine secondary schools, lives in this environment. 1.1 Fostering the introduction of technology in the classroom: “Scuola Digitale” and “Generazione Web”

Schools are now playing in a favorable position, thanks to many financial lines supporting institutions to introduce devices and technologies in their contexts. As regards to schools, we refer to two recent actions (national and regional) that we will discuss in brief, as they are actually the flywheel for the research Motus chosen as a model for teacher professional development with and on technology: “Scuola Digitale” (Digital School) and “Generazione Web” (Web Generation). The “National Plan for Digital School”1 (“Scuola Digitale”) proposed by the Ministry of Education, University and Research, has been built with a clear goal: 1

For details, see http://www.scuola-digitale.it

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


to implement at a national level a number of actions aimed at the modernization of education, with the primary objective of combining the use of technology in educational institutions, through a review of the overall learning environment. It means that we do not only need technologies to innovate and change schools, but we need to “review”, as stated in the official document, the learning environment itself. It is actually an important clarification, a sort of improvement compared to previous actions in favor of school innovation2. The new attitude shown can be summed up in a positive shift from “topdown” initiatives (one for all, that means from the Ministry to schools with no clear understanding of local situations and past efforts), to a “bottom-up” model (from school, thanks to the development of a local and single project, to the Ministry that is called to evaluate the project and give its formal approval). The path to innovation starts from an idea generated by schools and it is supported by a group of Universities assisting schools with seminars, coaching, training sessions devoted to specific issues and other initiatives on a local/regional basis to personalize each route. It is a good start, but not sufficient for schools to be self-confident and on the run. As for the second action, “Web Generation Lombardy” was officially opened in June 2012, providing the amount of 8.7 million Euros to allow classrooms to adopt technological tools (about 25,000 students), to switch to digital texts (ebooks) with the support of a netbook or a tablet. The initiative, first of its kind in Italy on a regional basis, is aimed at students attending the first and third level of higher education, including vocational training. The announcement was a huge success – 280 schools have submitted valid and eligible applications – so much so that the budget has been sufficient to finance only 219 schools, with the additional funding of 4 million euros approved by the Government for further projects3. Although the initiative is reserved to those schools that have already approved the adoption of digital books, have adequate technological infrastructure – such as broadband and Wi-Fi – and have skilled teachers in the use of ICT tools, reality is not so clear and pure. Many teachers actually need for further educational support and training to use tablet and netbook, something that has to be taken in serious account as we will easily see in the following pages. In fact, as to the plan for Lombardy, some training has been provided: as we can read in the official documents, four occasions have been organized to discuss the main topics around technology in the classroom such as privacy and legal responsibility or how to use devices for non-technological teachers4.

2

3 4

Simona Ferrari (2013) has recently analyzed the main initiatives regarding technology at school implemented by the Ministry of Education and Research from 2000 to 2013, including the Programme “Scuola Digitale”, getting a deep view of the conceptual frame and the plus/minus of the all plans: “FOR TIC” (2002-2008), “Digiscuola” (2007-2008), “Scuola Digitale Lavagne” (20092010), “Scuola Digitale”. Facts and numbers can be found at the following URL: http://www.istruzione.lombardia.gov.it/protlo4354_12/ See URL: http://www.istruzione.lombardia.gov.it/milano/prot-mi17830_12/

Alessandra Carenzio | Serena Triacca | Pier Cesare Rivoltella

27


It is actually a good point in favor of the project, but still not enough to let teachers act properly and confidently with a tablet on their desk (12 hours training are not enough to be independent, especially because it is not only a technical issue). The sensation is that many schools have now a “Ferrari”, but they do not know how to drive it or where to go. 1.2 State of the art: mobile devices and formal education

28

As considered, thinking about technologies, mobile or not mobile, as a direct reason for innovation – especially in complex contexts such as school and with special professional profiles such as teachers – is very naive and somehow dangerous. What needs to be taken into account is related to educational models and methods of teaching with technologies. It does not mean that we have to forget paper and pencil or blackboards or face to face argumentation with our students, but we cannot make the mistake of using the same methods with a new device. As shown by experience and literature we need to balance and create a new agenda.

Mobile devices, in this case, help a learning which: – is not confined in school or in the classroom, as for Pachler’s Episodes of Situated Learning (Pachler, 2007); – welcomes a different organization of the time of learning, as for the Flipped Lesson model which takes origin in Freinet’s “retrospect lesson” (Freinet, 1978); – supports social strategies and social connections to learn better and deeper, as for Gee’s Groups of affinity (Gee, 2003); – lives on short learning occasions mainly based on production and creation of contents, as for Episodi di Apprendimento Situato5 (Rivoltella, 2013) and Hug’s Microlearning (Hug, 2007); – is progressive and continuous as for Gee’s Principle of Exploration (Gee, 2003); – is situated, as for Gee’s Principles of Situated Meaning, as «recent research suggests that people only really know what words mean and learn new ones when they can hook them to the sorts of experiences they refer to – that is, to the sorts of actions, images, or dialogues the words relate to» (Gee, 2005b, p. 36). And finally, it needs a new competence for teachers, related to the definition of the learning experience in at least three moments: – anticipatory, that means the preparation of the activity and the main stimuli (charts, book chapters, websites, grids for detailed analyses, pictures, videos); – operative (the learning moment itself, which is guided but social and regulated); – final (to let students know they have actually learned something and that what they learned has theoretical backgrounds useful to frame their present and future learning experience).

5

Episodio di Apprendimento Situato (EAS) can be translated as Episode of Situated Learning (ESL).

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


This process reminds of Laurillard’s design model (Laurillard, 2012) and of Cope and Kalantzis’ triad of Designed-Designing-Redesigned (Cope & Kalantzis, 2000).

2. A proposal for teacher’s professional development: Monitoring Tablet Utilization in School

The research Center CREMIT, based at the Catholic University of Milan, has run a one year research project to support the introduction of tablet in the classroom in nine secondary schools in Northern Italy (as indicated by “Web Generation”, first and third level of study). Schools were not selected by Cremit, but the other way round: schools chose Cremit to support their pedagogical change with the introduction of a mobile device and especially with the definition of a new pedagogical framework to work with in a “mobile” classroom. That is why the sample is not representative of the whole schools in the country, but the studied topics and methodology can be applied nationally.

The project was built up to meet the following goals: – collect data on the use of mobile devices and the representations of the device provided by students and teachers, not forgetting students’ family (questionnaire); – coach teachers in their use of the device at school (course on the use of mobile device on a pedagogical basis); – promote a cultural appropriation of technology providing educational support and professional development (course and seminars during the project); – study whether and under what conditions the device can become an instrument in ordinary teaching (video observation of the classroom, questionnaire, focus group); – provide opportunities for sharing experiences among teachers in different schools, through local seminars and online participation (group seminars and individual sessions with the coach). 2.1 Methodology The training model is inspired by the BLEC Model (Blended Learning, Etivities, Coaching6) developed by CREMIT during the last few years working alongside schools, and consists of three panels: 1. training (blended learning), which includes three seminars to share ideas and theories that have a direct impact on teaching and online environment to discuss, share and learn; 2. coaching, that means to accompany teachers with a familiar figure (the Coach in fact) that becomes a guide for methodology issues and for supporting the group; 6

See P.C. Rivoltella & M. Modenini (2012).

Alessandra Carenzio | Serena Triacca | Pier Cesare Rivoltella

29


3. a well-defined set of activities (E-tivities) suggested to the group, analyzed to return comments and guide practices in school (Salmon, 2002).

30

As can be easily understood, Motus is at the same time a training project and a research. First side, teachers met the coach three times for intensive training sessions and twice at school, and in between they practices what they built with the support of the coach, who was an expert both in mobile devices and in educational issues. Second, every single step was guided by researchers and teachers and the results of the different research levels (representations, uses, expectations, problems) were not discussed at the end of the project but during each training sessions and seminars: one seminar at the beginning to help teachers meet and familiarize with the coach; one seminar in the middle of the year to examine the data of the first questionnaires and discuss with the coach on the main line of their pedagogical work with the devices; one seminar at the end of the project to discuss the final data of the last questionnaire, the focus group and definition of a new path tailored to each school. The main results coming from the video observation in the classroom were discussed privately with teachers, during a dedicated session in each school, trying to get information, advices and hints to better their performance, get facts â&#x20AC;&#x153;watching things happeningâ&#x20AC;? and getting a sort of detached view on the way we act in the classroom. The coach in fact watched the whole videos and selected the most important details to be discussed with teachers, in order to make them useful for them. What

When

Why

Where

September

Meeting with the staff and the coach, launch of the research, training

University

November

Training and e-tivities

School

Middle-term seminar

January

Discussion of the results from the first research step and trainign session

University

Meeting with the coach

March

Training and discussion of the video observation

School

Final seminar

May

Discussion of data from research

University

Kick off meeting and seminar Meeting with the coach

Table 1. Training and coaching: timing and facts

The research instruments used are the following: â&#x20AC;&#x201C; an initial questionnaire to investigate uses and expectations, aimed at students, teachers and families (95 teachers, 100 parents, 276 students). The main areas have investigated the following topics: representations of the tablet (creative/passive, dangerous/harmless, useful/useless), with selected images to be chosen; expectations in terms of learning and motivation improvement; use of digital media in the classroom; use of the tablet; problems and opportunities as imagined by teachers before using the tablet; pedagogical issues as related to methodology, time and engagement of teachers and students7. Families were 7

See the section 3.1 for the discussion of main issues.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


engaged just in getting their representation of the device and on its impact on the classroom and students’ learning; – a focus group at the end of the school year, which involved students to explore issues related to teaching methods with tablet and their ideas on the presence of the tablet in the classroom (10 sessions with 8 students each). The focus group analyzed the following topics: use in the classroom, best practices and problems with the device, conducting a real trial to the device, asking the group to split in two categories (prosecution and defense, studying their strategy and writing sentences to be read in public to get a formal confrontation); – two sessions of classroom observation under the method of video research (Goldman, Pea, Barron & Derry, 2009), using the camera to observe the setting and a grid to order the findings got by researchers8. The grid was focused on the content of the lesson, the setting of the classroom, students’ attention, participation, interaction, the climate of the classroom, teachers’ attitude towards technology as an isolated tool or as an integrated facilitator of teaching and learning processes, teachers’ reaction to students and accidental problems during the lesson. Every researcher had to focus on the grid while recording the lesson in the classroom, to have a common ground for the analyses; – a final questionnaire for teachers to detect the perception of changes in practices, critical and positive remarks regarding their experience with the device (especially making a comparison between expectations and real practices and facts lived in day to day life with the device on their desk). Tool

Focus

Target

Initial questionnaire

Detect representations on the device, Teachers, students, analysis of pedagogical issues and parents methodology and of uses referred to technology

Video observation

Analysis of the use of the device in the classroom

Teachers, students

Final questionnaire

Customer satisfaction, comparison between starting expectations and real practices

Teachers

Focus group

Analysis of issues related to attention, Students participation and day to day uses, detected during the observation and from the initial questionnaire

Table 2. Research: instruments and focus

8

Referring to these sessions, in the first project year the research team has collaborated with the University of Salerno for the development of a software based on Kinect Technology in order to map teacher’s movement and to quantify it, as to identify recurrent patterns related to some actions. «The recording module converts Kinect inputs to images in JPG format and records them on the hard drive with user-selectable resolution and frame rate according to estimated recording time». The software, called MOTUS after the project, will be in fact used in the second year of MOTUS (2013/2014). To better deepen the main technical issues, see S. Ferrari, N. Carlomagno, P.A. Di Tore, S. Di Tore & P.C. Rivoltella (2012).

Alessandra Carenzio | Serena Triacca | Pier Cesare Rivoltella

31


3. Teachers as innovators: main results in brief

32

In the following pages we will discuss some of the main findings related to teachers, as the main focus of the paper is teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; professional development, using Motus as a stimulus to talk about technology in school and what to do to foster a pedagogical change. Data refers to questionnaires, focus group and video observation in the classroom, we will specify to which research tool data and results refer in footnotes. The results are deeply linked to the BLEC model, as every tool used with teachers is part of a serious and planned partnership based: on the relationship with the coach, as someone helpful and close to the school environment (he/she is not a technician); on the e-tivities, where teachers could easily find the direct link between research topics and practice; on the training, as many ideas could arise around the data discussed and taken from the questionnaire, as well as the observation in the classroom. Every single action (research and training) was combined in the model to get in and out of the classroom, to move something from school to research and at the same time to put something from research to teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; practice in the classroom, using a sort of two way ticket to ride. 3.1 Teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; representations and activities in the classroom: mobile technology as a toolbox First of all, the initial questionnaire asked teachers to chose an image describing their idea of technologies (toolbox, copy&paste, a creative mind, a prohibition sign, a bad intruder coming from the computer screen, a connected world).

!

Figure 1. Metaphores to talk about mobile devices

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


Teachers represent the device with the metaphors of a toolbox9 (chosen by 30.5% of teachers) and of a “creative mind” (28.1%). The first relies on the idea that the tablet is a great aggregator of tools, putting together useful apps for education and recreation, camera, voice recorder, networks, writing, Internet. All you need to have at school. The second refers to the multi-language that can encourage greater creativity and the expression of students’ talents in the Multiliteracy age (Cope & Kalantzis, 2009). These images are very current in the work of teachers, as observed in the classroom, both in teachers’ description of classroom activities (what they do) and in students’ reports collected during the focus group sessions (what students say their teachers do). In fact, as related to teachers’ activities with the tablet, they reflect past occupations normally done with other technologies: the use of presentations and the use of technology to write papers. Data seem to confirm, on the one hand, how often the use of a new tool assumes a previously experienced logic, at least in the choice of the activities (the tablet as a screen). In fact, according to the grid used to observe lessons with the tablet, visual and verbal intelligence still seem to be active and stimulated, as noted observing the work in the classroom. On the other hand, we noticed an increase in the use of Internet to do research and an increase in group work, as to show that a mobile device is actually a social and relational environment that forces people to connect, share and do things together. If we look at Figure 2, we have to remark the following changes: Web search obtained 24% in the initial questionnaire, while online communication obtained 3% in the initial questionnaire. Data shown refer to the final questionnaire, delivered at the end of the project Motus.

Figure 2. Teachers’ use of the device in the classroom

9

Metaphors can be analyzed thanks to a system of axes intersecting two main aspects: the one of production/use (that means what you do with technology as active of passive user) and the one of control/freedom (that means the attitude towards technology in the classroom).

Alessandra Carenzio | Serena Triacca | Pier Cesare Rivoltella

33


3.2 A gate to participation and communication: the emotional side of technology

34

Teachers consider the device as a potential tool for increasing students’ interest in staying at school (47.8%) and in participation (46.7%). We point out that the increase in classroom participation is significant and it is described by students too. We wonder, however, if it depends on the tablet, or on the simple fact that the instrument is framed within different activities compared to the usual ones. If students basically listen to teacher’s talk, they are certainly more involved working with mates in preparing a presentation or editing a video. But does it depend on the fact that they work with classmates in small groups, putting their skills at the disposal of the other, or on the use of an app or a camera (if enabled)? Maybe both. The device seems to affect emotional and relational processes. In this sense, it appears to activate closeness between student and teacher and among the students themselves (80.8% of students, as referred thanks to students’ questionnaire and then during focus group). Students in fact indicate a robust increase in communication, not only among peers but also between teachers and students: teachers who respond also via e-mail and communicate with them outside the classroom are significant for students10 (and this seems to affect their performance at school and their well-being). 3.3 Problems to face: students’ attention, setting management and technical issues The problematic features encountered by teachers are related to technical issues and the management of the classroom/students, with substantive equality between the problem of the applicability of tablet functions and teachers’ working time. Technical issues

28.35%

The device as a fixed presence in the classroom Apps difficult to use in my lesson Fragile competences in the use of ICT and mobile devices Fragile competences in methodology related to mobile devices Time needed to prepare lessons Regulation of the classroom

3.94% 17.32% 6.30% 3.94% 17.32% 22.83%

Figure 3. Problems faced by teachers

10 This aspect is taken from the focus group session, where students argued that the device has helped them in being closer to teachers.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


We can highlight an important observation: mobile device is a benefit especially when used to work together, because it promotes communication, although at the same time it is distracting. Communication is based on talking and confronting, so it means chaos and loud voices around the classroom. Is it a problem for teacher’s management of the classroom? Yes, under the traditional notion of silence as a synonymous of attention and talking as doing something else distracting students. That means that during the training we should deepen this aspect and encourage collaborative learning, sharing, social costruction of knowledge and activities that enable students’ participation. As suggested by a student, it also depends on who uses the device, on his intention: “if you want to be distracted you simply need a piece of paper and a pen, to play the old and famous naval battle game” (or at least a window to look at with dreaming glance)11. Certainly we are facing a stage of transition, we experience difficult tasks destined to be a routine in few years and somehow essential. In Figure 4, we underline on the contrary the main benefits as detected during the final questionnaire. Increase of students’ participation Increase of students’ interest during lessons

11.88% 6.88%

Improvement of the methodology

10.00%

Better undestanding of concept/lessons

9.38%

Better organisation of the activities

9.38%

Individualization of the lesson

9.38%

Possibility to experiment something new (teachers) Better competences in the use of technologies (teachers)

28.12% 15.00%

Figure 4. Benefits faced by teachers

4. Final remarks

As taken from the research experience and the training, as combined elements of the project Motus, the contrast between Old and New, Culture and Technology, Paper and Digital, is still very strong in our classroom settings and this often leads to attitudes of resistance or explicit rejection. A first element in favor of technologies when well introduced (“well” here means with a supporting action and not just thrown from the main door) is related to the movement of this inertia: teachers are brought into play, they accepted the challenge. Of course, this does not delete critical elements, which refer in particular to two aspects. The first has to do with time. Research and teaching practices of expert teachers have set two unwritten laws: learning deep (with or without technology) re11 This idea is taken from the trial to the tablet, during the focus group session.

Alessandra Carenzio | Serena Triacca | Pier Cesare Rivoltella

35


36

quires a lot more time to prepare lessons and also a lot more time in the classroom. Specifically, if I want to select resources for my students to surf the web, if I want to prepare a lesson storyboard, I need much more time as if I do lectures using my materials, accumulated over the years in my teacher portfolio. Similarly, if I want my students to learn through discovery, whether my teaching is meant to be active and involves the production and collaboration of students, I imagine it to need more time than the “chalk and talk” traditional way. Teachers should say: “Check your time, at home and in the classroom! If you need more time, you’re doing a good job”. The second aspect relates to the primacy recognized, even with mobile devices, to the visual and verbal intelligence, to quote Gardner (1999). This means that, even with mobile devices, talking and supporting teacher’s explanation with presentations continue to be the core business. A logic of full exploitation of technology potentials, however, should encourage as much as possible a “flipped” logic in which finding and a first appropriation of information is done at home by the student, while on the contrary the time of the lesson should be released for the problem solving (individual and collaborative), to discussion, laboratory activities, experience. This produces a second indication for teachers: “Check your initiative in the classroom! If you realize you talk less, you’re doing a good job”. These two problems – time and teacher’s work – are probably the two crucial points on which schools willing to continue their innovation process will have to work out in the future, especially as innovation starts from teachers’ methods and their professional development. The idea that we want to stress takes the form of a triangulation, replacing the linear, deterministic idea on which we do create innovation simply crossing technology and school. On the contrary we need to work on teacher’s practices. The case of Motus supports this indication: when the tablet has joined the classroom as new tool within established practices, very little has changed in terms of teacher’s and student’s satisfaction, reducing it to a “board” to take notes on. Instead, when the cycle of teaching moved with new patterns and new matrices, then a tablet (that means technology) has led to innovation. Not as technology, but as an element that has undermined the usual teaching practices. Mobile devices are in fact a sort of formal “excuse” to re-define and adjust teacher’s practices and methods, as learning processes are too complex and too stratified to change simply thanks to the brute introduction of technologies. Motus helped this concerns and suggestions to come out thanks to the complexity of the model: helping teachers to think and reflect on their practices while in action, and not at the end of the training session, when we usually focus on the last concept discussed and when trainers are no more at teachers’ disposal (blended learning and e-tivities during the project); supporting teachers reflection on pedagogical issues emerged along and thanks to the research (professional development is helped also when I have instruments to ask questions); getting new suggestions on how to act in the classroom thanks to the help of a coach who knows the environment, the resourses and the problems teachers usually face.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


References Ardizzone, P., & Rivoltella, P. C. (2008). Media e tecnologie per la didattica. Milano: Vita e Pensiero. Carenzio, A. (2012). Mobile devices e regolazione didattica: l’insegnante “punteggiatore”. In M. Sibilio (Ed.), Traiettorie non lineari della ricerca. Nuovi scenari interdisciplinari. San Cesario di Lecce: Pensa. Carenzio, A. (2012). Mídia e Escola: Representação dos professores e reflexão para uma nova formação em midia-educação. In M. Fantin, & P. C. Rivoltella (Eds.), Cultura digital e Escola. Pesquisa e formação de professores. Campinas: Papirus. Cavalli, A., & Argentin, G. (Eds.) (2010). Gli insegnanti italiani: come cambia il modo di fare scuola. Terza indagine dell’Istituto IARD sulle condizioni di vita e di lavoro nella scuola italiana. Bologna: Il Mulino. Cope, B., & Kalantzis M. (2010). Multiliteracies. Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures. London: Routledge. Cope, B., & Kalantzis, M. (2009). "Multiliteracies". New Literacies, New Learning. Pedagogies. An International Journal, 4/3. Falcinelli, F. (Ed.) (2012). ICT in the classroom. REM - Research on Education and Media, 4(2). Ferrari S. (2013). Il programma “Scuola Digitale” del MIUR. In P.C. Rivoltella (Ed.), Fare didattica con gli EAS. Brescia: La Scuola. Ferrari, S., Carlomagno, N., Di Tore, P. A., Di Tore, S., & Rivoltella, P. C. (2013). How technologies in the classroom are modifying space and time management in teachers’experience? REM - Research on Education and Media, V (2). December. Freinet, C. (1978). La scuola del fare. Bergamo: Junior (edited by R. Eynard). Gardner, H. (1999). Sapere per comprendere. Milano: Feltrinelli. Gee, J.P. (2003). What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. New York: Palgrave/Macmillan. Gee, J.P. (2005). Why Video Games Are Good For Your Soul: Pleasure and Learning. Melbourne: Common Ground. Gee, J.P. (2005). Good video games and good learning. PHI KAPPA PHI FORUM, 85(2). (Retrieved from: http://www.jamespaulgee.com/sites/default/files/pub/GoodVideoGamesLearning.pdf). Goldamn, R., Pea, R., Barron, B., & Derry, S. J. (Eds.) (2009). Videoricerca nei contesti di apprendimento. Milano: Raffaello Cortina. Gordon, D. T. (2000), The digital classroom: how technology is changing the way we teach and learn. Cambridge: Harvard Education Letter. Hug, T. (Ed.) (2007). Didactics of Microlearning. Concepts, Discourses and Examples. Minster: Waxmann. Jenkins, H. (2007). Cultura partecipativa. Milano: Apogeo. Jenkins, H. (2010). Culture partecipative e competenze digitali. Media Education per il XXI secolo. Milano: Guerini e Associati (Italian Translation edited by P. Ferri e A. Marinelli). Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a Design Science. London: Routledge. Limone, P. (Ed.) (2012). Media, tecnologie e scuola. Per una nuova Cittadinanza digitale. Bari: Progedit. Mishra, P., &, Koehler, M. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6). (Retrieved from: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/downloaddoi=10.1.1.91.7990&rep=rep1&type=pdf&a=bi&pagenumber=1&w=100). Pachler, N. (Ed.) (2007). Mobile Learning. Towards a Research Agenda. London: Work based Learning for Education Professional Centre. (Retrieved from: http://goo.gl/IxEhD). Rivoltella, P. C., Garavaglia, A., Ferrari, S., & Ferri, P. (2012). Could Technology encourage

Alessandra Carenzio | Serena Triacca | Pier Cesare Rivoltella

37


Innovation in School? An overview of «Cl@ssi 2.0» Project in Lombardia (Italy). REM - Research on Education and Media, 4(2), 253-264. Rivoltella, P.C., & Modenini, M. (2012). La lavagna sul comodino. Milano: Vita e Pensiero. Rivoltella, P.C. (2013). Fare didattica con gli EAS. Brescia: La Scuola. Salmon, G. (2002). E-tivities: the key to active only learning. London: Kogan Page. Warschauer, M. (2006). Laptops and literacy in the wireless classroom. London: Teachers College Press. Warschauer, M. (2006). Going one-to-one. Educational Leadership, 63(4), 34-38.

38

Sitography Official website dedicated to the national plan Scuola Digitale. http://www.scuola-digitale.it Facts and numbers related to “Generazione Web Lombardia”. http://www.istruzione.lombardia.gov.it/protlo4354_12/ Website of the research centre CREMIT. http://www.cremit.it

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


Rosaria Pace

University of Foggia rosaria.pace@unifg.it

Anna Dipace

University of Bari “Aldo Moro” anna.dipace@unifg.it

Assunta di Matteo

teaching

On-site and online learning paths for an educational farm. Pedagogical perspectives for knowledge and social development

University of Foggia assunta.dimatteo@unifg.it

Francesco Contò

University of Foggia francesco.conto@unifg.it

KEYWORDS: Learning by Design, Transformative Pedagogy, Gamification, Assessment, Educational Farm.

This article has been developed jointly by the authors. Rosaria Pace wrote the sections 1. The context and the pedagogical value of the educational farm; 3. The learning paths, between on-site and online activities; 6. Ending notes; Anna Dipace wrote the sections 4. Farm Ludens; 5. Educational activities assessment; Francesco Contò and Assunta di Matteo wrote the section 2. Sant’Andrea Farm. Francesco Contò supervised the whole research design. This paper has been translated by Carolina Letizia Santiago Sota, University of Roma Tre (Italy).

© Pensa MultiMedia Editore srl ISSN 2037-0830 (print) ISSN 2037-0849 (on line)

abstract

The article try to demonstrate the pedagogical value of the Educational Farm as a resource for learning and as the epicentre for incisive social actions. The learning activities planned for the school visitors within the Learning by Design framework are described. Some experiencing, conceptualising, analysing and applying steps are planned, both online and on-site, crossing learning contexts. The proposal includes gamification-learning activities and specific assessment processes. Thus contributing to activate a transformative learning project.

39


1. The context and the pedagogical value of the educational farm Educational Farms represent a resource of great interest for the Apulia region. There are 118 Farms in the whole region, distributed in six provincial areas, as shown in the following map.

40

Figure 1. Map of the Education Farms in Puglia1

In an area with a strong agricultural tradition, although with peaks of high specialization, Educational Farms can represent at the same time manufacturing, tourism, educational and identitary resources. Identitary because there we can discover the diverse agricultural productions of the territory, but also typical flora of the countryside, specific elements of traditional and productive settlements, such as underground oil mills and furnishing constructions. Farms represent a production site in which are conducted activities related to cultivation, harvest and processing local agricultural products, with a strong attention for typical production, up to endangered species recovery actions. Educational farms are also a tourist attraction, that welcomes school groups, foreign visitors and fans of the rural landscape. In close connection with three of the aspects described above, there is an educational aim. Educational Farms can be a driving force for the territory and for the knowledge of local specialties, but also a platform for educational projects referring to themes of great relevance, such as nutrition education and 1

Source: http://www.regione.puglia.it/index.php?page=prg&id=17&opz=map

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


environmental protection, like other national experiences demonstrate (Canavari, 2011). Last January in Rome, the President of the Apulia Region – Nichi Vendola – signed the Decalogue “Zero Waste Paper” and stressed that the fight against waste – water, energy, food waste – is a positive struggle towards a new model of protection, organization and defense of basic goods (Source: press release Apulia Region2). Also, as part of the battle against food waste, our Region has already implemented a number of projects in collaboration between the Educational Farms network and some primary schools – as explained by the Regional Counselor for Agriculture, Fabrizio Nardoni. In these projects they try to raise awareness in favor of appropriate and balanced diets, food residues re-use (e.g. to make compost) and the selection of local and seasonal products. In addition, the Region is committed for the second year with the project “Education for healthy lifestyles – SBAM!”, which seeks the collaboration among five Regional Departments and the University of Foggia. The activities planned and developed in collaboration between educational agencies and the Educational Farms network in the area (directed by Angelica Anglani), might be like lifeblood for the territory from the pedagogical point of view by activating the following processes: – Design of courses that can be integrated to schools educational programs and curriculum. The educational experiences in the farm would allow to activate diverse learning forms, located and “enhanced”, beyond sporadic and subsidiary visits. The University could contribute with facilitation activities and co-designing these educational paths, with a methodological support. – Activation of agreements and development of actions in synergy with other local educational agencies, with museums specialized in local history and traditions, with libraries and archives managed by local authorities, with foundations, research centers and associations promoting the ancient regional culture. Regular meetings and dedicated online spaces could be some possible ways for continuous dialogue and collaboration. – Platforms to share good practices, even in the spaces created by the regional administration. These spaces could host learning modules and brief courses to be implemented in schools, online resources, a permanent community, social management and promotional activities. In this context, we do not deal with the management of an Educational Farm, nor its economic model is described – including public funding. What we try to demonstrate here is the pedagogical value of the Educational Farm as a resource for learning and as the epicentre for incisive social actions to be activated on the territory. A connotation that cannot be activated “by statute”, but that could be achieved through negotiated initiatives, planned and (re)designed with schools and cultural operators.

2

http://www.regione.puglia.it/index.php?page=pressregione&id=16826&opz=display

Rosaria Pace | Anna Dipace | Assunta di Matteo | Francesco Contò

41


2. Sant’Andrea Farm

2.1 Supporting actions for local and social development

42

Social farms and educational farms are developed as a result of a new concept of “rural” that can be understood as the interrelationship between agriculture, education and social services, protection and promotion of the environment and landscape. This multifunctional format in agriculture has had a noticeable importance during the programming period 2007-2013 as part of the RDP (Regional Development Program) and in validating the importance of the social dimension in agricultural practices and professional contexts, in order to promote life’s quality improvement. As indicated in the AXIS III – life quality and diversification of rural economy – of the National Strategic Plan for Rural Development (NSP) and the Rural Development Plans activities. DIMENSION 311 - “Non-agricultural activities diversification” • ACTION 2: Necessary investments for educational services supplies and population education, making emphasis in the school and in the student while in synergy with the national education system; • ACTION 3: Necessary investments to supply health services in benefit of vulnerable population groups. DIMENSION 312 - “Support for enterprises creation and development” • ACTION 3: services for local population, especially for young children and elderly people (creation of play areas, baby-sitting services, recreation centers for the elderly). DIMENSION 321 - “Basic services for rural population and economy” • ACTION 1: educational, cultural and recreational services that benefit young people in school age; • ACTION 2: social value services as social inclusion for elder people and people with disabilities (pet therapy, horticulture therapy, agrotherapy, art therapy, hippotherapy); • ACTION 3: childcare services (public playgrounds, “agrinidi” or agricultural kindergardens). DIMENSION 323 - “Conservation and upgrading rural heritage” • Recognize the worth of archaeological, architectural, historical and artistic patrimonies and also the landscape of rural areas in order to increase touristic appeal of such areas and to improve the population life’s quality. DIMENSION 331 - “Training and information” Table 1. Rural Development Policy Overview3

3

Re-elaborated from the website “The European Network for Rural Development (ENRD)”.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


The innovative combination of agriculture and social development, the so-called “Social Agriculture” had importance just if we consider EAFRD but also taking a look at the regional politics and cohesion politics (ERDF and ESF), in the National Strategic Reference Framework (Quadro Strategico Nazionale or QSN) some of the ten priorities stress the importance of Social Agriculture. It is necessary to take into account “Priority 1 – Improvement and development of human resources” that aims to support professionals’ training, which in our case could be referred to those working in the agricultural sector and also the third sector that pretend to innovate through the acquisition of skills in the Social Agriculture field and in the activities attached to it, such as the educational farm. It is interesting also “Priority 4 – Social inclusion and services for life quality and attractiveness of the region”, which aims to place value on the underutilized social capital in urban and rural areas by improving the quality and accessibility of social protection services and agreements between training and learning systems. The action is addressed at vulnerable people including people with disabilities and of course those that are not self-sufficient. Sant’Andrea Farm is located about 1.5 km from Bisceglie city downtown and Corato westwards, in Via Sant’Andrea. A multiple and varied natural resources’ presence, as well as landscapes, social, architectural and cultural resources characterize Bisceglie city and local production is partially used as a development tool, but in part it still has an unexpressed potential. The enterprise system is geographically widespread but not balanced from a sectorial diversification point of view and there is a firms’ tendency to act as a single unit. The area has a pronounced desruralization resulting in waiving land’s care and a clear deterioration of environment and landscape features, in order to build new urban areas. As can be seen in the State’s 6th General Census of Agriculture 2010, agriculture is territory’s economy leading sector; used land is primarily intended for permanent crops (olive trees, vines and fruit trees). In addition, it is noted that in the last decade, and aligned with regional happenings, there is an increase in organic farms. The diversification of agricultural activities, such as educational farm, are definitely territory’s showcase, of its welfare and its products’ as well as being a key strategy for agricultural enterprises as they can integrate both sources to stem the abandonment phenomenon in rural areas. Sant’Andrea Farm was admitted to be financed at DIMENSION 311 “Non-agricultural activities diversification”, ACTION 2: Investments for supplying educational services and population education, with a particular reference to the school context and in synergy with the national educational system, PSR Puglia 2007-2013, GAL Ponte LAMA. Sant'Andrea Farm promotes nutrition education pathways and promotes awareness and consumption of local dairy products. Moreover, among the educational activities proposed, there are paths of knowledge and experience of the famous cherry of Bisceglie, excellence product, not only for the natives. In 2003, in order to protect, enhance and extend the production and marketing of typical Bisceglie fruit (especially the cherry) has been formed the “Consortium for the protection and appreciation of Bisceglie cherry” which is also part of the OMSAT Company.

Rosaria Pace | Anna Dipace | Assunta di Matteo | Francesco Contò

43


3. The learning paths, between on-site and online activities

44

As shown, Sant’Andrea Farm incorporates heterogeneous elements and resources, which allow the activation of diversified and dynamic learning paths. They can be “physical” and foster strong experiential activities, linked to smells, sounds, colors, flavors, but also to the “handiness” of transformation processes. On the other hand, processes and events that evolve over time are described through the use of simulations and interactive materials. The instructional design developed during the pilot project is based on two key points, as described below: Language: multimodality as a framework for writing digital texts, through the support of guidelines for teachers and students. A useful scientific and operational reference comes from the Digital Publishing field (Arola, Shepard & Ball, 2014) and from learning activities related to the use of digital media, that Cheryl E. Ball calls “editorial pedagogy”. Learning framework: transformative pedagogy (McGregor, 2008; Mezirow, 1978, 1981, 1991; O’Sullivan, 2002; Kalantzis & Cope, 2005, 2010), which emphasizes the personal and cultural growth of the learner through a path made of further steps, from known areas to new areas within a dynamic learning process that leads to an expansion of knowledge. Following Steven Hodge (2014) we will consider here transformative learning and practice-based learning theories as complementary, focusing them respectively on the individual in context and on practice.

The learning actions were planned following the Learning by Design (LbD) model, particularly suitable for the design of complex learning activities, distributed within different contexts. The model: – allows flexible scheduling, with negotiable and customizable activities that can be integrated, combined and adapted for different situations and learning goals; – provides activities that invite the learner to perform actions and processes of different type: practice, meta-reflection, classification, processing etc.; – foster the teacher and learner engagement in different roles: assessing, designing, creating etc.; – supports reading and writing with digital language; – allows teacher to recognize actions and principles organized in a systematic way.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


The learning paths were designed following two different levels: Macro-level learning goals – To enhance the educational farm as a node for transformative learning processes. – To integrate situated learning with ubiquitous access for educational resources.

Micro-level learning goals – To learn the elements of proper nutrition. – To analyze the food waste phenomenon. – To know products’ seasonality, animal and plant biodiversity. – To learn about nutritional and health qualities of local production. – To discover food production linked to the region (e.g. Bisceglie cherry). – To know the different transformative processes related to some local products (oil, wine, bread, cheese, sauce). Table 2. Macro and micro learning goals

The learning intervention designed fits the “seven affordance” for the twenty-first century learning, the so called “New Learning” (Kalantzis, Cope, 2012), that takes place in the digital era. Each affordance relates to a pedagogical choice, whose features are described in the following Table: !"#$%"&'()(*$&++,'-&(."/$

0"-&*,*).&%$.1,)."/$+,'$ 23$4(-'"&$+&'5$

!"#$%#&'%() *+,-.#./) !" #$%&'(')" $*+$$,-" %" ,$.('$," 62" 1&27(,$" ,(..$&$'/" -(/$-" .2&" #$%&'(')" 809-$90-:" /(0$" %'," -1%+$" .2&" /$%+3(')" %'," $*/$',-" 4(/3('" -+322#-:" .%&0-" $/+5;" %'," %'" $*/$',$," /(0$" /2" ,(..$&$'/"/(0$"%',"1#%+$-5" ,(-+27$&" %'," 9',$&-/%'," '$4" /3$0$-:" 2<=$+/-:" +2'/$*/-5" 01&#2+) 3.'45+6/+) 7,8#./) !" >,2(')?" <$+20$-" %'" 62" +&$%/$:" /2" #22@" .2&" -2#9/(2'-:" /2" 1&212-$" $--$'/(%#"+2',(/(2'"2."/3$"#$%&'(')"1&2+$--5"" (''27%/(2':" /2" 1&$-$'/" %+/(2'-" %'," $0<$,,$," 1&2+$--$-"('/2"/3$"#$%&'(')"+29&-$5" 7%5&#9'6,5) *+,-.#./) !" /3$" +&2--A0$,(%" 62",(-+27$&"/3$0$-"%',"+2'+$1/-"%+&2--",(..$&$'/" ('.2&0%/(2':" /3$" 09#/(1#(+%/(2'" 2." %" 7%&($/B" 2." .2&0-" 2." $*1&$--(2':" #$%&'(')" 324" /2" ,$+2,$" %'," $'7(&2'0$'/-" %'," >/$*/?" &$-29&+$-" 19-3$-" $'+2,$"0$--%)$-"%+&2--"0$,(%5" /24%&,-"/3$"9-$"2."%"7$&B"&(+3"%',",$$1"#%')9%)$5" :+1%-(#2+) ;++6",18) <) ,(..$&$'/" %--$--0$'/" -B-/$0-" %##24" 02'(/2&(')" #$%&'(')" 1&2+$--" ('" %" +2'/('929-" 4%B:" /3&29)3" ,(..$&$'/" .$$,<%+@" .2&0%/-5"

62"0%/+3"1$$&:"-$#.A:"/$%+3$&"%--$--0$'/:"<9/"%#-2" -$#.A$..(+%+B" 0$+3%'(-0-" /3%/" +20$" .&20" /3$" +2009'(/B:" .&20" )%0(')" %+/(7(/($-" %'," .&20" $*1$&($'+(')"1&2+$--$-5""

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

62"-+%..2#,"#$%&'(')"4(/3"%+/(2'-"%-"+200$'/-"%'," &$.#$+/(2'" 2'" /3$(&" 24'" %'," 2/3$&-C" 42&@:" %#-2" /3&29)3" /3$" 0%'(19#%/(2':" +20<('%/(2'" %'," +&$%/(2'" 2." '$4" 0%/$&(%#-" /3%/" +%'" <$" 9-$," <B" 2/3$&-5"

?#@@+-+.&#,&+6) *+,-.#./) A" ,(..$&$'/" #$%&'(')" '$$,-" 62" 1#%'" +29&-$-" /3%/" ('+#9,$" /3$" 12--(<(#(/B" /2" %'," 2<=$+/(7$-" %&$" %+3($7$," /3&29)3" ,(..$&$'/" +322-$" <$/4$$'" -(0(#%&" %+/(2'-:" $7$'" ('" /3$" #$%&'(')"1%/3-5" +2'/$*/"2."+2002'"$,9+%/(2'%#")2%#-5"

!

Table 3. The “seven affordance” for the twenty-first century learning (Kalantzis & Cope, 2012) integrated and adapted for S. Andrea farm

Rosaria Pace | Anna Dipace | Assunta di Matteo | Francesco Contò

45


Below there is an image (Figure 2) related to the different elements that make up the learning resources ecosystem designed for the “holistic” experience we designed:

46

Figure 2. A hypothesis of learning ecosystem map for S. Andrea farm

Resource planning, paths and actions will lead to the creation of more extensive guidelines – printed and online –, containing a sort of open portfolio intended to farms, schools (combining it with the curriculum), museums, as part of the educational services planned by Region. This would be an open cross-media project to be implemented with educators and learners’ suggestions and proposals.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


!"#!$%!&'%&() -&./&) !"#$%&'("')*#"+,-.*' /*0),*)1%'2)-")' 3,"4/*5+*' ' ' ' 6789:;<=&' 0%%*%%>*,(?' *,+0+*>*,('

&!/) !"#$%&'("'-,()"5$#*' /*0),*)%'4-(@',*4' *A2*)-*,#*%' ' ' ' 6789:;<=&'>*0,-,+' >03-,+?'/*0),-,+' >0(*)-0/%?'B**5C0#3'

!"#$%#&'(#'!"#$%&'!(%)*!+%,)%!#-+#%,#&.#'!$&/! ,&()%*$0,)&!.)&&#.0#/!1,02!($*,",$%!.)&0#-0'3! /,'.)4#%'!&#1!5&)1"#/6#!#"#*#&0'7!1,02!02#! '8++)%0!)(!/,((#%#&0!09+#'!)(!%#')8%.#'!$&/! *$0#%,$"':! $ !"#$)#&*"#'!.%#$0#'!.)&&#.0,)&'!;#01##&!02#! <$"%#$/9!5&)1&=!$&/!&#1!,0#*'!0)!;#!"#$%&#/7! $''#''#'!"#$%&#%>'!+%,)%!5&)1"#/6#7!$.0,4$0#'! ()%*'!)(!/,$")68#!$&/!)+#&'!0)!&#1!#-+#%,#&.#'! $&/!"#$%&,&6!*$0#%,$"':!

*##+,%&() *##$.#$%*0!+,) !"#$%&'("'022/D' -,5*2*,5*,(/D'4@0('@0%' C**,'(0$+@(' ' ' ' 6789:;<=&'' 4)-(-,+?'#)*0(-,+'

'$!*0%1!+,) !"#$%&'("'0502(' 3,"4/*5+*'0,5' #020C-/-(-*%'B)">'",*' %*((-,+'("'0'5-BB*)*,(' ",*E' ' 6789:;<=&'(03-,+' /*0),-,+'-,("'(@*')*0/' /-B*'

!"#$%#&'(#'!"#$%&'!02%)862!$.0,4,0,#'!02$0! %#?8,%#!02#!$++",.$0,)&!)(!5&)1"#/6#!0)!%#$"@ 1)%"/!',08$0,)&'!$&/!+%);"#*'3!2#!$++",#'! 5&)1"#/6#!0)!&#1!',08$0,)&'!$&/!.)&0#-0':! ! !"#$)#&*"#'!,&4,0#'!0)!1%,0#7!0)!+%)/8.#! +%)A#.0'3!"#$/'!"#$%&#/!#"#*#&0'!,&!&#1! .)&0#-0':!

0*'%0)*&2)!"#+%'%0)+!*$&%&()03$.4(3)2%5'.1!$%&(6)'$!*0%&(6)53*$%&(' +789:;:<)<=8>) F"')*#"+,-.*'(@*' */*>*,(%'0,5'%-+,%' )*/0(*5'("'B""5'40%(*E'

+789:;:<)<=8>) F"'5-%#"G*)'()0-/%'"B' (@-%'2@*,">*,",' (@)"$+@'5-BB*)*,(' (D2*%'"B'0G0-/0C/*' )*%"$)#*%E'

+789:;:<)<=8>) F"'#)*0(*'0'2)*%*,(0(-",' 0C"$('B""5'40%(*?'B")' B0>-/-*%'0,5'%#@""/%' H-,5-G-5$0/'")'+)"$2' 4")3IE'

+789:;:<)<=8>) F"'5)04'$2' +$-5*/-,*%'B")'B""5' )*()-*G*E' F"'*/0C")0(*'0' #">>$,-#0(-",' 2)"J*#(')*/0(*5'("' B""5')*()-*G*E'

57?)=@)8A?;B;?;7C) F"'20)(-#-20(*'("'0' C)0-,%(")>-,+'%*%%-",E'' F"'C$-/5'0'C"A'"B' %#0((*)*5'(@"$+@(%E'' F"'#)*0(*'0,'",/-,*' F0+'K/"$5E'' F"'5*G*/"2'0'2@"("' #"//*#(-",E'

57?)=@)8A?;B;?;7C) F"')*05'0,5'5-%#$%%' ",/-,*')*%"$)#*%E'' F"'%*0)#@'40%(*'()0-/%' -,'D"$)'0)*0E' F"'>03*'0'/-C)0)D' )*%*0)#@E'' F"'-,(*)G-*4'0,'"/5*)' )*/0(-G*'H-,L2*)%",'")' ",/-,*IE' ' ' ' ' ' '

57?)=@)8A?;B;?;7C) F"'#)*0(*'0'2)"2"%0/' 0+0-,%('B""5'40%(*E' F"'2)*%*,('0'M,"L 40%(*'%2"(ME'

57?)=@)8A?;B;?;7C) =*('"B'0#(-G-(-*%' F"'5*%-+,'0'2)"J*#(' 0%'*5$#0(")&'B)">' 40%(*'("')*#D#/-,+E'

Rosaria Pace | Anna Dipace | Assunta di Matteo | Francesco Contò

47


'.&'!#04*+%5%&()

48

&*D%&() !"#$%&'("'$%*'(@*' *A2*)-*,(-0/'/*0),-,+' ("'5*B-,*'0,5'5)04'' "$(',*4'#",#*2(%N' -5*0%N'(@*>*%N' $,5*)%(0,5-,+%NG"#0C $/0)D?'0,5'-5*,(-BD-,+' ,$>*)0#D'0,5'/-(*)0#D' %()0(*+-*%E'''' ' ' 6789:;<=&'' #",#*2('0,5'-5*0%'("' 5*B-,*'-%%$*%'

03!.$%5%&() !"#$%&'("'+*,*)0/-.*' 0,5'%D,(@*%-.*' #",#*2(%'CD'/-,3-,+' 0,5'5)04-,+'(@*>' ("+*(@*)?'*A2/")-,+' (@*>'-,'5*2(@?' 5**2*,-,+' $,5*)%(0,5-,+'0,5' 2)0#(-#-,+'%3-//%E' ' ' 6789:;<=&'' 5**2'$,5*)%(0,5-,+'

!"#$ %#&'(#'! /,'.)4#%'! &#1! .)&.#+0'7! ,/#$'7! 02#*#'7! /#(,&,0,)&'! $&/! $.2,#4#'! $! /##+#%! 8&/#%'0$&/,&6!)(!.)&.#+0'7!02%)862!+%).#''#'!)(! '9&02#','7!$&$"9','!$&/!#"#*#&0'>!.)&&#.0,)&':!! ! $ $ !"#$ )#&*"#'! '0%8.08%#'! #/8.$0,)&$"! $.0,4,0,#'! ().8',&6! )&! .)&.#+0'! $&/! ,/#$'! 0)! 8&/#%'0$&/7! 29+)02#',B#'!'.#&$%,)'!$&/!2#"+'!0)!6#&#%$",B#:!

*&*+,5%&() E4&'0%.&*++,) !"#$%&'("'*A0>-,*'(@*' %()$#($)*?'B$,#(-",%'0,5' *BB*#(%'"B'0'%$CJ*#(E' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' 6789:;<=&'' B$,#(-",%'0,5' 0BB")50,#*%'

'$%0%'*++,) !"#$%&'("'5*%-+,' 2)"2*)'>*%%0+*%'B")' 5-BB*)*,('0$5-*,#*%?' 4-(@'>$/(-2/*' 2*)%2*#(-G*%'B")' 5-G*)%*'-,5-G-5$0/?' %"#-0/?'#$/($)0/'0,5' *,G-)",>*,(0/' #",5-(-",%E' ' ' 6789:;<=&'#)-(-#0/' 0,0/D%-%' '

!"#$ %#&'(#'! 8&/#%'0$&/'! 02#! +%$.0,.#'7! #-$*,&#'!12$0!02#!);A#.0!.$&!/)7!12$0!#((#.0'!,0! +%)/8.#'! ,&! 02#! #&4,%)&*#&03! "#$%&#%! $&$"9B#'! 02#!%#"#4$&.#7!02#!.$8'#!$&/!#((#.0!+%).#''!$&/! ,*+",.$0,)&'! ()%! +#%')&$"7! ').,$"7! .8"08%$"! $&/! #&4,%)&*#&0$"!.)&0#-0':! ! !"#$ )#&*"#'! .2))'#'! 02#! 0))"'7! ,&4,0#'! 0)! 8'#! /,((#%#&0! "$&68$6#'! $&/! 2#"+'! 0)! 8&/#%'0$&/! '+#.,(,.!(8&.0,)&':$

!"#+%'%0)0!*'3%&()03$.4(3)D.2!++%&(6)53*$%&()*&2)(4%2%&('$ +789:;:<)<=8>) F"'2)*%*,('0'O90%(*' +0//*)DP&',0>*%?' ->0+*%?'#",#*2(%?' C*@0G-")%')*/0(*5'("' (@*'2@*,">*,",E'

+789:;:<)<=8>) F"'#)*0(*'%#*,0)-"%' 0,5'-,5$#(-G*L 5*5$#(-G*')*0%",-,+E'

+789:;:<)<=8>) F"'$,5*)%(0,5'#0$%*%' 0,5'*BB*#(%'"B'B""5' 40%(*E'

+789:;:<)<=8>) F"'%$>>0)-.*' 40%(-,+'2)"#*%%E'

57?)=@)8A?;B;?;7C) F"'20)(-#-20(*'("'0' C)0-,%(")>'%*%%-",' 0C"$('0,0/"+-*%'0,5' >*(02@")%'",'(@*' %$CJ*#(E'' F"'#)*0(*'0'#",#*2($0/' >02%'")'%D,(@*%-%'",' (@*'(@*>*E'' F"'4)-(*'0'+/"%%0)D'' "B'40%(*E' F"'2/0D'4-(@'B""5' 40%(*'4")5%'0,5' #",#*2(%E'

57?)=@)8A?;B;?;7C) F"'#)*0(*'%#*,0)-"%&' *E+E'M-B'Q'4*)*'(@*' >0D")'"B'>D' >$,-#-20/-(DM?'' M0'4")/5'4-(@"$(' 40%(*'2/0,ME' '

57?)=@)8A?;B;?;7C) F"'>03*'0'2@"("'0/C$>?' ")'0'(*A(?'")'0'@D2*)(*A(?' ")'0'>$/(->*5-0'2)"J*#(' 4@*)*'(@*'#0$%*'0,5' (@*'*BB*#(%'"B'B""5' 40%(*'2)"#*%%'0)*' *A2/0-,*5E'

57?)=@)8A?;B;?;7C) F"'*A2/0-,'4-(@' >$/(->*5-0'B")>0(' B""5'40%(*'0,5' 40(*)?'*,*)+D'0,5' /0,5')*%"$)#*%' 40%(*E'

Table 4. Learning Plan, adapted and integrated for S. Andrea farm, starting from a model of Rita van Haren, Curriculum Resource Developer at Common Ground Publishing and member of the Learning by Design Project Group

The food waste issue – which is just an example – is analyzed through different resources and paths. The aim of the learning actions is the achievement of different skills: Experiential – to familiarize with themes and objects in their own context; Conceptual – to recognize terms and ideas related to the subject; Analytical – to identify cause-effect relationship and to distinguish key functions and roles of the elements related to the topic; Applied – to have the ability to reelaborate, even with complex textual forms (digital storytelling, comics, short audiovisual recordings) basic concepts and to be able to recognize the impact of these topics and elements in everyday life.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


Game activities were planned as part of the instructional design and they enhance aspects of students’ engagement, but mostly they constitute one of the richest learning resources included in the learning plan for S. Andrea farm.

4. Farm Ludens

Fostering effective interventions to promote childhood’s nutritional well-being, it is necessary to consider the different changing scenarios and education innovation that the school is going through, this in order to propose strategic actions centered on the student. Teaching technologies represent a valuable resource, an opportunity not to be missed but use to change in a deeper way learning modalities, to develop new cognitive skills and to expand the population share that has access to education. The school today is undergoing a major change that puts it as the protagonist of new teaching experiments and innovation proposals where digital technologies and strategies are integrated to media literacies in order to promote significant learning by responding to training needs of a new generation of students. David W. Shaffer and Mitche Resnick (1999) found that there are four kinds of authentic learning: 1. learning that is personally meaningful to the learner; 2. learning that relates to the real-world outside school; 3. learning that provides an opportunity to think in the modes of a particular discipline; 4. learning where the means of assessment reflect the learning process.

These scholars argue about the important value of achieving all of these to support engagement, learning and deep understanding. The ongoing changes affect not only the students, but also to the spaces, tools, languages and teaching methodologies that the teacher has in order to project the educational intervention. As Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown (2011) say, «the educational needs of the 21st century pose a number of serious problems for current educational practices. First and foremost, we see the 21st century as a time that is characterized by constant change. Educational practices that focus on the transfer of static knowledge simply cannot keep up with the rapid rate of change. Practices that focus on adaptation or reaction to change fare better, but are still finding themselves outpaced by an environment that requires content to be updated almost as fast as it can be taught. What is required to succeed in education is a theory that is responsive to the context of constant flux, while at the same time is grounded in a theory of learning». In the ubiquitous learning context, such as new learning affordances, the design of learning activities that moves outside the classroom is becoming a wellestablished teaching practice as it seems to promote significant learning through direct experience (Braund & Reiss, 2006). Science learning sites as museums, science centers, zoos and botanic gardens (Amos & Reiss, 2006) can be considered in a within a well-structured teaching program, as these places can promote learning of specific topics, particularly scientific subjects.

Rosaria Pace | Anna Dipace | Assunta di Matteo | Francesco Contò

49


50

New occasions occur in out-of-school environments because activities are less inhibited by school bells, times and spaces. Work can be more extensive and exhaustive and encourage more autonomy for learners. There are chances for learners to take responsibility for themselves and others, by working in teams and for active consideration of the environment. According to Dillon and collegues (2006), «to be effective, fieldwork needs to be carefully planned, thoughtfully implemented and followed up back at school. In planning activities, teachers and outdoor educators need to take account of factors such as students’ fears and phobias, prior experience and preferred learning styles» (ivi, p. 110). Learning in out-of-school environments is often perceived as stimulating, challenging and enriching. In these places, new technologies and advances in our understanding of learning in informal settings have been put to good use (Braund & Reiss, 2006). The wide availability of various forms of digital media, especially in everyday life informal contexts, strongly influences the way people communicate, but also how they learn and build their own identities, this is more specific for the younger “hypersocial” generation as defined Mizuko Ito (2009). With the concept of “hypersocial”, this author refers to ways in which new generations are using media to manage their relationships between them and their peers, also considering sharing gaming experiences. Playing digital games has become an established practice that belongs as to informal contexts and entertainment, as to formal and professional contexts. Anne Collier (2013), editor of NetFamilyNews.org and founder and executive director of Net Family News, Inc., in a recent article entitled “Why kids need more, not less, play” published in this magazine, replaced the well-known definition of “digital natives” with “playful natives.” In particular, Anne Collier argues that «they are born to learn through play, including social play». Many scholars assert that games capture players’ attention and connect them with complex thinking and problem solving competences (Barab & Dede, 2007; Gee, 2003; Jenkins, 2009; Shaffer et al., 2005). The peculiarity of learner’s characteristics, for example, prior knowledge and self-efficacy, has been exposed as a mean to mediate learning in games. 4.1 Designing gamification-based learning activities in the educational farm Starting from these assumptions and following numerous studies that confirm the potential of digital games as tools to promote meaningful learning (Shaffer et al., 2005), games’ proposal provided by the farm’s instructional design puts a set of gamification activities in order to enable collaborative and metacognitive processes. This educational challenge involves tasks of engaging students, stimulating their interests, holding their attention, and retaining a positive attitude in a nurturing environment. According to James P. Gee (2008), gamers voluntarily invest countless hours in developing their problem-solving skills within the context of games. With the term gamification we refer to the possibility to add game elements and mechanics to things that aren’t designed to be games. The reason gamification works is because it can simplify otherwise lengthy processes. Surveys or training can be broken down into smaller stages with a simple reward mechanic after each stage. This approach makes it easier to re-

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


spond to laborious tasks by helping to map out the process and encourage progress. Wendy Hsin-Yuan Huang and Dilip Soman (2013) define a five part process for applying gamification to the instructional environment.

Figure 3. The flow chart for applying gamification to the instructional environment (Image adapted from Huang & Soman, 2013, p.7)

The process starts with understanding the audience (students) and where the course fits into the whole curricular framework. Moreover, context refers to the type of instruction and where it will realize (individuals, groups, face to face, online). Classification of pain points4 will help the instructor identify learning objectives and structure the position of game elements in the curriculum. Then it is possible to identify resources – pre-existing games or ones to develop, which can range from complex to very minimal. At last, it will be possible to implement the gamification strategies. There are many applications and systems developed in the gamification context, with a particular focus in promotion of health and healthy food. Pharmaceutical companies, for example, are beginning to be very active in the market of digital games for health. Humana, for example, has created a division that specializes in digital games (Humana-Games). Kaiser offers a range of digital games such as “The Amazing Food Detective” that teaches kids to prefer natural food and increase physical activity. We tried to link any current instances of schools, social researches, websites or games trying to get people to reduce food waste through gaming activities. Planned Experiencing and Applying activities related to elements and signs recognition of food waste and the creation of resources (a presentation against food waste, for example) can be realized through a range of available applications that allow to gamificate the concept of food waste. A lot of gamification systems provide solutions to accelerate sustainability. Through these systems, students get points, called “badges”, for completing assignments rightly. Students are rewarded for desired behaviors and “punished” for undesirable behaviors using this common currency as a reward system. If they complete well all the steps, students “level up” (Hammer & Lee, 2011). The gamification activity kit is composed of a series of systems and gaming activities selected on the basis of educational goals related to the food waste concept, to a proper and balanced diet and the usage of food residues. The gamification-based activities for the educational farm are aimed to the involvement and awareness of the issues of the reduction of food waste through 4

Pain points are some real or perceived problems. Educational environments could create opportunities for students by creating solutions to those pain points. Solutions create value for everyone.

Rosaria Pace | Anna Dipace | Assunta di Matteo | Francesco Contò

51


52

the potential and characteristics of the elements of the game. Users are asked to indicate, by clicking on the appropriate icons, such as food waste, how much and why. In return they will know the value in euro of its own waste and will be obtained tips and useful information to reduce it. All participants can compare their behaviour with that of other activating healthy competition and encouraging good practice. Gaming applications fall within an online portal where they collected a series of spaces suitably designed and dedicated to educational activities to encourage learning through play, collaboration and communication. We have got a variety of free resources available for the educational farm visitors. All these resources aim to cut down on food waste via better planning. Some examples of gamified applications: – a game system that helps to plan daily dinner. Through this game, it’s possible to type in the ingredients you have in your pantry and the recipe search engine will find recipes that you can make with only those ingredients. – a game system designed to help you plan and freeze a whole month of meals for your family. You can choose from numerous menu options, including Vegetarian, Whole Foods, Diet, Gluten/Dairy Free, Baby Food. – a game system that helps to collect recipes using vegetable or general kitchen scraps. An excellent way to save money on food is by making the most of kitchen scraps. «Almost every time we cook a meal a lot of kitchen scraps get tossed»5. It’s a waste of money and food and many of those scraps can be used to enhance other recipes or can even be used around the house.

One well-known example of a campaign to raise awareness towards food waste reduction was launched for the first time by the non-profit Waste & Resources Action Programme in 2007, with the aim to reduce food waste in the UK and called “Love Food Hate Waste”. In the website dedicated to the campaign there are a number of applications, including a recipes archive for using leftovers, tips to avoid food wasting, to optimize consumption and to pay attention to expiration dates and conservation. The initiative also provides an easy game system that allows planning one’s own spending, leftovers re-use with some recipes and waste reduction. Among the main features are included: – My cookbook: lots of great recipes with simple step-by-step instructions. – Discover recipes that you can make with ingredients you already have. – Portion Planner: we can help you calculate how much you need. – Meal Planner: a diary for planning recipes, meals and leftovers up to 14 days in advance. – My Kitchen: store all the info about what you’ve got in your fridge, cupboard and freezer. – Shopping List: track everything you need for your planned meals and get alerts if you have duplicates of any ingredients. – Achievements: unlock badges and share your culinary accomplishments with friends and family.

5

Source: Cooking with Kitchen Scraps, and Other Uses, Huffpost (2012, September 07), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/28/cooking-with-kitchen-scraps_n_1654589.html

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


The kit features a set of applications that allow to create original products that participants can continue to develop even after the visit to the farm. In this sense, it fosters a connection between what happens in the context of informal learning and the educational course to be continued within school settings.

5. Educational activities assessment

Gamification processes are based on a set of keywords that inevitably recall the concept of learning assessment from which they develop all subsequent stages of the game. Keywords to which we refer are: points, levels, leaderboards, badges, quests, social engagement and feedback loops. As part of the literature on gamification in education, the concept of feedback is quite debatable. According to James Paul Gee (2012), games fundamentally are a form of assessment; but in digital games learning and assessment are not separated. «Gamers do not just do things and make decisions. They must learn things and then master them. If they don’t, they don’t leave the first level of a game. Imagine a book that constantly had quizzes and tests at the end of each section (oops, that’s a textbook). Few people would consider it fun (few people consider textbooks fun). But games constantly assess players. Every action is a test with feedback, and the boss at the end of a level is a final exam for that level. Games have found that both learning and constant assessment of that learning are a turn-on for people» (ivi, pp. xvii-xviii). The ability to use gamification systems’ logic to support and enhance learning in contexts outside the school, but linked to the school curriculum, should be clearly linked to the need to ensure an evaluation system that is, as claimed by Valerie J. Shute and FengFeng Ke (2012) «valid, reliable, and also pretty much invisible (to keep engagement intact). That is where stealth assessment comes in» (ivi, p. 52). Feedback is a key element in teaching and learning systems. Valerie Shute (2008) conducted researches on formative feedback and she identifies the features of effective formative feedback (e.g., feedback should be nonevaluative, supportive, timely, specific, multidimensional and credible). Immediate feedback that results from a direct manipulation of objects in the game offers useful information to guide exploration or improve interaction strategies. The availability of ongoing and recursive feedback may perhaps influence motivation and the quality of the evidence created by the system. Through systems integration of self and peer assessment, possible thanks to required gamification systems, can be activated a series of reinforcement learning processes with assessment for learning perspective. Gamification systems allow the creation of a strong sense of community where players can share the results and discuss about strategies. We think that using gamification to engage and motivate, enhance formative assessment and better inform personalised learning could be a way to obtain great benefits from learners. Points and leveling up for our gamification activities could be tailored for each student. We know this is a very ambitious plan but we would like to try using

Rosaria Pace | Anna Dipace | Assunta di Matteo | Francesco Contò

53


54

gamification to engage and motivate, enhance formative assessment and promote personalised learning. Formative assessment represents a process of feedback that improves student learning. This assessment method is based on the idea that students should learn to take control of their learning and that it is a way to improve self-reflection in learners. For students, gamification provides the idea of reducing negative emotions that they usually encounter in conventional settings of education. According with Wendy Hsin-Yuan Huang and Dilip Soman (2013), «it lets them approach knowledge and skills, using the learn-by-failure technique that is popular in game-like environments, without the embarrassment factor that usually forms a part of classroom education. Instructors on their part can efficiently achieve their set objectives and use currency-based tracking mechanisms to get feedback on their students’ progress» (ivi, p.24). Even if it is not simple to productively implement gamification in education systems, a mindful approach – using the five steps process presented in the flow chart of the Figure 3 – could improve the possibility of creating a successful education gamification strategy. Furthermore, it is suggested that instructors remember that gamifying education may require long periods of fine-tuning and most definitely should not substitute the original value of human teaching. «Gamification in education can be a powerful strategy when implemented properly, as it can enhance an education program, and achieve learning objectives by influencing the behaviour of students» (ibid.).

6. Ending notes

The design of teaching and learning activities within the educational farm Sant’Andrea is and could be an important occasion for matching academic research and educational policies managed by local authorities. The challenge is to combine the true vocation of the territory with the processes of innovation supported by national and European programs. Our region is heavily investing in Smart Specialization strategy, with a particular reference to the “digital, creative and inclusive communities”. These communities could be strategically developed through the creation of networks among educational actors, also with the help of digital media. In this scenario the University assumes a social function, linking policy, cultural and economical stakeholders. Finally, effective learning models, processes and materials could also be used and tested in other contexts and occasions. Towards an “intelligent digitalization”, which could guarantee sustainable actions enriching the entire territory in a long period perspective.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


References Amos, R., & Reiss, M. (2006). What contribution can residential field courses make to the education of 11-14 year-olds? School Science Review, 88(322), 37-44. Arola, K. L., Ball, C. E., & Sheppard, J. (2014). Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects. New York, NY: Macmillan Higher Education. Barab, S. A., & Dede, C. (2007). Games and immersive participatory simulations for science education: An emerging type of curricula. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 16(1), 1-3. Barab, S. A., Scott, B., Siyahhan, S., Goldstone, R., Ingram-Goble, A., Zuiker, S. J., & Warren, S. (2009). Transformational play as a curricular scaffold: Using videogames to support science education. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 18(4), 305-320. Biesta, G. J. J., & Miedema, S. (2002). Instruction or pedagogy? The need for a transformative conception of education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 173-181. Braund, M., & Reiss, M. (2006). Towards a more authentic science curriculum: the contribution of out-of-school learning. International Journal of Science Education, 28, 13731388. Canavari, M., Huffaker, C., Mari, R., Regazzi, D. & Spadoni, R. (2011). Educational farms in the Emilia-Romagna region: their role in food habit education. In K. L., Sidali, A. Spiller, & B. Schulze (Eds.), Food, Agri-Culture and Tourism. Linking local gastronomy and rural tourism: interdisciplinary perspectives (pp. 73-91). Heidelberg: Springer. Collier, A. (2013, September 16). Why kids need more, not less, play. Net Family News. (Retrieved from http://www.netfamilynews.org/why-kids-need-more-not-less-play). D’Amato, L.G., & Krasny, M.E.(2011). Outdoor Adventure Education: Applying transformative learning theory to understanding instrumental learning and personal growth in environmental education. Journal of Environmental Education, 42(4), 237-254. Dillon, J., Rickinson, M., Teamey, K., Morris, M., Choi, M. Y., Sanders, D., & Benefield, P. (2006). The value of outdoor learning: evidence from research in the UK and elsewhere. School science review, 87(320), 107. Garrison D. R., Anderson T. & Archer W. (2000). Critical thinking in a text-based environment: computer conferencing in Higher Education. Internet and Higher Education, 11(2), 1-14. Gee, J. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York, NY: Palgrave/Macmillan. Gee, J. P. (2008). Learning and games. In K. Salen (Ed.) The ecology of games: Connecting youth, games, and learning (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation series on digital media and learning). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Gee, J. P. (2012). Foreword. In C. Steinkuehler, K. Squire, & S. Barab (Eds.), Games, learning, and society: Learning and meaning in the digital age. Cambridge University Press. (Retrieved from http://assets.cambridge.org/97805211/96239/frontmatter/ 9780521196239_frontmatter.pdf). Hodge, S. (2014). Transformative Learning as an “Inter-Practice” Phenomenon. Adult Education Quarterly, 64(2), 165-181. Huang, W. H. Y., & Soman, D. (2013). Gamification Of Education. Research Report Series: Behavioural Economics in Action. (Retrieved from http://inside.rotman.utoronto.ca/behaviouraleconomicsinaction/files/2013/09/GuideGamificationEducationDec2013.pdf). Ito, M. (2009). Living and learning with new media: Summary of findings from the Digital Youth Project. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Kalantzis, M., & Cope, B. (2005). Learning by Design. Melbourne: Victorian Schools Innovation Commission & Common Ground.

Rosaria Pace | Anna Dipace | Assunta di Matteo | Francesco Contò

55


56

Kalantzis, M., & Cope, B. (2010). The Teacher as Designer: Pedagogy in the New Media Age. E-Learning and Digital Media, 7(3), 200-222. Kalantzis, M., & Cope, B. (2012) New Learning: Elements of a Science of Education (2nd ed.). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. Lee, J. J., & Hammer, J. (2011). Gamification in education: What, how, why bother? Academic Exchange Quarterly, 15(2), 146. Mezirow, J. (1978). Education for perspective transformation: Women’s re-entry programs in community colleges. New York, NY: Center for Adult Education, Teachers College, Columbia University. Mezirow, J. (1981). A critical theory of adult learning and education. Adult Education, 32, 3-24. Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: JosseyBass. O’Sullivan, E. V., Morrell, A., & O’Connor, M. A. (2002). Expanding the boundaries of transformative learning. New York: Palgrave. Plaas, J. L., Homer, B. D., Milne, C., Jordan, T., Kalyuga, S., Kim, M., & Lee, H. (2009). Design factors for effective science simulations: Representation of information. International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations, 1, 16-35. Shaffer, D. W., & Resnick, M. (1999). “Thick” Authenticity: New Media and Authentic Learning. Journal of interactive learning research, 10(2), 195-215. Shaffer, D. W., Squire, K., Halverson, R., & Gee, J. (2005). Video games and the future of learning. The Phi Delta Kappan, 87(2), 104-111. Shute, V. J. (1993). A comparison of learning environments: All that glitters. In S. P. Lajoie, & S. J. Derry (Eds.), Computers as cognitive tools (pp. 47-75). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Shute, V. J., & Ke, F. (2012). Games, learning, and assessment. In D. Ifenthaler, D. Eseryel, & X. Ge (Eds.), Assessment in Game-Based Learning Foundations, Innovations, and Perspectives (pp. 43-58). New York: Springer. Thomas, D., & Seely Brown, J. (2011). Learning for a World of Constant Change: Homo Sapiens, Homo Faber & Homo Ludens. Paper presented at the 7th Glion Colloquium by JSB, June 2009. (Retrieved from http://www.johnseelybrown.com/Learning%20for%20a% 20World%20of%20Constant%20Change.pdf).

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


Nicola Cavalli

University of Milano-Bicocca nicola.cavalli@unimib.it

Paolo Ferri

University of Milano-Bicocca paolo.ferri@unimib.it

Arianna Mainardi

University of Milano-Bicocca a.mainardi1@campus.unimib.it

Andrea Mangiatordi

university

A picture of University Students and Facebook: Perspectives for Academic Learning

University of Milano-Bicocca andrea.mangiatordi@unimib.it

Marina Micheli

University of Milano-Bicocca m.micheli6@campus.unimib.it

Michelle Pieri

University of Milano-Bicocca michelle.pieri@unimib.it

Andrea Pozzali

European University of Rome andrea.pozzali@gmail.com

Francesca Scenini

University of Milano-Bicocca francesca.scenini@gmail.com

KEYWORDS: Facebook, Academic Learning, University Students, Survey.

This article has been developed jointly by the authors. Arianna Maiardi and Marina Micheli wrote the Introduction; Andrea Pozzali wrote the section 1. The survey; Andrea Mangiatordi e Francesca Scenini wrote the section 2. The sample; Michelle Pieri wrote the section 4. Activities on Facebook; Nicola Cavalli wrote the section 5. Opinions about Facebook; Paolo Ferri wrote the Conclusions.

© Pensa MultiMedia Editore srl ISSN 2037-0830 (print) ISSN 2037-0849 (on line)

abstract

In this contribution we will focus on the results of a survey on the use of Facebook by students of the University of Milano-Bicocca, which is part of a more generic survey on “media diet” and ICTs usage conducted by the Observatory on New Media (NuMediaBiOs) of the University of Milano Bicocca. Afterwards we will propose some reflections on the use of Facebook in education in light of the results of the survey and the international scientific literature.

57


Introduction

58

Social networking sites are a popular communication tool, in particular amongst the younger generations (Jones & Fox, 2009), and Facebook is the most popular social networking sites with 800 million active users worldwide (Facebook, 2012). In this paper we will present and discuss the results of a survey on the use of Facebook by students of the University of Milano-Bicocca, which is part of a more generic survey on “media diet” and ICTs usage conducted by the Observatory on New Media (NuMediaBiOs) of the University of Milano-Bicocca. Afterwards we will propose some reflections on the use of Facebook in education in light of the results of the survey and the international scientific literature.

1. The survey

This survey is in its third edition (Ferri et al., 2010; 2012) and was carried out in the 2011-2012 academic year. This survey, in line with its two previous editions (ibid.), was based on a quantitative investigation on the population of students enrolled in the Bachelor’s degree program at the University of Milano-Bicocca. A questionnaire was used, consisting of 33 questions, divided into 6 parts: personal data, general relationship with technology, cultural consumption, the role of the Internet in everyday life, the use of Web 2.0 platforms and services and the use of Facebook. The introduction of a section of questions concerning Facebook in the survey is a novelty compared to previous years and is due to the growing popularity of this social networks not only within the population of university students, but as a phenomenon that affects the whole society; therefore it deserves to be focused on. On one hand, we have analyzed the use practices, namely the frequency with which students carry out various activities on Facebook; on the other hand, we have tried to explore the meaning that Facebook assumes in students’ everyday life, in particular investigating the degree of agreement or disagreement regarding specific claims about Facebook. This kind of survey is very useful as a basis to explore and try possible applications of new technologies as learning tools. We believe that in order to integrate new technologies in education it is important to know in as much detail as possible how the users (in this case university students, mainly young people aged 18 to 21) are using media and ICTs, in order to be able to develop, adaptat and improve services and existing learning tools and initiatives. We believe that this type of analysis can be useful in different contexts, primarily in the institutional and public context, namely the University. While in the literature there are already several surveys on the use of Facebook (e.g., Facebook, 2012; Prescott, Wilson & Becket, 2013) we think it is important to investigate specifically the students who attend our University, to identify the pedagogical potential of Facebook in our specific context.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


2. The sample

The survey polled 2,433 students enrolled in the Bachelor’s degree program at the University of Milano-Bicocca (24.5% Education, 21.9% Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, 21.4% Economics, 13.5 % Sociology, 8.9% Psychology, 2.7% Medicine and Surgery and 7.1% Law). Regarding gender distribution, in the sample there are more women than men (71% versus 28.9%), reflecting the distribution of the total number of students of our University, which is composed of 62.2 % female and 37.8% male. Finally, regarding the year of birth, students born between 1986 and 1992 make up more than 90% of the sample. Our participants, also considering the relative delay in the introduction and spread of personal computers and Internet in Italy, belong to a generation that can be called “of transition/transitional” between the generation of digital immigrants, fully placed within the “Gutenberg Galaxy”, and that one of digital natives (i.e., Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005); since birth they are used to living in an environment in which information and communication technologies are an integral part of daily life (Ferri et al., 2010).

3. Main results

Within our sample, Facebook users account for 86.1% of the total; of these, 9.2% use it rarely, while 76.9% use it often. This corresponds to a sharp increase compared to the data of previous surveys. In 2008, in fact, only 36% of the sample was registered to a generic social network site; while in 2009 the users registered in Facebook already reached 69.1%: overall, this growth trend is consistent with the popularity explosion that this social network has undergone over the years. In the recent years of information and communication technologies, the proliferation of social networking sites is one of the most relevant phenomena. Of the various online social networking sites, Facebook is now the most popular one, with 1 billion active users per month (Facebook, 2012). For some users, it can be said that Facebook has become synonymous with the Internet, and it is used in an all-encompassing way, even as a primary source of information, bringing to reality the advocated merger between public media and private media (Pedemonte, 1998). Facebook manages to bring together public and private information within the same interface, as evidenced by Clay Shirky (2010): Media is how you know when and where your friend’s birthday party is. Media is how you know what’s happening in Tehran, who’s in charge in Tegucigalpa, or the price of tea in China. Media is how you know why Kierkegaard disagreed with Hegel. Media is how you know about anything more than ten yards away. All these things used to be separated into public media … and personal media. Now those two modes have fused (ivi, p. 54).

If we examine the answers to the question about privacy settings, i.e. who is allowed to see your profile, we see that different levels of access are granted, with a large predominance (68.2%) of users that enable the vision of the their profile to friends only and therefore tend to use the social network in a private manner N. Cavalli | P. Ferri | A. Mainardi | A. Mangiatordi | M. Micheli | M. Pieri | A. Pozzali | F. Scenini

59


60

(or at least they think they do), while 31.8% use it in a public manner, allowing the vision to everyone or to their extended network (friends of friends). The data confirm the presence of a certain deviation between real identities and virtual identities, a phenomenon already noted in the literature (Turkle, 1996; 2011). Although by now it is clear that we can no longer speak of two totally distinct and split aspects, it is evident how the construction of identity that occurs through the media, and in this specific case through a public media, cannot but suffer from the typical characteristics mechanisms of self-representation (Goffman, 1969). If even then most of the students in our sample declared to show their profile only to a private network of friends, the fact remains that a high percentage of subjects (60.4%) offer a self-representation that is considered not entirely corresponding to their real identities. It is also necessary to point out how often the network of Facebook friends is in fact to be considered together in a tension between the public and private sectors, given the strong presence of weak links within this circle. It should also be pointed out that a small percentage (3.1%), tends to still be playing with the identity on the net (maybe pretending to be a woman when you are a man or vice versa), in the style of the “old” avatar typical of reflection on the theme of the 90s and early 2000s.

4. Activities on Facebook

Regarding students’ activities on Facebook (Table 1), the survey essentially indicates that this social network has “swallowed” the instant messaging systems (such as MSN Messenger). The use of chat and private messaging features are by far the most popular among our sample. Facebook seems to be used in a particularly intense way for private conversations. The “public communications”, such as participation in a group or status updating are less common. We find content sharing being the next most popular activity. Most often they share something already available on Facebook, then retrieved from other sites (such as online newspapers or YouTube), or uploaded by them directly from their computer. Sharing of content found on Facebook is the most frequently used activity among the three (carried out every day by 21% of students, weekly from 38%). They are usually links or videos posted by other users (perhaps from external sites) or other existing pieces of content, already available in other groups or profiles (such as photographs, pictures, and comments). This indicates perhaps a certain degree of “laziness” on the part of students who are more reluctant to seek out content from Facebook. However, our survey shows that only a small number of respondents have never shared “content from Facebook” (8.2%) or shared “news or videos from the Web” (11.4%) or added content (7.1%); therefore it can be deduced that the skills to carry out this type of activity are widely distributed.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


Every day

At least once a week

Rarely

Never

Chat

39,6

30,7

20,7

9

Private messaging

32,8

47,9

17,5

1,8

Participation in a group

23,3

30,8

36,5

9,4

Posting on the wall

21,7

41,7

31,7

4,9

Sharing content (from Facebook)

21,4

38,2

32,3

8,2

Sharing videos or news (from the web)

16,5

36,7

35,4

11,4

Adding contents (photos / links / videos)

11,2

35,9

45,9

7,1

Table 1. Frequency of activities on Facebook

The activities just discussed are conducted with a different frequency depending on the gender (in the literature there are several studies exploring the communicative differences among males and females who may take them to more masculine and/or feminine approach to communication e.g. Beck, 1988; Fishman, 1978; Johnson, 1996; Lewis & McCarthy, 1988; Saurer & Eisler, 1990) or on the Faculty attended by students (Figure 1 and Figure 2). Concerning the differences between the Faculties, we observe in particular that Facebook is used less by the students of the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Natural Sciences than by those of Economics. In particular, the more relevant difference is connected to the communication functions, while the difference concerning the sharing content is less relevant. We can assume that this depends on a number of factors that are associated to the field of studies. It can be assumed that the Faculties of Education, Psychology and Sociology are associated with a greater propensity for interpersonal communication and to a minor burden of study in terms of time to devote to exam preparation, compared to Scientific or Economic Faculties â&#x20AC;&#x201C; these latter, in fact, have a greater number of hours of laboratory and practical exercises that could limit the amount of free time of their students. This point will be deepened by subsequent research. Concerning the gender differences, we observe that female students are using most of the functionality of Facebook in a more intense way than male students. Male students are more active than female students only in sharing news or videos from other websites.

Figure 1. Activity on Facebook at least once a week by Faculty

N. Cavalli | P. Ferri | A. Mainardi | A. Mangiatordi | M. Micheli | M. Pieri | A. Pozzali | F. Scenini

61


62

Figure 2. Activity on Facebook at least once a week by gender

5. Opinions about Facebook

It is crucial to understand opinions about Facebook within our population, if we want to explore the opportunity of using it as a learning tool. Using Facebook is primarily an activity done during free time, for leisure, or at least it is primarily associated to leisure activities and not to working, so we need to understand more deeply what the student thinks about it in order to explore the chances of using it for educational purposes. On the other hand, this analysis allows to highlight some empirical evidence that seems to contradict common myths about the usage of this social network. First, the students say they do not perceive the use of Facebook as crucial in order to stay abreast with what is happening in the peer group: the majority of respondents (55%) in fact disagree with the statement “Using Facebook to not be excluded from my circle of friends” and only 15% of students somewhat “agree” with this opinion. A similar attitude is found when you ask students if they agree on the fact that Facebook is a useful tool, in some way, to weave relationships: only 10.6% in fact states that they agree with this statement. These results tell us something on the “emotional” distance that students perceive with respect to their use of Facebook. Although they make intensive use to maintain friendships through private messages and chat, from the answers to these two we can say that they do not attribute too much importance to Facebook in their private lives, especially with friends or romantic relationships. And we can also say that, in a first instance, this can be good news for educators. In spite of this emotional distance Facebook is very present in the daily lives of students, often at the expense of other activities, such as, probably studying and learning. 65.4% of the sample agrees with the statement that “Facebook distracts me and makes me waste time” only 13.5% said that this does not correspond to reality. It is a very interesting result, which is well worth further investigation. We also note how Facebook is now considered by many students as a very important tool for sharing interests with friends. 63% of the sample

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


agreed with the statement “On Facebook, I share my passions with friends (e.g., music, sports, politics, cinema)”, while only 13% do not agree at all. In addition, the social network is essentially the website to which many of the students access most: 62% agree with the statement “I use Facebook as often as all the other websites” and only 19% does not agree. Finally, some students say they use Facebook as a substitute of the phone (instead of SMS or phone calls), but 33% disagreed with that statement.

Conclusions

The high (83% of our sample is using Facebook) and growing (in 2008 only 36% of the sample was registered to a generic social network site, while in 2009 the user registered to Facebook already reached 69.1%) adoption rate of Facebook by our students could provide an opportunity for the introduction of this tool in the learning process (for example as a unique, or at least as one, learning management system tool or as a platform for educational goals) in as much as our students would already be familiar with the features of this tool. The high familiarity of students with the tool reduces the risk of technological frustration which often undermines the success of the introduction of new technologies in the learning processes. Regardless of the fact that Facebook is the most popular social network site in the world, in the scientific literature, its value for educational purposes is still questioned (Manca & Ranieri, 2013; Prescott, Wilson & Becket, 2013). From one side, as reported by Manca and Ranieri (2013), «scholars have cautioned against using Facebook for educational purposes (e.g., Selwyn, 2009). As students seem to be reluctant to use it for academic purposes, it is suggested that the focus should move away from its educational uses and consider Facebook as a place for socialization (Madge, Meek, Wellens & Hooley, 2009)» (ivi, p. 2). From the other side, scholars suggest that usually social network sites are mainly used in education as tools supporting existing social relationships and supporting the maintenance of social capital (Ellison, Steinfield & Lampe, 2011). Facebook in education is viewed as potentially beneficial for: interaction, collaboration, information, resource sharing, active participation and critical thinking (Mason 2006; Maloney, 2007; Ajjan & Hartshorne, 2008; Mazman & Usluel, 2010). Several researches suggest that Facebook is a good tool for encouraging peer support and informal learning between students, such as increased communication and support about course content, and assessments (see Mason, 2006; Selwyn, 2007; Goodband et al., 2012). In light of the results of our survey, which can be used as a basis for theoretical study and practical applications related to Facebook and education, along with the different views of the role of Facebook in education, we think that for the next steps it is important to: – gain an understanding into the opinions and attitudes of our students and our professors towards the use of Facebook in the university setting (see Ismail, 2010; Espuny, Gonzàlez, Lleixà & Gisbert, 2011; Junco, 2012; Fewkes & McCabe, 2012); N. Cavalli | P. Ferri | A. Mainardi | A. Mangiatordi | M. Micheli | M. Pieri | A. Pozzali | F. Scenini

63


– implement some pilot projects using Facebook for educational purposes in our University and then eventually to plan projects on a large scale.

64

We believe that, as underlined by Elgort (2005), the adoption of a new technology in the university context will be influenced by organizational, socio-cultural, and intra and interpersonal factors, inter alia, so we highly value the effort to better understand usage and perception of Facebook, in order to evaluate possible strategies to use it in our educational environment, or in general educational environments.

References Ajjan, H., & Hartshorne, R. (2008). Investigating Faculty Decisions to Adopt Web 2.0 Technologies: Theory and Empirical Tests. The Internet and Higher Education, 11(2), 7180. Beck, A. T. (1988). Love is never enough. New York: Harper & Row. Elgort, I. (2005). E-learning Adoption: Bridging the Chasm. In Proceedings of the 22nd annual conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education. Brisbane: Ascilite. Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2011). Connection strategies: Social capital implications of Facebook enabled communication practices. New Media & Society, 13(6), 873-892. Espuny, C., Gonzàlez, J., Lleixà, M., & Gisbert, M. (2011). University students’ attitudes towards and expectations of the educational use of social networks. Revista de Universidad y Sociedad del Conocimiento (RUSC), 8(1), 186-199. Facebook (2012). Fact sheet. (Retrieved July 15, 2013 from http://newsroom.fb.com/content/default.aspx? NewsAreaId=22). Fewkes, A. M., & McCabe, M. (2012). Facebook: Learning tool or distraction?. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 28(3), 92-98. Ferri, P., Cavalli, N., Mangiatordi, A., Pozzali, A., & Scenini, F. (2012). Dieta mediale degli studenti universitari: primi risultati di una ricerca quantitativa diacronica. SCIRES-IT, SCIentific RESearch and Information Technology, Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologie dell’Informazione, 2(1), 21-42. Ferri, P., Cavalli, N., Costa, E., Mangiatordi, A., Pozzali, A., & Scenini, F. (2010). Digital learning. La dieta mediale degli studenti universitari italiani. Milano: Ledizioni. Fishman, P. M. (1978). Interaction: The work women do. Social Problems, 25, 397-406. Goffman, E. (1969). La vita quotidiana come rappresentazione. Bologna: Il Mulino. Goodband, J. H., Solomon, Y., Samuels, P. C., Lawson, D., & Bhakta, R. (2012). Limits and Potentials of Social Networking in Academia: Case Study of the Evolution of a Mathematics Facebook Community. Learning, Media and Technology, 37(3), 236-252. Ismail, S. (2010). International students’ acceptance on using social networking site to support learning activities. International Journal for the Advancement of Science & Arts, 1, 81-90. Johnson, F. (1996). Friendships among women: Closeness in dialogue. In J. T. Wood (Ed.), Gendered relationships: A reader (pp. 79-94). Mountain View, CA: Mayfield. Jones, S., & Fox, S. (2009). Generations Online in 2009. Data memo. Pew Internet and American Life Project. Washington, DC. (Retrieved 15 July 2013 from: http:// www.pewinternet.org/-/media//Files/Reports/2009/PIP_Generations_2009.pdf). Junco, R. (2012). Too much face and not enough books: The relationship between multiple

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


indices of Facebook use and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(1), 187-198. Lewis, E. T., & McCarthy, P. R. (1988). Perceptions of self-disclosure as a function of gender-linked variables. Sex Roles, 19, 47-56. Madge, C., J., Meek, J., Wellens, & Hooley, T. (2009). Facebook, Social Integration and Informal Learning at University: ‘It Is More for Socialising and Talking to Friends about Work than Actually Doing Work’. Learning, Media and Technology, 34(2), 141-155. Maloney, J. (2007). Children’s roles and use of evidence in science: an analysis of decision-making in small groups. British Educational Research Journal, 33. Manca, S., & Ranieri, M. (2013). Is it a tool suitable for learning? A critical review of the literature on Facebook as a technology-enhanced learning environment. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 1, 1-18. Mason, R. (2006). Learning Technologies for Adult Continuing Education. Studies in Continuing Education, 28(2), 121-133. Mazman, S. G., & Usluel, Y. K. (2010). Modeling Educational Usage of Facebook. Computers and Education, 55(2), 444-453. Oblinger, D. G., & Oblinger, J. L (Eds.) (2005). Educating the Net Generation. Washington, D.C: . EDUCAUSE. (Retrieved July 15, 2013 from: http://www.educause.edu/books/educatingthenetgen/5989). Pedemonte, E. (1998). Personal media. Torino: Bollati Boringhieri. Prescott, J., Wilson, S., & Becket, G. (2013). Facebook use in the learning environment: do students want this?. Learning, Media and Technology, 38(3), 345-350. Saurer, M. K., & Eisler, R. M. (1990). The role of masculine gender role stress in expressivity and social support network factors. Sex Roles, 23, 261-271. Selwyn, N. (2007). Screw Blackboard…Do It on Facebook!: An Investigation of Students’ Educational Use of Facebook. In Pole 1.0 – Facebook social research symposium, University of London, London, UK, November 15, 2007. Selwyn, N. (2009). Faceworking: Exploring students’ education-related use of Facebook. Learning, Media and Technology, 34, 157-174. Shirky, C. (2010). Surplus Cognitivo. Torino: Codice. Turkle, S. (1996). La vita sullo schermo. Milano: Apogeo. Turkle, S. (2011). Il disagio della simulazione. Milano: Ledizioni.

N. Cavalli | P. Ferri | A. Mainardi | A. Mangiatordi | M. Micheli | M. Pieri | A. Pozzali | F. Scenini

65


Antonella Nuzzaci

University of L’Aquila antonella.nuzzaci@univaq.it

university

ICT, Lifelong Learning and Control Quality Centre: which strategies for an integrated system for the development of a “Smart University”?

67

KEYWORDS: Higher Education, Quality, Lifelong Learning, ICT, Integrated System Functions.

Many thanks to Prof. Paola Inverardi, Rector of the University of L’Aquila for allowing publication.

© Pensa MultiMedia Editore srl ISSN 2037-0830 (print) ISSN 2037-0849 (on line)

abstract

The aim of this paper is to describe the process of reflection on the quality that took place at the time of institution of the Presidium of the University PdQ-UNIVAQ. It was created at the University of L’Aquila on February 2013 (D.R. n. 259), in order to show how a significant experience related to the construction of an internal quality system induces necessarily to consider the relationship between factors and variables at the level of the local system in relation to some aspects and elements in the field of: ICT Centre, functions and actions for Lifelong Learning (third function of the University) and processes for Quality Assurance. The objective is to promoting the development of the University through a connecting internal and external assessment and an interrelation between different institutional responsibilities for the construction of an integrated model of functions.


1. Quality and European context: role and strengthening of internal evaluation for an integrated system of Quality

68

The creation of a European space of higher education cannot be thought without the development of a quality management system, allowing an institution knowing well what it is producing (Harvey, 1999, 2002; Harvey & Green, 1993). Indeed, at the core of the reform programme of the European university system, launched by the Bologna Process (1999) and of the new requirements of learning and research, there is:

– Quality Assurance (QA) allowing compatibility, comparability, flexibility of the European Higher Education Systems; – dialog between stakeholders or rather the students, academic body, external agencies and organizations and society in general; – support to processes of teaching-learning based on the student’s characteristics; – fulfilment of cultural needs of different categories of beneficiary and expansion of University functions (lifelong learning) leading to continuing professional and updating development of range of expertise; – push to make the Universities technologically advanced (Smart University) and able to meet the new needs of research and learning (La Vecchia & Nuzzaci, 2012).

These are dimensions that moved the axis of the university institutions towards the expansion of the democratic base of higher education and educational success of all the students and that made their own way right starting from changes involving the universities throughout Europe. Diversification of educational provision, increase of institutional responsibilities, two-cycle system etc. have influenced the development of initiatives designed to increase structures for assuring quality in various sectors of higher education and to change structures of services and management practices of Universities. The importance of institutional autonomy, attenuated by the acknowledgment of heavy responsibilities, and the need of an internal and external control of quality allowing the institutions to be coherent with purposes they are pursuing and making appropriate the management practices of processes used to achieve precisely identified objectives, have been above all affirmed by the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance. Equality concerning education and necessity of a progressive improvement of institutions, as well as the extension of access to higher education by populations even wider of students (included adult workers) have become two sides of the same coin that put quality at the core of the European Higher Education Area, since the second communiqué (Berlin, 19th September 2003), developed by the Ministers of many European Countries interested in the Bologna Process (1999), where it has become central “measure” to create a European cultural space that actually can be attractive, make increase the social cohesion and decrease inequalities, beyond increasing knowledge and transparency. In this sense Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance concern three areas:

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


– standards and guidelines for internal quality; – rules for external control of quality; – standards for agencies of external quality assurance.

The European cooperation between universities, the mobility of students, of graduates, of professors and of staff suitable to provide every person with the opportunity of continuing learning and professional development, of conciliation between formal, informal and non-formal learning, of identification of systems to collect and transfer credits, as well as integration of academic degrees with professional titles, have become therefore crucial factors to push the reform towards the rising of quality, requirement expressed since the first declarations of Bologna, incentive to develop external schemes of quality assurance, certification and accreditation to be developed in a national context also for the pressing request of international visibility and of the necessary acknowledgment of what can be defined “good quality”. In Italy this has created the National Agency for Evaluation of the Research and University System (ANVUR). By defining internal mechanisms of quality, supported by the external control, we expect to safeguard the interests of all the stakeholders, above all the beneficiaries of the educational provision, or rather the students (of every category of “student”), above all in those sectors where a trenchant intervention is highly necessary on the professionalization, reconversion and growth mechanisms in order to support the selfresponsibility of each institution also towards its third function, lifelong learning, and contribute in this way to the constitution of a culture “of the” and “for the” quality at any level, which covers at least four important elements (Ehlers & Schneckenberg, 2010): 1. A structural element which is representing the quality system of an organisation. This can be e.g. an existing quality management approach for higher education, the tools and mechanisms in place to assure and enhance the quality of the organisation. 2. The enabling factors which are representing those factors enabling organisations to incorporate quality regimes into their culture. 3. The quality culture element which represents the manifested artefacts, symbols, rituals of an organisation. 4. Transversal elements which link different components to each other through participation, trust and communication.

It is the focus attention on the learners (Ehlers, 2005), especially those adults (Alberici, 2007; Alberici & Di Rienzo, 2011; Alberici & Serreri, 2009), on the teachers and on the other stakeholders, that have to take effect for successful quality development. The professionalization processes – in terms of capacity of the university of building knowledge, skills and attitudes of stakeholders in the higher education organisation – is thus one important element when building quality cultures in the university institutions. A quality that is expressed through professionalization of teaching and learning processes and improvement of the educational pathways, especially those aimed at meeting the specific needs of the adult population, that implies a set of four competences which are specifically important in processes of educational quality enhancement: quality knowledge, quality experience, quality innovation, quality analysis.

Antonella Nuzzaci

69


2. ICT, Quality/Lifelong Learning Center

70

These dimensions relate to the ability which goes beyond the simple use of existing instruments and strategies. It refers to the modification, creation and development of quality strategies and/or instruments for one’s own purpose. An innovative and creative important aspect for these dimensions is: ICT literacy. All of this is actually in line with the attempt of adaptation to the new European directives about education, where there are four objectives that may be enhanced by ICTs: – – – –

expanding access to all levels of education; improving the quality of education; enhancing lifelong learning; facilitating non-formal education.

The processes of quality allow to reflect upon situation and context enabling actors to evaluate different objectives of quality development and negotiate between different perspectives of stakeholders. To “analyse critically” the learning needs of adults and develop appropriated and differentiated cultural proposals, in the light of existing knowledge and experience, it is requires to define a clear strategy for quality.

Figure 1. Quality Literacy (Ehlers, 2007)

It is enough thinking that the level of education of the adult population is commonly adopted as “proxy” of the level of knowledge and expertise qualified by the labour market (ISFOL - Institute for the Development of Vocational Training for Workers) and that the last Eurostat survey about the labour forces shows how almost 70% of adults in Europe has at least a upper secondary qualification, showing how a third of the adult population, equal to 76 million of adults in the European Union, does not reach the level ISCED 3 of qualification1. 1

For details, URL: http://www.isfol.it/temi/Formazione_apprendimento/formazione-degli-adulti/ portlet_page

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


In this sense we need to think about the role developed in Italy by the RUIAP (Italian University Network for Lifelong Learning), which the University of L’Aquila has adhered to, and that is in the way of the programme Europe 2020 fixing at 15% the benchmark referred to the adult population taking part in activities of lifelong learning and that in 2009 sees Italy, in the survey of 2009, within a very diversified context of activities, settled around 6%. However it cannot be said that for Italian Athenaeums to measures to support the access of adults to Universities and fulfil an educational demand that sees reference targets represented by different categories (who, without diploma or qualification of higher education and training, re-enters in university paths or has not the level ISCED 3, who even if develops management roles does not have an academic qualification, or rather does not have a level lower than ISCED 5 etc.). In order to make concretely realizable training paths for such categories it is important to use technologically advanced systems and structures to supply teaching and e-learning centres (Challis, Holt & Palmer, 2009) able to better meet with different purpose of the university education and of the professionalism learning, but above all of methods of educational design and of “technically and technologically advanced” teaching-learning models. For such a reason, the current approaches, re-oriented towards the identification of specific ways to pursue a contextual improvement in quality, as main responsibility for universities and subjects concerned (students, scholars and administrative staff), guide the process towards a strengthening of culture of internal quality, that is supported by many factors contributing to implement it, such as the development of Athenaeum E-learning Centres or ICT of Athenaeum. These last fulfil also the need of digital expertise that today is a real emergency (mainly in the adult population) that emerges every day all over the world also to meet with the university pedagogical requirements and as direct correspondence with the Centres for teaching and learning (Challis, Holt & Palmer, 2009, pp. 371-383), that can be considered as a whole of infrastructures entailing the sum of educational, researching and service resources, as well as real structure of teaching design addressed to teachers, students and directors. The aim of such structures has been creating “real and virtual places” supporting in a focused way teaching, research and service providing the students, above all the one showing difficulties in realizing their own continuing education, with the best conditions of learning and all the teachers with optimal conditions of teaching at any level (professors, tutors, coordinators etc.), and that can represent apparatus to support the new educational trends. Indeed, the technological infrastructures provide the necessary conditions to create optimal situations for a more accurate educational programming in terms of objectives and planning and for an optimal management of university courses and services, beyond a more substantial inter-institutional and territorial connection. The ICT systems, considered across-the board, can support a specialized training and an excellent research when they put at the core of their being the “methodological axis” of research and teaching. Supposing that the effective use of ICT first of all depends on behaviours of who operates in such a field, the importance to analyse the models of acceptance of technological and e-learning instruments available for research, teaching and laboratory practices appears as incontrovertible evidence. In particular, e-learning activities that have promoted learning and teaching have become critical components tending to include, even if too often educationally underused, a concept of “off-centre”, integrated and in-

Antonella Nuzzaci

71


72

tra- and inter-communicative education between many components of the University, between information flows, between constituents and different structures and services, between professors, staff and students, between training and research, between old and new procedures etc. In such a direction the university of L’Aquila is exploring the application of a methodological approach including an “integrated quality strategy” aiming at describing and exploring a model able to become instrument of change, starting from the lifelong learning as function becoming part of Policies of quality. The Unit of quality, with its activity of evaluation, translates such a function in objectives, actions and concrete practices. Such a problem of course holds two fields: the first is the one of expertise and attributes of education; the second is the one of experience, methods used by the education to organize, supply and develop its main functions (teaching, research and lifelong learning) and means and instruments used to do it (ICT). Here the term quality can be above all ascribed to the whole of operating and technical activities (monitoring and a structured policy internally planned and realized) elaborated and used to meet with the quality requisites. Supported by the terms “management” and “assurance”, referring to an aggregate of actions and measures, regularly assumed to assure the quality of products, services and processes of higher education, with particular attention to the prescribed threshold of met quality, it is used either to specify the monitoring of the path or to eliminate the causes generating an unsatisfactory functioning in the system (Flynn, Schroeder & Sakakibara, 1994; Van der Wiele & Brown, 1999). Sometimes a minimum quality control (mainly as certification) is used as mechanism of filtering in confirming that a university institution is fulfilling or is in minimum compliance with the quality requisites and with appropriate on-going control procedures. If therefore, since the beginning of the movement and research about quality, very different concepts have survived one near another and the other one have been progressively improved trying to accept meanings even more thorough, more or less compatible with the definition given by ISO, today the quality includes and is synonym of many qualities, of work, of service, of information, of process, of product, of subjects, of system, of institution, of objective etc. and of other of its performances, having in common some elements that keep being underlying the interpretative models. In case of the trinomial considered Learning/ICT/Evaluation, it needs:

– to adopt systematic procedures and efficient devices for assuring quality; – to resort to procedures and forms of evaluation for its improvement at different level; – to use multiple measures; – to use multi-stage procedures of evaluation (with internal and external evaluation, follow-up and issue of reports) such as main instruments of quality for assessing teaching and learning; – to elaborate efficient instruments; – to explain with precision the absolute results and the educational added value; – to adopt mixed measures suitable to address any result desired by the stakeholders (different categories of student, included adults, professors of various sectors etc.) and to record characteristics of the institution, with a mix of measures ranging from quality to quantity indicators of performance; – to elaborate reporting of contextual data considering the specificity of the relevant context.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


From here comes the idea that the reliability of measurements, however, shall never be apart from the social function written in the university bylaws and its general and lifelong characteristics of education and research plans. Indeed the quality cannot be defined in an absolute sense, but still keeps on “concerning” the functionality of the purposes pursued and the purposes of the education it refers to. And it is for such a reason that we give to it lots of meanings, approaches, perspectives, dimensions, levels, objects, forms that transmit ideas and different interpretative models also coming from far disciplinary fields, such as well-structured points of view interrelated to the categories of subjects concerned (students, teachers etc.), that turn its concept according to the power distributed in the system. In its specific concept, in the triangulation Lifelong Learning/ICT/Evaluation, it expresses in investing: 1. in designing and planning an integrated system of functions; 2. in a strong function of the self-evaluation and self-assessment as instruments to improve activities and programmes chosen; 3. in a controlled and synergic action of strategic functions of the University concerning Mission and Policies of quality; 4. in a diversification of modalities of supply of teaching provision in order to suitably meet with the needs expressed by various categories of student; 5. in a solicitation of processes of internal empowerment in order to make the stakeholders more aware of the purposes pursuing by the institution. The translation of Policies of quality of Athenaeum in “strategy of integrated quality” uses three key elements: criteria, indicators and levels of performance.

Figure 2. Integrated Functions in the model

The indicators specify what the institution is expected to do at every level of performance for each criterion. The chosen indicator describes with precision what the institution is required to do in terms of performance at any level and how their work can be told apart the work of other elements for each criterion. In the same way, the indicators help the institution to precisely and constantly assess the work of the stakeholders.

Antonella Nuzzaci

73


3. The University of L’Aquila as Smart University

74

The university, as integral part and expression of the cultural fabric of a land, a city, a community etc., is, indeed, the first space driving an intelligent learning and for a lifelong development of the population at local level. Because of this need it is by now of common use, after the growing importance of concepts of lifelong learning for the economic, social and environmental future of people and places (Longworth & Osborne, 2010; Longworth, 2003). In response to these changes and introduction of the internal system of quality, today the University of L’Aquila has to redesign its action in view of the new identified needs, or rather of its objectives, methods of action, theoretical models it refers to, the evaluation of performances and partnerships it is able to activate at local, national and international level, which are inserted in networks of expertise and interventions aiming at meeting the emerging social and cultural necessities (Cheng & Tam, 1997). Within such a consideration there is the founding plan of the Athenaeum Presidio of Quality of L’Aquila, called UNIVAQ-PdQ2 and established by the D.R. nr. 259 of the 13.02.2013, composing the concrete translation of Policies of Quality of the Athenaeum (www.univaq.it), placed at the summit of a pyramid starting from which are organized all the elements of quality of the system, not least the documentary and documental one, that do not exclude some key factors such as the one we are considering here, or rather: ICT, Lifelong Learning and Evaluation. The University, as organization defined a whole of structures and rules making formally possible the coordination of a whole of (human, financial and material) means in view of the production of a good or service, represents a social and cultural construction, that is part of a precise history and contemplates objectives and structures of organization of management and production methods of culture (Saraph, Benson & Schroeder, 1989). If it is true that some actions and principles of quality, such as planning, making, measuring, improving, are essential to affirm it, it is as much true that every plan of increase of quality shall be adapted to the context of education or of service it refers to and it cannot be thought otherwise than a close relationship with all the other dimensions. Keeping in mind what said above, the Guidelines of orientation of the policies of quality of the University of L’Aquila, in this perspective, have tried to solve priority problems

2

The Athenaeum Unit of Quality was established by D.R. nr. 259 del 13.02.2013 with the task to coordinate, manage, promote and monitor all the activities developed for the quality of teaching and educational activities by implementing in every degree programme a practical and fast system of quality evaluation. It: - defines and proposes the system of quality assurance and self-evaluation/evaluation of the degree programmes of Athenaeum (bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, research doctorate, masters etc.); - monitors the application of the system in every degree programme; - monitors the results of the educational processes and make them available for the purpose of quality assurance and internal self-evaluation/evaluation; - promotes the culture of quality. The Unit is composed of 13 members: the Dean or his delegate, 7 professors as representatives of departments of the Athenaeum, a representative of the students in the Evaluation Committee and a representative of the academic Senate, three units of technical-administrative staff.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


previously known or well identified in diagnostic phase. They considered the importance of keeping in mind the way of meeting with the beneficiaries of the institution functions, that, for the University are composed of different categories of student, including adults, justifying the actions undertaken in view of achieving some concrete planned objectives (particularly strong cultural profile, professionalism that can be used and ranges of expertise even more update). Such a commitment, concerning the measure and the improvement of quality, was defined in specific and understandable terms for everyone, as transmitted by questions that can be connected to three macro-variables: – which are the values and the principles of action which the university institution is inspired to in order to lead its mission? – what missions and what services does the institution concretely promote? – in which way and how such services are realized?

The University of L’Aquila, starting from precise legal decrees and requisites, aims at enhancing a “culture of system of quality assurance” able to pave the way for a renewed institutional autonomy and enhancing in all its own activity of training in the direction specified by Europe (ENQA, 2005), being engaged in evaluation of an equal distribution of resources and opportunities that will affect the opportunities of life of the students and the general wellness of whom somehow are (and will be) part of the population of students which it turns to, included the “hidden” one of the adults. In such a sense the Unit paid attention to these factors in the process of adaptation to the evaluation and to the certification according to the international standards, which rules and addresses remark mainly the principle of responsibility explicitly recalled to realize internal systems of quality in public and private Universities. In the initial path of exploration, the Unit, in order to better fulfil its function, considered appropriate: – – – – – –

being equipped with a model; defining the evaluation design; explaining the expectations and establishing a strategy; developing an appropriate methodology; planning development stages of management of processes; establishing a plan of communication (Nuzzaci, 2012).

All of this has been produced within the Unit of L’Aquila since the beginning of its foundation, it started from a procedure of processing a design and a model of quality being part of and limited by policies of quality (which synthesis can be found in the website www.univaq.it) precisely defined and by devices clearly expressed (the University immediately equipped the Unit of Quality with a Regulation). This because the lines of address of the University can exclude identities and values shared by certain academic community and relationship between: – Identities and values (what it is believed); – Offer of service/s (what we are going to do); – Organization (means and resources to do it).

University institutions, for their nature, lead to the field of social and cultural action a founding intention, an initial commitment that gives to the design sense

Antonella Nuzzaci

75


76

and value, which history is part of the movements of policy of reform composing an important cultural factor allowing, evoking this history, to trace a process of appropriation about the founding intention and the system of values that are at the origin of its founding design. The provision of a service can be considered the reason for being of an institution. Therefore, the design shall be defined in order to meet the needs of various beneficiaries and shall refuse social and cultural policies of the sector. The Athenaeum of L’Aquila started from this consideration, when it was on the point “of reading” its educational provision, including 66 (Bachelor’s and Master’s) Degrees, 7 Departments and 2 Centres of excellence for research3, expressing a diversified educational provision, with the main objective of maintenance of high teaching and researching standards, without excluding the capacity of moving with the times through a progressive adaptation to new requirements of knowledge and labour world. But who are these beneficiaries that the university institution of L’Aquila is turning to? University of L'Aquila Enrolled Students Updated at 1.00 pm of the 21/10/2013

Departments

Partial tot. a.y. 13/14

Partial tot. a.y. 11/12

Partial tot. a.y. 11/12

Partial tot. a.y. 12/13

Partial tot. a.y. 11/12

Civil, construction-architecture, environmental engineering

430

527

694

1783

1965

Dep. of Engineering and Information Sciences and Mathematics

485

486

526

1556

1637

Industrial and Information Engineering and Economics

904

1275

1312

5493

5483

2848

3368

3682

10801

10590

660

507

487

1614

1419

93

103

96

338

327

1055

777

915

3953

4393

35

0

71

101

89

ENGINEERING

2

5

0

6

9

MEDICINE AND SURGERY

0

0

0

184

358

MATHEMATICAL, PHYSICAL AND NATURAL SCIENCES

1

0

0

2

3

6513

7048

7783

25831

26273

Clinical medicine, public health, life and environmental sciences Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences Chemical and Physical Sciences Human Sciences Erasmus Students (without established faculty)

TOTAL

Table. 1. Enrolments Students by Department

3

The Departments promote, coordinate and organize research activities for one or more sectors or scientific-disciplinary areas sharing the same objectives or research methodologies and promote, organize and carry out academic teaching within our University.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


Departments

Age < 38 !"

Civil, Construction-Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Age > 38

#"

!"

Tot. M/F

#"

!"

Tot.

#"

"

78

16

95

472

173

488

1541

Information Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics

106

21

1101

250

1207

271

1478

Industrial and Information Engineering and Economics

243

163

3019

1476

3262

1639

4901

Life, Health and Environmental Sciences

586

833

2736

6078

3322

6911

10233

Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences

88

42

944

478

1032

520

1552

Physical and Chemical Sciences

17

7

156

102

173

109

282

Human Studies Total

134

622

450

2635

584

3257

3841

1252

1704

8501

11491

9753

13195

23828

! Erasmus Students (without established Faculty)

0

Engineering

0

! 1

!

! 1

! Medicine and Surgery

13

13

!

1265

!

22

!

60

!

! 3 !

35

108

73 !

9788

58

3 !

! 11610

! 58

0 !

! 8523

! 0

2 !

! 1719

! 57

0 !

! TOTAL

! 0

! 13329

23997

Table. 2. Enrolments Students by age and gender a.y. 2012-2013

Data above written refer to all the type of Courses of study: Degree programmes, doctorates, masters and schools of specialization. The population of adults is 12,41% of the attending population. The first problem concerns this “hidden population” attending the university of the lifelong learning and the role it plays within the problems of a “quality teaching provision” and the importance to be able to take charge of its existence implementing an efficient system of teaching action using the ICT/e-learning centre, able to connect with some essential principles leading the control strategies of internal quality at level of: – responsibility of the University to be equipped with a model of internal assurance quality in line with the strategy of integrated processes and that promotes an internal culture of quality; – difference and innovation of organizational and teaching structures aiming at efficiency and diversification of systems of educational provision appealing to ICT and e-learning systems and to the enhancement of communication and information system; – transparency of procedures, interventions and synergies of action between teaching and research; – respect of general, cultural, social and individual interests of every stakeholder;

Antonella Nuzzaci

77


– respect for all the beneficiaries of education (including adult population and workers); – rules and guidelines aiming at developing a culture of quality leading to acknowledge the necessity of its progressive improvement.

78

Such a specification has to be made because it is the offer of the University to characterize the positioning of the institution in certain field, community, territory and therefore training and professionalism, with respect to matters we are treating in this contribution. Given that the offer of the institution shall be also designed with priority starting from beneficiary’s explicit and implicit requirements, concretely, we had to specify characteristics of the population to welcome, then fixing the ways of consultation with various stakeholders allowing to identify and monitor such requirements. Such a process can be understood as “accompanying path” that is for the Athenaeum the response to the requirements previously identified through solutions such as the enhancement of Service e-learning@AQ, the online teaching for the students of the university of L’Aquila (http://didattica.univaq.it/moodle/). 3.1 Methodology

In such a direction, the idea of the Unit of Quality has been considered mainly as process putting into play values, internal/external dimensions and efficacy rather than simple outgoing inputs; in such an interpretative key two concepts have become predominant:

– quality as transformation (changing process of people); – quality as improvement (changing process of institutions); or rather it is considered a “strategic change” based on researching a lifelong progress and a primary responsibility of the institution for the purpose to maximize the use of institutional autonomy and freedom, mainly happening through the enhancement of measures of structured progress for enhancing the quality of an institution, a programme, a course of study etc. (Nuzzaci, 2011).

This because if it is true that the expression “culture of quality” is needed to describe shared values and common responsibilities of all the members of institutions and bottom-up approaches developed by the academic community that can be attributed to specific attitudes and behaviours built within the institution (EUA, 2003b), first of all it should be then explained how to create it between internal and external evaluation starting from the respect of its essential principles such as reliability of measurements and their “validity”, but above all respecting beneficiary’s needs and characteristics of the teaching provision of certain Athenaeum. In the perspective of EUA, the culture of quality in the Athenaeum of L’Aquila appeals to an internal organizational culture with lifelong mechanisms of optimization at two different levels:

– Institutional, a structural and administrative element for the purpose to improve the quality, referring it to the improvement of processes, but also to the coordination between different levels; – Individual/personal, cultural and psychological degree of shared values, certainties, expectations and commitment of individuals towards a culture of quality.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


In prospect, therefore, the idea of an integrated model between technological Centre, lifelong Learning and quality Centre cannot be perceived but as enhancement of the culture of quality when it pushes the Athenaeum to implement a change in the organizational and cultural system, that: – involves the measurement of distance between intentions (purposes) and what is realized; – consists in a path of creation of confidence between parties concerned (stakeholder) needed to keep the quality over the time in respect to inputs, processes and results; – tries to meet with expectations or measures up to the threshold of minimum requisites, or rather includes a co-production providing for an interaction between a plurality of legitimate stakeholders; – embodies the essential characteristics of a subject, a community, an object, an action, a process or an organization; – refers to status, high degree or not, or rather it is perfectible like in a quality performance; – represents a way to implement structured and effective processes of evaluation. The future direction will be examine specific references of quality keeping in mind: – what produced in terms of previous practices of the Athenaeum; – consultation with parties concerned; – methodological approach previously used.

The beginning exploration is focused on an initial description and specificities of the quality design that first of all, in the idea of building an integrated system, within the context of a plan of improvement, cannot count but on an enhancement of diagnostic evaluation carried out by the staff of the Unit together with other components (such as Athenaeum Committees and other bodies and components of the University). The Unit, with its work of preliminary exploration, is assessing the relevance and non-relevance of indicators to be adopted in the first phase. Such actions will concern the chance to build an interpretative framework of reference within which the integrated system operates and where are defined specific dynamics of quality about the future educational provision. Such an aspect will also allow examining some variables of context that will help to better define priority actions, to evaluate potential progresses in terms of: – diagnostic evaluation of the provision; – single plan; – evaluation concrete procedures. It means:

– considering the self-evaluation of an essential component (Karlsen & Stensaker, 1995; Saarinen, 1995; Rasmussen, 1995; Bazargan, 1999) that promotes to examine one’s objectives, tasks, practices and results applying different approaches, revealing weak points of the activity and implementing interventions to strengthen them, there are still open questions about the correct frequency, depth and relevance of one’s model of self-evaluation, of Antonella Nuzzaci

79


80

which it should be proved the efficacy; this implies indisputably the capacity of the institution to observe, analyse and judge its performances on the base of specific criteria and establish how to improve them, but referring to the independent validation (as provided by the current legislation in force). – developing a strong information system, but also a planning integrated system of ICT in teaching, above all when it is turned to students with special needs, working students, such as, the importance (complies with the reason why and what it means) for a teacher in service to study to get an educational Master. This highlights the importance of flexibility, of using e-learning programmes, open learning not only about the chance for the teacher to optimize its time, combining study with work and family, but also the one to be able to make effective the integration between work and study activity to get the most advantage and benefit from the appropriate structuring of experience and its re-use, eliminating some barriers that can limit its access to traditional courses. Therefore, not “makeshift” but chance to combine a wide range of teaching strategies, particularly those making use of independent and individual learning. The consideration about the relation ICT-Quality is given on a teaching and research level when it helps to “bring the barriers down”, create teaching and research systems more flexible, opener and more “smart” as well as reproducible. – providing all the students with wide opportunities of learning and qualification. – providing also adults with a “second chance of academic qualification” or a professional one through advanced technological instruments and support programmes for every category, but it entails an extensive use of new technologies for defining a neuralgic structure within the University that can become advanced when it fulfils multiple purposes of education and that allows every student improving their knowledge and expertise. However, in order to make this happen, the structure needs to have: an efficient management system (operating figures, kept of registrations, traceability for e-learning systems, budget, resources and services management, as well as evaluation and monitoring etc.), a valid planning model, a suitable apparatus to help the student, a planning structure for every category of beneficiary, above all adults, of focusing and of structure. In defining the model of quality of the University of L’Aquila and its potential connections with internal structures/services, it cannot be excluded:

– a Unit of Quality able to promote self-evaluation processes to be put in symmetric relation with the external evaluation system (ANVUR), though remain questions about the appropriate frequency and depth of self-assessment and the relevance of different models of self-assessment; – a technological and e-learning centre (implementation of the existing one); – a structure/service for lifelong learning (present in policies of quality). These three elements are linked by a red string inserting quality in a weave of relations and virtuous interconnections.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


4. The perspectives of an internal evaluation and improvement processes of quality of the Athenaeum of L’Aquila: from technologies to lifelong learning in synergies between structures

If it is true that using technological systems and devices has changed the way how persons interact with the university environment and the way of living it enhancing the relation university environment-learning, helping to integrate different contexts of learning and bringing visible improvements, such as, in managing the educational time with evident effect on the quality of people’s education and life. At the same time using technology, in teaching and conditions and ways of provision of teaching, gives advanced chances of connection between education and diversified populations of students, teachers, staff, contributing to increase and enhance the efficacy of teaching and a probable higher effect of the university on the territory. But, at the same time, a pervading and effective use of ICT in a university context entails the choice of specific educational strategies to make actually appropriate the performances respect the general “pedagogical” design that sees the technology integrated in processes and systems of quality turned to “make teaching and research” substantially able to increase academic performances at any level. This because the stakes are a sustainable and intelligent university requiring important changes that are strictly connected to communication, resources management, taking charge of the transition able to establish the ways how the students will learn specialized competence and knowledge in every field (social, mathematical, scientific studies etc.) and the development of specific and diversified professional habitus, which change over the time is established by the strength of cultural profiles and relevant range. The quality of a university institution becomes integrated system of functions when: it is put to use in such individual and social needs, but above all when put at the core of its action the educational innovation and programming and the relation between evaluation, initial and continuing education/research and ICT; it is interested in organizational ways of research of quality improvement allowing its structure to know even better how it works, the reality of implemented ways of control, of quality of performances expressed and its capacity to perform corrective measures. The three subsystems considered, evaluation and self-evaluation processes, initial and continuing learning and technological innovation, essentially concern the capacity of the university institution to express a service appreciated for its quality that meet the needs of every category of beneficiary and a performance of modalities of professionalization going along with the subject while working and in the adaptation according to emerging professional needs. First of all, this has to do with modalities according to which the three subsystems operate in coherence with policies of quality and Orientations and with the complex cultural design of Athenaeum; second of all, with the chance to establish central matters in order to check the relevance of its ways of functioning.

Antonella Nuzzaci

81


82

Conclusions

Figure 4. Quality and ICT

Just to give you an example, the University of Lâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Aquila has recently started a process of administrative simplification through the transition from paper to electronic documents, to which the current legislation recognizes full legal value. This process assumes a key role in the improvement of the services to students. It may be considered one of the most important initial actions towards the establishment of a more effective relationship among universities, students and territory. Many of these activities are ongoing and make us hoping the best for the future. The basic assumption is to look at the realization of an advanced system of policies, strategies and practices for quality to establish a role model for designing future policies and cultural local systems. A role model that looks at the initial and continuing learning and the research with a watchful eye and in a systemic perspective to turn the Athenaeum into a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Smart Universityâ&#x20AC;?.

Figure 5. Integrated System Functions

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


References Ahmed, M., Yang, J.B., & Dale, B.G. (2003). Self-assessment methodology: the route to success. Quality Management Journal, 10(1), 43-57. Alberici, A. (Ed.) (2007). Adulti e Università. Accogliere e orientare nei nuovi Corsi di Laurea. Rapporto di ricerca Prin 2004. Roma: Anicia. Alberici, A., & Di Rienzo, P. (Eds.) (2011). I saperi dell’esperienza. Politiche e metodologie per il riconoscimento e la convalida degli apprendimenti non formali e informali nell’università. Secondo Rapporto di Ricerca PRIN. Roma: Anicia. Alberici, A., & Serreri, P. (2009). Competenze e formazione in età adulta. Il Bilancio di competenze: dalla teoria alla pratica. Roma: Monolite. Bazargan, A. (1999). Introduction to assessing quality in higher medical education: challenges and perspectives. Quality in Higher Education, 5(1), 61-67. Bergen Communique (2005). The European Higher Education Area: Achieving the goals. Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education, Bergen, 19-20 May 2005. (Retrieved from http://www.bolognabergen2005. no/Docs/00-Main_doc/050520_Bergen_Communique.pdf) Challis, D., Holt, D., & Palmer, S. (2009). Teaching and Learning Centres: towards maturation. Higher Education Research & Development, 28(4), 371-383. Cheng, Y.C., & Tam, W.M. (1997). Multi-models of quality in education. Quality Assurance in Education, 5(1), 22-31. Conti, T.A. (2007). A history and review of the European quality award model. The TQM Magazine, 19(2), 112-128. EFQM (2003). Assessing excellence. A practical guide for self-assessment. Brussels: EFQM. Ehlers, U.-D. (2005). A participatory approach to E-Learning-Quality. A new perspective on the quality debate. LLine – Journal for Lifelong Learning in Europe, XI. Ehlers, U.-D. (2007). Quality literacy – Competences for quality development in education and E-Learning. Journal Educational Technology & Society, 10(2), 96-108. Ehlers, U.-D. (2009). Understanding quality culture. Quality Assurance in Education, 17(4), 343-363. Ehlers, U.-D., Hildebrandt, B., Görtz, L., & Pawlowski, J. (2005). Quality in E-Learning. Use and dissemination of quality strategies in European E-Learning. Luxembourg: European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training. Ehlers, U.-D. (2010). Moving from control to culture in Higher Education Quality. In U.-D. Ehlers, & D. Schneckenberg, Changing Cultures in Higher Education (pp. 385-402). Heidelberg Dordrecht London New York: Springer. ENQA (2005). Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area. Helsinki: ENQA. EUA (2001). Salamanca Declaration. Shaping our own future in the European Higher Education Area. Brussels: European University Association. EUA (2003a). Graz Declaration. Strengthening the role of Institutions. Brussels: European University Association. EUA (2003b). EUA Quality Culture Project. Network Report. Network 4. Implementing Bologna Reforms. Brussels: European University Association. EUA (2005a). Glasgow Declaration. Strong Universities for Europe. Brussels: European University Association. EUA (2005b). Developing an internal quality culture in European universities. Report on the Quality Culture Project 2002-2003. Brussels: European University Association. EUA (2006). Quality culture in European universities: a bottom-up approach report on the three rounds of the Quality Culture Project 2002–2006. Brussels: European University Association. EUA (2007a). EUA Policy position on Quality. Brussels: European University Association.

Antonella Nuzzaci

83


84

EUA (2007b). Trends V: Universities shaping the European Higher Education Area. Brussels: European University Association. Flynn, B.B., Schroeder, R.G., & Sakakibara, S. (1994). A framework for quality management research and associated measurement instrument. Journal of Operations Management, 11(4), 339-366. Ford, M.W., & Evans, J.R. (2006). The role of follow-up in achieving results from self-assessment processes. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 23(6), 589-606. Green, D. (1994). What is quality in higher education? Concepts, policy and practice. In D. Green (Ed.), What is Quality in Higher Education? (pp. 3-20). Buckingham: Open University press and Society for Research into Higher Education. Harvey, L. (1999). An Assessment of past and current approaches to Quality in Higher Education. Australian Journal of Education, 43(3), 237-255. Harvey, L. (2002). Evaluation for what? Teaching in Higher Education, 7(3), 245-264. Harvey, L., & Green, D. (1993). Defining quality. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher education, 18(1), 9-34. Harvey, L., & Stensaker, B. (2008). Quality culture: understandings, boundaries and linkages. European Journal of Education, 43(4), 427-442. Karlsen, R., & Stensaker, B. (1995). Between governmental demands and institutional needs: peer discretion in external evaluations – what is it used for?. Paper presented at the 17th Annual EAIR Forum, Dynamics in Higher Education: Traditions Challenged by New Paradigms, Zurich, Switzerland, 27-30 August 1995. Kumar, M.R. (2007). Comparison between DP and MBNQA: Convergence and divergence over time. The TQM Magazine,19(3), 245-258. La Vecchia, L., & Nuzzaci, A. (2012). A smart University for a smart city. International Journal of Digital. Literacy and Digital Competence, 3(4), 16-32. Longworth, N. (2003). Lifelong learning in action: transforming education in the 21st century. London: Kogan Page. Longworth, N., & Osborne, M. (Eds.) (2010). Perspectives on learning cities and regions: policies, practice and participation. Leicester: National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE). Nuzzaci, A. (2009). L’Università tra ricerca didattica ed etica. In A. Nuzzaci, & T. Grange (Eds.), Qualità, ricerca, didattica. Quale sistema europeo per l’istruzione superiore (pp. 109-152). Milano: Franco Angeli. Nuzzaci, A. (2011). La dimensione transazionale della didattica (e della ricerca). In L. Galliani (Ed.), Il docente Universitario. Una professione tra ricerca, didattica governante degli Atenei (pp. 265-288), Atti dell’VIII Biennale Internazionale sulla Didattica Universitaria, Padova, 2-3 dicembre 2010. Lecce: PensaMultimedia. Nuzzaci, A. (2012). Valutare la valutazione: una ricerca per la valutazione della didattica o una valutazione della ricerca didattica? Evaluating the evaluation: a research for the assessment of teaching or assessment of educational research? In M. Corsi, A. Ascenzi, & P. G. Rossi (Eds.), Il futuro della ricerca pedagogica e la sua valutazione (pp. 453476). Roma: Armando. Palumbo, M. (2003). Qualità e valutazione: un dibattito che prosegue. Rassegna Italiana di Valutazione, 7(26), 41-51. Palumbo, M. (2007). Valutare l’università: perché e per chi? Rassegna Italiana di Valutazione, 12(38), 9-18. Randolph, W.A. (1995). The leadership challenge of changing to a culture of empowerment. Executive Development, 8(1), 5-8. Rasmussen, P. (1995). A Danish approach to quality in education: the case of Aalborg University. Paper, with additional comments, presented at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Programme on Institutional Management in Higher Education (IMHE) Seminar, at OECD. Paris, 4-6 December.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


Ritchie, L., & Dale, B.G. (2000). Self-assessment using the business excellence model: a study of practice and process. International Journal of Production Economics, 66(3), 241-254. Saarinen, T. (1995). Systematic higher education assessment and departmental impacts: translating the effort to meet the need. Quality in Higher Education, 1(3), 223-234. Samuelsson, P., & Nilsson, L.-E. (2002). Self-assessment practices in large organizations. Experiences from using the EFQM excellence model. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 19(1), 10-23. Saraph, J.V., Benson, P.G., & Schroeder, R.G. (1989). An instrument for measuring the critical factors of quality management. Decision Sciences, 20(4), 810-829. Sharma, U., & Hoque, Z. (2002). TQM implementation in a public sector entity in Fiji. Public sector reform, commercialization, and institutionalism. The International Journal of Public Sector Management, 15(5), 340-360. Van der Wiele, A., Williams, A.R.T., Dale, B.G., & Carter, G. (1996a). Quality management self-assessment: an examination in European business. Journal of General Management, 22(1), 48-67. Van der Wiele, A., Williams, A.R.T., Dale, B.G., Carter, G., Kolb, F., Luzon, D.M., Schmidt, A., & Wallace, M. (1996b). Self-assessment: a study of progress in Europeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading organizations in quality management practices. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 13(1), 84-104. Van der Wiele, T., & Brown, A. (1999). Self-assessment practices in Europe and Australia. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 16(3), 238-251. Waugh, R.F. (2002). Academic staff perceptions of administrative quality at universities. Journal of Educational Administration, 40(2), 172-188. Wilkes, N., & Dale, B.G. (1998). Attitudes to self-assessment and quality awards: a study in small and medium-sized companies. Total Quality Management, 9(8), 731-739.

Antonella Nuzzaci

85


Maria Cinque

Rui Foundation m.cinque@fondazionerui.it

university

Stop and Rewind. University Students Reflecting on their Digital Practices

87

KEYWORDS: Higher Education, Personal Knowledge Management, Digital Competence, Lifelong Learning, Research and Information Management.

© Pensa MultiMedia Editore srl ISSN 2037-0830 (print) ISSN 2037-0849 (on line)

abstract

Higher education currently faces many changes, some externally driven by government policies and changing patterns of social and economic demand and some internally driven by changes in the way knowledge is produced and organised. Universities are now tending to provide a broader range of instructional methods and, at the same time, students are also expected to undertake more independent learning. Web applications and open educational resources offer unique opportunities for autonomous and collaborative learning, and to customize the learning environment for individual needs. But the processes of online learning and online knowledge management involve issues of complexity and sustainability that students – even at university level – are not always able to cope with. This work presents three research case studies aimed at analysing different ways of dealing effectively with the dynamics of the web. The goal was to determine whether specific activities, tools and environments can enhance the development of skills for lifelong learning, such as the ability to effectively search the Internet, using online resources for continuous education and to manage one’s online presence. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered within a framework of Personal Knowledge Management and the results are potentially useful both for teachers and learners.


Introduction

88

Over the last decades there have been many changes within the Higher Education System, that have involved the transition from a traditional university system, focused on controlled and teacher-directed instruction, to a new framework in which the student is at the centre of the educational system and attaches great importance on autonomous learning. In order to adapt to this new scenario, students need to develop different types of competencies. In this context, the use of applications such as social networks, wikis or blogs are initiatives to improve learning, motivate students and improve their performance. Consequently, considerable efforts have being made to promote the incorporation of ICT in Higher Education. The impact of new technological practices in universities can be seen right across a spectrum of different activities, from the digitizing of management information, to the use of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and social media in teaching and learning, to the development of digital scholarship in academic research. The nature and scale of this impact varies from institutions to institutions. It is this broad context of technological and structural changes that some scholars (for example, Goodfellow & Lea, 2013) are looking to encapsulate in the concept of “digital university”, an emerging context in which «fundamentally different forms of social practice around learning and technologies jostle together and strain the boundaries of institutions and the professional communities who inhabit them» (Goodfellow & Lea, 2013, p. 2). But the particular challenges that technologies present to learners and teachers pursuing specific goals in particular subjects and discipline can’t be underestimated. The introduction of technologies in the learning process involves issues of complexity and sustainability that students – even at university level – are not always able to recognize and cope with. In this work, after exploring the research context (the use of ICT at University and the digital competences of university students), we will focus on the notion of PKM (Personal Knowledge Management), i.e. the collection of processes that individuals need to carry out in their daily activities in order to manage their own knowledge management work including gather, classify, store, search and retrieve knowledge (Tsui, 2002). This process is not limited to work-related activities but also the social activities and the necessary skills are to be taught in order to support learners who, as “institutional citizens”, need to exploit services and make use of socialization, collaboration and operation areas. We present three research case studies: – one indirect, based on the ethnographic digital observation and on the administration of a survey to a group of Engineering students at the University of Pisa; – two direct case studies, concerning activities carried out for three years within two University courses in Udine (Education Sciences) and Pordenone (Multimedia Communication).

We gathered both quantitative and qualitative data about student digital practices. We mapped student ICT uses and analysed quantitative data using factor analysis to reduce the variables. We furthermore analysed student digital tasks.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


1. Theoretical Background

1.1 Digital natives and digital competence Many authors observe that social media are increasingly present in Higher Education in order to allow Universities to (re)connect to a new kind of students (Selwyn, 2012). As a part of the larger educational environment, technology provides a context that is shaped in part by the ways teachers enable their students to make use of the technological tools. Technological contexts include the actual devices students use and the systems that support these devices. Margaryan, Littlejohn and Vojt (2011) did not find evidence to support popular claims that young people, the so called digital natives, adopt radically different learning styles. Their attitudes to learning appear to be influenced by lecturers’ teaching approaches. Furthermore, Gurung and Rutledge (2014) research on the overlapping of student personal and educational digital engagement shows that this overlap is not necessarily positive as portrayed by the prevalent discourses of technology enthusiasts. It has mixed roles – facilitative as well as obstructive. The so called digital natives are not necessarily digitally competent (Benett, Maton & Kervin, 2008). Digital competence is recognised as one of the eight key competences for lifelong learning by the European Union, summarised as «involving the confident and critical use of Information Society Technology (IST) for work, leisure and communication» (EU, 2006). As Ala-Mutka (2011) points out, there are many definitions of Digital Competence and there are many overlapping concepts, such as digital literacy, ICT literacy, media literacy etc. ICT literacy is typically the narrowest digital concept and mainly concentrated on technical knowledge and usage of computers and software applications. Internet literacy adds to the tool-related knowledge and skills the considerations and ability to successfully function in networked media environments. Information literacy and media literacy concepts largely overlap. However, some different foci can be detected in that information literacy is more about finding, organising and processing information, whereas media literacy is more about having the skills to interpret, use and create media for one’s own benefit and participation. A critical attitude is important in both of them, since they cover both digital and non-digital domains. In the digital domain, digital literacy is the broadest concept and includes the main aspects of the other concepts, and further aspects for using digital tools responsibly and effectively for personal tasks and development, benefiting from people networks. In the European framework of key competences for lifelong learning (2006)1, digital competence is a transversal key competence that enhances other key competences (e.g., linguistics, mathematical, learning to learn, cultural awareness). It is related to many of the so-called 21st century skills, which should be acquired by all citizens, in order to ensure their active participation in society and the economy.

1

Recommendation 2006/962/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning (Official Journal L 394 of 30.12.2006).

Maria Cinque

89


There are many different versions of the 21st century skills framework. One is elaborated by OECD (Ananiadou & Claro, 2009) that focuses on three dimensions: information, communication, ethics and social impact. We used this framework to analyse the digital tasks produced by students during our case studies. 1.2 Personal Knowledge Management

90

This work refers also to a wider area of study, that of PKM (Personal Knowledge Management), i.e. the capability to retrieve information and to use them for learning. PKM is a concept that has grown out of a combination of different fields as diverse as Knowledge Management (KM), personal information management, cognitive psychology, philosophy, management science, education, communications and many other disciplines. In the past decade, several scholars – e.g. Frand & Hixon (1999), Avery et al., (2001), Berman and Annexstein (2003), Wright (2005), Zuber-Skerritt (2005), Agnihotri and Troutt (2009) and Jarche (2010) – have developed their model to describe PKM. Their model shared the same assumption that PKM is playing important role in knowledge management and has benefits to individuals, organisations and social communities. In the original model of PKM elaborated by Frand and Hixon (1999) PKM competences include: searching/finding; categorising/classifying; naming things/ making distinctions; evaluating/assessing; integrating/relating. Later models drew on different tools and identified a complex process that included the ability to manage information derived from the web and its resources. The notion of PKM is a response to the idea that knowledge workers increasingly need to be responsible for their own growth and learning (Smedley, 2009). According to Pauleen and Gorman (2011), there are five essential and practical areas that an individual must “master” in order to engage in effective PKM: management, learning, communication, interpersonal skills and use of technology. According to Clemente and Pollara (2005), the core focus of PKM is “personal enquiry”, i.e. the quest to find, connect, learn and explore. Analogously, Jarche (2010) affirms that PKM allows individuals to take control of their personal and professional development through a continuous process of seeking, sensingmaking and sharing. We based our project activities on this process and on the activities involved in research and information management. We chose a framework in which competences are divided into two main groups: Basic and Higher Order PKM skills (Cigognini, 2008; Pettenati et al., 2009). The former encompass abilities and skills that can be deliberately learnt and include three macro-competence categories: create, organise and share. The Higher Order skills and competences are grouped into four main categories: connectedness, ability to balance formal and informal contexts, critical ability and creativity.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


2. The research

2.1 Goals and Methodology This work presents three research case studies aimed at analysing different ways of dealing effectively with the dynamics of the web. The main purposes of the research were the following:

1. to analyse and map which ICT tools students use for learning; 2. to analyse how students’ digital competences can be supported and developed by a range of types of activities; 3. to consider a systematic and integrated use of information and communication technologies to accomplish learning tasks; 4. to provide adequate environments to optimize the processes of personal knowledge management; 5. to choose and test tools in order to design and implement some pilot projects.

In order to answer these research questions we used three research case studies. In the first indirect case study we investigated on ICT as “environment” for learning, focusing on the notion of PLE (Personal Learning Environment) and reporting the case of a Management course at the University of Pisa, where the institutional VLE – based on Moodle – has been integrated with a student support group hosted on a social network, Ning. A survey was administered (in 2010, 2011 and 2012) to a sample of 400 first year Engineering students, in order to investigate on their ability to make an “effective” use of ICT for learning. Available data refer to 220 students. The same questionnaire was also administered during two direct case studies (in 2011, 2012 and 2013). Totally 180 students were involved both in answering the questionnaire and in specific digital tasks. These activities, aimed at the development of basic and advanced PKM skills in students, were carried out within brief courses on Research and Information Management, designed for two different groups of students: a group of first year students of Education Sciences at the University of Udine followed a basic course and was assigned activities aimed at developing PKM basic skills; a group of first year students of Multimedia Communication at the University of Udine (Pordenone campus) was trained for advanced skills. The courses shared contents, learning outcomes (even if at a different level: basic and advanced) and were taught by the same teacher. Actually both courses consisted in a series of brief seminars and various kinds of online synchronous and asynchronous activities in order to test different modalities of learning: blended, purely online, synchronous and asynchronous interactions. The three case studies are connected: the first one was aimed at the accomplishment of first three research goals; the second and third case studies made it possible to further investigate these areas and, at the same time, to achieve the fourth and fifth research goals.

Maria Cinque

91


2.2 Questionnaire on ICT Uses for Learning

92

To investigate on the use of ICT tools (both hardware and software) for learning we used a translation of the ELRC (E-learning Research Centre) questionnaire approved by JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee), a British institution that monitor the use of digital technology in the UK. The questionnaire includes 20 questions. Some of them required students to map their learning activities (12 typologies) with 36 tools. Specifically students were asked to link specific tasks (i.e. communicating with students; communicating with tutors/teachers; doing a learning task collaboratively; doing a learning task individually; gathering information; viewing course material; writing an assignment etc.) with the tools they used: hardware (for example: laptop, iPad or Tablet pc, digital audio etc.); online communication tools (chat rooms, emails, blogs, wikis etc.); online learning facilities (search engines, videoconferencing tools, virtual learning environments etc.); specialized software (spreadsheets, word processor, power point, simulation software etc.). 2.3 Face-to-face and Online Synchronous/Asynchronous Activities

In the two direct case studies students, besides answering to the questionnaire, were asked to follow brief courses on specific subjects, in different modalities. The students in Udine, which participated in 2011 in a special laboratory for Online Research, were divided into three groups: one group attended in classroom, one group followed online and the third group followed in a blended way (both in presence and online). Online asynchronous activities were proposed for the three groups, with a different rhythm for each group. In Pordenone the seminars were carried out in 2012 and in 2013 within the course of Englishes and Media Communication in a World Context. The course was blended: students were present at the University with the English course teacher; brief synchronous seminars were carried out online and students were asked to perform assigned tasks both at University (using the wifi network) and at home. The courses lasted each 20 hours, including brief seminars and activities. At the end of the course, students were expected to be able to: 1. search Google effectively and precisely, by customizing it; 2. know when to use other search engines and web directories; 3. evaluate what they find on the web; 4. create their own PLE; 5. make an effective use of resources found on the web. 2.4 Digital Tools and Digital Tasks

We tested different tools and different kind of activities. The main idea was to provide an overview of useful web tools for learning, a series of practical references and a “toolbox” to be used in different contexts (at university, but also self-learning and professional training). Two wikis were used as “hubs” for all the activities and the content: 1) http://dottoratoudinesperimentale.pbworks.com; 2) http://pordenonestm.pbworks.com. During the course different tasks were assigned to be performed either during the lessons (using the wifi area of the University in Pordenone) or at home (in-

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


termediate project works for students both in Udine and in Pordenone). Among the first ones: brainstorming to choose good search terms; categorizing the search terms and create a Mind map of the search; search quizzes; analysis of web results and evaluation of credibility of websites; creating a personalized search engine using Google CSE. The intermediate project works included searches on YouTube, on iTunes, on Twitter; creating a Facebook page or a Facebook Group on a positive social or cultural initiative; using delicious to collect bookmarks on a specific topic etc. For the final assessment students were asked to prepare – in group of 2-3 people – a multimedia piece of work (a presentation, a short video, a website, a wiki, a poster etc.) choosing among one of these three tasks: My digital identity, i.e. a presentation on their data on the web and on the way to manage their online reputation; PLE description and design, a description of the web technologies used for personal and academic purposes; Spreading good news. Internet branding for no profit initiatives, i.e. the application of corporate branding techniques that could help make a small no-profit initiative more popular on the web. 2.5 Data Analysis In the three research case studies we gathered both qualitative and quantitative data. The data refer to 400 students, in different cities and studying different disciplines. Quantitative data were gathered through a questionnaire in all the three case studies; for the direct case studies there were also intermediate and final tests on acquired knowledge and project works produced by the students. We also gathered secondary data, such as feedback on the course, through interviews with the students and their teachers. In Cinque (2013) the detailed description of data gathering and analysis is presented and discussed; here we summarise some of the main findings, such as:

– a map of students ICT uses for different clusters of learning activities; – a Factor analysis which was carried out to reduce the variables and identify the main areas of ICT uses for learning; – the analysis of digital tasks, i.e. of the project works produced by the students participating in the second and third case studies.

3. Some results 3.1 Mapping ICT Uses

As mentioned before, for the ICT use, students had to map their learning activities (12 typologies) with 36 tools. In the analysis of these data, we created dichotomies for each category of tools. Hardware was divided into three sub-groups: 1.1 audio (Au) / video (Vi); 1.2 mobile (Mo) / desktop (Fi); 1.3 input (In) / output (Ou). Online communication tools included two sub-groups: 2.1 synchronous (Sy) / asynchronous (As); 2.2 sharing (Cn) / social network (SN). Online learning facilities are represented by one group: 3.1 closed systems (Cl) / open source (Op); specialized software is

Maria Cinque

93


94

divided into two sub-groups: 4.1 retrieve (Re) / map (Ma); 4.2 Microsoft Office software (Of) / different specialized software (Ss). Activities were grouped in the following tasks: assimilative task (reading from a text book, listening to course material, revising for an exam etc.); information handling task (gathering information, managing information, oral presentation, self-assessment etc.); organizational task (planning a group activity, planning an individual learning task etc.); communicative task (communicating with students, communicating with tutors/teachers etc.); productive/experiential task (writing an assignment, doing a learning task collaboratively or doing a project work). A further step consisted in mapping activities and tools on the Cartesian plane consisting of two perpendicular axes representing: productivity (concern for results); relationality (concern for people). On the diagonal the learning axe is represented (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Mapping ICT tools and learning tasks

As far as hardware is concerned, we can say that while for productive tasks “traditional” tools (Au=audio, Fi=desktop, In=Input devices) are prevailing, relationality allows for a more variegate usage. We put together two groups (online communication tools and online learning facilities) and we observed that among “relational oriented” usages there is a prevalence of synchronous tools (Sy), of social networking sites (SN) and, partially, of open resources (Op). As far as specialized software is concerned, no differences are evident between the two areas (relationality and productivity) and in both cases “passive” functions (Re=retrieve) and usage of well-known software (Of=Office) prevail. 3.2 Factor Analysis

Following a recent study approach (Valentín et al., 2013), in order to identify the different ICT uses and to reduce the number of variables, we performed a factor analysis of principal components with Varimax rotation on the use of ICTs. This

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


allowed us to establish four factors (Table 1): factor 1 is related to communication among students (forums and chats), surfing the Internet and the consultation of newspapers and magazines (Social Use); factor 2 comprises four elements related to the use of professional tools such as databases, web page design etc. (Technical Use); factor 3 is composed of indicators related to office software use such text processors, slide presentations etc. (Academic Use); factor 4 comprises elearning Software Platforms and e-mail (Platform Use). Components

1

2

1. Use of text processor

3 .758

2. Use of spreadsheets

.623

3. Use of e-mail

.488

4. Use of data bases

.596

5. Use of image editing

.503

6. Use of web page design

.683

7. Use of presentations

.747

8. Use of multimedia materials

.663

9. Use of browsers

.628

10. Use of chats

.837

11. Use of forums

.833

12. Reading of online newspapers

.676

13. Use of Moodle

4

.437

.787 .787

Table 1. Matrix of factor saturations of the variables related to the use of ICTs

3.3 Analysis of Digital Tasks Some issues connected with the project works carried out during the course were discussed in classroom and received qualitative feedbacks. For the final project works we based on the OECD framework (Ananiadou & Claro, 2009) and created indicators basing on the three dimensions: information, communication, ethical and social impact. Following an OECD study we identified three dimensions and six sub-dimensions. The first dimension, information, concerns both information as a source (examples of skills and competencies belonging to this sub-dimension are information literacy, research and inquiry and media literacy) and information as a product (skills that belong mostly to this sub-dimension are creativity and innovation, problem solving). The second dimension, communication, includes the following sub-dimensions: effective communication (information and media literacy, critical thinking and communication are skills that belong to this sub-dimension) and collaboration and virtual interaction (collaboration/team working, flexibility and adaptability are examples of skills that belong to this sub-dimension). For the third dimension, ethics and social impact, the following dimensions are important: social responsibility (critical thinking, responsibility and decision

Maria Cinque

95


96

making are skills that are related to this sub-dimension) and social impact (these skills and competencies are often referred to as belonging to digital citizenship). For every sub-dimension we identified actions. We finally exploded the different actions in “behaviours”. Large tables (Cinque, 2013) were used to represent the results related to this kind of evaluation, which highlighted different kind of “behaviours”. For example, the indicators concerning the first sub-dimension (1.1 Information as a source) are the following: – 1.1.1. the student understands and then clearly defines the information needs on the basis of a question, issue or task; – 1.1.2 the student knows how to identify digitally pertinent information sources; – 1.1.3 the student knows how to look up for and select the digital information required in an effective and efficient way considering the problem to be solved; – 1.1.4 once the information has been found, the student is capable of evaluating how valuable and useful the source and its contents are for the task at hand; – 1.1.5 the student is able to store and organize the data or digital information efficiently so that it can be used again. Examples of skills and competencies belonging to this sub-dimension are information literacy, research and inquiry and media literacy. Different indicators were used for the evaluation of group tasks. Some groups limited to search the web in order to find useful and relevant information from authoritative sources. Other groups were able to edit and share the information found in original ways, using ICT tools. Although we could not monitor the process of group work, from the results we could find evidence of the type of communication and interaction that the members of each group had implemented. Finally, considering both the contents and the presentations of some works, it became evident if the students had set themselves or not the problem of a responsible use of the network – at a personal and social level – recognizing the potential risks, and the need for rules that could promote appropriate social interaction on the web. In particular, those groups that had created branding initiatives for non-profit organizations demonstrated the ability to consider the social, economic and cultural rights for the individual and the society of the network and took in considerations the challenges and opportunities of the new digital era.

Conclusions Stop and Rewind

For the final project work a group of students chose to create a website, a presentation and a video Against musical piracy. In the video there is a young boy that tries to obtain “easily” whatever he wants, including the most recent video and audio files, downloading them from illegal websites. But suddenly the video “rewinds” and a voice comments on the risks and problems of musical piracy.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


This work represents very clearly the general sense of the project: that is to convince students to make a “rewind”, i.e. to reflect on their digital practices. Being born or grown digital does not mean to be digitally competent. Students need to reflect on the way the use technologies in order to use them in a critical, creative and ethical way. Many students chose to reflect upon their digital identity, taking into account all their data on the web (both formal and informal data), all the “traces” left on the web (in social networks, blogs, forum etc.) and tools and strategies to manage their reputation and protect their digital data. It emerged that identity is an elusive concept, with no single clear definition. It is used in many different contexts and for a variety of purposes, ranging from authenticating to a bank to be allowed access to our money, to our understanding of who we are within a community. The social aspect is an essence of identity and this is why the management of one’s reputation on the web is a key issue. Digital practices

The questionnaire and the assignments were designed to stimulate students’ reflection on digital literacy issues in their practice. Analysis of the quantitative data across the different subgroups reveals a number of interesting results, which give us a valuable insight into students’ current practice in using technologies and their experiences. The data show that students are using a range of different types of learning strategies, appropriating the tools to meet their own needs in relation to the kind of activity they are performing. On the other side, our study confirms once more that there is a gap, a “dissonance” between the “officially prescribed” learning technologies and the way in which students use technology outside the classroom. It is significant that only one group – in the two years – decided to describe their PLEs. This probably means that the concept of PLE is more a “theoretical” construct than a useful tool for students. The need for designing adequate technology enhanced learning environments has often been stressed in pedagogical literature and in teaching practices. This means, on one side, that tools should not be selected on the base of their availability and of teachers’ preferences, but to meet specific learning needs. We need to “rethink” about our teaching through the lens of the technologies used by our students. We also discussed some of the ways in which students can operate as change agents in this area to improve not just their own digital literacies but those of other students and of teachers and other members of University staff. Environmental conditions and learning behaviours

The three case studies demonstrated that the acquisition of digital and PKM skills depends from personal and environmental conditions, from the decisions that both educators and the learners need to make to engage successfully in learning and from the characteristic behaviours of effective adult learning. The map of ICT tools used by students for learning goals shows that “traditional tools” (i.e. desktop, asynchronous tools, “passive” functions and wellknown software) are preferred when the focus is on productivity, while the stress on relational aspects lets a more variegate usage emerge. The Factor analysis

Maria Cinque

97


98

demonstrated that two of four identified areas are connected with University usage, i.e. Academic Use and Platform Use. This means that the tools available in their University and selected/used by their teachers model the majority of students’ uses. As a matter of fact, an integration of PLE (Personal Learning Environment, a concept that is quite “new” for students) with the “institutional” VLE, as illustrated in the first case study, is needed for an effective PKM, since the educational, technological and social aspects must integrate. In the design and implementation of the courses, we considered a systematic and integrated use of information and communication technologies chosen to provide adequate environments and to optimize the processes of personal knowledge management. As the analysis of digital tasks shows, specific learning “behaviours” were the expected outcomes of these activities, aimed at the development of many skills, far beyond the mere digital ones. Among these skills: creativity and innovation, problem solving, critical thinking and communication, collaboration/team working, responsibility and decision making, digital citizenship. University students PKM

In the “knowledge society” University students should not only learn the knowledge, but learn how to acquire knowledge, how to manage knowledge, how to “use” knowledge, in order to face the pressure and challenges of transition to employment status. PKM is en emerging discipline and represents an important aspect both in University education and for lifelong learning. From the perspective of University teachers interested in enhancing in their students a PKM strategy, the following questions are crucial: – How do students view their knowledge/learning and how do they learn and manage information? – How can students, as “future” knowledge workers, maintain knowledge currency in rapidly changing environments and anticipate the inevitable changes in environmental conditions? – How do knowledge workers rise above the role of mere information-orknowledge-processors? – Can they become knowledge forecasters, brokers and creators?

We need to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s challenges to let them become aware citizens, fully independent in accessing and using resources, tools and features of the “digital society”. Acknowledgements

The research activities of this project were carried out thanks to the collaboration of some University teachers. I would like to thank prof. A. Martini (University of Pisa) for the first case study; prof. D. Fedeli (University of Udine) for the second case study; prof. M. Bortoluzzi (University of Udine) for the third one.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


References

Ala-Mutka, K. (2011). Mapping Digital Competence: Towards a Conceptual Under-standing. Sevilla: Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (Retrieved January 24, 2014 from http://ftp.jrc.es/EURdoc/JRC67075_TN.pdf). Agnihotri, R., & Troutt, M.D. (2009). The effective use of technology in personal knowledge management: A framework of skills, tools and user context. Online Information Review, 33(2), 329-42. Ananiadou, K., & Claro, M. (2009). 21st Century Skills and Competences for New Millennium Learners in OECD Countries. OECD Education Working Papers, 41. Avery, S., Brooks, R., Brown, J., Dorsey, P., & O’Conner, M. (2001). Personal Knowledge Management: Framework for Integration and Partnerships’. Paper presented to Annual Conference of the Association of Small Computer Users in Education (ASCUE), Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, 10-14 June. Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008). The ‘digital natives’ debate. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775-786. Berman, K.A., & Annexstein, F.S. (2003). Actualizing Context for Personal Knowledge Management. Department of ECECS, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH. Cigognini, M.E. (2008). Personal Knowledge Management per imparare ad apprendere: Modello di competenze e strategie formative per vivere la conoscenza in rete. Telematics and Information Society, TSI – PhD course, University of Florence. Retrieved January 24, 2014 from http://elilearning.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/phd_thesis_cigognini_licenza_cc.pdf). Cinque, M. (2013). Reti di apprendimento e gestione autoregolata della conoscenza: Utilizzo di modelli di social computing per l’acquisizione di competenze metacognitive e creative nel lifelong learning. PhD Thesis – University of Udine (Retrieved June 20, 2014, from https://dspace-uniud.cilea.it/handle/10990/191?mode=full). Clemente, B.E., & Pollara, V.J. (2005). Mapping the course, marking the trail. IT Professional, 7(6), 10-15. Frand, J., & Hixon, C. (1999), Personal Knowledge Management: Who, What, Why, When, Where, How?. (Retrieved June 20, 2014 from http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty/ jason.frand/researcher/speeches/PKM.htm). Goodfellow, R., & Lea, M. R. (Eds.) (2013) Literacy in the Digital University. Critical Perspectives on Learning, Scholarship and Technology. New York & London: Routledge. Gurung, B., & Rutledge, D. (2014). Digital learners and the overlapping of their personal and educational digital engagement. Computers & Education, 77, 91-100. Jarche, H. (2010). Personal Knowledge Management, Jarche Consulting, (Retrieved June 20, 2014 from http://www.jarche.com/2014/02/the-seek-sense-share-framework/). Li, Y., & Ranieri, M. (2010). Are ‘digital natives’ really digitally competent? – A study on Chinese teenagers. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(6), 1029-1042. Margaryan, A., Littlejohn, A., & Vojt., G. (2011). Are digital natives a myth or reality? University students’ use of digital technologies. Computers and Education, 56(2), 429440. Meyer, K. A. (2010). The Role of Disruptive Technology in the Future of Higher Education, Educause Quarterly, 33(1). (Retrieved June 20, 2014 from http://www.educause. edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolum/TheRoleofDisruptiveTechnologyi/199378). Pauleen, D. J., & Gorman, G. E. (2011). Personal Knowledge Management: Individual, Organizational and Social Perspectives. Farnham Surrey, England: Gower Publishing Limited. Pettenati, M.C., Cigognini, M.E., Guerin, E., & Mangione, G.R. (2009). Personal knowledge management skills for Lifelong-learners 2.0. In S. Hatzipanagos, & S. Warburton (Eds.),

Maria Cinque

99


100

Social software and developing community ontologies. (Chapter 21). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. (Retrieved January 24, 2014 from http://www.igiglobal.com/ downloads/pdf/ 33011.pdf). Selwyn, N. (2012). Social media in higher education. In The Europa World of Learning 2012, 62nd Edition, Routledge (Retrieved June 20, 2013 from http://www.educationarena.com/pdf/sample/sample-essay-selwyn.pdf). Smedley, J. (2009). Modelling personal knowledge management. OR Insight, 22(4), 221233. Tsui, E. (2002). Technologies for Personal and Peer-to-peer (P2P) Knowledge Management, Computer Sciences Corporation, Melbourne, (Retrieved June 20, 2013 from http://www2.csc.com/lef/programs/completed_02.html%3E). Valentín, A., Mateos, P.M., González-Tablas, M.M., Pérez, L., López, E., & García, I. (2013). Motivation and learning strategies in the use of ICTs among university students. Computers & Education, 61, 52-58. Wright, K. (2005). Personal knowledge management: supporting individual knowledge worker performance, Knowledge Management Research & Practice, 3(3), 156-65. Zuber-Skerritt, O. (2005). A model of values and actions for personal knowledge management. The Journal of Workplace Learning, 17(1/2), 49-64.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


Floriana Falcinelli

University of Perugia floriana.falcinelli@unipg.it

Chiara Laici

University of Perugia chlaici@tin.it

lifelong learning

Teacher training to enhance ICTs as resources for an inclusive teaching

101

KEYWORDS: Higher Education, Personal Knowledge Management, Digital Competence, Lifelong Learning, Research and Information Management.

This article has been developed jointly by the authors. Floriana Falcinelli wrote the sections: 1. Teacher training on the ICTs use for an inclusive teaching; 2. Presentation of the project; Conclusions; Chiara Laici wrote the sections 3. Designing of the online environment; 4. The organization of the online environment; 5. Results and online activities carried out.

© Pensa MultiMedia Editore srl ISSN 2037-0830 (print) ISSN 2037-0849 (on line)

abstract

This paper presents a research and training project on the use of ICTs in education in an inclusive perspective; in particular, the project focuses on the online learning environment that supported this training course and which involved in-service teachers of the kindergarten, primary and secondary levels of schools taking part in the research-action project named “Didattica inclusiva e nativi digitali” (Inclusive teaching and digital natives) carried out in the region of Umbria (Italy). The training was the result of laboratories and meetings merged with the realization of an online environment as a space for sharing and working open to all participants in the project; it also allowed participants to communicate, share materials and tools, document and reflect on the project development.


1. Teacher training on the ICTs use for an inclusive teaching

102

The teacher training should be planned as a form of lifelong learning and promote the possibility of matching different educational methods aiming to obtain open-minded teachers. From this point of view, the concept of education is to be changed: the traditional model, mainly transmissive and repetitive, characterized by a limited capacity of motivating and involving teachers in their work (Cerini, 2000), is to be overcome, while a model based on social constructivism, guiding adult education is to be preferred (Jonassen, 1994). In particular, a deeper ICT and e-learning-based culture is to be promoted, being aware that it will not substitute the relations existing in the classroom, but rather match them with the online ones. ICT allow indeed more participating and cooperative activities difficult to be carried out in the classroom only. Taking into consideration the international recommendations on the matter, one of the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s main objectives is leading students to consciously and critically use ICT; therefore, theoretical and in-service teacher professional development courses are to be planned and implemented in the perspective of lifelong learning. They will enable teachers to directly experiment online environments and promote personal researches on the possible applications of ICT to the schooling process. Inclusive teaching has a student-centered perspective, promotes the development of explicit and implicit resources and potentialities in each pupil and enhances them within the group. It requires a careful interpretation of the educational needs of each and the potential for learning and constructing a learning environment (Rossi, 2009) in which pupils and teachers can experience a favourable relational climate, a social and collaborative approach to the knowledge and a recognition and an enhancement of personal skills, even through the use of multiple languages (Booth & Ainscow, 2008). The role of ICTs as privileged tools in supporting and enhancing social inclusion has been strongly stressed. Technology can indeed amplify the capacity and the potential in the subject and allow new processes of learning and communication strategies using different languages and strategies, all of them important from the point of view of education. Therefore, teacher has to get information, knowledge and operational skills on new technologies taking into consideration the studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; different functional needs as well as the most effective methods to choose and use them effectively when teaching, that is in an activity intentionally designed and constantly supported by a thoughtful approach. It is also urgent to find methods and strategies able to promote in all teachers specific training aiming not only at increasing knowledge or at developing specific skills, but also at getting skills aimed at a conscious use of these resources when teaching. Teachers are therefore requested to get these multimedia and technology skills. They provide for a level of literacy for the management of online learning environments, the design and construction of hypertext and multimedia products, as well as the basic elements of programming. All these factors, anyway, have to be accompanied by a new cultural approach, that includes awareness of

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


the changes introduced by the new media in education and in the process of teaching/learning, and a new approach to the teaching/learning that requires the ability to use new media as communication resources for teaching. Special attention should be paid to the methodology that is adopted in training: it is very important that teachers have the possibility of directly learning new technologies, that is working on it, comparing their findings and cooperating with others; therefore laboratory activities in which, in small groups, they can experience different media, designing and realizing small products using various languages and technological tools, holding and processing fears, anxieties and defenses that may occur in graduates not used to new technologies are to be privileged (Falcinelli & Laici, 2009). Also the training should be characterized as an analysis of teaching that allows to know and reflect on relationship between young people and multimedia and how, moving from that experience, design and implement meaningful and culturally relevant educational activities. Knowing and understanding different media and technologies should therefore be merged with a psycho-pedagogical and didactic competence. Bridget Somekh (an English expert in education), from the perspective of research-action (Somekh & Zeichnerb, 2009), suggests three basic strategies to be adopted in teacher training concerning new technologies: 1) the theoretical knowledge must be accompanied by a strong operational expertise; 2) the digital competence is to be learned through experiencing it directly in teaching in the classroom; 3) it is necessary that the practical work, being experimental, is to be accompanied by a collective discussion and reflection on practice supported by some meeting with external experts in order to identify, analyze and face difficulties and problems of various kinds that may occur in teaching (Ferri, 2008). It should be also explored the possibility for the teacher to document and reconstruct the numerous occasions both formal and informal training in a portfolio of skills that allows you to activate processes of reflection and self-evaluation processes all the more significant if realized in educational networks among teachers, also in connection with the university, which allow the sharing of experiences and activate pathways of research and reflection on their own practices, in order to validate them and make them real element of innovation in schools.

2. Presentation of the project

The action-research project named “Inclusive teaching and digital natives” has been designed to test and support innovative teaching that, through the use of ICTs, enables pupils to develop and implement the key competences foreseen in the student’s profile at the end of the first order of school. The project was funded by the School Office of the Umbrian region and availed itself of the collaboration of two nodal points of the Umbrian school: the “De Filis” multilevel school of Terni and the “Birago” multilevel school of Passignano sul Trasimeno (Perugia). After an initial phase of dissemination and organization of the project (November-December 2012) organized by the two nodal points, involving 65 schools in Umbria, a teacher training was organized (December 2012-May 2013).

Floriana Falcinelli | Chiara Laici

103


104

The training was articulated in different phases: a four hour workshop on the use of the white board taught by experienced teachers (tutors and co-tutors), a three hour seminar with the help of university professors and an advanced training, always taught by experienced teachers, in form of a course on the experiences carried out within the Cl@ssi 2.0 project and other innovative projects that allowed to explore teaching methodologies and tools for observation and assessment. The total duration of the teacher training was six laboratory hours and ten hours spent in a special online environment, where experienced teachers have also taken on the role of online tutor. The training was then carried out according to a model blending traditional (workshops and seminars) and online (Moodle) methods. Therefore, the involved schools designed a project by defining the topic and the classes involved in the research, prepared the research tools, monitored tutors and co-tutors both online and in the school and carried out the action-research in the classrooms. Finally a phase of action-research was organized in each school; it included assessment meetings, monitoring, sharing of tools and methods with tutors and co-tutors, accessing the online environment for sharing, creation and redefinition of the teaching and project tools (wikis, blogs, databases), with the tutor’s and co-tutors’ support in the classrooms. The project was completed May 20, 2013 and a seminar at regional level disseminated the initiative.

3. Designing of the online environment

The project foresaw the creation of an online environment (www.didatticainclusivaumbria.it) thought as a space for sharing and working open to all participants in the project and allowing stakeholders to communicate, exchange materials and tools, ideas and information, and monitor the initiative. The Learning Content Management System (LCMS) chosen for the implementation of the platform was the open source Moodle (version 1.9), distributed under the GNU/GPL license, OSI (Open Source Initiative) certified, particularly open and flexible and supported by a wide international community who constantly shares updates, forms, information resources and educational activities. In January 2013 administrator (researcher in the field of ICTs and school) stated the general guidelines for the environment design, sharing them with the school managers of the schools involved in the project. The online environment has been designed with the following objectives:

– to develop and disseminate the training activities both in presence and through an online environment; – to promote opportunities for communication, discussion and reflection among tutors, co-tutors, training teachers and other stakeholders, for the necessary scaffolding; – to activate spaces for sharing documents and materials/activities produced by tutors and training teachers; – to enhance exchanges, interactions and sharing of the materials produced among the training teachers;

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


– to allow reflection and analysis on the foreseen teaching tools, the prepared projects and the processes in progress; – to promote the formation of learning and practice communities as an element of innovation in teacher training within a networks of schools. Moodle was then thought of as an environment able to promote the building of an online community of practice and action-research, which could work over the project first year and remain active for additional two years. The communities of practices were in fact defined as groups of people who share an interest, some problems or a passion for a topic and who deepen their knowledge and skills by interacting and growing together (Wenger et. al., 2007). Antonio Calvani (2007) defines the online action-research as a kind of research in which a group of actors making use of networks as a tool for interaction and sharing, within a system of agreements, try to solve problems collaboratively or study and understand an intervention/situation whose consequences are not sufficiently known. The initiative in hand aimed to build an online environment organized on a specific domain of knowledge, involving a community that construct new knowledge and where tools, documents, ideas for negotiation and reflection on practice can be shared. In order to promote a meaningful action, the professional needs for specific moments to re-examine both general situations and his/her behavior, as well as specific spaces where thoughts can be stored and shared (Magnoler, 2012). The realization of the online environment foresaw the following phases. – In January 2013 the Moodle environment was set on a dedicated server and designed by the administrator. Then, tutors and co-tutors were registered as “course creators” and “teachers” in conformity with the Moodle requirements. – February to March 2013 the administrator, tutors and co-tutors took part in two meetings on planning and sharing resources and potential of the online environment. During these meetings the environment administrator and designer presented the resources and activities available in Moodle and some specific tools for the management of the project. Among them the Moodle database was chosen to collect and share learning designs and the various documents produced by the training teachers. – In March 2013, immediately after the planning meetings, tutors organized seven group courses and registered the training teachers in their respective group courses with the support of the administrator. – January to May 2013 tutors organized four workshops for the training teachers and organized uploading of materials relevant to the training and supporting meetings, discussions in forum and uploading designs and documents made by the training teachers in the database.

Floriana Falcinelli | Chiara Laici

105


4. The organization of the online environment

The Moodle environment was organized into two main categories: Research-training Area (dedicated to the specific courses supporting the project) and Test Area (dedicated to the free experimentation of the Moodle tools).

106

Figure 1. The organization of the online environment

In particular, the Research-Training Area hosted the “Information and Resources” course, a coordination course managed by the project administrator jointly with tutors and co-tutors. In order to promote full sharing of the researchtraining and the construction and ongoing discussion of materials and tools, it was decided to open the course to all the participants in the project that could access as students. The course activated the following specific sections. – Communications: activation of an area named Forum News, dedicated to the exchanges between tutors and co-tutors, and of another one named Technical Assistance Forum, dedicated to technical assistance in the event of technical problems relating to the use of Moodle tools. – Documents for action-research: sharing folders of documents produced by the tutors as logbook forms, design forms, self-evaluation questionnaires, observation sheets, examples of tasks etc. – Tools for action-research: a database model specially designed to collect and share documents prepared by the training teachers in the various group courses and a wiki for the gradual change of the working documents by the tutors. – Materials on the Moodle environment: provision of teaching manuals, links for further information and video tutorials on using the tools of Moodle in teaching.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


Each tutor started a group course in collaboration with the co-tutors (seven courses in total); each one put at his/her own course disposal numerous documents and resources, even multimedia, to support the training process. Discussion forum, chat rooms and databases to share documents were realized by the training teachers. The Test Area has instead hosted a course named “General Test”; all members had access to the environment with the role of teacher, in conformity with the Moodle requirements, in order to directly experience the environment tools, also taking into consideration their subsequent use in teaching in their own class. Other test courses, each one dedicated to a group of tutors and co-tutors in order to freely experiment the Moodle tools to be used in the group courses, were also organized.

5. Results and online activities carried out

A total of 6 tutors, 25 co-tutors and 478 training teachers (of which 392 accessed at least once to the environment and at least 166 uploaded an online contribution), 2 school managers of the nodal points, 1 representative of the schools involved in the project (Regional Education Office for Umbria) and 2 guest users (speakers who attended the final seminar) were registered in the environment. During the seven group courses, from the beginning of the project to May 20, 2013, the following resources and activities were uploaded on the environment: – resources of different types such as pdf and doc files, flipchart, links to web and videos (424 resources); – twenty forum including 139 threads and 309 messages in total; – four chat rooms for synchronous communication; – nine databases in which 241 records were uploaded, as produced and shared by the training teachers; – one task for the delivery of individual resources (23 deliveries); – eight wikis for collaborative editing/changing of documents. The database was the most relevant tool, as specifically designed to give training teachers the opportunity of documenting the training and sharing with colleagues their own materials, in particular the projects for the action-research and the relating tasks. The database structure, built according to the joint observations of tutors and co-tutors, provided for each record the compilation of information fields (teacher’s name, school, type of school and teaching-learning field), together with a description field or a space that could also allow the inclusion of a personal presentation of each uploaded document (short presentation of the document), an attachment to enclose the document and other optional fields to enrich the documentation attached (the date of delivery, image and hyperlink).

Floriana Falcinelli | Chiara Laici

107


108

Figure 2. The database tool

Conclusions

The blended (workshops and online environment) teacher training has been successful; in particular the Moodle environment, designed as a strong social environment, which would allow to store information and document the work done, met the objectives foreseen by the project. This should be emphasized in view of the future availability of the environment for everyone involved in the project. It is indeed expected for the next two years that training teachers can experience Moodle directly with the classes. For the successful completion of the course a decisive role was played by tutors and co-tutors who, in addition to setting up the courses and presenting resources and activities, have put in place a constant scaffolding (also via e-mail and telephone as well as in forums ), allowing the trainees to get involved and discuss, even in different times, new tools and methodologies. It should be recognized that training teachers who participated had no previous experience of using ICTs and consequently required special support in carrying out their work. This training demonstrates how teacher training is a process that takes a long time and demands a constant scaffolding, monitoring and research. At the end of the project the teachers were committed to fill a questionnaire (currently being processed) aimed to analyze their opinions and expectations regarding the use of ICTs in teaching and their perception of the importance of digital competence. The perspective is to better characterize the future teacher training.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


References Booth, T., & Ainscow, M. (2008). L’index per l’inclusione. Promuovere l’apprendimento e la partecipazione nella scuola. Trento: Erickson. Calvani, A. (2007). Tecnologia, scuola, processi cognitivi. Per una ecologia dell’apprendere. Milano: Franco Angeli. Cerini, G. (2000). I servizi territoriali per i docenti. Napoli: Tecnodid. Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W.M. (2007). Coltivare comunità di pratica. Milano: Guerini e Associati. Falcinelli, F., & Laici, C. (2009). E-learning e formazione degli insegnanti. Roma: Aracne. Falcinelli, F., & Laici, C. (2009). Activities of reflection and collaboration in e-learning for the future teachers’ training. In T. Leo, R. Maragliano, F. Falcinelli, & P. Ghislandi (Eds.), Digital Collaboration: some issues about teachers’ functions (pp. 36-85). Napoli: Scripta Web. Ferri, P. (2008). La scuola digitale. Come le nuove tecnologie cambiano la formazione. Milano: Bruno Mondadori. Jonassen, D. H. (1994). Thinking technology, toward a costructivistic design model. Educational technology, XXXIV, 34-37. Laici, C. (2007). Nuovi ambienti di apprendimento per l’e-learning. Perugia: Morlacchi. Magnoler, P. (2012). Ricerca e formazione. La professionalizzazione degli insegnanti. Lecce-Brescia: Pensa MultiMedia. Morari, L. (2012). Ricercare e riflettere. La formazione del docente professionista. Roma: Carocci. Rivoltella, P.C., & Rossi, P.G. (Eds.) (2012). L’agire didattico. Manuale per l’insegnante. Brescia: La Scuola. Rossi, P.G. (2009). Tecnologia e costruzione di mondi. Post-costruttivismo, linguaggi e ambienti di apprendimento. Roma: Armando. Rossi, P.G., & Toppano, E. (2009). Progettare nella società della conoscenza. Roma: Carocci. Trentin, G. (2008). La sostenibilità didattico-formativa dell’e-learning. Social networking ed apprendimento attivo. Milano: Franco Angeli. Somekha, B., & Zeichnerb, K. (2009). Action research for educational reform: remodelling action research theories and practices in local contexts. Educational Action Research, 17(1), 5-21.

Floriana Falcinelli | Chiara Laici

109


Serena Triacca

Catholic University of Milan serena.triacca@unicatt.it

Simona Ferrari

Catholic University of Milan simona.ferrari@unicatt.it

Pier Cesare Rivoltella

Catholic University of Milan piercesare.rivoltella@unicatt.it

lifelong learning

Coaching and Teachers Training. An Overview of “HSH” Project in Lombardy

111

KEYWORDS: Coaching, Education Technology, Hospital-School-Home, Professional Development, Teacher Training.

This article has been developed jointly by the authors. Serena Triacca, Main Researcher, wrote the sections 1. Italian models of teachers training and ICT; 2. The Hospital-School-Home service in Lombardy; 3. The training proposal for Hospital-School-Home teachers; 3.2 «It all started with a drawing, such as a child’s first day of school...»; Simona Ferrari, Methodological Coordinator of the Research Project, set the methodology of the research and wrote the section 3.1 Methodology: the "BLEC model"; Pier Cesare Rivoltella, Scientific Coordinator of the Research Project, wrote the section 4. Final remarks.

© Pensa MultiMedia Editore srl ISSN 2037-0830 (print) ISSN 2037-0849 (on line)

abstract

This paper is about a research and training project, promoted by Regional Office of the Ministry of Education, that CREMIT addressed to hospital-school-home teachers of Lombardy. To face the organizational changes in the hospital school system and the adoption of new technology to support teaching and learning, beside an action-research process, the «BLEC model» was adopted for training: BL is for blended learning, E for e-tivity and C for coaching. The presence of the coaches was of keyimportance: the function of this kind of expert is located halfway between that of the e-tutor and that of the consultant, acting by virtue of an external perspective and able to guide the processes. All the actions implemented by coaches to foster reflection were essential for the professional developement. The results in effect confirm an overall satisfaction about the learning experience, especially in regard to the «BLEC model», to the spendability of the gained knowledge directly into the professional context, to the opportunity of keep in contact with new colleagues.


1. Italian models of teachers training and ICT

112

It is well known that the continuous professional development of teachers represents a quite complex subject in regard to different points, first the crisis of the traditional “refresher courses”, standardized and lecture-driven (Cattaneo & Rivoltella, 2010) and the demand for more customized training actions, far from out-of-contexts theoretical systems. Identified the Education Technology as strategical for the development of innovation and teachers traning in the Information Society, we want to recall in brief some training proposal designed by Indire1, concerning the use of ICT in school since the early 2000s. The national plan called “ForTIC” aimed at technological literacy to achieve the European Computer Driving Licence. At the same time, with a project addressed to new hires, the “Puntoedu model” was implemented (Faggioli, 2005), characterized by a blended learning formula, with classroom meetings mixed with online activities, under the guidance of e-tutors. Ensure uniformity of training to the staff in the regional landscape and force uses and thoughts about the technologies were the main objectives. From 2002 to 2005, the Puntoedu model was also adopted for training in-service teachers and school heads. The training model in those years increased the levels of technology utilization, but struggled to ramp up the development of the teaching competence; learning about ICT, beyond mere technical acquisitions, could no longer be isolated from the curriculum design. The training model had to be modified. “DiGiScuola” (2007) and “Scuola Digitale-Lavagna” projects (2009) showed this change, based on the following assumptions: – from the idea of technologies as tools to their connotation as environments; – the transformation of the physical spaces of learning, due to new devices (IWB, tablet); – from the centrality of the e-tutor to processes of consultancy, committed to coach who goes on-site, to the school, and support the teacher in didactic planning.

The latter factor highlights the transition from training to activation of advice, from general proposal to tailored-made solutions, from tutor perceived as a training vehicle to coach as design support, who helps teachers in the didactic transposition. Over recent years these nationwide projects have worked as a model for regional projects, as “Hospital-School-Home Lombardy” designed and carried out by Regional Office of the Ministry of Education in collaboration with CREMIT (Research Centre on Education about Media, Information and Technology), based at Catholic University of Milan.

1

Indire is the Special Agency of the Ministry of Education, University and Research. For more details, in Internet, URL: http://www.indire.it/. Refer to Ferrari (2013) for the analysis of the main initiatives regarding technology at school, implemented from 2000 to 2013.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


2. The Hospital-School-Home service in Lombardy

The Hospital School is active in Italy since the Fifties (Kanizsa & Luciano, 2006) and since the Seventies in Lombardy: it is today a complex and heterogeneous reality (Rivoltella & Modenini, 2012). As the Ministerial Memorandum n. 108 (December 5th, 2007) affirms «the hospital school is a source of research and innovation. Indeed, it was the first to experience and validated models geared to the educational and organizational flexibility, personalized learning, use of educational technologies, knowledge and use of various and different tools and languages, special care for the educational relationship, all methods that can be applied effectively even in the interventions of home-schooling»2. What needs to be taken into account is that frequently hospital teachers live in condition of “isolation”, suffering from the lack of sharing experiences within a wider network (Trotta, 2003); they are moreover asked to be innovative, equipped with competence, sensitivity and flexibility. Many are the variables involved: different sizes of hospitals, variety of settings and learning materials available, different levels of teaching experience and training, students from different backgrounds and short or long-term hospitalization. To summarize what has been said up to now, we can refer to a metaphor suggested by Mantegazza (2005), which defines the hospital school as «walking on a tightrope». The Regional Office of the Ministry of Education therefore had to rethink this complex system, both to enhance and disseminate the best practices and to distribute resources in a more appropriate response to local needs. To do this, an action-research aimed at mapping organizational models, teachers skills and needs was required to Catholic University of Milan; in addition, a training course to support professional development of about 70 hospital-school-home teachers in Lombardy, aimed at strengthening teaching, technological and relational competences3.

3. The training proposal for Hospital-School-Home teachers The “HSH project”, begun in April 2011 and organized in four modules4, was built up to satisfy the following needs: – to promote and to develop the integration of educational technology among the competence of teachers, especially the videoconferencing systems that

2 3 4

In Internet, URL: http://archivio.pubblica.istruzione.it/normativa/2007/cm108_07.shtml The last training initiative dedicated to hospital-school-home teachers, “HSH@teacher”, goes back to 2003. It was set up by ITD of CNR, Genoa, for the account of MIUR. The first module “From the practices to the action model” was configured as an action-research (Van der Maren, 1999). The aim was to survey the practices of hospital teachers, share experiences and map models. The following training modules focuses on “Inclusive Education: the relationship with the sick student”, “One-to-one teaching” and “Inclusive teaching: developing and sharing digital resources”.

Serena Triacca | Simona Ferrari | Pier Cesare Rivoltella |

113


114

today is for the hospitalized children and home-schooling students an opportunity to maintain contact with their class: technology represents a real «connective tissue» (Rivoltella, 2012, p. 80); – to allow the exchange of views and sharing of experiences among teachers, within a reserved community: it is well known that the effectiveness of training projects grows when provides participants the opportunity to share perspectives and look for solutions to common issues, driving peer-to-peer collaboration (Fullan, Bennett & Rolheiser-Bennett, 1989; Guskey, 1994; Little, 1982); – to set up an online repository to value and store lesson plans and educational products, also available for “ordinary” school teachers. While in almost all fields the designers work as a community, exchanging collaborations and information, school teachers usually operate in isolation, and this affects both design patterns and professional development (Laurillard, 2012). 3.1 Methodology: the “BLEC model”

The whole of these necessities and the experience has already gained by CREMIT with the Regional Office through the development of education technology courses for teachers and administrative staff (Ferrari & Garavaglia, 2012); it has led to identify the training proposal, based on the adoption of the “BLEC Model” (Rivoltella & Modenini, 2012), that is the model of blended instruction whose structural features are blended learning, e-tivities and coaching. Blended learning stands for a «brick&click» course (Pittinsky, 2003), delivered in a mix of presence and distance, thanks to the availability of technology platforms. According to Ardizzone and Rivoltella (2004), the spatial variable is not the only one to qualify the idea of blending; we have also to refer to the use of different teaching methodologies like seminars, short lectures to introduce conceptual frameworks, thematic workshops, group works led by coach, online discussions (Ligorio et al., 2006). The learning environment5 has been set up around three areas: – a documentation one, consisting of a repository of materials; – a discussion board to talk about the content of the training module where the expert of the module is available for asynchronous interaction; – virtual groups for reflective activity, within which the coach manages development and delivery of the e-tivities.

The qualifying moment of the proposal is indeed represented by e-tivities: they are assigned in each module to the learner and consist in short tasks6, usually equipped with scaffolding materials and job aids, achieved in the space of a few hours of work (Salmon, 2002). They require teachers to deal with their

5 6

The learning environment was hosted in a Moodle LMS. In Internet, URL: http://www.hshlombardia.it/formazione/ A few examples of the proposed activities: mapping those working in the hospital school service and its functions, using Mindomo; analysis of learning needs through the SWOT matrix; presentation of a problematic didactic case faced during the professional experience and forum discussion; design of a lesson plan; design of a WebQuest.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


own practices, with the aim to develop situated learning. Each e-tivity is monitored by the coach, then presented and discussed with the expert during the face-to-face meeting at the end of the module. Therefore the training exceeds the model of cultural transmission and is mostly oriented toward the design format, encouraging the weld between the time of cultural elaboration and reflection with that of the action in context (Rivoltella & Sinini, 2012). The key-element of the model is represented by coaching. Beyond the multitude of possible definitions of coaching, from business to education fields (Angel & Amar, 2005; Fletcher, 2012), there are some common-core themes: a collaborative and egalitarian relationship coach-coachee, a focus on finding together solutions, the non-essentiality of a domain-specific expertise about the coachee’s learning (Stober & Grant, 2006). In school education, the coach is an expert whose function is midway between that of the e-tutor (Rivoltella, 2006), who provide facilitation and support, and that of the consultant, acting by virtue of an external perspective and able to guide the processes. We widely discuss about it in the following section. 3.2 «It all started with a drawing, such as a child’s first day of school...»7 We are going to explain why we have defined coaching as the key-element of the training model adopted in the “HSH” project, introducing some data collected through the customer satisfaction questionnaire. As shown in Table 1, we notice how most of respondents have appreciated the support of the coach (“6” value of a 6-level Likert scale). It is 57% of the sample, 25 of 44 responses received.

presential activity

online activity

presence and distance blending

theory and practice balance

individual and group works balance

coach support

1=min. satisfaction

0

4

4

3

3

2

spaces 0

2

4

1

2

7

2

2

1

3

3

8

5

6

7

3

8

4

10

9

10

13

17

2

9

5

20

18

18

11

11

10

14

6=max. satisfaction

7

4

5

4

3

25 25

Table 1. Satisfaction for the element of the training course (nº of answers)

12

The same satisfaction is recorded on the recognition of the coach “as a reference point” throughout the course. The coach is in fact the figure of the staff with whom the coachee has had more opportunities to interact, at least two face-to-face meetings for each module, on average three e-tivities in the virtual group and messages by e-mail. No other investigated areas in the questionnaire has provided such a high percentage of single responses.

7

This is the incipit of a teacher’s final Project Work.

Serena Triacca | Simona Ferrari | Pier Cesare Rivoltella |

115


116

During the initial classroom meeting8, mutual acquaintance was fostered by a simple but playful activity9: the coach had access to the representations of the teachers’ self (“What is the identikit of the hospital school teacher?”) through a drawing&collage activity in small groups. Due to the fact that coach was a person outside the system of teachers’ membership and non-expert of hospital school, it was possible to activate a first space of trust: teachers were able to express themselves freely, without fear of judgment; the coach had a welcoming attitude, that recognize first the teacher as bearer of skills and solutions to problems. He fielded active listening, benevolent and without preconceptions, appreciated as rare in the workplace. Throughout the modules, the coaches10: – orientated the learner to find bearings, within the contents of the classrooms meeting, by appealing to prior knowledge and existing skills; – made visible teachers’ know-how and good practices, providing summaries of e-tivities in forum; – supported the exchange and comparison in the heterogeneous and territorial group’s forum11, confirming the teacher as a “reflective practitioner” (Schön, 1983; Fabbri et al., 2008); – motivated and remotivated regarding to the difficulties of the teacher’s role – and the technological ones – with private messages; – evaluated the activities, providing prompt feedback. The evaluation was intended as enhancement of the achievements and progress, a way to stimulate reflection, for example through the final project work: teachers were asked to retrospectively retrace the learning achievements, showing a collection of materials and experiences of the course to self-evaluate and place them in a continuum of learning12. The category of reflexivity leads to ge-

8

Four heterogeneus groups of about 20 teachers were made; each group were assigned to a coach. 9 An excerpt from the discussion board: «I enjoyed very much the activity; it had been far too long since I did not do something creative and free in a traning course... I talked about it with my headmaster and we thought it would be very interesting to try to replicate the activity of collage (same theme!) with our students». 10 The following data are obtained through the analysis of the discussion boards. 11 An excerpt from a teacher’s project work: «Being able to access a forum in which to resolve any doubts or have some explanations about topics discussed was very fruitful to manage shared problems within the territorial group, where I worked closely with my colleagues. The comparison and discussion of ideas, integrated by the coach review, was useful to foster an interactive and engaging dynamic». 12 Some excerpts from the teachers’ project work: «At the end of the first e-tivity I felt more aware of the reality in which I work, the map helped me to develop an overview and at the same time to mentally arrange in a systematic way the different actors and the relationships between them»; «This activity has strengthened my problem setting-solving strategies, enhancing my skills of observation, forcing me to use a holistic approach»; «Through this activity I have gained a greater ability to pay attention to some of the nuances that sometimes run the risk of being neglected because of the hectic daily work in the hospital»; «All the activities have been very engaging as they are innovative in the field of multimedia teaching; it was a challenge! With the help of coaches and experts I have been able to apply strategies that have enabled me to clarify the steps of intervention and to achieve the goal with very satisfactory results».

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


nerate new thoughts, as well as memory activation; it is a way to think about the action as possible, to foresee the action (Berthoz, 2011). Unlike an e-tutor (Rivoltella, 2006), that basically acts as a facilitator, the coach accompanies side-by-side the group in the training process and supervises the professional implications of the actions that teachers are asked to do: according to Rogoff (2003), «learning through guided participation»13 refers to a training in which the practitioners are actors and not mere beneficiaries. spectator sp ectator

book

117

course

individual

group g roup research

project

actor a ctor

Figure 1. Metaphors of training (Castoldi, 2001)

The proposal of Castoldi (2001) can help us to hightlight the different metaphors of training, precisely related to the subject’s level of activation. In our experience, we can situate in the “training as research” quarter: teachers, in fact, are called to be active «in organizing and building their own learning experience. It is a process of review and development of cultural and professional experience by the subject who “place himself in research” and activates a construction and deconstruction of his knowledge asset» (Castoldi, 2001).

4. Final remarks

The experience and the international literature, especially in the UK14 where there are many cases of successful applications of coaching at school, at the moment confirm that there is not an exclusive coaching approach for all the situations, considering the uniqueness of each individual, context, group.

13 «The term “guided” in concept guided participation is thus means broadly, to include but go beyond interactions that are intended as instructional. In addiction to instructional interactions, guided participation focuses on the side-by-side or distal arrangements...» (Rogoff, 2003). 14 In Internet, URL: http://www.curee-paccts.com/mentoring-and-coaching 1

Serena Triacca | Simona Ferrari | Pier Cesare Rivoltella |


118

As taken from the “HSH” learning experience, an overall satisfaction has been registered15, in regard to the following elements related to coaching: a) development of knew knowledge: the actions of the coach had the objective to enable new learning, starting from the enhancement of existing competence; b) spendability of the gained knowledge: as said thus far, coaching is geared to the acquisition of competence by the teacher to improve performance in everyday educational practice, offering innovative solutions from methodological point of view and also from that of content and technologies; c) opportunity of keep in contact with new colleagues: the coach has promoted the development of a community of practice in order to make visibile the «knowledge in action» (Cattaneo, 2009). There is certainly room for improvement, if we refer to the requests reported by teachers in the final customer satisfaction16, however the experience has had the merit of asking teachers to focus first on methodological aspects (how do you teach? what are advantages and disadvantages of one-to-one teaching?) and later on the technological ones, although these are recognized as essential for teaching effectively in the delicate setting of the hospital school.

References Angel, P., & Amar, P. (2005). Le coaching. Paris: Puf. Ardizzone, P., & Rivoltella, P.C. (2004). Didattiche per l’e-learning. Roma: Carocci. Berthoz, A. (2011). La semplessità. Torino: Codice. Castoldi, M. (2001). Criteri di lettura della formazione insegnanti in AA.VV., Dall’aggiornamento allo sviluppo professionale. Linee essenziali per la lettura dei rapporti regionali (pp. 39-59). Firenze: Le Monnier. Cattaneo, A. (2009). L’altra formazione: un’indagine sullo sviluppo professionale degli insegnanti. Milano: Vita&Pensiero. Cattaneo, A., & Rivoltella, P.C. (Eds.) (2010). Tecnologie, formazione, professioni. Milano: Unicopli. Fabbri, L., Striano, M., & Melacarne, C. (2008). L’insegnante riflessivo. Coltivazione e trasformazione delle pratiche professionali. Milano: Franco Angeli. Faggioli, M. (2005). Il modello Puntoedu sviluppato da Indire: un incontro tra progettazione e bisogni della scuola. In AA.VV., Quaderni degli Annali dell’Istruzione 110-111 (pp. 11-41). Firenze: Le Monnier. Fullan, M., Bennett, B., & Rolheiser-Bennett, C. (1989). Linking classroom and school improvement. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA. (Retrieved June 18, 2014 from http://www. ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_199005_fullan.pdf).

15 Some excerpt from the discussion board and teachers’ PW: «The course made me reflect on my ways of relationship and work»; «it gave me new motivation and the opportunity to share my experience with colleagues near and far». 16 Some examples: more practice, during the face-to-face meetings, about the software for the construction of digital contents; enhance opportunities for discussion and sharing of concrete experiences.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


Ferrari, S. (2013). Il programma “Scuola Digitale” del MIUR. In P.C. Rivoltella (Ed.), Fare didattica con gli EAS (pp. 25-31). Brescia: La Scuola. Ferrari, S., & Garavaglia, A. (2012). L’esperienza del corso Fortutor Lombardia: modello ed esiti. In P. Limone (Ed.), Media, tecnologie e scuola. Per una nuova Cittadinanza Digitale (pp. 227-245). Bari: Progedit. Fletcher, S. (2012). Coaching: an oveview. In S. Fletcher, & C. Mullen (Eds.), Handbook of mentoring and coaching in education (pp. 24-40). London: Sage. Guskey, T. R. (1994). Professional development in education: In search of the optimal mix. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA. (Retrieved June 18, 2014 from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED369181.pdf). Kaniza, S., & Luciano, E. (2006). La scuola in ospedale. Roma: Carocci. Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a Design Science. London: Routledge. Ligorio, B., Cacciamani, S., & Cesareni, D. (2006). Blended learning. Dalla scuola dell’obbligo alla formazione adulta. Roma: Carocci. Little, J. (1982). Norms of collegiality and experimentation: Workplace conditions of school success. American Educational Research Journal, 19, 325-40. Mantegazza, R. (2005). Im... pazienti di crescere. I bambini in ospedale: ricerche e riflessioni. Milano: Franco Angeli. Pittinsky, M. (Ed.) (2003). The wired tower. Perspectives on the impact of the internet on higher education. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall. Rivoltella, P.C. (Ed.) (2006). E-tutor. Profilo, metodi e strumenti. Roma: Carocci. Rivoltella, P.C. (2012). Formare gli insegnanti per la scuola in ospedale e l’istruzione domiciliare. In P.C. Rivoltella, & M. Modenini (Eds.), La lavagna sul comodino (pp. 6780). Milano: Vita&Pensiero. Rivoltella, P.C., Garavaglia, A., Ferrari, S., & Ferri, P. (2012), Could Technology encourage Innovation in School? An overview of «Cl@ssi 2.0» Project in Lombardia (Italy). REM Research on Education and Media, 4(2), 253-264. Trento: Erickson.. Rivoltella, P.C., & Modenini, M. (Eds.) (2012). La lavagna sul comodino. Milano: Vita&Pensiero. Rivoltella, P.C., & Sinini, G. (Eds.) (2012). Apprendimenti digitali? Una sperimentazione nella scuola primaria. Milano: EDUCatt. Rogoff, B. (2003). The Cultural Nature of Human Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Salmon, G. (2002). E-tivities. The key to active online learning. London: Kogan Page. Schön, D. (1983). The Reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. USA: Basic Books. Stober, D., & Grant, A. (Eds.) (2006). Evidence Based Coaching Handbook. Putting Best Practices to Work for Your Clients. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc. Trotta, P. (Ed.) (2003). Quando a scuola si va in pigiama. Milano: Franco Angeli. Van der Maren, J.M. (1999). La recherche appliqué en Pedagogie. Bruxelles: De Boeck.

Serena Triacca | Simona Ferrari | Pier Cesare Rivoltella |

119


Juliana E. Raffaghelli University of Trento jraffaghelli@gmail.com

Patrizia M. Ghislandi

University of Trento patrizia.ghislandi@unitn.it

Nan Yang

University of Trento nan.yang@unitn.it

lifelong learning

Quality as perceived by learners: Is it the dark side of the MOOCs?

121

KEYWORDS: MOOC, eLearning Quality, Learners’ Perspective.

This article has been developed jointly by the authors. Juliana E. Raffaghelli designed the research, did the fieldwork and wrote the sections 1. Introduction: MOOCs, the hype; 2. Where is Quality in MOOCs? Defining Quality from the learners' perspective; 3. The methodological approach: phenomenology of learning experience; 4.2. Learner's Experience 2: cMOOC; 4.3 Discussion; Patrizia Ghislandi supervised the whole research design and writing process and wrote the section Conclusions; Nan Yang did the field research for the case 1, contributed to the final supervision of the article and wrote the section 4.1. Learner's Experience 1: xMOOC.

© Pensa MultiMedia Editore srl ISSN 2037-0830 (print) ISSN 2037-0849 (on line)

abstract

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have been considered a springboard for Higher Education change, due to the revolution they encompassed for key, macrolevel dimensions of change as accessibility, openness, universities’ business/organizational models tightly connected to very successful research and business activities. However, the attention moved quickly to the other side of the MOOCs: the learners’ perspective on MOOCs, as micro-level dimensions that could bring new light on the impact of the model. In line with this, within the eLearning quality debate the perception of learners should be taken into account. In this paper our aim is to introduce two diverse learners (from their cultural and eLearning experiences point of view) perspectives along their experiences within two different MOOCs. The learners wrote their lived experience according to the principles of phenomenology, collecting their impressions, feelings and thoughts about participation to the MOOCs. The memos collected were analyzed taking into account the expressions regarding the perceived quality of the experience at a micro-level. Furthermore, quality was defined adopting the Sloan C framework; within this framework, the parameters of analysis of the Community of Inquiry model were applied to the learners’ discourse. The final goal was to achieve a complete picture of different perspectives expressing how quality can be experienced by MOOC’s learners, showing the critical issues that require further intervention from practices and approaches at the micro-level to improve a multiperspective quality of MOOCs.


1. Introduction: MOOCs, the hype

122

There are several factors pressing universities to renew their traditions in education, connected to the critics made to academic institutions as the “ivory tower”, where pure knowledge is guarded and accessed only by privileged (academics and young students). In this context, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have been given an impressive attention since late 2011 (Sheets, Crawford & Soares, 2012; Daniels, 2012). From Siemens’ early experiences in 2008, several proposals were launched from US and Canada. The model has seen a very fast expansion that was defined a hype due to the dimensions of coverage in both magazine articles, blogs and more recently, in scholarly literature (Liyanagunawardena, Adams & Williams, 2013). This phenomenon was clearly connected to the idea that MOOCs could be a springboard for Higher Education change due to the revolution they encompass regarding key issues as accessibility, openness, excellence of teaching staff tightly connected to very successful research and business activities (EDUCAUSE, 2012; Knox, Bayne, MacLeod, Ross & Sinclair, 2012) The high quality of contents, produced by prestigious academics, as well as the open access to them, was supposed to put the basis for “quality for all” (Barber, Donnelly & Rizvi, 2013). Beyond the enthusiastic response of thousands of students and teachers, and the presence of prestigious universities behind the initiatives, the criticism is also raising, while the first participants went through their MOOC experiences (Guàrdia, Maina & Sangrà, 2013). In fact, along the evolution of both scholar and policy making discussion on the issue it is possible to see how the attention is moving from the organizational innovation to the participants’ perspective. This is for example the case of the “Higher Education Chronicle Survey”1, which analyzed the point of view of 174 teachers engaged in MOOCs. Moreover, the first scholarly publications, raised significantly in 2013, focused the need to pass from the analysis of MOOCs as model to the impact it can have on learners and institutions, across diverse learning cultures: this is the case in fact for the curated Special Issues of JOLT “Journal of online teaching, targeting US-international research”, edited by Siemens, Irvine and Code, 2013; “eLearning papers”, targeting European research, edited by Mor and Koskinen, 2013; or the recent European conference on MOOCs, Emooc20142 . Specifically, within the criticisms raised to the value claimed by the first MOOC implementers, for the sustainability and quality of the approach the issue of learners experience is considered crucial: as Hill (2012) declares it should be necessary to provide «…an experience and perceived value that enables higher course completion rates (most today have less than 10% of registered students actually completing the course)». Taking into consideration the above depicted situation our aim was to explore in which extent the MOOC’s experience is perceived as a quality experience by learners, in order to contribute to the debate on the role the MOOCs can play as

1 2

https://chronicle.com/article/The-Professors-Behind-the-MOOC/137905/#id=overview http://www.emoocs2014.eu/

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


model in Higher Education. Accordingly, we introduce two learners’ phenomenological account on their experiences (non US, non EN native speakers) within MOOCs courses; the learners’ discourse is further conceptualized, focusing the dimension of learning effectiveness, which is one of the five pillars adopted by the Sloan-C eLearning quality framework (Moore, 2002). According to the results obtained, the concept of quality of eLearning in the MOOC experience is explored, in an attempt to understand which elements should be further analyzed to generate an integrated (macro-micro), multiperspective quality experiences within MOOCs.

2. Where is Quality in MOOCs? Defining Quality from the learners’ perspective

There are already consolidated systems to analyze and award eLearning quality both in North America – see for example the case of SLOAN Consortium, (Moore J., 2002) – and in Europe – see the European Framework for Quality in eLearning (EFQUEL, 2011); however, until today, the special eLearning case of MOOCs was never considered under these quality frameworks. One of the pioneering efforts in conceptualizing the models to understand the quality of MOOCS was done by Conole (2013); however, much is to be done in this sense, in line with the debate regarding the quality of eLearning and the more general panorama of conceptualizing educational quality in higher education. The debate and scholar research on quality is leading to the redefinition of concepts, passing from standards of quality assurance to a multiperspective, multivoiced and multilevel quality system within a learning culture as continuously evolving system (Ehlers, 2009). Quality concerns not only institutional effectiveness but also the performance of the whole system as considered by key stakeholders like students, academic staff, administrative/management staff, members of networks for inter-institutional collaboration. The learners’ perspective is hence crucial to understand, in depth, the educational quality (Ehlers, 2005; Frydenberg, 2002; Ehlers & Hilera, 2012; Jung, 2011). It is interesting to consider that the multilevel approach to the analysis of quality is consistent with Conole and Oliver (2006) levels of analysis for the eLearning practice: 1. Macro-level or system factors such as cultural norms, social context, educational policy, curriculum standards, organizational factors. 2. Micro-level or individual factors such as, from the teachers’ side, pedagogical practice, educational background, experience with technology etc.; and for pupils, experience with technology, social and cultural background, learning processes etc.

According to the above mentioned frameworks, it is not enough to refer to effective issues registered at macro-levels in MOOCs (business model, organizational innovation, the quality of design and resources to cover big numbers of students). Instead, an integral approach to quality requires effective practices and impacts also at micro-level, as it is the case of learners’ perspective. Beyond the scientific literature, still immature, the learners perspective on

Juliana E. Raffaghelli | Patrizia M. Ghislandi | Nan Yang

123


124

MOOCs is nurtured by thousands of blog posts, tweets and facebook’s posts (among other social networks) where important issues are raised, from the initial enthusiastic idea of being engaged in a high quality experience, within a global community, to the expressions of frustration due to the lack of teacher presence, the information overload, the course’s pace, the lack of support in communications and contacts with peers (Kop, 2011; Bentley et al., 2014). Hence, the learners experiences within MOOCs could question or reinforce the MOOCs as “disruptive” technology, from an empirical and micro-level (less explored) point of view opening to new conceptual and paradigmatic change in the field of open and distance education (McAuley, Stewart, Siemens & Cormier, 2010).

3. The methodological approach: phenomenology of learning experience

Our starting, specific research question was: Which are the elements attempting against MOOCs quality? Specifically, how do the MOOCers perceive the elements attempting against the quality of their learning experience? From a methodological point of view, our first question was: How can complex psychopedagogical processes like the perception of quality in a situated learning experience be characterized, through an holistic and non-reductive way? We searched the answer to this question in qualitative research, more specifically, through a phenomenological approach. Qualitative research is appropriate to face the challenges of Human Sciences, that is, representing the meaning making process within human experiences, respecting their uniqueness and complexity (Norman & Lincoln, 2011). Qualitative research addresses the question of “what”? (Wertz, 2011) very often taken for granted in the search for why. It particularly focus ill-defined problems, that are frequently influenced by the socio-cultural context and forms of power, as matters of conflicting claims and ongoing debate. Beyond our own positioning as qualitative researchers, being the issue of MOOCs an emergent practice (if we take into account that the phenomenon as well as the debate about it raised exponentially during 2012), we considered appropriate to adopt a qualitative, exploratory methodology. The phenomenological approach, within qualitative research, has a very important place (Wertz, 2011). In educational sciences the phenomenological approach can be adopted to understand the personal, reflexive perspectives of the several participants engaged in an educational experience (Selvi, 2008). In fact, within the phenomenological approach in education, personal reflection is encouraged and a systematic record of events and ideas is implemented through writing, attempting to obtain thick descriptions of the educational lived experience. Following van Manen (1990, pp. 30-31), we considered six steps: a) turning to a phenomenon which seriously interests the research group, committing it to the world (the educational practice, in this case); b) investigating experience as it was lived by the researchers, without conceptualizing it immediately;

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


c) reflecting on the essential themes which characterized the phenomenon, which in our case was done along several encounters between the two researchers and the scientific coordinator, as well as with peers in other national and international professional networks; d) describing the phenomenon through the art of writing and rewriting; in this case the two researchers wrote “Memos” while following the online courses, creating a sort of “learner-log”. To this regard, the software Evernote3 was adopted to input and share Memos with the scientific coordinator of the project and between the two researchers. The selection of this software was important for it permitted easy accessed also from mobile devices (like the tablet or the mobile phone) for a spontaneous collection of ideas and feelings. e) manipulating a strong and oriented pedagogical relation to the phenomenon; f) balancing the research context by considering parts and whole.

However, in order to ensure that the categories of quality could be defined in precise terms, the emotional, social and cognitive impact of the experience was considered on the light of an eLearning quality framework, the Sloan C. The Sloan C is a comprehensive framework composed by «Five principles, known as the pillars of quality, guide […] process of identifying goals and benchmarks, measuring progress towards goals, refining methods, and continuously improving outcomes. The pillars are learning effectiveness, cost effectiveness and institutional commitment, access, faculty satisfaction and student satisfaction» (Moore, 2005). To define learning effectiveness, the Sloan-C refers to the extensive research based theory of community of inquiry, CoI or Community of Enquiry model (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000), as part of the Sloan C approach to quality and as key dimension of micro-level analysis (Swan, 2003). In fact, Garrison (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000) explain that learning effectiveness depends upon the appropriate balance and integration of cognitive presence, social presence and teaching presence. Where:

– cognitive presence reflects the intellectual climate and interaction between learners and content; – social presence is defined as the ability of participants in the community of inquiry to project their personal characteristics into the community, thereby presenting themselves to the other participants as “real people”; – teaching presence consists of two general functions: the design of the educational experience (the selection, organization, primary presentation of course content, the design and development of learning activities and assessment) and facilitation (to support and enhance social and cognitive presence for the purpose of realizing educational outcomes) (ibid.). In order to detect the types of “presence” within a CoI, Garrison and collegues (ivi, p. 4) developed a method, where the three elements of presence (Cognitive, Social, Teaching) are to be referred to a set of categories, which in time are based on indicators emerging from learners’ online discourse. This method was adopted in a second phase of the research; therefore, the discourse of the

3

http://evernote.com/

Juliana E. Raffaghelli | Patrizia M. Ghislandi | Nan Yang

125


126

two participants collected in memos written during the experience was analized in search of the CoI indicators supporting Cognitive, Social or Teaching presence. Two MOOCs where selected according the two diverse learners interests, but also taking into account the two different types of MOOCs identified in practice: cMOOCs and xMOOCs (Siemens, 2012b). In fact, these two types are the expression of different learning environments and pedagogical approaches. The first type was born in the context of connectivist approach, with a first completely open course created by Siemens and Downes (the CCK08, “Connectivism and the Connective Knowledge”), but the actual term was coined by Dave Cormier and Brian Alexander when commenting the successful experience, not only open but also massive (Cormier, 2008; Siemens, 2012). The pedagogical approach was based on open access to resources and the generation of personalized spaces for learning where the learner would have collected reflections and addressed communicational processes with those peers “connected” to the own course of learning. The second type adopted the term MOOC but actually referred to a completely (somehow opposite) pedagogical approach. It was based on a highly structured learning environment where students are expected to follow the videorecorded lessons, complete quizzes and accomplish assignments as part of a structured weekly pace. xMOOCs had their explotion in 2011, when a “160.000” students’ classroom attended the first course of this type on Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (CS221) lectured by Sebastian Thrun and Stephen Norvig. The alliances made between prestigious universities and private companies, as well as the influence of the University of Stanford influenced the denomination“Stanford branch”; but the actual name xMOOCs adopted later came from the EdX company created by the University of Harvard with the MIT. Being so different, but yet equally denominated, it was decided to explore one and another type as separated experience. The learners were two women, a Chinese and an Argentinean, as researchers engaged in an Italian unit devoted from several years to the analysis and conceptualization of Quality of eLearning in Higher Education. The MOOCs were followed from the beginning to the end, with the aim of understanding, from a deep personal lived experience, the characteristics and personal/educational impact of the MOOC . The corpus of data analyzed regarded the two researchers’ memos. No messages or resources revealing the identity of other participants or the identity of the MOOC under analysis are presented so far. Both experiences took place between the summer and the autumn 2012.

4. The Study

4.1 Learner’s Experience 1: xMOOC

4.1.1 Introduction of Learner and Course

The first learner came from China and she was a PhD candidate in Education with the previous background in information sciences. The learner had no prior experience on eLearning courses so she provided a perspective as an initial online learner. The course (Table 1) she attended, that is to be considered an xMOOC,

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


was provided by a Northamerican consortium that implemented an international eLearning platform where several prestigious universities are contributing. The course lasted six weeks. !"#$%&'()*"+,%

-".%/$$01%

2"$34%+5%-*'46%

7+#8'*$(%),4%9,5+(#)*"+,%-:"$,:$%

;($($<'"1"*$1%

=+%

>11$11#$,*%

?'"@@$1%A%7$(*"5":)*$%

B$)(,",C%-*63$%

-$35D8):$%/"*E%)%($:+##$,4$4%#","#'#%8):$% Table 1. Brief Information on the xMOOC

Before the course started, the teacher uploaded all the video lectures and quizzes to the platform, so learners could set personalized study schedules according to their own situations. Besides, there was a recommended study pace based on the deadline for every quiz in order to remind learners whose pace was too slow. Every quiz corresponded to a specific video lecture and learners were free to retake quiz once, the final quizâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s score depending on the higher score achieved. There were no homework or other assignments. The overall course score was based on the average of the individual quizzes scores. In the end, the certificate would have been issued to those learners whose course score was successfully exceeding a certain threshold determined by the teacher. 4.1.2 Analysis on the Quality of xMOOC by CoI model The learner/researcher wrote eleven memos during her study. Table 2 introduces the analysis of most significant bracketed issues regarding the CoI categories.

!"#$ %&%'%()$ F2$&#)#(%' G"%1%&6%'

!*)%+",-%.$

/0")*)-"(.$

!"#$$%"#&$'%(%&)' '

*+,-,' .' /%%0' 123%)#3%1' .' 45)67' )7%' (#8%2' #1' 2&09' )2' /#&8' )7%' 5&14%"'#&')7%':;#<,,,' *+,=,'>24'.';1%8')2'67%6?')7%':;#<'@%/2"%'.'45)67')7%'0%6);"%' (#8%2' #&' 2"8%"' )2' 1A%&8' 51' 0#))0%' 51' A211#@0%' )#3%' /2"' /#&#17#&$' )7%':;#<<%1,'' *+,=,'.'1)5")%8')7%'62;"1%'4#)7'1)"2&$'#&)%"%1)'5&8'32)#(5)#2&B' &24'5/)%"'45)67#&$'1%(%"50'(#8%21'5&8'/#&#17#&$'123%':;#<<%1B' )7%' 35#&' 5)321A7%"%' #&' )7%' 62;"1%' )75)' )7%' )2A' A"#2"#)9' #1' )2' /#&#17')7%':;#<<%1'511#3#05)%8'3%,,,' *+,=,'.'@"241%8')7%'2&0#&%'/2";3'5&8'321)'2/'8#16;11#2&1'5"%' 5@2;)' 511#$&3%&)1,,,,511#$&3%&)' #1' "%5009' @%623%' )7%' 6%&)"50' #11;%'#&'321)'1);8%&)1E'0%5"&#&$,'' '' ' ' ' ' ' ' '' '' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' '' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' '' ' ' ' ' ' '' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' '' ' ' 'M.' Ghislandi ' ' ' |' Nan ' ' ' ' Patrizia Yang ' ' ' ' '' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' '' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' '' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' '

CDA02"5)#2&'

'

' Juliana' E. Raffaghelli | '

'

127


'' '

' '

'

' '

' '

' '

'

'

.&)%$"5)#2&'

128

'

L26#50' G"%1%&6%'

NA%&' 6233;&#65)#2&'

!%567#&$' G"%1%&6%'

.&1)";6)#2&50' 35&5$%3%&)'

' '

' '

'

' ' ' ' '

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

Table 2. xMOOC learning experience

From the learner’s experience, all the three categories of the cognitive presence seemed to have one central issue – that is assignment/quiz. Watching video lectures appeared as just an activity to accomplish quizzes; other learners discussed together in the online forum for quizzes and asked explanations on the wrong answer, still about the weekly quiz. Regarding social presence the category considered was open communication (risk-free expression). The quotations taken from memos reveal also that there were probably less interactions with instructors and among learners than expected by the learner; as well as the fact that it was surprising for the learner that interactions often occurred in the personal level off-class (e.g. Skype, Facebook) rather than within the space officially provided by the MOOC for the online learning community. Teaching presence was mainly represented by the category of instructional management. Since the professor recorded all the video lectures, there was no other instructional activities actually happening in the online course. This provided a good start by greeting enrolled students and providing information about the instructor. However, the absence of teacher’s presence showed to have a negative impact on the learner’s engagement for online learning.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


In sum, analyzed three presences of CoI model showed the following results: firstly, a weak cognitive presence, in the sense that the learner in this study choose the approach of surface learning which is to achieve the result (finish the quiz and get the certificate) by minimum effort without deep understanding on the course topic; secondly, weak social presence, in the sense that the online community failed to enhance group cohesion by encouraging collaboration, with the learners mainly leaving their Skype id or Facebook link to connect others in personal level; thirdly, weak teaching presence, that is, no direct instruction during the online learning. The teaching presence was represented by recorded video and announcements for course organization issue rather than as support to facilitate online discussion around course topics or to design collaborative activities among learners. This showed to have a negative impact on the way our learner engaged with the own learning process. 4.1.3 Reflections: xMOOC as “Assembly Line”

In this learner’s experience of xMOOC, she found a metaphor for her own learning experience – the one of the assembly line in the factory (Table 3). The learner reflected about her experience in the following terms: «The teacher designed the course by dividing the study topics, recorded the instructional videos, providing quizzes for each learning unit. So most of the teaching activities have been done before the course started, learners just like the original models that will pass all the procedures in the assembly line in order to become a final product. First, learners need to watch the lecture videos to gain certain information just like preparation on the individual components for the product; then learners are mandatory to finish the quizzes on that topics just like checking quality on the individual components for further assembling; in the meanwhile, the course provided an online discussion opportunity, so learners can exchange ideas with their peers just like polishing components in the process; in the end, when learners finish all the quizzes just like the final products are assembled by all the requested components, the teacher will issue a certificate to learners just like the quality assurance for the final package of the product».

!"#$%&'()&*&+,' 6&375&$' 0&3$+&$%' <18&"'0&7,#$&%' =+)1+&'>1%7#%%1"+'' @#1A' !&$,1:173,&'

-%%&*.)/'01+&'2&,345"$' 65&'8&%19+&$'":'3%%&*.)/')1+&'3+8',5&':1+3)';#3)1,/' 3%%#$3+7&':"$',5&'4$"8#7,' 65&'"$191+3)'*"8&)':"$',5&'4$"8#7,'1+',5&':#,#$&' <3$1"#%'7"*4"+&+,%':"$',5&'4$"8#7,' ?")1%51+9'1+',5&'4$"7&%%' @#3)1,/'3%%#$3+7&'"+',5&'7"*4"+&+,%' B1+3)'?37C39&':"$',5&'4$"8#7,' Table 3. xMOOC as “Assembly Line”

Juliana E. Raffaghelli | Patrizia M. Ghislandi | Nan Yang

129


4.2 Learner’s Experience 2: cMOOC 4.2.1 Introduction of Learner and Course

130

The second learner came from Argentina and she was a post-doc researcher in Education with the previous education background in psychology and educational sciences. This cMOOC experience was her first time of participation in a MOOC, while she had extensive experience (about 10 years) in instructional design and eLearning initiatives coordination. Her experience provided a description on the learners’ experience of cMOOC with a previous impression about online learning. The course she attended (Table 4) was provided by a consortium of several institutions (universities, foundations and private organizations) giving support to the specific initiative. The main language was English, being the consortium entirely composed by Northamerican institutions. The duration of the course was also six weeks, every week representing a thematic block, with the presentation of different personalities in the field. The main topic of the course fell in the field of social sciences and humanities. The platform adopted was based on the connectivist approach to MOOCs, where a web space is used as aggregator of communications, being promoted “free connections” between participants through the own personal learning environments (Downes, 2011). According to this model, there was a web space with several resources regarding a topic launched at the beginning of the week; this was accompanied by an online forum as traditional tool for exchanges between participants. In addition to this, a “course newsletter” gathered all the free interventions in open spaces like personal blogs and twitter. No assessment was proposed but the free reflections – as form of self-evaluation – and comments by others on the own reflections – as form of peer evaluation –. Finally, once a week there was the possibility to access to webinars; during this synchronous sessions, key personalities on the topic where invited and the students were allowed to ask direct questions via chat. No final certifications were awarded. !"#$%&'()*"+,%

-".%/$$01%

2"$34%+5%-*'46%

-+7")3%-7"$,7$1%),4%8'#),"*"$1%

9($($:'"1"*$1%

;+%

<11$11#$,*%

;+,$%

=$)(,",>%-*63$%

-$35?@)7$A%,+%($7+##$,4$4%#","#'#%@)7$% Table 4. Brief Information on the cMOOC

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


4.2.2 Analysis on the Quality of cMOOC by CoI model The learner wrote 25 “memos” on the experience; however, 11 of them were notes on the content and on assignments, which were not considered in this analysis. Instead, 14 Memos where triggered mainly by critical incidents during activities, reflecting the learner’s feelings about the problems but also positive situations she was dealing with. The CoI coding template was applied to memos; the analysis is presented at Table 5. !"#$ %&%'%()$ N2$&#)#(%' O"%<%&7%'

131 !*)%+",-%.$

/0")*)-"(.$

!"#$$%"#&$'%(%&)' '

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

H6;:2"/)#2&'

?&)%$"/)#2&'

S27#/:' O"%<%&7%'

T;%&' 72EE9&#7/)#2&'

!%/75#&$' O"%<%&7%'

?&<)"97)#2&/:' E/&/$%E%&)'

Table 5. cMOOC learning experience

Juliana E. Raffaghelli | Patrizia M. Ghislandi | Nan Yang


132

Regarding the first dimension of analysis, cognitive presence, and taking into account the three subcategories, namely, triggering event, exploration and integration, there was an emergent feeling of a complexity that cannot be governed. The initial motivation, due to the fact of excellence of lecturers and resources, became increasingly a sense of “helplessness” were the learner was unable of selecting the adequate inputs making sense of her learning experience. This was reinforced by the critical incident narrated under the dimension of social presence (M2.21): once the learner selected a path for integration, attempting to do what she believed could lead her learning experience to a better level − collaborating with others −, she got frustrated with the lack of answers from the others. The fact that the presence of others was diminishing in the online forum surprised the learner but still reinforced her idea of isolation in the complexity. Lastly, the teaching presence showed, in convergence with the previous interpretations, the feeling of lack of “human” support, though the quality of lectures was considered very high. It seemed the learner was aware that this was a different experience, and traditional standards would not apply. However, deep in her mind and soul, she was searching for closer relationships. In terms of learning effectiveness, as dimension of quality analyzed in this paper, it could be said that the experience was both challenging and dramatic. The challenge regarded the great effort put in elaborating blog posts coming out from key resources selected by the same learner as well as the struggle for making her voice heard in a global network. But the frustration appeared at the time of discovering the loneliness in the middle of the multitude. 4.2.3 Reflections: cMOOC as “the Garden of Forking paths” To make sense of her learning experience, the second learner adopted the title of Jorge L. Borges short story In the garden of forking path as metaphor of the hypertextual landscape constituting the complex and wide MOOC’s space of learning where she moved. Borges conceives the garden as an infinite labyrinth, and the labyrinth as the representation of the narration in a book, where the reader is expected to become aware of the several choices s/he might make (Murray, 2003). This seemed to be the case along the second learner MOOC’s experience. In the learner’s words: «The teaching staff is present in terms of excellent resources and lectures, the classmates are so many and from so interesting, diverse socio-cultural belongings. However there is everywhere, along the whole experience, a feeling of being overwhelmed and a struggle to find the own, unique sense for the experience, which is a key principle of the connectivist model. Neither feedback nor assessment is implemented in the course. The good and the bad can be measured in the terms of interactions, but neither these are organized, framed, in a way I feel supported. The result is a stressful situation, even when good learning results are achieved. It is crucial to me to make a final reflection on the connectivist approach: even when celebrated as the key for significant, personal learning experiences, it requires resources and support that need to be customized. While probably other learners were able of fully enjoying the experience, for me it meant a feeling of being unable to find “a path” to walk ahead, even when significant learning was achieved» (blog posts).

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


!"#$%&' ()&*&+,'

-.$/&+'"0'1"$23+4'5.,6%'7&,.86"$'

9&.:6&$'

96&'/&%34+&$'"0':"*8)&;3,<='.+'3+>3%3?)&'@7.%,&$'"0',6&'-.*&A'

B&.$+&$%'

96&'"$:6&%,$.,"$%'"0':"*8)&;3,<'.+/'?#3)/&$%'"0'+&C'4.$/&+%'

B3>&'D&?3+.$%'

96&'@0)&&,3+4'*"*&+,A=',6&'3))#%3"+'"0'.'%8.:&',"'03+/',6&'$346,' @8.,6A'

E+)3+&' F3%:#%%3"+''

96&'*"$&'@,$./3,3"+.)A'8.,6',"'03+/'8&&$%'.+/'*.2&'%&+%&' ,"4&,6&$G'F$3>&+'?<'",6&$%H'@8.,6AG'

I)"4%'J'K":3.)' L&,C"$2%'

96&'3++">.,3>&'8.,6=',"'*.2&'@$&03+&/A'%&+%&'.+/'+&,C"$2G' F$3>&+'?<',6&'"C+'@8.,6AG'

!&$,303:.,&'

L"+&' Table 6. cMOOC as “Garden of Forking Paths”

4.3 Discussion In this study we have analyzed the emerging situation of MOOCs and the urgent need to research and conceptualize on the participants’ perspectives, in order to understand which social and cultural impacts this new approach could have. We have selected two very different profiles and experiences, being our attempt to represent facets of the complex picture the MOOCs are in this moment. Going through the two experiences, the two “metaphors” selected by learners making sense of their own experience, show the big gaps the MOOC experience generates on the learners’“feeling” of quality. In fact, while one metaphor (the assembly line) indicates the depersonalization, the lack of intrinsic motivation the model generated in this specific learner; the other metaphor expresses the feeling of overwhelming complexity. These two perspectives on the experience seem to be rather different; it could be said that they only converge in the idea of the participants’“isolation” in the effort required to make sense of their learning experience, as well as to achieve concrete results. It is probable that the two learners were in search of the “traditional” eLearning scaffolding (teaching presence), as experienced in prior (general) learning in their lives. Instead, they found a massive structure where only self-directed learning could lead to genuine learning outcomes. Another interpretation of the negative feelings experienced comes from the weak “social presence”: to this regard, the fluidity of relationships within the MOOC space required effort and attention from the single in order to crystallize significant relationships; probably these two learners entered into the MOOC experience with their own conception of “collaboration” as something facilitated by tasks and the course design. As a result, in the first case the cognitive presence is weak and related to the content; while in the second case it is deviated from the declared learning goals of the course and become a personal challenge, more focused on transversal skills (digital and narrative competence).

Juliana E. Raffaghelli | Patrizia M. Ghislandi | Nan Yang

133


Conclusions

134

What did we learn about the quality of the MOOC as experienced by our two learners in two different (but representative expression) of massive courses? Independent learning is a key dimension of massive, open experiences. The high numbers of dropouts (Hill, 2012) demonstrate that from one side, the utopia of wide, massive, open access should be reconsidered: in fact, learners are exposed to high levels of frustration if they are not well prepared to manage self-learning paths. Clearly, MOOCs are there to be accessed and fruitfully adopted. However, the question of how inclusive they can be in intercultural and social terms is still a big issue. The negative expressions collected within the bracketed memos regarding social, teaching and cognitive presence indicate that the learning experience was not completely effective even if challenging, and hence an important dimension of quality was not satisfactorily reached, for the reasons mentioned above. Further research should emphasize the way MOOCs are designed to promote, for example, better teaching presence through pedagogical mediation regarding the diverse cultures of learning. However, every learning design and the quality embedded is a unique situation. As it has been manifested by George Siemens (2012, March 5th), declared in his eLearning Space blog: «It is important to realize that MOOCs are not (yet) an answer to any particular problem. They are an open and ongoing experiment. They are an attempt to play with models of teaching and learning that are in synch with the spirit of Internet. As with any research project, it is unlikely that they will be adopted wholesale in traditional universities. Most likely, bits and pieces will be adopted into different teaching models». The quality of a MOOC should be searched, within institutions and by learners, understanding that this type of “learning architecture” generates new complex issues regarding the design and pedagogical approach. The exploration of this complexity implies learners efforts to navigate this new massive learning environment, the tensions experienced as well as the negative feelings emerged. Only through careful reflection and contextualization, educational quality at a microlevel will be achieved. As we observed, there are discrepancies between the manifested “quality” of MOOCs, as we pointed out at the beginning of the article, based on the high quality of resources provided by first level academics, as well as sophisticated eLearning platforms, and the learners’ perception of quality.

References Barber, M., Donnelly, K., & Rizvi, S. (2013). An avalanche is coming. Higher Education and the revolution ahead. London: Institute for Public Policy Research. (Retrieved June, 2013 from http://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/files/FINAL Embargoed Avalanche Paper 130306 (1).pdf). Bentley, P., Crump, H., Cuff, P., Gniadek, I., Jamieson, B., McNeil, S., & Mor, Y. (2014). Signals of Success and Self-directed Learning. In U. Cress (Ed.), European MOOCs Stakeholders Summit 2014 (pp. 18-25). Lausanne, Switzerland: Ecole Politechnique Federale de Lausanne & P.A.U. Education. Borges, J.L. (1944). The garden of forking paths [El jardìn de senderos que se bifurcan], in

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


“Fictions” [Ficciones]. (Retrieved June, 2013 from http://www.coldbacon.com/writing/borges-garden.html). Conole, G. (2013). MOOCs as disruptive technologies: strategies for enhancing the learner experience and quality of MOOCs. Revista de Educación a Distancia, XIII(39), 1-17. (Retrieved from http://www.um.es/ead/red/39/conole.pdf). Conole, G., & Oliver, M. (Eds.) (2006). Contemporary Perspectives in ELearning Research: Themes, Methods and Impact on Practice (1st ed.). Oxon: Routledge. Cormier, D. (2008, October 2). The CCK08 MOOC – Connectivism course, 1/4 way. Dave’s Educational Blog. Education, post-structuralism and the rise of the machines blog. (Retrieved June 10, 2013 from http://davecormier.com/edblog/2008/10/02/the-cck08-mooc-connectivism-course-14-way/). Daniels, J. (2012). Making Sense of MOOCs: Musings in a Maze of Myth, Paradox and Possibiliy. Sir John Daniels blog: pen and distance learning. (Retrieved June 10, 2013 from http://sirjohn.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/120925MOOCspaper2.pdf). Downes, S. (2011, May 1). ‘Connectivism’ and Connective Knowledge. Huffpost Education, January 5. (Retrieved March, 2013 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-downes/connectivism-and-connecti_b_804653.html). EDUCAUSE briefing (2012). What Campus Leaders Need to Know About MOOCs. (Retrieved March, 2013 from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/PUB4005.pdf). EFQUEL (2011). Shared Evaluation of Quality in Technology-enhance Learning. White Paper. (Retrieved June 26, 2013 from http://efquel.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/ 03/EFQUEL_White-paper_shared-evaluation_2011.pdf). Ehlers, U. D. (2009). Higher Education Quality as an Organizational Culture. In U. Bernath, A. Szücs, A. Tait, & M. Vidal (Eds.), Distance and E-Learning in Transition. Learning Innovation, Technology and Social Challenges. London: ISTE&Wiley. Ehlers, U. D. (2005). A Participatory Approach to E-Learning-Quality: A new Perspective on the Quality Debate. LLine-Journal for Lifelong Learning in Europe, 11. Berlin, Waxmann Verlag. Ehlers, U. D. (2004). Quality in e-learning from a learner’s perspective. European Journal of Open, Distance and eLearning. (Retrieved June 26, 2013 from http://www.eurodl.org/?article=101). Ehlers, U.D. & Hilera, J.R. (2012) Editorial, Special Issue on quality in e-learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning , 28(1), 1-3. Frydenberg, J. (2002). Quality standards in eLearning: A matrix of analysis. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 3(2). Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105. Guàrdia, L., Maina, M., & Sangrà, A. (2013). MOOC Design Principles. A Pedagogical Approach from the Learner’s Perspective. eLearning Papers, 33(online). (Retrieved May, 2013 from http://www.elearningpapers.eu/en/article/MOOC-Design-Principles.-A-Pedagogical-Approach-from-the-Learner%E2%80%99s-Perspective?paper=124335). Hill, P. (2012, July 24). Four barriers that MOOCs must overcome to become sustainable. e-Literate blog. (Retrieved May, 2013 from http://mfeldstein.com/four-barriers-that-moocsmust-overcome-to-become-sustainable-model/). Hinostroza, J. E., Labbé, C., López, L., & Iost, H. (2008). Traditional and Emerging IT Applications for Learning. In J. Voogt, & G. Knezek (Eds.), International Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education (pp. 81-96). New York: Springer. Jung, I. (2011). The dimensions of e-learning quality: from the learner’s perspective. Educational Technology Research and Development, 59(4), 445-464. Knox, J., Bayne,S., MacLeod, H., Ross, J., Sinclair, C. (2012, August 8) MOOC pedagogy: the challenges of developing for Coursera, Association for Learning Technology Online Newsletter, August 8, 2012. (Retrieved May, 2013 from http://newsletter.alt.ac.uk/2012/08/mooc-pedagogy-the-challenges-of-developing-for-coursera/).

Juliana E. Raffaghelli | Patrizia M. Ghislandi | Nan Yang

135


136

Kop, R. (2011). The challenges to connectivist learning on open online networks: Learning experiences during a massive open online course. IRRODL - The international review of research in open and distance learning, 12(3). (Retrieved May, 2013 from http://www.irrodl.org/ index.php/irrodl/article/view/882). Liyanagunawardena, T. R., Adams, A. A., & Williams, S. A. (2013). MOOCs: A systematic study of the published literature 2008-2012. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 14(3), 202–227. (Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1455/2573). McAuley, A., Stewart, B., Siemens, G., & Cormier, D. (2010). The MOOC model for digital practice. SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Grant on the Digital Economy. Moore, J. (2002). Elements of quality: the Sloan-C framework. Needham, MA: Sloan-C. Moore, J. (2005). The Sloan Consortium Quality. Framework And The Five Pillars. (Retrieved May, 2013 from http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/books/qualityframework.pdf May). Mor, Y., & Koskinen, T. (2013). MOOCs and beyond. eLearning Papers, 33. (Retrieved May, 2013 from http://elearningeuropa.info/en/paper/moocs-and-beyond). Murray, J. H. (2003). “Inventing the Medium” The New Media Reader. Cambridge: MIT Press. Norman, K., & Lincoln, Y. (2011). Introduction: The Discipline and Practice of Qualitative Research. In K. Norman, & Y. Lincoln, The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research, 4th Edition (pp. 1-20). London: Sage. Raffaghelli, J., & Ghislandi, P. (forthcoming). The dark side of the MOOCs: participants’ discourse about learning effectiveness in massive online open courses. Selvi, K. (2008). Phenomenological Approach in Education. In A.-T. Tymieniecka (Ed.), Education In Human Creative Existential Planning – Series: Analecta Husserliana (pp. 39-51). Netherlands: Springer. Sheets, R., Crawford, S., & Soares, L. (2012). Rethinking Higher Education Business Models. Steps Toward a Disruptive Innovation Approach to Understanding and Improving Higher Education Outcomes. American Progress / Educause Blog. (Retrieved February, 2013 from http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2012/03/pdf/higher_ed_business_models.pdf). Siemens, G. (2012, March 5). MOOCs for the win! eLearning Space blog. (Retrieved February, 2013 from http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/2012/03/05/moocs-for-the-win/). Siemens, G. (2012, June 3). What is the theory that underpins our moocs? elearnspace blog. (Retrieved June, 2013 from http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/2012/06/03/what-is-thetheory-that-underpins-our-moocs/). Siemens, G. (2012, July 25). MOOCs are really a platform. E Learning Space Blog. (Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/2012/07/25/moocs-are-really-a-platform/). Siemens, G., Irvine, V., & Code, J. (2013). Special Issue: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. (Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/jolt_ moocs_cfp.pdf). Swan, K. (2003). Learning effectiveness: what the research tell us. In J. Bourne, & J. Moore (Eds.), Elements of Quality Online Education. Practice and Direction. Needham, MA: Sloan C. van Manen, M. (1990). Researching lived experience: Human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. Abany, NY: State University of New York Press Wertz, F. (2011). Introduction. In F. C. Wertz, Five ways of Doing Qualitative Analysis (pp. 212). London & New York: The Guilford Press. Wertz, F. (2011). The establishment of Methodological Traditions. In F. Wertz, K. Charmaz, L. McMullen, R. Josselson, R. Anderson, & E. McSpaden, Five ways of doing qualitative analysis (p. 48-74). London & New York: The Guilford Press.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


Serena Triacca

Catholic University of Milan serena.triacca@unicatt.it

Livia Petti

University of Milano-Bicocca livia.petti@unimib.it

lifelong learning

Tutor 2.0: a moderation proposal in Social Networks

137

KEYWORDS: Social network, Facebook, e-Tutor, e-Moderating, Community.

This article has been developed jointly by the authors. Serena Triacca wrote the sections 2. The case studies context; 3. Methodology; 5. Analysis of the posts; Livia Petti wrote 1. Theoretical Background; 4. Analysis of the interviews; the section. Final remarks was co-written by the two authors.

Š Pensa MultiMedia Editore srl ISSN 2037-0830 (print) ISSN 2037-0849 (on line)

abstract

The communities of Italian university students are generally created institutionally as part of the Learning Management Systems of the academic organizations. Aided by the massive expansion of social networks among the younger generation (CENSIS, 2012; Nielsel, 2012), many groups are spontaneously opened by students on Facebook, while it is rare that such spaces are opened and moderated by a university Tutor. Some recent studies emphasize the complexity of managing in a functional way not only the communication stream, but also the production of contents (Rivoltella & Ferrari, 2010). The aim of this case study, focusing on a Community of freshmen enrolled in the Early Childhood Education Degree course at the Catholic University of Brescia (2011/12 academic year), is to advance a proposal of a moderation model in the 2.0 environment. The research methodology was based on the mixed method approach (Creswell, 2003): 10 structured interviews were conducted with some members of the group (Anderson, 1990), in addition to the analysis of 100 posts. The results bring out data about the usefulness of being part of a group created in an informal space and the importance of the role of the Tutor within the group, as a representative of the University.


1. Theoretical background

1.1 Student communities in Social Network

138

Historically communities were created within Web portals before the spread of social networks. They were focused around a discussion board, organized by topics. Today we are witnessing the spread of Social Network community environments, in which the participatory culture can emerge (Jenkins et al., 2013; Ranieri & Manca, 2013). Several authors are discussing about the use of the social software among formal and informal educational contexts to promote effective social interaction and learning (Minocha, 2009; Selwyn, 2009, 2012). Rivoltella and Ferrari (2010) described the properties of the “2.0 Education”: it’s socially oriented, handy at use and allows the content building. For example, creating your own “group” on Facebook and inviting people to take part is quite easy, there are some tools to share and create contents (text, pictures, video, pools etc.) and to link people with the same interests. The communities of Italian university students are generally created institutionally as part of the Learning Management Systems of the academic organizations. Aided by the massive expansion of social networks among the younger generation (CENSIS, 2012; Nielsel, 2012), many groups are spontaneously opened by students on Facebook, while it is rare that such spaces are opened and moderated by a university Tutor. In the case study analyzed, the Community of first-year students enrolled in the Early Childhood Education Degree course at the Catholic University of Brescia was hetero-directed (Garavaglia, 2010). It was conceived of and designed by a university Tutor who asked to have a space to communicate with the students. This is a formal community created in an informal Facebook setting. Opening a community in that environment and not within the LMS of the university, where all students have an account, was a very clear choice, which in some ways may seem unpopular. It was assumed that users had an account on Facebook, running the risk that some of them did not have or did not want to have a Facebook account. However the data was encouraging: out of 114 students, 91 registered during the 2011/12 academic year, and almost all of the students (80% of the sample) chose to take part. 1.2. E-Tutor: the importance of e-moderation in 2.0 Communities

In this case study, the Tutor was an e-moderator, a figure that has always been involved in the moderation of online communities (Rivoltella, 2006). He’s the Tutor of the system, not a disciplinary expert, responsible for the dynamics of communication, socialization and monitoring. Investigating the professional identity of the e-Tutor is important for understanding the actions implemented, in order to identify the complex system of functions (Rotta & Ranieri, 2005; Rizzi & Tassalini, 2010). Moderating in a Social Network is quite complex, due to the fact of being in an informal setting, where the classic moderation tools available in any LMS (Petti, 2011) are absent. The e-Tutor needs sophisticated skills, since also – and

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


especially – in this kind of environment their professionalism could be strategic, in terms of media education. Moreover, the ease of use of Web 2.0 applications that allows users to easily add contents requires that along with the communication stream, the e-Tutor also moderates the documents sharing between users (Rivoltella & Ferrari, 2010). The very high level of synchrony determines an almost immediate interaction (ibid.): consider how quickly the comments to a post on Facebook appear. There are two possible risks: on the one hand, communication can easily go “off topic”, leading to an increase in communication drifts (Rivoltella, 2003), and secondly the ease with which the medium enables posting messages makes obsolete the old adage «First think, then talk (then write)». According to Rivoltella (2006), as we can see in Figure 1, the e-moderator functions as:

– Technician. He is asked to help the students inhabit these 2.0 spaces. Although they are more intuitive than the LMS, the retrieval of information is more difficult. The e-Tutor is required to organize the space in a functional way, inventing new moderation strategies. In our case study, the Tutor created the Facebook group, set the privacy level and accepted members carefully; – Collector. He gathers and organizes information by creating shared files and inviting people to use them properly, moderating the production; – Organizer. He reminds members of the deadlines (for completing assignments), appointments (meetings with Tutors, seminars, conferences) and provides the organizational and bureaucratic support (providing contacts and links to notices); – Animator. He creates a climate of fruitful interaction between participants, encouraging exchanges and creating adequate communication regarding context and users; – Scaffolder. He supports the zone of proximal development (Vygotsky, 2002). He offers emotional scaffolding to students when the problems seem to be insurmountable, promoting a serene and relaxed atmosphere; – Observer. He monitors in real-time the group, intervening when necessary but otherwise fading (Salmon, 2000). Role animator

assistant

technician

scaffolder teacher

observer

collector

organizer scaffolder

Contents

Relashionships

information sharing

technological facilitation

knowledge building

socialization

scaffolding

scaffolding

Activities

Figure 1. E-tutor functions (Rivoltella, 2006, p. 24)

Serena Triacca | Livia Petti

139


2. The case study context

2.1 The “Group Tutor” at the Catholic University

140

In 1999 the Catholic University established the figure of the group Tutor, considered one of the fundamental services provided to students, whose mission is to prevent situations that lead to abandonment or renunciation formal studies. The activity of tutoring takes place in conjunction with the Faculty and is coordinated by the competent authority in different locations, who forms the groups of students assigned to each Tutor. The activities planned are for students enrolled in the first year to facilitate the entry into the university context and for students continuing their studies, with initiatives responding to specific needs. 2.2 The Facebook group of the First-year Early Childhood Education Degree Students

At the institutional level, the Catholic University of Brescia does not have an established tradition of student communities for Education Faculty students in Blackboard, the platform adopted by the University1. In October 2011 the Facebook group of the first-year students enrolled in the Early Childhood Education Degree2 was activated, in accordance with the two Group Tutors who had obtained prior approval of the coordinating professor of the Education Faculty and the Orientation-Placement Office. It has been advertised on the homepage of the Office as well as by letter and email, during weekly scheduled group meetings and office hours. The stated goals of the Facebook group are: – to share links of relevant news on the University website and useful study materials; – to facilitate the creation of a community, allowing students to “network”, in order to activate mutual support between attending students and workers, making it a space for socialization.

The privacy policy was initially set as “secret”: the visibility of the group, the list of members and posts were allowed only to members. The requests to join were approved by the Tutor after verifying the identity of the student, comparing the requests received with the names provided by the offices. All members are free to post on the wall, insert photos and files.

1 2

During the 2008/09 academic year, the First-year students Community was opened in Blackboard. During the following years (2009/2010, 2010/2011) First-year students “closed” groups were opened in Facebook. Before opening the group, a research was made in Facebook: other similar groups, opened by first-year students of the Catholic University of Brescia, were not found.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


3. Methodology

The case study, conducted with the aim to propose a moderation model in the 2.0 environment, used a mixed method approach (Creswell, 2003). Telephone interviews were carried out with 10 members of the group (Anderson, 1990), contacted via Facebook private messaging. The interview collected data about the reasons they joined the group, initial expectations and satisfaction levels, usefulness of the group, strengths and weaknesses of having a Tutor-moderator within the group, changes detected after the Tutor was no longer part of the group. In terms of quantitative analysis, 100 posts published on the Facebook group wall since its opening (October 2011-April 2012) were analyzed in order to focus on the role of the Tutor moderator and the implemented communication and organizational strategies. A grid for the analysis was developed to systematize the user name and type (moderator and student), actions carried out by the moderator, the communicative intent, the categories of the posts and description, topic, relevance, presentation of comments, likes, tags.

4. Analysis of the interviews

From the interviews with the 10 active members of the Facebook group first of all the reasons that pushed them to join the group have emerged. It can be mentioned among the most cited word of mouth (“other girls had joined and they told me that the community was useful, so I decided to enroll”) and the promotion of the group during the face-to-face meetings conducted by the Tutor. The Facebook group was not promoted on the Degree Course site, where it might have been an important option for the enrolled full-time workers who were rarely able to attend the university activities and did not know the other regularly attending students3. Their expectations regarding the group were met and can be summarized in the need to receive information, to be better briefed on all matters relating to the Degree course (classrooms, exams, workshops, practice teaching experiences etc.). These expectations highlight the instrumental use of the group: an environment to get information, rather than providing it. To the question “What was the Facebook group helpful for?” the respondents focused on the following points:

– Exams. The community made possible to share the exams’ questions for each course; – Organization. The group allowed to quickly inform the participants about changes in classrooms for lectures and examinations carried out at short notice, to get reminders about deadlines or problems with workshops enrollment;

3

We point out that all the first year students received an information letter and e-mail, in which the Tutor presented his role and gave his contact information, including the Community itself.

Serena Triacca | Livia Petti

141


– Bureaucracy. The community was useful for understanding how to carry out web-based enrollment for exams or workshops, a useful aspect especially considering that the group is composed by first year students; – Lessons. In case of absence or non attendance due to work commitments it was possible to get the slides and notes from colleagues.

142

The interviews also indicate that the Facebook community, much appreciated by attending students, offers even greater value and exchange with the University for those students who do not attend; furthermore, University web portal is described by the majority of respondents as more complex to use than the Facebook group, where the answers appear in an immediate way, both from the Tutors and from the other members. To the question “What are the strengths and weaknesses of having a tutor in the Facebook group” the students did not indicate any critical issues; among the strengths, the freedom of expression (within the bond of netiquette), the chance to receive “authoritative answers” from the Tutor, by virtue of the fact that he relates with the University and the organization of the communication is set by the Tutor. In this regard some aspects were considered functional:

– the creation of the document “First year examination questions” in the Files section of the group, with the questions asked by the teachers exams classified by discipline. The shared document, started by Tutor, was updated by the users; – the proposal to include images, to develop threads (otherwise impossible, Facebook no longer hosts discussion boards) regarding doubts and questions for each course or workshop (Figure 2). This moderation proposal facilitates retrieval of discussions on a given topic, the order and visual impact, as claimed by this interviewee who said “the eye needs to be pleased as well”; – the idea of including conferences, seminars, study days, deadlines. All this information are hosted on the University website, but selected by the Tutor and shared on the group wall.

Figure 2. Thread example created with images

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


The interviews reveal an attentive, present Tutor, who offered information and sought to respond to requests quickly by interfacing with the University offices and referring to the Institutional site, also knowing when to fade, as one student explained: “(the Tutor) answered only when it was necessary, and otherwise let us free to discuss”. The group, created during the 2011/12 academic year, continues to be active, without an “institutional” moderator. The students help each other, and, as one student said, “if the Facebook group did not exist, I would feel lost”. Aside from the positive aspects, the community users underline the lack of an authoritative figure who guarantees the reliability of the information, and «puts some order», carrying on to well organize the spaces in terms of communicative effectiveness.

5. Analysis of the posts

In addition to the interviews, 100 posts from the wall were analyzed. To go back to the first post (7 October 2011) the page was scrolled using the vertical bar: this is one of the main limitations of Facebook groups, especially when the flow of communication is intense and constant. The sample of 100 posts, 37 of which were by the Tutor4, was reached in 187 days, with an average of 2 messages per day. Beside the Tutor, 28 females and 1 male were the authors who appear with tranche-de-vie style pictures (Rivoltella, 2010). In the table below (Figure 3) the types of messages posted can be observed: most of them are simple posts (5 posted by the Tutor), followed by photos with captions, links, surveys all posted by the Tutor. There were 51 help requests and 17 shared information. There were two main topics: – logistic issues: exam rooms, cancelled lessons, how to sign up for workshops; – didactic issues: the difficulty of the exams, exam programs, exam questions, book/notes exchange.

Figure 3. Number of posts per category 4

One of the Tutors at the end of the mandate removed their profile from Facebook and thus part of the history is missing. This analysis focused the actions of the Tutor remained.

Serena Triacca | Livia Petti

143


144

The Tutor always shows his intention to communicate with the group or single students using opening formulas like: “Dear freshmen”, “For the participants at the meeting [tag]”. Students also address the communication, usually to the whole group or to a portion: “For anyone who is taking the exam...”, “Could someone tell me...”, “Everybody, someone…”, “Help me! Does anyone remember… ”. In the 100 posts analyzed, there are only four cases in which students directly addressed the Tutor, without tagging him: “Tutor, I have a problem”, “Dear Tutor, I have many questions”. Regarding the actions implemented by the e-moderator (Figure 4), in 22 cases they were answers to a question posted by the students. The Tutor responds in a timely way, especially to issues that the other members of the group cannot respond to, reassuring the students. Otherwise the Tutor waits for the group to mobilize. He puts “Like” on students’ posts that he replies to and tags the message recipient to indicate the question is being answered. The recipients of the response generally post their thanks or raise further questions. When the Tutor posts links of information about services and University news (deadlines for curriculum, conferences, open enrollment for workshops etc.), always accompanied by an informational message that acts as a descriptive label, students rarely like or comment on.

Figure 4. The Moderator’s activities

All the posts entered are relevant: they are on topic with the objectives of the group and there were no spam incidents. In 15% of the cases, however, the initial message fits with different questions, which shifted the focus on other issues. Noticed that some themes were recurring in the photo area has been structured by activating several “key themes”, each related to a subject. To ensure that each topic was immediately available at the opening of the gallery, the title of the threads was placed in the center of the photo.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


145

Figure 5. Photo gallery with topics

This modality was agreed upon with the students and in the first weeks the Tutor has removed the messages posted on the wall, pasting them as comments on the photos, tagging the authors so as not to lose track of the messages (Figure 5). The choice was appreciated by the students: in Figure 6, we can see the large number of comments to the photo-subjects (average 61 comments). There were only 8 other posts, created by the Tutor or by the students themselves that received between 16 and 49 comments.

Figure 6. Numbers of comments per topic

Currently, the group is still regularly used: without a Tutor who arranges the communication, students have restarted to systematically post on the wall, thus creating â&#x20AC;&#x153;islands of communicationâ&#x20AC;? (Rivoltella, 2003) of posts, addressing to the same issue. Many post are added via mobile phone. The file area, set up by the e-Tutor, is still in use and full of documents uploaded (25) and created by the internal editor (5).

Serena Triacca | Livia Petti


Final remarks

From this case study, the centrality of the e-Tutor in groups created in 2.0 environments has emerged. Being an e-Tutor in Facebook, an application that does not have the purpose of moderation, like a discussion board, requires complex skills as is clear from the interviews and the analysis of the posts. The e-Tutor has a fundamental role in that:

146

– he proposes a model of moderation (creating files, creating images through discussions, sharing of netiquette, reorganization of communication); – he provides useful and reliable answers (acting as a liaison between students and the University). The Tutor faded and left lots of space for free discussion.

The results show how the Facebook group has been mainly used as a tool, as a place to get information, even before they provide it. This is not surprising in a community made up of students who have common plans (Wenger, 1998) to graduate and pass their exams. Therefore, it could be argued that Facebook groups can be a good environment for developing University communities because they are well suited for quick information exchanges, where reflection is not as important as satisfying needs linked to the hic et nunc.

References Anderson, T. (2009). Social Networking. In S. Mishra (Ed.). Stride Handbook 8 – E-learning. Indira Gandhi National Open University. (Retrieved June 18, 2014 from http://goo.gl/OqRHC9). Anderson, G. (1990). Fundamentals of Education Research. London: The Falmer Press. Calvani, A., & Rotta, M. (2000). Fare formazione in Internet. Manuale di didattica online. Trento: Erickson. Censis, U.C.S.I. (2012). Decimo Rapporto sulla comunicazione. I media siamo noi. L’inizio dell’era biomediatica. Milano: Franco Angeli. Creswell, J. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Garavaglia, A. (2010). Didattica on line. Dai modelli alle tecniche. Milano: Unicopli. Jenkins, H., Ford, S., & Green, J. (2013). Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. New York, NY: New York University Press. Minocha, S. (2009). Role of social software tools in education: a literature review. Education + Training, 51(5/6), 353-369. Nielsen (2012). State of the Media: The Social Media Report. (Retrieved June 18, 2014 from http://goo.gl/6sKdU6). Petti, L. (2011). Apprendimento Informale in Rete. Dalla progettazione al mantenimento delle comunità on line. Milano: Franco Angeli. Ranieri, M., & Manca, S. (2013). I social network nell’educazione. Basi teoriche, modelli applicativi e linee guida. Trento: Erickson. Rivoltella, P.C. (2003). Costruttivismo e pragmatica della comunicazione o line. Socialità e didattica in Internet. Trento: Erickson. Rivoltella, P.C. (Ed.) (2006). E-Tutor. Profilo, metodi e strumenti. Roma: Carocci.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


Rivoltella, P. C., & Ferrari, S. (Eds.) (2010). A Scuola con I Media Digitali. Problemi, Didattiche, Strumenti. Milano: Vita e Pensiero. Rivoltella, P.C. (2010). Il volto sociale di Facebook. Rappresentazione e costruzione identitaria nella società estroflessa. In D. Vinci (Ed.), Il volto nel pensiero contemporaneo (pp. 504-518). Trapani: Il pozzo di Giacobbe. Rivoltella, P. C., & Cattaneo, A. (Eds.) (2010). Tecnologie, formazione, professioni. Idee e tecniche per l’innovazione. Milano: Unicopli. Rizzi, C., & Tassalini, E. (2006). Funzioni. In P. C. Rivoltella (Ed.), E-Tutor. Profilo, metodi, strumenti (pp. 33-50). Roma: Carocci. Rizzi, C. (2006). Competenze. In P. C. Rivoltella (Ed.), E-Tutor. Profilo, metodi, strumenti (pp. 51-68). Roma: Carocci. Rotta, M., & Ranieri, M. (2005). E-tutor: identità e competenze. Un profilo professionale per l’e-learning. Trento: Erickson. Salmon, G. (2000). E-Moderating: The Key to Teaching and Learning Online. London Sterling, VA: Kogan Page. Selwyn, N. (2009). Faceworking: Exploring Students' Education-Related Use of Facebook. Learning, Media and Technology, 34(2), 157-174. Selwyn, N. (2012). I social media nell'educazione formale e informale tra potenzialità e realtà. TD - Tecnologie Didattiche, 20(1), 4-10. Viganò, R. (2002). Pedagogia e sperimentazione. Metodi e strumenti per la ricerca educativa. Milano: Vita e Pensiero. Vygotskij, L.S. (2002). Il processo cognitivo. Torino: Bollati Boringhieri. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice, Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Serena Triacca | Livia Petti

147


Valeria I.V. Tamborra

University of Foggia valeria.tamborra@unifg.it

lifelong learning

Professional Identity, Digital Competence and Teacher Training: the Importance of Post-lauream training as a Context for Reflection on Today’s Competences, Technologies and Educational Mission Stefania Attanasio

University of Salento stefy.attanasio@gmail.com

Michele Baldassarre

University of Bari michele.baldassarre@uniba.it

KEYWORDS: Competences, Professional Identity, Content Analysis, Media Education, Lifelong Learning. This article has been developed jointly by the authors. Valeria Tamborra wrote the Abstract, the Introduction and the section 1. Theoretical Background; Stefania Attanasio wrote the section 3. Method; Michele Baldassarre wrote the sections 2. Research; 4. Discussion; 5. Pratical implications.

© Pensa MultiMedia Editore srl ISSN 2037-0830 (print) ISSN 2037-0849 (on line)

abstract

The purpose of this paper is to critically examine the professional identity and professional training of teachers today. These two elements are highly intertwined and must be redefined in light of the deep changes that have been occurring within the school system in recent years. These changes include the pervasive presence of digital media in classrooms, reformed curricula which respect the European standards concerning competences and scholastic editorial reform. Over time these elements have changed the social and organizational order of schools, gradually distancing the teachers from the cultural – and social – disposition of the alumni. Consequently, the gap between the school as an institution and society is growing. Today’s teachers are frequently forced to face educational situations that they are unable to manage. In particular, digital media have profoundly changed both the way lessons are carried out and the power-based relationships that exist between teachers and their students. For these reasons the professional identity of teachers must undergo a deep redefinition. Running parallel to this is the high importance of training in and formation and knowledge of up-to-date competences and abilities. The research presented here has the aim of investigating the aspects mentioned above. An open-response questionnaire was submitted to a sample of 247 teachers and aspiring teachers, as well as members of a professional development course carried out in the University of Bari, Italy. The study uses a mixed-method approach to content analysis, utilising tools such as T-Lab to facilitate statistical information in a fashion complementary to the qualitative elements of the work.

149


Introduction

150

The transition from the information society to the knowledge society characterizes knowledge as a key factor for the economic, social and, undoubtedly, educational future of society as a whole. This process redefines the goals, the structures of roles and personal identities (Alberici, 2002). Therefore, we are experiencing a paradigmatic shift: from analysing the products of knowledge (in which the outcome is quantitatively assessable) to the study of knowledge as a process of construction, in which the interaction and the relationship between the elements that constitute knowledge itself are fundamental. This change, together with the large-scale introduction of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in schools and with the reform of curricula from a competency-based perspective, has initiated deep transformation throughout the entire educational system, as well as within teaching methodologies and educational goals. As a consequence, the role of being a teacher itself has changed. Technologies have changed the structure of schools, which until now were essentially hierarchical. Teacher authority was completely supported by the social organization of the school itself, in favour of a horizontal organization structure and allocation of knowledge. Under the new paradigm the teacher is a facilitator of learning and relationships, rather than a transmitter of notions. Thus, providing adequate teacher formation, that allows them to face this kind of educational process efficiently, is fundamental to success (Duhaney, 2012). In 1998 an ISFOL report praised Italian efforts to upgrade skills for the empowerment of graduates coming out of university who intend to become teachers in the Italian educational system with a higher level of professional competence (Isfol, 1989). Legislative efforts also moved in this general direction, although specific implementations differed between national regions and institutions of higher education. This was enabled by the issuing of the DM 166 on the 25th of May 2001. This DM adds regulations to the education system by introducing and establishing the “Scuola di Specializzazione dell’Insegnamento Superiore” (SSIS). Today the “SSIS” has transformed into the “Tirocinii Formativi Attivi” (TFA). The evolution of vocational training courses combines synergistically with the innovation of learning paradigms and methods. Future teachers are asked to become highly proficient in matters of pedagogy and flexible enough to integrate technology with the varying demands of educational practices. (Tondeur et al., 2013, p. 445). In particular, the emergence of new pedagogical proposals and the availability of ICTs require not only digital literacy, but also expertise and skill in this area, accompanied by a proactive, creative and critical attitude to the use of new educational possibilities. This is the concept of “fluency.” To be fluent, from the digital point of view, implies not only an understanding of how to use technological tools, but also the ability to build meaningful didactics with those tools (Papert & Resnick, 1995). It is necessary for the teachers of tomorrow to develop a digital culture if they hope to attain this level of competence. It is from within the context outlined above that this paper necessarily investigates technological innovation and professional training and, in particular, the profession of being a teacher.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


1. Theoretical Background

The theoretical framework of this study draws on various pedagogical disciplines. In particular, the process of introducing digital media into educational contexts (Galliani et al., 2000) and the importance of reflection, which is the basis of a teacher’s professional identity (Baldassarre, 2009). In addition to this, there is a strong reliance on theory from social psychology, with the construct of social identity (Tajfel & Turner, 1986) and from cultural psychology (Bruner, 1997). The scientific literature of the last few years has highlighted how the introduction of ICT into the school context can support innovative processes in the education system as a whole (Rivoltella, 2012). Nevertheless, the integration of didactics and ICT isn’t always achieved effectively. Sometimes ICTs are introduced as something novel to study in addition to, and separate from, traditional subject areas. No actual integration into the curricula of the various disciplines takes place, nor is there a significant evolution of the pedagogical approaches and behavior in the class (Chiappini & Manca, 2006). Digital innovation should represent an opportunity for schools to go beyond the traditional concept of classrooms in favour of creating “learning spaces”. That is, contexts and environments of constructive and situated learning based on social communication and interaction (Rivoltella, 2013). An evolution of the learning paradigm is necessary. Internalising information is no longer the main objective of learning. Rather, learning in, through and despite of the noise of information is now rapidly becoming a primary focus. Therefore it has become indispensable to build digital competence. Digital competence can be broken down into the following key aspects (Calvani et al., 2011): – The ability to explore and engage with new technological situations in a flexible way. – The ability to critically analyse data and information sources. – The ability to use technologies for problem representation and solving as well as collaborative knowledge building.

A common problem with the various definitions of digital competence is that it is often defined as something static and, at a micro-level, disconnected from other concepts. In truth, an accurate definition of the concept would be systemic and dynamic, presenting different structured levels of inter-dependent abilities.

The following concepts are examples of such inter-dependent abilities, but do not constitute an exhaustive list. The first ability is that of “Technological literacy”. Simply put, this is the skill that allows one to interact with hardware and software. “Informational literacy”, on the other hand, comprises of the competences necessary to work with information through the application of ICT. “Media literacy” describes a group of abilities and competences needed to interact with different media and to integrate them into a strategic design that allows for the construction of an ecosystem of different media. “Digital presence” describes the ability to control and create a digital identity. “E-awareness” is the knowledge of how the world and our position, individually or collectively, can change thanks to digital technologies (Peña-López, 2009). The last two concepts are fundamental to teacher training. The education of new teachers has to include the definition of a digital identity and, with that, e-

Valeria I.V. Tamborra | Stefania Attanasio | Michele Baldassarre

151


152

awareness. That is, the awareness of the systemic and strategic implications of living in the knowledge society (Baldassarre, 2012). It is essential to transcend a merely exploitable view of digital technologies and to comprehend their sociocultural range; to comprehend that media, in the world we live in, can generate and increase meaning. Through the educational paths specifically thought of and designed for teachers, (such as the TFA, DM 249/2010), professional identities are formed and can be described as “positioning oneself in relation to others by differentiating, affiliating, challenging, being, and doing in the world” (Achugar, 2009, p. 65). Becoming a professional means activating an interactive process situated in a given socio-organizational context, in which it’s possible, through dialogue, to experiment with the acquisition of meanings and the acquisition of sensitivity to the environment in which teachers will work. This process of sensemaking is structured through conversational activities. These activities, which may be dialogues, monologues, stories or narratives, express the ways reality data are intended. Reality data “are inconsequential until they are acted upon and then incorporated retrospectively into events, situations, and explanations” (Weick, 1995, p. 307). Text analysis is an inquiry method that allows exploration of professional identities, focusing the attention not on an objective, systematic and quantitative description of the manifest content, but on the subjective, dialogic and qualitative process of communication with the purpose of completely understanding the process of sense-making (Mininni, 1993; 2003).

2. Research

This research represents an initial phase of a larger project aimed at investigating the learning needs of future teachers in terms of digital presence and e-awareness necessitated by the constant evolution of the schooling system. The purpose of this paper is to observe the professional images developed throughout the training process of TFA (academic year 2012-2013, Bari) in order to understand the status of compliance with the processes of digital innovation in schools. The research hypothesis is as follows: a difference exists in thought processes and operational parameter of the teaching profession when training is based on a technical rather than humanistic education. The identification of these differences and peculiarities should lead to a practical goal: to “situate” teacher training in a more effective way, starting from the comprehension of their in fieri identity. Through awareness of the starting point for aspiring teachers and awareness of where institutions wish to lead them, we can achieve the overall goal to individualize the teaching actions aimed towards them. This goal is supported by a further research hypothesis: a difference exists between those who are already teachers and those who are not. Through the process of data analysis this general goal has emerged as three research questions that guided the process of interpretation.

1. What image is acquired after the training path of a teacher is completed? Does it include aspects related to the digital school? Does it take into account

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


the transformations in education after the introduction of technology into didactics? 2. Are there significant differences between some sub-samples? Are variables such as “disciplinary class”, “technical vs. humanistic education” and “degree of practical experience reached” noteworthy in terms of explanatory power? 3. How often do themes related to teaching that use new technologies emerge? Has the TFA course held in Bari managed to transmit the value of this important evolution of the entire educative system?

3. Method Participants

The statistical sample consisted of 247 subjects (mean age 34.53, SD 5.93), equally distributed into the two disciplinary classes: 126 with humanistic education (51%) and 121 with technical and scientific education (49%). In terms of additional sub-variables: “practical experience” had a distribution of 62% subjects that were teachers and 38% that were not. With regards to gender, 149 individuals were women (60%), while 98 were men (40%). Data Collection

The professional identity image of teachers was constructed from open answers given to participants. These questions concerned self-perception, the subjective description of core-competences attributed to the profession and the value attributed to new technologies for didactics. Specifically, a semi-structured questionnaire was realized using key concepts developed in the text Insegnare per competenze by Federico Batini (2013). The 22 questions are designed to elicit self-reflection on initial training and professional development, both received and desired. Educational technology and teaching through competences were also themes present in the questions. In aid of general analysis, standard demographic information was also collected. Data Analysis

Raw data, comprising of participant questionnaire item responses, were subjected to various analysis methods in aid of answering the three research questions as outlined above. Breaking up the communicative unit (written text) into simpler elements (known as lemmas), we managed to proceed in classifying them into a system of categories and, consequently, into variables suitable for statistical treatments of various types (Amaturo, 2013). A lemma is the citation of a word; or rather the root to which each inflection of the term is conventionally traced. Content analysis, through statistical means, was conducted with the help of the data-driven software T- Lab (Lancia, 2004). This program offers a large range of analysis tools. Three of these methods were used to respond to the primary research questions. Initially a thematic analysis of elementary contexts (that is, phrases in a text)

Valeria I.V. Tamborra | Stefania Attanasio | Michele Baldassarre

153


154

useful for identifying recurring themes within a textual corpus was conducted. The textual corpus, divided into phrases, is organized in groupings based on the homogeneity of the content. These explicitly differentiate the professional identities perceived in the sample. Following this, a cluster analysis was conducted, derived from a correspondence analysis performed for the “expertise” variable. In this way it was possible to identify the repertoires of meaning given to the teaching profession in reference to the level of experience gained over time. Finally, some key words referring to technological innovations in didactics were identified and an analysis regarding their recursions and the co-occurring terms related to them was executed. The analysed corpus is composed of 24,971 forms, traced to 14,713 lemmas (common roots) and has a total of 787,859 occurrences (Figure 1). 1st Research Question

The output of the first research objective, produced by the software package TLab, is a two-dimensional space in which four clusters, or lemma groups, are located, balanced by the percentage of text strings (Elementary Contexts – EC) involved in their definition. The clusters express the themes that were traced to a generalized image of being a teacher, according to the questionnaire created for that very purpose. In relation to these images no illustrative variable is significantly polarized and the same is true for the variables “practical experience” and “disciplinary class”. We recognise four distinct professional identities:

– The first identity profile regards the definition of a teacher as a transmitter of knowledge. In other words, describing oneself as a knowledge expert. Their mission consists of shaping educated minds and providing students with concepts. They place themselves above the students, who take on a passive role in the educational process. – The second identity profile describes the teacher as a facilitator of learning and collaboration. As an expert of interactions, he/she motivates reflection and responsibility in students, who are perceived as members of a working group. He/She respects active participation and encourages alternative thinking. – The third cluster refers to the teacher as a mentor. He/She interacts with students in a non-hierarchical, equal and emotionally involving relationship. His or her mission is primarily to understand and support students along their personal growth path. – The fourth identity profile describes the teacher as an individual in training. In this profile, the “technological issue” emerges. There is an acknowledgement that the education system needs to use digital technologies but, for this reason, the need for training and professional development is expressed. This need elicits feelings of inadequacy. 2nd research question The cluster analysis also revealed four clusters, but in this case they are the expression of each of four modalities of the variable “expertise”. This was formu-

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


lated in relation to teaching practice and education of subjects (technical-experts; technical-novices; humanistic-experts; humanistic-novices). Actually, from the disposition of both the space and the value of the V-Test, it can be seen how the curriculum markedly differentiates these students, as opposed to any practical experience in the classroom. The latter variable (practical experience) is even weaker if we consider the sub-sample of humanistic students. Clusters 1 and 3 are associated with the technological disciplinary class. The first cluster relates to those who boast practical experience and the second to those individuals with no experience in teaching. For both we can see a task orientation (that is, the importance given to the achievement of results) which can be identified in the development of knowledge and skills. The inexperienced ones, however, talk about the role of being a teacher in abstract terms. Clusters 2 and 4 by contrast, are an expression of humanistic-oriented future teachers. They show greater reflexivity. That is, a stronger attention to the psychological components of their profession. Having gained practical experience also enabled awareness of unconventional models and teaching tools for these participants. 3rd Research Question

In the textual corpus a limited set of terms occur that relate to the new technologies available in the school. The highest incidence was for the term “interactive whiteboard” (IWB) with 246 instances. The lemma “e-book” occurs only 30 times, while the word “simulator” occurs only 14 times. Even the different social networks are scarcely cited with only 53 occurrences. Specifically Facebook appears a mere 29 times. Regarding digital communication tools “e-mail” (33 occurrences) and “forums” (22 occurrences) are each mentioned. In reference to technology, we found many generic terms such as: “digital”, “internet”, “multimedia”, “web” and “technology”. It is interesting to trace the fields of co-occurrences on these words. The word “digital” is placed in a time dimension, as a watershed between “traditional” and present-day schools. It is connected to the concept of “generation”, most likely in reference to the characteristics of the “net generation” often attributed to the young learners of today. References to teaching are lacking, if not for the term “simulate”, which refers to the practical approach of learning by doing in an artificially constructed environment. Based on the correlations to the term “simulate”, we understood that this term and its practical meaning are identified as a useful tool for experimentation in a context that, even if protected as with (for example) a laboratory, is still real. Only the word “experience” appears associated with the term “student”, connected to the opportunities reserved for them if a situated and practical form of education is adopted. The data shows that the logical connection between simulation and experimentation and between virtual and real is still very weak in the sample. The respondents undergo the legacy of a generation of non-digital natives struggling to develop complete e-awareness.

Valeria I.V. Tamborra | Stefania Attanasio | Michele Baldassarre

155


4. Discussion

156

In the initial phase of the research, the main goal was to detect and understand the professional identity attributed to teachers in order to create and structure adequate training plans for the TFA. From a general view of what emerged during our analysis, it is possible to see a balance between traditionalist teaching cultures and innovative ones. The “transmitter of knowledge”, but also the “teacher in training” are professional identities that still refer to a culture that believes in the accumulation of knowledge. While the representations of a teacher as a facilitator and a mentor corroborates innovative thinking, for which interpersonal relationships are a resource and creativity and resourcefulness are the basis of culture. This “sensitivity” is not induced by experience, but is rather promoted by humanistic studies. Indeed, the technical and scientific academic paths are anchored to the rational notion of logic and are task oriented. This approach often neglects insights focused on the relational dynamics that underlie the processes of learning. Therefore, the first groups’ impact is on the “know how” of learners, the second groups is focused mostly on the “how to be” paradigm. Therefore, the challenge to be taken on through training courses for teachers is the strengthening of teacher identity as that of an educator, which appears to be the educational context Italian schools veer towards. Specifically defining the research questions was useful in order to focus attention on two important issues. The first issue is the effect that a specific educational path, here distinguished in the dichotomous variable “technical vs. humanistic”, has on the teachers’ degree of awareness concerning their core-competences and the level of preparation in the technological field. This is now necessary due to the continuous evolution of the schooling system. After having observed the influence that a specific educational background has on the construction of a professional identity, we consider the need to overcome disciplinary specialization and strengthening pedagogical training as desirable. This can help in understanding the cogency of instructional design according to such models as cooperative learning, teaching through competences and learning by doing. Moreover, it is necessary to promote reflection on the syllogism that combines three key words: “technology”, “simulation” and “experimentation”. These words collect, within their conceptual fields, the meaning that the digital school instils in the new generations of teachers. Technology, which uses tools to carry out simulations, is now the most viable opportunity in leading learners to the trial and experimentation of their self, to the autonomous, social, and guided construction of the process of growth and training in service of the people and teachers they will become.

5. Practical implications

The most powerful motivation of lifelong learning is the strong need to learn in order to achieve a clear goal in the context of a particular desired role. In addition to this, motivation may come from a purpose derived from a goal, the desire to overcome challenges or the desire to “win”. For a professional teacher, ICT edu-

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


cation must represent a goal to reach and not merely a certification that should be obtained. Only in this way, by leveraging motivation, will teachers be able to acquire digital presence and, consequently, full e-awareness. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s essential that higher education (especially postlauream) provides future teachers the indispensable tools necessary to face the revolutionary range of technology and competences in learning environments. Only education can provide them with the critical tools to redefine the boundaries of teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; professional identities and of their educative roles inside todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s school.

157

Valeria I.V. Tamborra | Stefania Attanasio | Michele Baldassarre


158

Figure 1. T-Lab outputs

References Achugar, M. (2009). Constructing a bilingual professional identity in a graduate classroom. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 8, 65-87. Alberici, A. (2002). Imparare sempre nella società della conoscenza. Milano: Bruno Mondadori. Amaturo, E. (2013). Aspetti tecnici. In E. Amaturo, & G. Punziano (Eds.), Content Analysis. Tra comunicazione e politica (pp. 68-103). Milano: Ledizioni. Baldassarre, M. (2009). Imparare a Insegnare. Roma: Carocci. Baldassarre, M. (2012). New Media Education. Le Sfide Educative Dei Nuovi Media. In A. Chionna, & G. Elia (Eds.), Un itinerario di ricerca della Pedagogia. Studi in onore di Luisa Santelli Beccegato (pp. 239-267). Lecce: Pensa MultiMedia. Bruner, J. (1997). La cultura dell’educazione. Milano: Feltrinelli. Chiappini, G., & Manca, S. (2006). L’introduzione delle tecnologie educative nel contesto scolastico italiano. (Retrieved September 14, 2013 from http://formare.erickson.it/ wordpress/it/2006/lintroduzione-delle-tecnologie-educative-nel-contesto-scolasticoitaliano/). Calvani, A., Cartelli, A., Fini, A., & Ranieri, M. (2008). Modelli e strumenti per la valutazione della competenza digitale nella scuola. Journal of E-Learning and Knowledge Society, 4(3), 119-128. Duhaney, D. (2012). Blended Learning and Teacher Preparation Programs. International Journal of Instructional Media, 3, 197-203. Galliani, L., Costa, R., Amplatz, C., & Varisco, B.M. (2000). Le tecnologie didattiche. Lecce: Pensa MultiMedia. Isfol (1989). Rapporto Isfol 1989: formazione, orientamento, occupazione, nuove tecnologie, professionalità / [Isfol]. Milano: Franco Angeli.

Research on Education and Media | VI | N. 1 | June 2014


Lancia, F. (2004). Strumenti per l’analisi dei testi. Introduzione all’uso di T-LAB. Milano: Franco Angeli. Mininni, G. (1993). «Common speech» as a pragmatic form of «social reproduction». Journal of Pragmatics, 14, 125-135. Mininni, G. (2003). Il discorso come forma di vita. Napoli: Guida. Papert, S., & Resnick, M. (1995). Technological Fluency and the Representation of Knowledge. Proposal to the National Science Foundation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Media Laboratory. Peña-López, I. (2009). Towards a comprehensive definition of digital skills. ICTlogy, 66. Barcelona: ICTlogy. (Retrieved May 14, 2009 from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=1771). Rivoltella, P.C. (2012). Innovare con la tecnologia: aspetti di sistema nell’organizzazionescuola. In P. Limone (Eds.), Media, Tecnologia e Scuola (pp. 47-64). Bari: Progedit. Rivoltella, P.C. (2013). Fare didattica con gli EAS. Brescia: La Scuola. Tajfel, H., & Turner, J.C. (1986). The social identity theory of inter-group behaviour. In S. Worchel, & L.W. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 23-58). Chicago: Nelson-Hall. Tondeur, J., Kerwhaw, L.H., Vanderlinde, R., & van Braak, J. (2013). Getting inside the black box of technology integration in education: Teachers’ stimulated recall of classroom observations. Austalasian Journal of Educational Technology, 29(3), 435-449. Weick, K. (Ed.) (1995). Sensemaking in Organizations. Foundations for organizational science, vol. 3. Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi: SAGE publications.

Valeria I.V. Tamborra | Stefania Attanasio | Michele Baldassarre

159


Profile for Pensa Multimedia

REM VI, N. 1, June 2014  

Research on Education and Media VI, N. 1, June 2014

REM VI, N. 1, June 2014  

Research on Education and Media VI, N. 1, June 2014

Advertisement

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded