Italy Cycle 3 – PD 1

Date and Time: 23.01.2012, 16.30 – 18.30

Participants: Caterina and Anna, two primary school teachers (they teach all subjects to 6-11 years old students). Anna has a 25 years experiece in teaching, Caterina 12.

Researchers / Designers: Andrea Benassi (NPC)

Scenarios discussed: Homework and Schoolwork Flip, Schoolville, Designing Maths Games

1. Homework and Schoolwork Flip

  • Anna: “It reminds me of the era of “full time” school (morning plus afternoon), with lab activities… But that time is gone,  and now we’re more “on the desk”. I remember how much “work-before” there were in the full time school.  It usually led students to good results, even if not all the parents appreciated it. They are so used to see the teacher teaching and the students listening…”
  • Caterina: “In my opinion, this scenario looks quite as coming from another planet, in comparison to the italian school. It would be impractical with our classes… even if we can count on a good group of parents. Because the schoolwork is actually the 90% of the work. To reduce the schoolwork to lab activities, exercises, debates…. Maybe it would be possible on some subjects like history… certainly not maths. Plus, it depends too much on the “home” state of the students…. Maybe it could work on the secondary school… But, on the other side, the students should start with it from the primary school, therefore….
  • Anna: “To keep open the will to learn. It’s something you can do only at school, at least in the primary school.”
  • Both teachers don’t see theirself in this role. Caterina: “It would mean to deny all my beliefs about learning. I would become a sort of mediator…”
  • Anna: “Maybe if the classes would be in a certain way, especially the parents… but otherwise it could create too much differences from student to student, not counting the digital resources, that a few people are able to manage, to date.”
  • Caterina: “Certainly the most difficult part would be to enable every students to effectively work at home.” “Certainly, if it would be possibile, it could be a good thing…”, “… even if, in this new dimension, the teacher would have less space… No more “right” or “wrong”: I can’t intervene at home. My role would become a sort of “coordinator”…”

2. Schoolville

  • Teachers agree that this is a possible story. Anna: “It could start from the first year up to the last one.” Caterina: “It could be linked to various subjects.”
  • Teachers didn’t know Farmville, so I explain it to them, and the success it earned on Facebook. Caterina: “Well, we could work on it, with some changes and maybe scaling it a bit…. It’s very difficult to involve the whole school. But, with only some classes…”
  • Both can imagine themselves in the role of the teacher. “There are a lot of possibilities in it!”.

3. Designing Maths Games

  • Anna: “This is beautiful too! At one of my recent refresher courses, a professor was talking about introducing pupils to videogame programming. But IMHO it was a very ambitious program…. The computer itself was a kind of strangeness for many of us… and teachers should have been get out a lot of time from their normal plans… It was a very time consuming application. Teachers lacked both time and skills, and we’re always so aware to master everything from the start… Nevertheless, some male colleagues made some efforts on it, and they succeeded in making the pupils to be able to create some simple games. But they were already mastering Logo and MicroWorlds… and they were doing it as a lesson of Informatics, not Maths. And… Logo is not so easy to learn!”
  • Caterina: “Nevertheless it’s a possible story. At least theoretically… The worst part is when I try ro do something and technologies doesn’t work! We don’t have an ICT coordinator, and we often experience technical issues. The ICT coordinator is indispensable. We as teachers can’t manage such technical issues.”
  • Anna: “The most difficult part, as a teacher, is to thin the goals, cause we often are redundant. Therefore we always miss time. Maybe we’re not able to identify the only really important goals. It’ all about mentality. Yes, a project like this can be very time consuming, but we could recover time in other things… We don’t have to be afraid to waiste time.”, Caterina: “Plus, we absolutely need to refresh our skills. We’d need an expert that lead us in this kind of projects. Cause we can’t really know if this project is really feseable. If left alone, we risk to lost in a world that we like, but that we’re not really able to manage.
  • CAterina: “How this story could go on? Well, this story is already good as is. Maybe we could wonder about some connections to other subjects… but it’s really just good as is”.

Teachers’ assumptions on what we are doing in iTEC

Teachers agree that iTEC should ease the innovation paths for teachers.

They have some ideas about it. They’re wondering about tablets for each student, capable of comunicating with the IWB, so the students could interact by standing on this desk, they all could “contribute” to the lesson through their own “processor”, instead of coming to the whiteboard one at a time. Caterina: “I’m wondering about a sort of collective text”.

Anna: “But technology can take a great improvement on communication too. A way to share what we’re doing in the classroom. I think it’s a very important point”

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