Information and communication technology (ICT) is today influencing many aspects of our lives from administration to economy from culture and entertainment to work, and so forth. Education is receiving from IT and ICT a great deal of suggestions just from their first beginning. It is well known, for example, that Taylor (1980) outlined three metaphors for computer use in education: tutor, tool, and tutee: first, tutor (by looking at the possible use of computer to support or to substitute teachers); second, tool (by using suitable editing tools to support students’ autonomous learning); and last, tutee (by adopting special programming languages for the development of metacognitive skills in students’ minds). The reader will easily recognize in the above metaphors many ideas belonging respectively to the behaviorist, the cognitivist, and the constructivist psycho-pedagogical paradigms.
The hypothesis for the existence of a new teaching method has been deduced from the results of the experiences the author recently made in two different contexts: (a) the innovation in Latin paleography teaching during the last decade, and (b) the coordination of a master course for in-service teachers (or people temporarily in this job), where the ICT and the reform of the school system were used to plan teaching activities. In the first case, some dynamic Web sites for the management of bibliographical information were introduced in paleographic teaching and research, and students were authorized to access them and to work together with librarians, archivists, paleographers, and so forth. The observation of the students’ behaviors and the scores they had at the ending examinations resulted in the following deductions:
Key Terms in this Chapter
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE): The environment created by a software system designed to help teachers in facilitating the management of educational activities for their students, especially by helping teachers in administrating their courses. The system can, among other things, monitor both teachers’ and learners’ activities.
Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI): The teaching process in which a computer is used for educational purposes with students or more generally in lifelong learning. It can be used to directly propose contents on given topics or to present drills, practice exercises, and tutorial sequences to the students.
Collective Intelligence: The human intelligence emerging from cooperation among subjects; it manifests like the intelligence of a single mind (i.e., the intelligence of the whole population in a community). It appears in a wide variety of forms of consensus in decision making.
Computer Supported Collaborative Learning System: The instruments and the strategies engaging students in common tasks such that each subject depends on and is accountable to each other. The instruments supporting the collaboration are both hardware (LAN, Internet, etc.) and software (e-learning platform, software for synchronous and asynchronous communication, etc.). The learning activities are usually coordinated from teachers and tutors.
Connective Intelligence: The intelligence manifested from people when staying connected on the Internet (i.e., a social network). For its feature of being a personal quality of the subjects and for some practical aspects, like the presence of a connecting medium and the need of being connected, it is different from collective intelligence.
Content Management System (CMS): A software system devoted to the management of teaching materials. Lecturers’ presentations, texts, images, and every kind of teaching document is made available to the students attending a given course by identification of a code and password.
Computer Assisted Learning (CAL): The use of instructional tools presented and managed by a computer. Instructional computers either present information or fill a tutorial role, testing the student for comprehension, giving the student the feedback for overcoming difficulties, guiding the student in recovery actions when errors and/or mistakes appear.