Digital Technologies for a Quality School: A Didactical Experience Supported by Web Forum

Digital Technologies for a Quality School: A Didactical Experience Supported by Web Forum

Orlando De Pietro (Department of Humanistic Studies, University of Calabria, Cosenza, Italy), Maurizio De Rose (Department of Humanistic Studies, University of Calabria, Cosenza, Italy) and Antonella Valenti (Department of Humanistic Studies, University of Calabria, Cosenza, Italy)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/ijdldc.2014070104

Abstract

The work focuses on the use of digital technologies for a quality school, through the description of a significant educational experience carried out in a school context and supported by web forums. The aim of the present work is to verify whether through digital technologies, both in school and extra-school moments, it is possible to foster meaningful learning experiences. The reference model is based on the integration among the formal, non-formal and informal learning contexts and on the participation of all actors involved in the educational process: students, teachers and parents. At the end of the experience the authors, referring to the methodology of sentiment analysis, have analysed the process of communication in web forums, and we present the results.
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1. Introduction

In the current globalized society, thanks to knowledge/information increasingly available anywhere and at any time, as well as a complex society due to different cultures living in the same places, ICT, if properly used, are considered as tools with the ability to solve problems related to knowledge, relationships and social status, typical of the current historical-cultural context. However, it is necessary to master these skills in order to understand how digital technologies can be properly used so that limitless and confusing knowledge become easily accessible and immediately modifiable in function to information needed to understand and solve problematic situations. These critical situations increasingly involve school; in fact, it is continually being called, now more than ever, to reconsider new areas of activities and procedures which are able to promote both the processes of teaching and learning. The goal of every professional teacher who, in a conscious and competent way, wants to make pupils protagonists and constructors of their own learning process, is to hypothesize paths that can foster meaningful learning, characterized by motivation to learn and active participation. Through a proper use of new technologies it is possible to set real and virtual learning environments, where students are stimulated and “pleasurably” involved, by themselves and with the group, in the educational and training processes. In order to let students mature their own personal critical and reflective mind, as well as to develop effective relational skills, it is both important and strategic to communicate and discuss on facts and events of daily life that are verified in every part of the world involving a large variety of people. Comparisons and discussions that promote the acquisition of meta-cognitive learning, initiate interpretation processes leading to the maturation of students’ critical thinking and offering a significant contribution to the achievement of the educational process are activated (Ausubel, 1978). All this can be done independently and in a flexible way through the use of communication technologies, which permit the construction of a learning community in which, from anywhere and at any time, everyone can participate and feel as a protagonist (Ciliberti, 2000; Frabboni, 2011; Wilson, 1996). In the present work, in consideration of the above, a learning experience, carried out in a Fifth grade, primary school, is presented: students, using a web forum, interact and relate in a collaborative way, even outside of the school context. The has been to verify whether it is possible, if through digital technology, meaningful learning experiences are fostered. In particular, the analysis carried out on the comments posted by students in the forum, has been intended to verify whether the students may bring out their emotions by interpreting real life situations; if the integration between school and extra-school moments is favoured; if communicative relations among teacher-students-parents are stimulated; if the students’ motivation for research and the collaboration among them can increase.

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