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Abstract

The introduction of new technologies, video in particular, in educational and pedagogical research has not only changed how research is conducted in the educational field but has also brought about significant changes in teacher training. The advent of digitalisation, along with the miniaturisation of both video cameras and storage media, has led to a dramatic increase in the use of video, particularly in terms of video production. This has led to the introduction of new teaching practices and new training initiatives derived from the analysis of these practices. The use of video, at an educational and didactic level on the one hand, and as an instrument for field observation on the other, offers a variety of benefits, along with some critical issues. One of the advantages is the capacity to allow for an analytical vision of complex actions, which may be reviewed at different times, by a variety of interlocutors. The aim of this study is to present a reflection based on research conducted in nine digital classes, focussing on the use of video as both an instrument for recording, collecting and analysing data, as well as a training tool in the didactic practice of teachers.

Abstract

This study aimed to analyse and explore the potential opportunities offered by mobile devices to improve the higher education scenario. In particular, the study was conducted within a teacher education programme. The students attended a course called Educational Technology, which focussed on the use of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) inside and outside the classroom. We examined the impact of mobile learning on students’ university activities and the changes in the organisation of their studying activity, their learning strategies and their interaction/cooperation levels. After the course, we administered a questionnaire that highlighted some findings concerning the differences between smartphones and tablets in supporting these aspects. We found that both types of devices improved the interaction/collaboration among students and the search for information, which was useful for studying. However, the organisation of studying and the learning strategies were supported only by tablets and for specific aspects of learning. This exploratory research suggests, on the one hand, some possible solutions to improve the quality of university activities, and on the other, it underlines some difficulties that will be analysed more thoroughly in further studies.

Abstract

Networking is not only essential for success in academia, but it should also be seen as a natural component of the scholarly profession. Research is typically not a purely individualistic enterprise. Academic social network sites give researchers the ability to publicise their research outputs and connect with each other. This work aims to investigate the use done by Italian scholars of 11/D2 scientific field. The picture presented shows a realistic insight into the Italian situation, although since the phenomenon is in rapid evolution results are not stable and generalizable.

Abstract

This paper presents a research experience (case study) on the use of digital technologies for the development of the ability to invent stories for images in a collaborative way, in some nurseries (0-3 years) and in some kindergartens in La Spezia. We have involved in the experience: the sections of the older children of the nursery (3 years); the heterogeneous sections of kindergarten, with the aim of presenting different educational activities and technologies (PC, tablet, projector ...) - prepared by educators-teachers and researchers - in an immersive environment to enable children to enter into the image and interact with it. The collaborative activities have also predicted the use of i- Theatre, an interactive integrated system for the narrative creation of multimedia stories. During the activities, educators and researchers conducted free observations that aim to bring out possible elements of transferability of the experience and set the second stage of work (model of research-training).

Abstract

The study illustrates the design, prototyping and production stages of an educational software aimed at promoting the development of social skills in autistic pupils attending the Italian primary school. The educational design of the proposed activities within the software was created on the basis of the theory of simplexity, while the design of the forms of interaction of the activities was constructed on the basis of the tasks proposed in the educational programme for autistic individuals by Patricia Howlin. The research project aims to achieve two objectives: creating an educational freeware software designed to foster the development of social skills in autistic pupils attending Italian primary schools; assessing if and to what extent the introduction of a technological variable can determine changes in terms of teaching effectiveness in Howlin’s programme.

Abstract

This paper presents a powerful tool to enhance research in education: ‘exploratory portals’, supporting effective storage, sharing and exploration of large sets of research data. The workflow is the following: data are gathered by a research group; they are then classified according to a taxonomy (the one that best fits the group’s research interest); once uploaded in the portal, they can be ‘explored’ via a combination of faceted search (enriched by Boolean operators) and data mining techniques. The system can thus answer in a few seconds to sophisticated user’s queries that otherwise would require hours; it can save a session’s results and materials for sharing with other scholars or for further investigation. The paper presents a case study of exploratory portal, dealing with data on (technology-based) education. The portal has effectively been used by five different research groups, to run complex investigations of data about technology integration into schools.

Abstract

This article provides a methodology with two potential applications: to prove useful to maths teachers for analysing and evaluating the educational potential of different digital artefacts and to help designers of maths learning artefacts to evaluate their design during the implementation phase. The educational potential of an artefact is considered as an entity determined by actions and representations structure available within the artefact, the interpretation and behaviour of who uses it and the features of the activity in which it is used. The proposed methodology is based on the notions of affordance, narrative and cycle of expansive learning. The methodology has been applied on AlNuSet, a system designed for supporting the teaching and learning of algebra by means of modalities of interaction that are of visual, spatial and motor nature.

Abstract

As continually greater attention is given to the processes of gamification, the dimension pertaining to evaluation must also be focussed on the purpose of avoiding ineffective forms of banalisation. In reference to the evidence-based approach proposed by Mayer and in highlighting its possibilities and limits, an experiment is herein presented related to teacher training, in which we attempt to unite some traits of the processes of gamification to a first evaluation screen. The data obtained, if they seem on the one hand, indicate an overall positive perception on the part of the attendees, on the other though, they indicate forms of resistance and of saturation with respect to both the excessively competitive mechanisms and the peer evaluation procedures.

Abstract

Peer review is a consolidated procedure in the academic context and its process affects various range of research outputs from project funding applications to manuscript publication. Peer review can be developed through modalities that imply a different level of transparency in the relationship between anonymity of the author and the reviewer/s.

With the development of social media and the growth of scientific online communities, new forms of peer review have acquired a recognised value, matching the need of the academy to rely on selected reviewers and the need of the prospective author to get a richer feedback from a variety of scholars through different means, open comments and/or discussion fora, and always accessible online.

Hybrid forms of review, which can integrate a formal peer review with an open comment opportunity on the Web, proved successful for both improving the author’s draft and enhancing its chances of publication and for the reviewers who can use this valuable activity to enrich their reputation by collecting and showing their reviews as research output. In this framework, quality, transparency and reputation acquire new nuances in their connection with the process of research validation.