Category Archives: 2009/3-4

Editorial

The final year edition of FormaMente shifts the investigation from social sciences and ICTs, two topics broadly approached in the previous issues, to physical and mathematical sciences by reporting the newest and most innovative papers appeared in the major international reviews between the end of 2008 and the last months of 2009.

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Are There Two Methods of Grounded Theory? Demystifying the Methodological Debate

Grounded theory is an inductive research method for the generation of substantive or formal theory, using qualitative or quantitative data generated from research interviews, observation, or written sources, or some combination thereof (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). In recent years there has been much controversy over the etiology of its discovery, as well as, the exact way in which grounded theory research is to be operationalized. Unfortunately, this situation has resulted in much confusion, particularly among novice researchers who wish to utilize this research method. In this article, the historical, methodological and philosophical roots of grounded theory are delineated in a beginning effort to demystify this methodological debate. Grounded theory variants such as feminist grounded theory (Wuest, 1995) or constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz, 1990) are beyond the scope of this discussion.

Article originally published in ‘The Grounded Theory Review’, V.7(2008), n. 2. http://groundedtheoryreview.com/. Reprinted with permission.

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Joint use of Weniger transformation and hyperasymptotics for accurate asymptotic evaluations of a class of saddle-point integrals. II. Higher order transformations

The use of hyperasymptotics (H) and the Weniger transformation (WY) has been proposed, in a joint fashion, for decoding the divergent asymptotic series generated by the steepest descent on a wide class of saddle-point integrals evaluated across Stokes sets (Borghi, 2008). In the present sequel, the full development of the hyperasymptotic- Weniger transformation (H-WY) up to the second order in H is derived. Numerical experiments, carried out on several classes of saddle-point integrals, including the swallowtail diffraction catastrophe, show the effectiveness of the second-level H-WT, in particular  when the integrals are evaluated beyond the asymptotics realm.

Article originally published in ‘Physical Review’, V. 80(2009), n. 1, Copyright (2009) by the American Physical Society. Reprinted with permission

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Research announcement: boundless of orbits for trapezoidal outer billiards

We state and briefly sketch the proof of a result on boundedness of outer billiard orbits for trapezoidal outer billiards.

Article originally published in ‘Electronic Research Announcements in mathematical Sciences’ V. 15 (2008). Reprinted with permission

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Developing the Internet-Savviness (IS) scale: investigating the relationships between internet use and academically talented middle school youth

This study investigated the development and validation of a 32-item scale that measures Internet-Savviness (IS). Relationships between this multidimensional construct and other primary variables of interest including age, gender, Internet access, Internet location, and Internet activities were explored. The sample population consisted of 241 academically talented middle school youth ages 8-14 years old. The IS scale showed satisfactory levels of reliability. An exploratory factor analysis revealed a clear, underlying structure of the following dimensions: (a) computer mediated communication, (b) creative expression, (c) information gathering, (d) Internet fluency, (e) Internet self-efficacy, and (f) social collaboration. Internet-savvy scores corresponded to self-reports of Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Internet users. Thirty-three percent of youth rated themselves as Advanced users, which aligns with previous research on Internet-savvy adolescents. Although females and males differed in Internet activities and young females scored below males on Internet-Savviness, they caught up by age 12. Overall, there were no statistical differences on dimension or total IS scores for participants in this study. Doing something creative, access at home, exchanging images, access speed, age, and access at a friend´s house were statistically significant predictors of IS scores.

Article originally published in ‘Research in Middle Level Education RMLE Online’, V. 32(2009), n. 5. Reprinted with permission

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New university students’ instructional preferences and how these relate to learning styles and motivational strategies

The main objective of this study is to analyze the dimensions underlying the preferences of university students regarding instructional methods, and the relationship of these preferences with their learning styles and motivational strategies. The sample consisted of 158 students in their first year of teaching college at the University of Valencia (Spain). Learning style was evaluated using the Inventory of Learning Processes, motivational orientation through the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire, and preferences about instructional methods with a scale specifically designed for this study. Results highlight the existence of three types of preferences – multidirectional, unidirectional and autonomous – based fundamentally on the degree and type of interaction and level of autonomy each allows in academic learning. Preferences for multidirectional and unidirectional methods were significantly superior than preferences for autonomous learning. Furthermore, the results show a close relationship between preferences for multidirectional and unidirectional methods and elaborative processing, as well as an inverse relationship between the former and fact retention.
Preferences for unidirectional and authonomous methods are related to an internal attribution of the learning results, while preferences for multidirectional methods are related to high expectations of self-efficacy.

Article originally published in ‘Revista Electronica de Investigacion Psicoeducativa’, V. 6 (2008), n. 3, Reprinted with permission

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The contribution of linguistics towards transdisciplinarity in organizational discourse

This article focuses on the potential of linguistics to produce mode-2 knowledge in organizational discourse (OD) as a field of study. Mode-2 knowledge is an organizational´s means to perform more productively. The realization of this potential, rests with both linguistics and organizational scholars. Linguistics can contribute by informing organizational scholars of the metirs of post-classical linguistics which has been increasingly adopting a transdisciplinary perspective through viewing language as integrated with society and world knowledge. Organizational scholars, on the other hand, can contribute by changing their attitude towards linguistics from perceiving it as a vague, chaotic and resistive to accepting it as reliable, orderly and supportive. However, to a large extent, the ‘marriage’between linguistics and ODL is, inevitably, a political issue.

Article originally published in ‘International Journal of Transdisciplinary Research’, V.4(2009), n.1, Reprinted with permission

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Faculty Development E-Module for Professional Acculturation in Canadian Higher Education

Global education in a global world means increased professional mobility. An important source of new professors in Canada is new immigrants, but an academic career in a Canadian post-secondary institution can be very challenging for internationally trained faculty, limiting their potential and reducing their willingness to persist.  The goal of the project presented in this study was to explore the issues, challenges, and barriers to success for international faculty in Canadian post-secondary institutions, and to develop an online professional development module offering resources and hands-on tools and activities to all members of the academic community willing to create and reinforce an inclusive academic environment. Funding for this project was provided by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration as part of the Bridge training programs to help internationally trained professionals get the skills and knowledge they need to practice in Ontario.

Received: 2 March 2009
Revised: 28 September 2009

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Genome Island: A Virtual Science Environment in Second Life

Second Life virtual environment has particular implications for science education as it fosters a sense of play in the virtual laboratory. Genome Island is a laboratory environment of genetics builded in the virtual world of Second Life supported by the Biology Department of Texas Wesleyan University and by a Sam Taylor Fellowship awarded by the Division of Higher Education, United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Genome Island is a didactic area in the virtual world of Second Life where students can perform a lot of genetic simulation experiments. The four activities described below (Bacterial Transformation; Monohybrid Pea Cross; X-Linked Inheritance in Cats; Message in a Bottle) illustrate some of the data that can be collected on Genome Island and the learning objectives addressed by aech experiment. Virtual worlds offer a learning environment that conbines active engagement with the convenience of online access. Students analysed came from two classes of Texas Wesleyan University. Student performance on Second Life learning objectives was assessed as part of the final laboratory exam, which included material covered in Second Life activities. Actually is available for public access.

Article originally published in ‘Innovate Journal of Online Education’,  V.5(2009), n.6,  Reprinted with permission

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The EnIL Observarory: a lens to focus Europe

The recent Barack Obama´s proclamation of October 2009 as national Information Literacy Awareness Month has turned the searchlight on Information Literacy (IL), which encompasses, in the words of the US President, ‘the skills necessary to acquire, collate, and evaluate information for any situation ‘to effectively navigate the Information Age’: thus ‘this new type of literacy’ has become much more crucial at this time, when the advanced Western societies, coping with the global crisis, face an essential redefinition of themselves, and an overall structural reorganization.

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ICDE 23 RD World Conference. Flexible education for all: open, global, innovative

‘Educaton for all’ is one of the priorities to meet in next years, as indicated by the United Nations in the framework of the Millennium Development Goals. For achieving this particular goal, a rapid modernisation of the educational system supported by new information and communication technologies and by an increasing flexibility in the acquisition of new competencies is requested by the society, the labour market and individuals.

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‘COACH BOT’ Project: an e-learning path to answer to the home healthcare professionals’ training needs

The 30th of September 2009 was arranged in Rome the first National Seminar for the presentation of the European project  ‘COACH BOT’ coordinated by the interuniversity Consortium FOR.COM. with the collaboration of a multi-actor partnership which includes in total seven organizations form six different countries.

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