Category Archives: 2016/1-2

Editorial

A selection of papers presented at the IX International GUIDE Conference are published in this issue of Formamente. The Conference, held from the 6th to the 8th of May 2015 at the University of Salvador, in Buenos Aires, was dealing with an argument very important: “Online Education and Society: The Challenges of the Digital Era”.

The quality of the papers and the high number of universities participating to the conference from Latin America, USA, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Turkey, Spain, UK, Italy, confirm the constant interest of the international academic world for both theoretical and operative aspects of the use of ICT for teaching and learning.

This issue of Formamente analyzes deeply the use of new technologies in the academic programs of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); the articles selected present objective experiences and research results together with the experimentation of dynamic tools such as video-lectures, virtual classes and interactive virtual laboratories, online discussion forums, compatible with the latest generation intelligent devices.

The theoretical reflection that arises from the experiences presented are dealing with the smartification of science and smart university, and the flipped classroom; on one side it is analyzed the role of universities for the development of innovation, sustainability and efficacy of the educational process, on the other side, the flipped classroom approach changes the traditional relation between educational activities, focusing on the individual study through online video-lectures followed by in-class exercises with teachers’ support.

The combination of these components – intelligent devices and smart technologies in flipped classrooms – represents the challenge of our digital era: cutting-edge pedagogies for a successful university to give students the best learning experience.

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Smart University: the sustainable vector of knowledge

The term smart has been increasingly used to refer to a process of rethinking and modernization in different areas and contexts, covering the use of innovative technology solutions, sharing networks and data, and access to goods and services. That’s all feasible thanks to multi-stakeholder participation at different levels, and access through the use of ICT. (…)

This work, by considering a smart society unavoidably aimed to sustainability, particularly highlights the close link between smart university and sustainability.

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A powerful learning object based on Multiple Answer Test

One of the principal, and still unsolved, problems for the worldwide university system is the high drop-out rate that is observed especially for STEM courses. The causes of this trend are various but many of them are directly related to the sense of abandon felt by students especially during first years. This trend can be inverted providing a set of self-assessment activities to organize students personal study-method and to transmit them a proper self-government. In this context, we realized a self-assessment activity for Physics courses based on Multiple Answers Questionnaire. (…)

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Teaching, researching and learning in a technology‐based environment

This paper analyses the relationship between teaching, researching and learning in the current wired-society.

Nowadays the technology of online communications is having an impact on the way people access to information and culture. Hence, we will show how education industry can take advantage of this “network society”, to tackle ancient problems, and then to build a better course design and to share knowledge more efficiently.

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New challenges to promote a deeper interaction between e‐learning and research: Practical approach and virtual lab to provide an overview of what really happens in a laboratory of radiobiology

With the aim to illustrate to the students what really happens in a radiobiology’s laboratory, a virtual lab was created.

Through an interactive simulation of both X-ray generator and mouse models, the students can expand their knowledge about the biological effects induced by ionizing radiation using new pedagogical and technological strategies.

The realized multimedia product has also been inserted as a case study to promote a deeper interaction between e-learning and research.

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Modern technologies and distance learning in science didactics

The availability of online video and increasing student access to technology has paved the way for “flipped classroom” models. In such a model, traditional teaching methods are inverted and instruction and lessons are delivered online outside of class moving homework into the classroom. (…) Many instructors have pointed out as well the benefits of a model called “peer instruction” and essentially based on an interactive learning principle, developed by Harvard Professor Eric Mazur in the early 1990s and used in the beginning to improve learning in introductory undergraduate physics classes at Harvard University. (…) In the present article, such modern teaching methods and their possible application to distance learning scientific courses will be discussed, emphasizing how the interplay between the two could allow distance learning teaching to close the gap with respect to traditional didactics, as well as possibly permitting to surpass its limits.

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Development of authoring tools for online-courses with assignments

Today’s workforce faces a dynamic world with changing occupations, tasks, and demanding technologies – forcing people to adapt their skills and competences permanently to new requirements. Many achieve further qualifications in parallel to their working careers, often without adequate support or suitable educational institutions. Competence-based learning (CBL) aims for including formal and informal learning into everyday life: at the workplace or during leisure activities.

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Using the virtual classroom system to teach a traditional girls’ classroom: benefits & challenges

This paper focuses on fulltime girls students’ perspectives of using the virtual classroom (via the Blackboard system) as a main teaching tool to deliver and teach learning materials. It also presents teachers’ views on using this system in comparison with the videoconference system used by male faculty staff members to teach female students at their campuses. (…)

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Online discussion forums: a tool for stimulating language teachers’ interaction and reflection

Teachers’ approaches and decisions in the classroom are guided by their beliefs on what it means to teach and to learn, which are formed along their lives both as students and as teachers. (…) Considering the importance of reflection in teacher education, in this paper, we discuss the interactive potential of online discussion forums in a graduate course to foster language teachers’ reflection of their beliefs and classroom practices. (…)The findings point out that understanding, interpreting and confronting beliefs can be a path to the transformation of teachers’ reflective and teaching practices. When contrasting their beliefs with other people’s beliefs, teachers can trigger a process of self-analysis of their roles as language teachers. They also emphasize that the use of online discussion forums as a pedagogical tool can contribute in this direction.

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The didactics of foreign languages and multimedia technology: teaching to translate

This article aims to provide an example of the application of multimedia technologies to the learning of foreign languages. We will present the case of a French Language and Translation course for intermediate learners implemented at Guglielmo Marconi University. The course is divided into two parts: the first part is composed of a multimedia course created by other teachers of the university, while the second consists of ten video lessons recorded by me and devoted to the theory and practice of translation, referring specifically to Italian and French.

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New instruments for advanced Distance Learning Universities – the virtual lab on Lighting technique

The use of innovative high technology-based instruments to deliver higher education in e-learning Universities is a challenge that must be addressed to satisfy the growing request for distance education in high technologies. (…)This paper intends to prove the valuable contribution that advanced distance learning Universities may give to their students, by illustrating an instance of a dynamic virtual laboratory developed for a specific course at the Guglielmo Marconi University.

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Incontri di Fisica 2.0

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The Italian Institute of Nuclear Physics, INFN, and Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi continue their strong and fruitful collaboration in scientific research and learning programs. In this context, after fifteen successfully edition and starting from 2016, the two institutions propose together a new version of the “Incontri di Fisica”, now named “Incontri di Fisica 2.0”.

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Workshop Eurasia 2016

The third edition of the Workshop Eurasia, which aims to analyze the leading drivers of the economic development in Asia and the opportunities for Italian companies in that region, has been held in Rome 9-10 June 2016. The event has been organized by Unindustria and AGI under the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Within this event, Guglielmo Marconi University was called to organize a thematic seminar on the opportunities given by Horizon 2020 targeting China, especially in the light of the co-funding mechanism agreed by the EU and the Chinese Government to support joint projects between European and Chinese universities, research institutions and companies.

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