ABSTRACT. Can historian be a creative? Can the writing of history be creative? With respect to present and past historiography, the ambiguous relationship between history and creativity encompasses the historian’s professional and the purpose of his narrative, namely the account of events as they occurred (Ranke), along with the acquisition of historical truth. The ambiguity of the term creation seems to jeopardize the scientific status of historical disciplines. Actually, modern historiography moulded historical sciences after concepts like re-construction, com-prehension and re-description. Such concepts do not put in contrast the reliability of a fact with imagination or creative intuition. From the affinity between artist and historian in Humboldt’s view, to White’s theory of history intended as narrative, historical disciplines claim their scientific status in terms of comprehension and representation of reality. In short, they claim a kind of science that link interpretation of sources with linguistic and narrative mechanisms.
This issue of Formamente presents a wide range of contributions related to Social and Human Sciences. Papers tackle issues concerning lifelong learning in general, also focusing on open and distance education in Northern European countries, as well as in Mediterranean ones.
In the Research section, project SHARPEN, carried out by 5 European Countries as a collaborative cross-regions survey, is discussed. Between 2016 and 2019, the project investigated the characteristics of Small and Medium Enterprises in the region of Western Saxony, in an effort to enhance Human Resource Management practices in rural areas. Thanks to innovative theoretical approaches and to practical working methods in SMEs, SHARPEN allowed students to experiment new forms of interactive learning, thus becoming itself one of the models that European SMEs could implement.
In addition, it is worth noting that in a quite globalised world where metanarratives collapsed long ago, the economy increasingly needs to develop concrete policies at either regional or local level and likewise to explore new possibilities provided by different dimensions of openness.
Finally, applying a hands-on approach to the learning process represents the major goal of UNESCO with respect to its recent Handbook on Measuring Equity in Education, which can be considered complementary to the Special Issue Vocabulary Development, published online in the open access journal “Education Sciences”.
This issue of Formamente, published near the days of Apollo 11 anniversary, 50 years after Armstrong’s venture to the moon, underlines the technological boost triggered by space missions, affecting almost all fields of knowledge and society.
In the Research section The metropolitan question in Italy is an emblematic case of a project that makes academic training interact with local social-economic realities and intermodal transportation. The evolution of the metropolitan city seems to be a problem concerning solely political relations between the central and peripheral authorities. However, it implements, according to 2014-2016 Cohesion Policy and 2016 Urban Agenda, a program that puts in relation all the actors involved in the knowledge of metropolitan economy that is characterized by dynamic transport technologies e.g.: airports, tram tracks, high speed, local and regional traffic.
In the Applications section, the paper The cyber security impacts on geopolitics tackles the cyber issue and especially how this is turning into a gradually more severe threat for nations, enterprises and citizens, on a daily basis. During the Cold War, in the 50’s, only a few countries had the economic and technological resources to increase their cyber warfare capabilities. Nowadays, a growing number of countries have offensive cyber technology and can likewise buy malicious software.
In the same section, there is another contribution, almost complementary to the latter, in terms of threatening political scenario they both deal with. In this, the transversal and interdisciplinary teaching approach, according to which different authoritarianisms and totalitarianisms of the 20th are addressed, is quite valuable.
The Highlights section hosts recent publications and conferences. It is an invitation to read that goes from Epistemic Game Theory and Logic to Creativity, and from the disorder deriving from a bad use of technology in Internet Mobile Phone addiction to the selection of Good practices in honors education.
This issue of Formamente concludes the year 2018, focusing essentially on long distance learning, on e-learning, on open access resources and on the pervasiveness of Google’s applications in reference to the curriculum, and to professors evaluation and training.
The publication opens with a preliminary case study on the new emerging trends amongst research professionals: independent researchers, unaffiliated to public entities, those favoring new technologies and network systems, and self-financed researchers.
In the Research section, in the realm of open access resources, there is an interesting study regarding modern and ancient literature training material available online, including digital and multimedia. Despite the initial reluctance towards e-learning methodologies, classical civilization professors integrated these innovative strategies to favor the transmission of the immaterial cultural patrimony.
In the Application section, the Pangasinan State University in the Philippines highlights the results obtained by the GSuite of Education application adopted in 2012 for distance learning and blended learning formats. Complementary to this global scholastic approach are several projects including the training project Thinking Together, relative to the use of new technologies in class; interview as a research approach for the evaluation of professor’s curriculum that practice online learning. Nonetheless, in the same section, the BIM (Building Information Modeling) article evaluates territorial regeneration through the organization and the digitalization of the construction process.
The Highlights section traces the captivating story of the Campagna romana, from the urban invasion at the beginning of the 20’s to the modern urban explosion of Rome, with the consequential fragmentation and degradation of the city. In this respect, the agricultural environment is undergoing an ecological regeneration to increment urban sustainability. To conclude, the publication ends with a thought-provoking reflection on the Geopolitical revival, extrapolated by the volume Reflections on Geopolitics by the selfsame author.
The Research section of Formamente opens with two commemorations on Stephen Hawking, considered one of the most important theoretical physicists of the 20th century, the robotic voice of scientific divulgation, who only recently passed away.
Lord Rees, Royal Astronomer and Master of the Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, and Professor Fabrizio Fontana, physicist at Guglielmo Marconi University, pay homage with two contributions, tracing the intricate life of the celebrated scientist.
From his eureka moment – namely his famed intuition regarding the link between gravity and quantum theories – to the elaboration of the Hawking theory, the British scientist advanced sophisticated studies on the origin of the universe, on quantum cosmology, and on black holes, divulgating comprehensibly, concepts that scientific language barriers generally render abstruse.
In the same section, Andrea Gentile’s article recalls the sociological theories of Jürgen Habermas and Wright Mills, where images and mass media systems offer mediated, second hand realties, leading to inactiveness of the mind, of emotions and of creativity. This postmodern human condition, characterizes the modern society and it forces us to reflect on Hawking’s divulgation theories, corroborating the quality of second hand learning that makes up for great part of our knowledge, as opposed to first hand experiences.
The Application section proposes original case studies that focus on present-day issues. The CIHEAM Bari (Centre International de Hautes Etudes Agronomique Méditerranéennes) article puts forth the inclusive teaching project results that support farms in war crisis zones. Whereas the Apollonian Case in Albania is a research project developed by the students of the International Master in Interior Design at Guglielmo Marconi University. The quali-quantitative case study for territorial regeneration pursues sustainable development and spatial integration of the territory, in respect with the cultural patrimony.
The Application section concludes with a case study on territorial reconstruction, from the viewpoint of the masonry works. The study focuses on L’Aquila and Amatrice, the areas of central Italy devastated by the earthquakes in 2009 and in 2016. The objective was to offer temporary wooden housing modules that kept together residual parts of collapsed civil houses.
Lastly, the Highlight section presents two experimental didactic modules: entertainment seminar cycles, divided in Art Workshops, Talks and Live Works and ESA, Engage, Study, Activate, an innovative language teaching method for adults.
On the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, the relationship between the imaginary world and the real world becomes more and more evocative. One can easily recognize such relationship in the changing circumstances in society and technology, in the omnipresent and pervasive reference to robots and androids that perform more and more complex activities. It is from here that the opportunity of discovering dynamic links between Giordano Bruno’s thinking and the plays of the English playwright arises. The Tempest, the last play entirely written by Shakespeare, provides the opportunity for re-considering the importance of the character on the stage in relation to the story, as well as the great power of the human mind.
On such anniversary, the attention of Formamente is not diverted from the scientific objectives of the journal that, once more, wants to highlight the great potential of new technologies as regards the exploration of a plurality of worlds on the part of a student placed at the center of the stage in the learning process that is nowadays known as “student centered learning”, the philosopher’s stone of teaching to which such modern technologies draw us closer and closer.
In this respect, in the Research section, an analysis model based on the Big Data approach shows the complexity of thinking systems that the use of PC’s achieves between students and teachers in personalized workshops.
The Highlight section of this issue of Formamente provides an overview of the topics of the forthcoming GUIDE Conference to be held in Orlando in February 2017. The Highlight section includes also information about “Career Day – Future Job 4.0”, a project aimed at offering students cross-curricular training so that they can compete successfully in the labor market both at the national and at the international level. In addition, the Highlight section provides a detailed review of the convention “Crisi delle concezioni tradizionali delle varie discipline giuridiche” (“Crisis of Traditional Legal Concepts”) promoted by the Department of Legal and Political Sciences of Marconi University in April 2016.
Formamente 2017 is a comprehensive edition focused on the trends triggered by the 4th Industrial Revolution. Such an attention to the priorities of the actual digital age is motivated by the forthcoming XIII GUIDE International Conference, which will be held in Rome on May 4th and 5th. Its main topic will be Education in the fourth industrial revolution. This monographic edition can be seen as a contribution to the conference, given that it points out some guidelines that the digitalization brings into the production value chain within and beyond the industrial sector. The world of work, whose modalities change, requires new smart skills, and the University must intercept and interpret these challenges. It is no longer just a matter of transmitting the accumulated knowledge or contributing to the creation of a new one, but of enhancing the formation of skills, which will be adequate for the future and continuously adapting.
In the field of theoretic and applied research, from primary school to university to permanent training, the key point of Industry 4.0 is the new skills required by innovative holistic strategies, metacognitive approach, interdisciplinary thinking, integrated networks which characterize the actual digital transformation of companies. This perspective confers unity of meaning to various laboratory experiments that may seem distant at first glance. In this way, codisciplinarity, didactic mediation, digital artefacts and their synergy, “embodied” involvement of the students are essential elements of university and didactic courses, which absorb the emerging plots of new knowledge. In this way, cybersecurity, transport intermodality, circular economy, use of smart algorithms for traffic analyse etc. can be combined in unusual ways with job-search, personal branding and advanced professional skills. Moreover, it is using this kind of approaches that the European Union aspires to modernize its industrial policies.
The XIII GUIDE 2018 International Conference seeks to harmonize the complexity of these topics in three vast sessions: Didactics for the digital age – Educational robotics: the future of mediation – Educational strategies to enhance the production of the future: towards growth and innovation.
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.
Formamente closes its tenth year of publication presenting a new issue with original articles dedicated to two transversal themes: didactic and educational research with advanced multimedia technologies; and the importance of the social dimension in economic analysis, in a broad sense.
In section Research, it is presented a project that takes advantage of IT tools’ flexibility to contribute reducing the drop-out rate in traditional universities, which is very high especially during the first years. Starting from the idea of a test with multiple answers, a dedicated platform allows the student to self-evaluate his/her knowledge both in itinere and before taking the final exam.
Thanks to the possibility of selecting either one topic or the entire program, the system guides the students during their preparation, and puts them in direct relation with their professors, who can monitor their progress. A dedicated database gathers all the results and allow to evaluate objectively the quality of didactic materials.
In the Application section, the need to face university drop-out is afforded from a different point of view: it is suggested to begin in analyzing pre-conditions in order to remove obstacles; then multiply good practices in knowledge transfer and sustain creative models of problem solving (such as the creative crowdsourcing model), focused on the challenging cooperation between universities and business.
Some complementary issues dealing with globalization are further analyzed in the section Research: the integration between financial and economic markets and speculative vulnerability, positively influenced by the social element of confidence.
In the section Application, the global market economy is further explored with an analysis of competitive strategies put into practice by sustainable business companies in their processes of management and implementation.
In order to integrate academic research, knowledge transfer and a conscious interpretation of the pathological phases of the economic and financial crisis, emerges the need to develop good practices between universities and labor market, thanks to the adoption of wireless technologies, mobile learning platforms and unlimited internet access.
Waiting for the X International GUIDE Conference “Optimizing Higher Education for the Professional Student: A balance of flexibility, quality and cultural sensitivity”, to be held from the 16th to the 18th of September 2015, the new issue of Formamente presents recent articles concerning the incremental relationship between technological innovation and online education.
This issue of FormaMente comes out almost together with the new journal Digital Universities: International Best Practices and Applications, promoted by GUIDE to foster good practices and their applications to teaching methodologies and didactics at university level, with a special focus on distance learning, in an international and inter-disciplinary perspective. Since its foundation, one of the main objectives of the Association of Global Universities in Distance Education has been to support research and cooperation in the e-learning sector, with particular attention to the relationships between scientific research, didactic research and technological innovation.
As FormaMente is in the first place an observatory on cutting-edge research, the more advanced international scientific production has been analyzed, outlining an original and interlaced design of knowledge.
This issue of FormaMente comes out before and after two international events organized by GUIDE Association in Latin America: the VII Conference on Culture in the Midst of Global Modernization: The Role of Distance Education, which took place last April at the Central Campus of the Panamerican University in Guatemala City, and the VIII Conference on Science and Technology, Management and Quality: the future of higher education in Brazil and around the world, which is scheduled to take place next November at the Universidade Tiradentes (Aracaju).
VI International GUIDE Conference (Athens, 3-4 October 2013)
The global economic crisis and its consequences on the national educational systems
Can online education contribute to overcoming the crisis?
The 6th International GUIDE Conference, to be held in Athens on October 3-4, 2013, will be focused on two research themes of high social impact in light of the rapidly changing, worldwide economic circumstances: the role of universities and distance education, adaptable to various situational contexts, as compared to the traditional model of university education. Furthermore, the conference will investigate and discuss the contribution that distance education may have on the present structural crisis at the general, national and comparative level.
Anna Baldazzi and Giovanni Briganti
This issue of FormaMente focuses on the multi-perspective analysis of projects that can contribute to the ongoing debate on how to promote global recovery, not only from the economic point of view but also the social and cultural. (…)
The first 2012 FormaMente issue focuses on the importance of virtual laboratories in scientific research. The contributions selected reflect the direct involvement of GUIDE Association in virtual labs theoretical and experimental experiences and also the growing interest that distance universities show towards some important international research projects.
Anna Baldazzi and Giovanni Briganti