FOCUS ON THE FUTURE. AN ORIENTATION PROJECT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF L'AQUILA
University of L'Aquila, Italy
In today’s society, informal learning patterns increasingly involve the use of creative tools that enable individuals to rapidly acquire new knowledge and skills. Since, in a constantly evolving context, it is mainly young people who are experimenting with ever-changing creative practices, it seems necessary that educational institutions also learn to speak the language of innovation (Shaheen, 2010), using original tools to dialogue with young people and making educational proposals accessible and comprehensible to them (Fabbris, 2009). In this perspective, this contribution aims to illustrate an orientation project carried out within the framework of the degree course in Education and Social Service Sciences at the University of L’Aquila and addressed to students of some Abruzzo high schools. In order to strengthen the collaboration between schools, universities and the working world, the researchers developed a two-steps cultural proposal, able to positively intervene on the students’ reflection and construction of the educators and social workers profiles and their professional prefigurations.
Within the framework of informal learning strategies, the project coordinators used innovative tools to allow the students to focus on tasks, objectives and methods of intervention related to the working environments in which the two professionals work. Specifically, the project included different moments of orientation, training and action, set in two different settings: school and university classrooms. By virtue of an articulated workshop course, which included simulations and role-plays, objectives and tasks relating to the professions in question were analyzed, using participative learning practices and heuristic and creative strategies to achieve the expected training outcomes.
PANDEMIC AND SELF-REPRESENTATION. GUYS AND GIRL TELL EACH OTHER THROUGH IMAGES
Dipartimento di Filosofia e Scienze dell'Educazione, Italia
L'impatto inaspettato del Coronavirus e i drastici cambiamenti hanno costretto tutti gli insegnanti/educatori e gli studenti dei progetti "Inclusione Minori CPIA e PAS CPIA" e "PAS Tutela Integrata" ad adattarsi alla nuova situazione di emergenza ed elaborare un nuovo modo di insegnare e apprendere. I progetti promossi dalla Fondazione per la Scuola di Torino mirano in particolare a combattere la dispersione scolastica e ad accogliere studenti minorenni italiani e stranieri offrendo la possibilità di apprendere la lingua italiana e/o di ottenere il titolo di scuola secondaria di I grado. Il gruppo di ricerca ha raccolto materiale multimediale relativo all'autorappresentazione degli studenti prima e dopo il Coronavirus.
Per comprendere meglio i sentimenti e la percezione del periodo difficile durante il primo lockdown, sono stati forniti alcuni questionari online e focus group a insegnanti / educatori, bambini e familiari per un totale di circa 83 persone.
Nello specifico, è stato proposto a insegnanti/educatori e studenti di raccontare la loro esperienza relativa al primo lockdown o alla diffusione del virus attraverso l'uso di immagini o video. Nel campo della sociologia visiva, i materiali multimediali ricostruiscono una realtà sociale e soggettiva. Foto e video erano veicoli di espressione e comunicazione nonostante la distanza, promuovendo uno scambio tra l'incarico scolastico formale e quello informale.
I ragazzi e le ragazze che hanno risposto al questionario sono 30: il 70% sono maschi e il 30% femmine.
Il 90% è nato in Italia, mentre il 10% in altri Paesi. Il numero totale di studenti vive con le loro famiglie e l'età media è di circa 15 anni.
Le foto raccolte prima dell'epidemia mostrano passioni, hobby, personaggi famosi, attività, paesaggi e animali come un modo per raccontare i loro tratti caratteriali. Ad esempio, una ragazza che ha scelto la foto di un fulmine dice: Ho scelto l'immagine di un fulmine perché mi riflette. Rappresenta chi sono dentro e cosa provo. Sono spesso confuso e indeciso. C'è un casino dentro di me.
Le foto relative al lockdown sono diverse: mostrano paesaggi deserti, persone che non possono vedersi, attività quotidiane sospese o nuove occupazioni. Un ragazzo commenta la foto che lo rappresenta con la sua ragazza: per me il virus ha preso molte cose, il virus mi ha separato dalla persona che migliora le mie giornate. Dal punto di vista delle soft skills, la ricerca di materiale multimediale è stata uno stimolo attrattivo per gli studenti, consentendo loro di esprimere aspetti di se stessi che a volte rimangono nascosti o non verbalizzati e di assumere il ruolo di protagonisti all'interno del compito loro affidato. Perone E., (2006), La dispersione al plurale. Storie di giovani che abbandonano la scuola nella tarda modernità, Milano, FrancoAngeli. Rossi-Doria M. (2016), Reti contro la dispersione scolastica. I cantieri del possibile,Trento, Erickson. Migliorati L. (2020), Un sociologo nella Zona Rossa,Milano, FrancoAngeli Open Acces. Marmocchi P., Dall'Aglio C., Zannini M. (2004), Educare le life skills. Come promuovere le abilità psico-sociali e affettive secondo l'Organizzazione Mondiale della Sanità, Trento, Erickson.
SURVIVING THE PH.D.: THE USE OF MEMETIC CREATIVITY IN INFORMAL NETWORKS
University of Pisa, Italy
“I was so happy, and then the paper’s reviews came back”, “Are you familiar with Maleficent? Yes, she’s my supervisor”, “There is no more coffee in the house, it must be deadline time”.
The publish or perish imperative, the relationship with the Ph.D. supervisor or the overwhelming feeling of a deadline are just some of the major stumbling blocks that a Ph.D. student must deal with.
It is said that “misery loves company” but due to the high mobility and the individualistic structure of the doctorate, that fosters the competition and the work alone, many times it’s hard for Ph.D. students to find a stable group of peers to process with these intimate or stigmatized aspects of their experiences.
The informal online communities of Ph.D. students seem to be a collective response - although partial and unstructured - to these needs, constituting safe places in which to find support, exchange opinions or simply share the difficulties inherent to the long process of writing the dissertation.
Within these digital groups, the narration of the constitutive aspects of one's experience is often told with the use of memes: transmedia symbolic forms (Shifman 2014) that use individual experience and, tapping into shared popular culture and practices (Knobel and Lankshear 2007), generate a collective knowledge within the online spaces that they are created in.
Memes, through the practices of produsage (Bruns 2008) and vernacular creativity (Burgess 2006), stimulate a participatory process that acts on two levels: an individual level, in which each student can share their personal and intimate point of view (Grundlingh 2018) concerning the doctorate, abandoning the academic logic of a self-representation that requires being always impeccable and self-sufficient; and a connective level, in which the ability of memes to trigger the reactions of alike users allow them to build ad hoc communities (Bennett and Segerberg 2013) in which members can discuss even the “dark side” of the Ph.D., such as the impact of the program on the psychophysical and social health of doctoral candidates, the high workloads, or the uncertainty about the future.
Using as a case study the Facebook page “High Impact Ph.D. Memes” and its related pages, this research aims to investigate through content analysis how digital creativity contributes to shaping online networks of doctoral students. The analysis examines the role of Facebook’s affordances in enhancing the structural and functional characteristics of memes and the resulting forms of polyvocal public conversation (Milner 2013) that create a collective knowledge. Therefore, the study explores which are the constitutive elements used in the memetic narrative of the Ph.D. and what are the main issues that students face in their doctoral path.
Grounding into the logic of participatory culture, the memification of the Ph.D. experience foster forms of digital creativity that promote participation and encourage the creation of a public discussion where peers can share through humorous contents their own experience and learn in an informal environment the best practices on how to “survive” the Ph.D.
FOSTERING STUDENTS' CREATIVE PROCESSES THROUGH DIGITAL STORIES
Department of Philosophy and Educational Sciences, University of Turin, Italy
As Travaglini (2020) asserts, creativity is a multifaceted concept that is important also for the educational field. Gardner (1991) invites us to think that creativity is the result of the interaction between the individual's mind, the social context and the relational and contextual actions that stimulate creative processes. The generativity of creativity is guided and supported by reflexive methods, such as storytelling, which stimulates e generates metacognition and new meanings (Bruner, 2015). If stimulated, creative processes induce individuals to act consciously both for themselves and for the community. Today, we know that even through digital technologies it is possible to enhance creative thoughts and actions (Mario Pireddù, 2019). Starting from this premise, we present one of the activities of the SILVER project, financed by the CRT Foundation and led by the University of Turin, which intends to respond to a twofold objective: a) to design situations through which creative thinking can be developed; b) connect this thought to actions of active citizenship fostered by young and old people in their local area.
The project answer to these aims is the creation of educational courses for young and old people, based on coding and digital storytelling (personal video stories) (Joe Lambert, 2018). In this presentation we focus on the first phase of the process, currently underway, which involved 75 students from the Galileo Ferraris vocational institute in Settimo Torinese (Piedmont - Italy). Specifically, the online workshops were carried out in parallel (7 one-hour meetings for coding and 7 two-hour meetings for digital storytelling). Students were able to create interactive stories with Scratch and video stories with Movie Maker concerning their relationships with the territory. Two tools were used to assess the intertwined contribution of the two workshops to students’ learning: a pre-post questionnaire to detect students' skills and abilities related to coding and storytelling and structured interviews to deepen students’ reflections about the learning pathways taken.
The first results will be reported based on the 35 students involved till now from both the workshops. Students had created eight stories in groups, while within the coding laboratory they have created stories individually. In general, by both workshops it emerges that students were able: a) to experiment with new expressive languages through digital languages; b) to be the active protagonists of their own story; b) to reflect about the relationships of territory’s places; c) to construct original and alternative meanings starting from one's own point of view.
Travaglini R., (2020). Pedagogia della creatività. Roma: Aracne Editrice.
Gardner, H. (1991). Aprire le menti. La creatività e i dilemmi dell'educazione (Vol. 141). Milano: Feltrinelli Editore. Trd. Gardner, H. (1989). To open minds: Chinese clues to the dilemma of contemporary education. Basic Books.
Bruner, J. (2015). La fabbrica delle storie: diritto, letteratura, vita. Gius. Roma-Bari: Laterza & Figli Spa. Trd.
Pireddu, M. (2019). Media literacy, coding e cittadinanza digitale: apprendere e costruire con le tecnologie. Revista Espaço Pedagógico,26(2), 338-351.
Lambert, J., & Hessler, B. (2018). Digital storytelling: Capturing lives, creating community. London: Routledge.
EMPOWERING DIGITAL CREATIVITY DEVELOPING CRITICAL KNOWLEDGE THROUGH A UNIVERSITY BLOG, SOCIAL MEDIA AND PODCASTS
Università di Bologna, Dipartimento Scienze Politiche e Sociali, Italia
The latest Global Digital Report released by We Are Social in 2021 depicts young people among the major users of Internet and social media. Assuming the hypothesis that digital media can have a strategic role in empowering creativity among young people, we might consider them not only as consumers but as active creators (Shaheneen 2010). High education can support the development of a creative thinking to generate and extend ideas, to suggest hypotheses, to apply critical imagination, and to look for innovative outcomes.
Since 2012, the master's degree in journalism, public and corporate communication of the University of Bologna promotes Laboratories involving the students in different communication activities also in collaboration with other institutional and social actors. In this paper we focus on the last edition of the Laboratory in Digital Communication and Social Media Management, where students make up a web editorial office. Organized in different teams, all of them experiment the participation to weekly editorial meetings, the setting of the editorial plan, as well as the web content management, from the idea to the publication and online dissemination. An average of 60 students takes part to the Laboratory. Everyone is called to contribute to the management of the Compassunibo blog, the official blog of the master's degree, a space for report, articles, news and storytelling, as well as to manage the official social network profiles.
Through our participant observation and the content analysis of a selected sample of contents we reflect on how a teaching method based on “pro-activity” can improve digital creativity and foster a critical awareness on professional ICT skills. The analysis starts from the output produced by the students using digital platforms as WordPress for blogging, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter for content marketing on social media, and Spotify for podcasting.
As Rajic (2013) stated, students become more engaged in the learning process trough constructing knowledge rather than simply receiving it. Each of them acts like content creator who learns by doing, sharing abilities and experiences with others developing a “supportive culture of peer-assisted learning” (Hodgson, Wong 2011). They gain awareness of the gatekeeper’s role about news and social issues that they propose to a community of readers made up particularly by their peers. At the same time, they have the role to build and reinforce the community’s bonds. Creating digital contents allows them to develop skills such as sources searching, frame analysis and interpretation, web writing and search engine optimization (SEO). Using the social media in a professional way they learn to practice new forms of digital literacy. Podcasting also enable them to develop creative skills in hosting episodes where they make critical analyses on different topics.
Overall, this learning experience in Laboratory allows students not only to get technological and communication skills but to develop a greater and mature awareness of working and to cooperate effectively in a team (Bazzarin, Lalli, 2011). It also supplies an immediate portfolio of work for their future job hunting (O’Donnell 2006).
CHANGING EDUCATIONAL ROLES AND COMPETENCES DURING THE COVID CRISIS. A CASE STUDY FROM PIEDMONT AND LOMBARDY
1University of Turin, Italy; 2University of Bologna; 3University of Padova
The global pandemic has further pronounced the interrelation between socio-economic capital and educational performance pointing to existing inequalities among students with different social and cultural backgrounds. In view of the lifelong learning strategy, the EU-Commission has been underlining for decades the thread of time-limited, context-bound and ‘traditional’ education patterns (Tuschling & Engemann 2006). In the same vein, policymakers underline the urgent necessity to promote learning in highly-diversified settings, to promote the lifelong, lifewide and life-deep perspective.
Drawing on these premises that point to a constructivist pedagogy (Richardson 2003) and thus customized curricula and learning environments, this work ties in with the observation that demarcations of formal-, non-formal and informal education have been increasingly blurred during the COVID crisis. Defined delegations to and responsibilities of learning (environments) have been completely shifted in a reality that required formal ‘in-family’ instruction, resources and devices. Schooling and extra-curricular activities were thus outsourced mostly to the home context. Roles of caretakers and task descriptions for professional educators were accordingly altered in a way that taught us about the fast pace of competences and the true necessity of continuous learning. Knowledge acquisition, cultivation and transmission is always embedded not only in specific educational cultures but also in individual and familial life trajectories that steer related processes. Hence, parental skills and competences, strengths and weaknesses came into play on all levels.
To analyse this new reality, a case study in Turin, Italy and a case study in Lombardy, Italy, will be discussed, using in-depth interviews with school teachers (formal), educators (non-formal) and parents (informal) investigating on the perceived and experienced difficulties during lockdown in diverse settings. Particular attention will be paid to the difficulties in communication between school teachers, educators and parents, challenges faced regarding digital skills and competences of all groups involved, and developed solutions and collaboration patterns to encounter them.
YOUNG PEOPLE AND PRACTICES OF CREATIVE RESISTANCE DURING THE LOCKDOWN
1University of Bologna, Italy; 2University of Padova, Italy
In our paper, we will focus on the role that digital technologies have played in supporting the different daily activities for young people during the recent lockdown periods, focusing on the everyday routines of secondary school and university students.
The paper is based on interviews that we did in two different periods coinciding with the first and second lockdown in Italy. We involved young people between 16 and 25 years old, that live in different regions of Italy (with a prevalence in the centre-north).
The results focus on the organization of everyday life and on the importance that digital media have assumed in maintaining social relationships (Chambers, 2013); carrying out physical and leisure activities at home; the relationship with parents (Aroldi, 2018; Piccioni, Scarcelli, Stella 2020); the managing of school and university commitments (Colombo, Poliandri, Rinaldi 2020). Alongside the formalized uses of digital media by schools and universities, interviewees also talked about their personalized and autonomous initiatives in the management of technological tools for maintaining active contacts with the peer group, intimate friend or partner. Then they spoke about resistance practices (Hall and Jefferson, 1976) referred to distance learning and that involve many activities. From the creation of WhatsApp groups that permit them to exclude the teacher from jokes or gossip to the use of specific tactics to simulate connection problems.
Activities that could be connected to the sphere of popular and symbolic creativity that Burgess (2007) defines as "vernacular" (Mascio, 2014). This kind of creativity is characterized by being ordinary and generalized, capable of giving rise to a series of real tactics of opposition (de Certeau, 1980).
Aroldi, P. (2018), “L’adozione delle ICT nel contesto familiare”, in Nuovo rapporto CISF 2017. Le relazioni familiari nell’era delle reti digitali, Milano, Edizioni San Paolo, pp. 55-81.
Burgess, J. (2007), Vernacular Creativity and New Media, PhD Dissertation, Queensland University of Technology, USA.
Chambers, D. (2013) Social media and personal relationships: Online intimacies and networked friendship, Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Colombo, M., Poliandri D., Rinaldi E. (2020), “Gli impatti dell’emergenza COVID-19 sul sistema scolastico-formativo in Italia”, Scuola Democratica, Early access, Il Mulino, Bologna, pp. 1-11.
Couldry, N. (2012), Media, Society, World: Social Theory and Digital Media Practice. Polity Press, Cambridge.
de Certeau, M. (1980), L’invention du quotidien. I Arts de faire, Éditions Gallimard, Paris.
Hall, S. & Jefferson, T. (1993) (a cura di), Resistance Through Rituals: Youth Subcultures in Post-War Britain, Routledge, London (ed. or. 1976).
Lievrouw, L.A. and Livingstone, S. (edited by) (2002), Handbook of new media: social shaping and consequences of ICTs, London, Sage.
Mascio, A. (2014), “Cultura convergente e creatività come ‘motore’ per la promozione dei contenuti. Uno sguardo alle serie tv”, in Sociologia della Comunicazione, Anno XXV, n. 47, Numero Monografico Futuri Creativi, pp. 101-115.
Piccioni, T., Scarcelli, C. M., & Stella, R. (2020), “Inexperienced, Addicted, at Risk. How Young People Describe Their Parents’ Use of Digital Media”, in Italian Journal of Sociology of Education, 12(1), Padova University Press, Padova, pp. 270 – 292.