Detailed Program of the Conference

Parallel session - G.10.1 Learning Ecologies. Educational methodologies in the relationship with the space-time of learning
Saturday, 05/June/2021:
1:00pm - 3:15pm

Session Chair: Mario Pireddu
Session Chair: Stefano Moriggi
Location: Room 6

Session Panels:
G.10. Learning Ecologies. Educational methodologies in the relationship with the space-time of learning

External Resource:


Julija Kubova-Semaka, Palmira Jucevičienė

Kaunas University of Technology

The fourth industrial revolution (Schwab, 2017), as well as Bologna process (Bergan, Deca, 2018) raises up challenges to the education system: to prepare future professionals ready for organizations that apply ever-improving artificial intelligence (DeCanio, 2020; Lyytinen et al., 2020) and where many jobs will be done by computer systems that learn (Lieberman and Selker, 2000).

However, very often educators not only are missing the competence to teach students how to see the opportunity to learn in different learning environments but also do not have the competence to use learning environments for themselves or transform the learning environments into educational environments (Biesta, 2015). This involves not only school teachers but also other educators, whether they work in formal or non-formal education.

University master degree studies in education most often attract people who work in various pedagogical fields, consequently, they have some working experience. Unfortunately, the experience often comes from teacher-centered, but not student-centered position. As usual, it does not involve knowing how to develop students' skills to learn continuously and everywhere.

Thus, the research question is how to develop the students' competence to use potential learning environments in the master course in education?

The paper aims to introduce the results of the empirical research of the development of the master students' in education competence to use potential learning environments.

Theoretical framework

The research is based on constructivism as an approach to learning and teaching (Adom, et al, 2016). A person's learning is influenced by his/her living environment. This influence on human development in the context of the interaction between the individual and the environment is explained by bioecological theory (Bronfenbrenner, 2005).

Educational and learning environments theory (ELE) (Jucevičienė, 2008) allows recognizing a learning environment (which could be understood as space (real or virtual) the person is in it or at it) only as of the potential learning opportunity. Therefore, it may be called a potential learning environment (PLE). Whether a person will use the entire environment for his/her learning, or part of it, or none of it, depends on various factors of the person and that environment. Therefore, only that part of the potential learning environment a person has identified and in which his/her learning takes place can be called a personal learning environment. Potential learning environments can simply exist in real people's lives or could be created with a particular purpose. A large part of the potential learning environments created with a special, educational goal, could be called educational environments (EEs).

To create new learning opportunities for the students in education and to empower them to learn purposefully by using various potential learning opportunities, the educator has: 1) to understand that PLEs exist everywhere in life; 2) to have a developed attitude why is this so important; 3) have the knowledge and skills to use them: a) for their learning; b) for other people learning, presenting them as potential learning environments and explaining learning opportunities; c) for other people learning, by transforming potential learning environments into EEs.


Chiara Cavarra

RomaTre, Italy

In this epochal moment we are faced with a subjectivity that moves unconsciously and that chooses on the basis of how reality is presented (De Caro, 2020) immersed in virtual digital environments. In this regard, the DigComp2.1 (2017) drafted by the Joint Research Center service of the European commission describes areas of competence that students should develop in the educational field to use the medium with conscience and knowledge. Starting from practice (experiences in classroom) this essay proposes to observe technologies and the way in which they modify the conception we have about us, the way we interact with others, in summary how they influence our understanding and vision of the world (Floridi, 2020).

The human being knows the world by filtering it through the senses, personal experiences, beliefs, values ​​and universal categories (e.g. space-time). The whole process determines the construction of a reality that is not objective but subjective. Today, for example, the categories of space-time are perceived through dimensions that are not physically evident (e.g. asynchronicity, multi-dimensionality, multi-spatiality) as was the case in the past (e.g. linearity, physicality, permanence). The effects produced by these new perceptions are unaware of the mass society (Accoto, 2017). In line with these indications, the guidelines of the Frammenti a scuola project (philosophical-artistic path) will describe how to activate a process of reflection on space-time dimensions. The philosophical reflection on the space-time dimensions intended as tools for reading reality will therefore focus on educational practice and on operational interventions to raise awareness: in the way of conducting a lesson, in teaching and in classroom experience. Changes in perception these abstract categories involve contributions from different disciplines (history, geography, language, science, etc.) and contexts (societal, groups and individuals).

A reflection on the “digitally augmented pedagogical” intervention will be addressed to the high school and will be described using the example of a best practice conceived in 2016 in the multiethnic suburbs of Rome: App in Progress (Cavarra, 2016). The focus of the experience will be concentrated on the various forms of space-time interaction in school life through the various dimensions of the App in Progress project: real, virtual, concrete, abstract and relative.


Laura Fedeli

University of Macerata, Italy

The study is focussed on the analysis of the space-time variable in a course on “General Didactics” that was redesigned to be developed online in the second semester of the academic year 2020-2021. Space-time is, thus, here meant as both the opportunities (didactical actions) created by the teacher to activate the teaching-learning process with the support of technology (synchronous and asynchronous tools), and the occurrences (learning actions) of generative processes activated by students (Duarte, 2014).

The educational/didactical relation is at the centre of the study and its efficacy has been analysed triangulating the space-time variable with the instructional design choices for the above mentioned course in order to be able to address the efficacy of the relation established between the teacher and the students and among students as peers.

The 48 hours course, located at the first year of the three-year degree in “Education Sciences” (University of Macerata, Italy), is being entirely developed online to adhere to the health assurance safety measures required by the COVID-19 pandemic spread. That means that students did not choose to enrol to an online course, but were forced to change their perspective as learners to embrace the online teaching process through the available institutional environments (LMS OLAT and video-conferencing system TEAMS).

The General didactics course was designed to offer a theoretical orientation along with an applied value with practical activities to be completed by students each week, individually or collaboratively (in small groups and /or collectively).

The course matches synchronous communication tools (TEAMS) with asynchronous study materials (textual resources and/or audio/video inputs), practical activities (assignments with a final outcome/artefact), reflection tasks (periodical guided reflections papers). Students can choose the level of their engagement in the course: attending the weekly synchronous class and/or participating to the asynchronous activities and in what extent. The only request is that students take their responsibility in collaborative tasks by keeping participating once they accepted to be part of a group work.

The qualitative study (Yin, 2013) aims at analysing how different structures of space-time have influenced the co-construction of an educational/didactical relation among the involved actors (teacher and students). Data were collected using a questionnaire (at the beginning and at the end of the course) and applying participant observation during the course, but source of data were also the students’ artifacts (as outcomes of the assignments) and students’ reflections (written reflection papers). Data were coded using a content analysis qualitative approach (Bardin, 1977).

The coding process brought to a set of interpretative categories (also indigenous): presence/absence; formal/informal; individual/collaborative, whose discussion can help describe the challenges and opportunities of a technology-enhanced teaching/learning process.

Bardin, L. (1977). L’Analyse de Contenu, tr.port., análise de conteúdo [Content analysis] Lisbon: Ediçoes, 70, 2000.

Duarte, E.M. (2014).Together and Apart in the Time of Study: Teaching, Learning, Listening in Online Courses (An Application of the Technology of Difference). JPSE: Journal for the Philosophical Study of Education, II , 55-72.

Yin, R. K. (2013). Case study research: Design and methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publications.


Daniela Brogna

IC Eleonora Pimentel Fonseca, Pontecagnano (SA) Italia

This abstract refers to “Living in a smart city” project. This Learning Scenario was born as an urban environmental education path to address a need for educational approach that takes place within the context of communities, including cities, for better foster learning about social and ecological processes. This experience concerns about practices such as teaching about recycling or how to reduce energy use. It also fosters decision making, critical thinking and 21st century skills, with the goal of create conditions for students to become future world citizens with an effective participation in a democratic society that will reach the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) of 2030 Agenda.

This project proposes research questions that cross STEM disciplines from environmental education to ecosystem science, citizen science, natural resources management, environmental sociology, and human health and well-being.

Civic ecology education, contemplated in this activity, describes urban environmental education programs and considers urban areas as linked social-ecological systems, on which students have the opportunity to reflect in order to redesign.

Learning Scenario concerns about sustainable development, built along the common thread of energy. Energy, increasingly sustainable supply chain, is analyzed in the several steps of energy transition, in the use of urban models (smart city) to implement electric mobility too.

This learning path is designed according to the “Project based learning” pedagogical approach; project involves the construction of manual and digital artifact (the robotic city). This activity concurs to build knowledge of urban models, city and buildings structure, examined by 2D and 3D Google Earth. Tools are developed in this artifact for testing changes in urban environmental education model for students, and benefits in their local community and ecosystem. These technological tools, environments and devices have been used and explorated by students in classroom (also at home in the pandemic spread), allowing students relationships and communications and enabling simultaneuos sharing of a physical space.

City is equipped with buildings in 3D printed designed by students, with many trees and tiny robots walking on the streets designed according to coding unplugged. Artifact includes models 3D, led Lighting with poor materials and electronic modules and microcontrollers (Arduino) to make it a smart city; students build also learning virtual spaces with AR to enrich the city. Classroom is divided into working groups and with “learning by doing”, they build electronic system knowledge; through “design thinking” and “problem solving” students combine the ability of designing and building with coding, with programming and simulating capability for electronic projects with 3D modeling.


Tidball, K.G.,M.E. Krasny.(2010) Urban environmental education from a social ecological perspective: conceptual framework for civic ecology education. Cities and the Environment.

Strobel, J., & van Barneveld, A.(2009) When is PBL More Effective?

Ferri P., Moriggi S. (2018) A scuola con le tecnologie. Manuale di didattica digitalmente aumentata.


Nicola Bruno1,2

1Dataninja, Italy; 2Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy

Most of the media literacy projects targeting digital misinformation rely on a normative (“Beware of fake news”) and binary (“Learn how to distinguish the true from the false”) approach.

More importantly, most of these projects don’t take into consideration the impact of data on the information ecosystem. As seen during the Covid-19 pandemic, our world is more and more “datified” (Milan 2019): data are now becoming more and more central in our political and social debate; understanding how data work and how they can be used to manipulate people is crucial for all citizens.

Open The Box is a media and data literacy platform, designed and developed by the Italian ed-tech company Dataninja, with the double objective of 1) introducing a novel ecological approach in media literacy projects targeting misinformation in educational contexts; 2) better integrating media literacy skills (like fact-checking, manipulated images spotting), together with data literacy skills (as analyzing how visualizations can “lie”, understanding how artificial intelligence works through synthetic media or bots).

Open the Box wants to mitigate the effects of digital misinformation, through an ecological and long-term approach: attracting, training and empowering a community of 10,000 young “data-checkers” in a 3-year long project involving schools, no-profits, parents and other educational institutions.

At the core of Open the Box are three main mindsets:

1) Ecological thinking: "to encourage reflection about how deeply entwined we are with our environment and with each other" (Whitney & Milner, 2021);

2) Hacking culture: “to think just as much about how you build an ideal system as how it might be corrupted, destroyed, manipulated, or gamed. Think about unintended consequences, not simply to stop a bad idea but to build resilience into the model” (Boyd, 2017) (Moriggi & Pireddu, 2017)

3) Design principles: “Data literacy tools and activities that support learners must be focused, guided, inviting, and expandable” (D’Ignazio & Bhargava, 2016)

Synthesizing these rich theoretical approaches, Open the Box invites the main actors of the educational system (teachers, educators, parents, students) to start to think of the news ecosystem as an environment where digital awareness (“I am conscious of what I am sharing”) and ecological responsibility (“What I do has an impact on the digital environment we live in”) are the most relevant skills for “opening the boxes” of digital culture and better understand how they work.