What kind of feedback have you had from the students participating in the classes offered by the ScuolaDigitaleTIM project?Are there differences between the boys and the girls?
The students' feedback has been really positive.In most cases, the activity was something new to their school experience.Even if they live with technology day in and day out, the children aren't accustomed to using technology to learn and create. We found no differences at all between the girls and the boys - with the right guidance, no one had any real difficulties!
Are the online lessons, which include videos and downloadable course materials, organised the same way as the classroom courses or do they offer different topics? Who are they intended for?
The online lessons give all young people who are interested the possibility to do a genuine tutorial, where they learn how to develop projects not only in coding and electronic prototyping, which are the topics in the classroom lessons, but also robotics, digital art, physical computing, 3D modelling, video gaming and digital storytelling.The teaching method used in all the courses is Creative Learning.
Through this method, which is especially recommended for education that uses technology, the students learn by doing, trying, making mistakes and starting again, with help from the most powerful tool they have - creativity!
When we talk about the Internet of Things, robotics and making, why is it important for the students to be able to 'do things concretely', rather than merely learning the concepts?
Especially for topics they're not experts in, the students need to learn not just concepts, which, in the end, are useless - what they need is to actually get their hands on things.First hand experience makes everything simpler and quicker.
Which educational kits are used for ScuolaDigitaleTIM activities in the classroom (and what tools are needed to follow the online lessons)?
In the classroom we use a programmable electronic card called micro:bit. It's a little computer that fits in your pocket and can be used for lots of little inventions.To create projects using the video tutorials, users also needan account on Scratch, the mBot robot, a Makey Makey card, the online 3D modelling tool Tinkercad, every-day items of various shapes and uses, stationery and a big dose of creativity!
From your viewpoint, as someone with first-hand experience of the project, what added value do you think it has for our students?
The added value of this project lies in the fact that thanks to this laboratory, young people can come face to face with new subjects, and do this with the help of someone who is not part of their usual school context.In this way, they can approach the classroom workshops without any preconceptions, full of enthusiasm to use a method and tools that are rarely found in schools.
Why is it important now for Italy to promote the digital culture among children? Can schools play a role in spreading digital skills?
Our young people deal with this technology every day and having them understand it in all its aspects is a fantastic opportunity for them and a duty for us as educators. It's an opportunity because in the near future, no matter what career these students enter, the soft skills they learn thanks to digital education, like logical reasoning and problem solving, will be precious tools. It's our duty because, as educators, we must help students gain in-depth knowledge of the digital environment that surrounds them, so that they can become more aware of both the risks and the infinite possibilities of this technology. Furthermore, adding technology as a learning tool could be a winning card for teachers in any subject, from Italian to science, because it gets their students more involved.
Can you tell us an amusing incident, or one that illustrates the atmosphere among the students in the classroom courses?
Challenges are the basis for almost everything we do in the workshops. One morning, the students split into teams and spontaneously organised a competition that ended up in the school hallways. The competition was to design a pedometer that would be able to count 50 steps. We literally invaded the hallway, but it was really worth it. Even the students' teacher joined in, and she almost won!