Area of intervention of this project is the School of Childhood, to which the Ministry assigns the task of promoting the development of identity, autonomy, competence and initiation to citizenship of children, defining it in the National Indications for the 2012 curriculum, as the response to their right to education and care, in line with the cultural and institutional pluralism principles enshrined in our Constitutional Charter, in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and in various EU policy documents. More specifically, the INF@NZIA DIGI.tales project is addressed to boys and girls aged between 3 and 6 years, thus also covering the first year of primary school, with the aim of a renewal on the psycho-pedagogical level of teaching and learning models in this educational sector. The findings of the OECD 2012 Report "Education at a Glance" confirm the strategic importance of education in 3-6 years, with Italy above average in industrialised countries for investment in pre-primary and primary education: Italy is ninth out of 34 countries for annual expenditure per student in pre-school and tenth out of 35 countries in primary education. According to the research results, the Preschool is one of the strong points of the Italian system, with one of the highest attendance levels in the OECD area, equal to 97% for children aged 4 years. The attention to the "horizontal" transversality and to the "vertical" continuity of the educational path intertwines in the INF@NZIA DIGI.tales 3.6 project with the valorisation of the digitisation and fruition aspects of the territory's tangible and/or intangible cultural heritage. The digital dimension oriented towards smart objects permits to reshap the presentation of contents linked to the cultural resources of the territory, in a quick and effective way, according to the specific educational needs linked to the various moments of the child's development, thus providing, through increased digital "re-narrations", vertical continuity between preschool and first-class primary. The project also includes the activation of learning paths on a continuum school-family-city and the enhancement, within the educational program, of the attractiveness of the territory, understood as "extended environment": in its micro- (museum resource), meso- (theme parks and new places of super modernity) and macro- (the city as a potential dimension of multiple tourist routes) dimensions. The field of intervention concerns the objectives of research aimed at improving the quality and accessibility of school services, facilitating the activities of teaching staff, fluidifying the school-family relationship and between parents, through application and infrastructure resources based mainly on a Cloud paradigm.
The INF@NZIA DIGI.tales 3.6 project aims to enhance the state of the art of ICT (cloud, social media, open data, etc.) and of the most recent paradigms of human-machine interaction (augmented reality, RFID/NFC sensors, handwriting and speech recognition, motion detection, etc.).) in order to define psycho-pedagogical practices able to strengthen curricular activities and facilitate the processes of acquisition of skills and knowledge by children:
- working on the five fields of experience that constitute the preschool curriculum;
- empowering approaches such as Munari's, and even before Montessori's, in order to privilege the dimensions of doing, spontaneous exploration, manipulation of artefacts and logical blocks, creation of stories;
- enhancing the physical, intuitive and creative dimensions of the best child pedagogy through innovative use of technologies.
The "pedagogical heart" of the project, which has the child-learner as its protagonist, is linked to specific objectives aimed at leveraging ICT to make the usability of training courses more effective, to facilitate teachers in monitoring the students' progress in a non-invasive way, to build new educational scenarios unthinkable without the use of computing skills in an intelligent environment. A conception of the city as a discontinuous sphere, characterized by interest factors that can encourage "walks of meaning", narrative, creative and playful-educational paths, allows us to imagine a school-territory system action.
An action where the city itself becomes a learning environment, appropriately reviewed and empowered from a point of view:
"relational": through the access to narrative experiences of a dialogical, social and participatory character;
media": through the employment of methodologies that guide the structure of a story and that are selected on the basis of specific types of technological, cognitive and educational action remedies.
The urban space becomes an educational context able to guide the child in an active learning across different disciplines (language, history, geography, art) and transcultural. To complete the renovation action, started in the pedagogical field, also on the relational, organizational and administrative plans, the project's further objective is to define the environments for interaction and information exchange between school-family or family-family, also effective as gateway for access to the services offered by the School Administration.
The main goal of INF@NZIA DIGI.tales is to build innovative teaching/learning environments for children aged between 3 and 6 (preschool and first year of primary school).
This objective is ambitious also because the introduction of technology in children's early years is a socially sensitive matter and susceptible to rejection: it will be necessary to develop effective methodologies/technologies to support children's psycho-social development, but also accepted, co-built and easily used by teachers and parents. That said, it is clear that the quantitative specifications required can be defined in relation to three macro-categories of indicators:
- measurements to detect the quantity and the way of use of the learning environments;
- indicators of the satisfaction and involvement levels of the various actors involved (teachers, parents, panels of experts, etc.);
- indexes related to the real impact on the socio-cognitive development of children produced by the implementation of the methodologies/technologies by INF@NZIA DIGI.tales.
In order to detect the first macro-family of indicators (quantity and methods of fruition), it will be used statistical analysis of the fruition data stored in the project database. The indexes will also be calculated using data mining techniques and software. It is expected that the historical index series will tend to show greater use and diversification of of accessing and using. The second macro-family of indicators (detection of the level of satisfaction and involvement of the actors involved) will be obtained on the basis of a survey methodology consisting in the submission of questionnaires on satisfaction in the various phases of the project to the various actors involved. Also in this case, a significant increase in the level of acceptance/gradation of the project action by teachers, parents and a panel of external experts is expected. The indicators of the third macro-family ( evaluation of the real impact on social-cognitive development) will be obtained through the traditional methodology of experimental design: two homogeneous groups of children in terms of age and socio-cognitive level will be observed during their didactic activities. The experimental group will use the methodologies/technologies developed by INF@NZIADIGI.tales, while the control group will be exposed to the didactic methodologies traditionally used by the teaching staff. For children in both groups, performance indexes (linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, social, etc.) resulting from the application of consolidated psycho-diagnostic instruments will be monitored (e.g. see the State of the Art section and references to Gardner's intelligence theory). The project will achieve its objective if there is a significant improvement in the indexes of the experimental group.
|Indicators (macro-categories)||Detection tool|
|Quantity and methods of use of learning environments||Statistical analysis, data mining software and techniques|
|Level of satisfaction and involvement of the various actors involved||Satisfacion survey|
|Impact on children's socio-cognitive development (performance indexes)||Experimental design methodology: experimental group vs control group|