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New technologies in comparison with teachers in the digital era

The world of technology has been poured out upon the teachers in the last five years and we are seeing a further acceleration in the adoption of IT tools for educational activities. Each textbook is proposed with its wealth of interactive content on DVD or downloadable from the Internet. Many teachers have received in-class interactive whiteboards (IWB) and many others have requested not to receive them. Many parents to enroll their children, are increasingly choosing the presence of the LIM class as a criterion for the evaluation of institutions. Many schools are investing in technology (LIM, tablet or netbook) funds raised through contributions from family earlier this year.

Many teachers have taken up the challenge and have doubled their efforts, spent herself to make the most of new opportunities, while others are still trying to understand something.
But has anyone asked what they think teachers of all this? Someone went to see them after a few months to see how they are?
UniDida it does regularly in fulfilling her training on the use of IWB in schools and has raised several interesting points.
The summary assessment of what is happening is as follows: two worlds, until recently very distant, they met on the same field: computer science and education. But the first feels stronger than the other and wants to impose its own rules. Computer against teachers: 2 to 0 at the end of the first half. But the game is likely to be won at the table for abandonment of the field by many teachers.
And the fault is not theirs! To understand this it is sufficient to ask the host of the best engineers to teach for a year in a class of 25 students, everyone would say that they are capable, but very few are able to pass on something useful.

Yet this is what you are asking teachers to fundamentally change the way they work using new tools in a context of continuous experimentation.
How do you solve a situation like this? Simply talking about!
Who did he discovered the obvious: not everything has to be thrown away, much is reused in new ways. But this should be done by two parts: the computer must also be redesigned to use in the classroom.

The voice of a teacher at the primary school: "Together with our children in the class carry out two main activities: explanation and exercise. When do I have the IWB when I explain I can use the material provided by the textbook to project images, drawings, short films or lectures ready. More simply, we can project the page of text that children have open on the counter. But the other part of our work consists of exercises: and here things are not so simple. Before flipping through the book and, in a moment, I came to the page I was interested to instruct children to do the exercise. Now what? Scroll through the text on the board it's not as easy as on a book. And then, what do I do when I have finished the exercises that are on the DVD? I can not just stop those that are on the book would last too little in class! "

Note: just listen. And 'This is the change that you ask the computer and the editors of texts on paper / digital is not just to take a book and take it on the LIM, which are contained or exercises. It needs to be comfortable and almost as fast as it was before! And this is a great challenge for engineers.
"I and my colleagues we have become experts on many websites and find a great deal. But it is not easy to disentangle an all that stuff. And then you see that it's not like a book, there is someone who thought the years from start to finish. It 's all a large bazaar that I handle myself with my experience."

This is in fact the other problem: the role of authors and publishers. It almost seems that they have given up their duty driving. They have always been, with their authors and experts, to prepare guides to help teachers use texts in the best way. And now with the new technologies do not seem to have been able to precede the change to continue to be the reference point for teachers. Right now it was possible to produce material with no limit on the number of pages and the weight of the books.
Perhaps it is too late. They're coming out on the market software packages author (Authoring System), which are designed to dramatically reduce costs for publishers to transform paper into digital content and make it easily distributable. In practice, it is software developed by companies that integrate computer skills and educational development platforms dedicated to providing interactive activities and multimedia.
"Our job - says Daniele Costamagna of UniDida - was to analyze what were the functions common to all the activities and integrate them into a single development environment while maintaining a good degree of flexibility."
In practice it was found that the work that leads to the creation of an interactive teaching (ADI) is 90% the same for everyone, with modifications that can be easily parameterized to suit different uses and habits. This is the work that competes with software programmers. But the most important work is the last 10% that contains all the knowledge of authors and publishers.
"It 'just that each focus its efforts on what it does best, we would not be able to achieve educational courses at the best publishing houses."
It seems the simplest solution: "to each his own job", it seems that you want to say.

But there is something more that can be offered by the software technology?
"Yes, there is something." Intervenes Federica Rossi, head of training centers UniDida. "A computer can learn from the mistakes of students and change the exercises according to the progress of skills. In practice there is never an exercise equal to another, and everyone will be tested a step beyond its capacity."

It turns out that the educational activities on a computer or LIM are classified into 4 types: static, multi-media, interactive and adaptive. The first is to simply submit the form text scrolled on the screen, that adds multimedia sounds, images or movies, instead of the interaction requires programs to respond to students' actions confirming or correcting the answers. The last type, the adaptive, is currently the frontier in the development of authoring products because it requires a database to store student responses (even months later) and a logic that allows to develop these results in choosing which questions place.
"It is very difficult to achieve it: but you have to design it for these purposes from the beginning." Ends Daniel Costamagna.

However, remain still open questions of teachers: how to make this simple.
Federica Rossi explains the vision UniDida is building with publishers he works with: "This is to maximize the textbook because it is the most convenient for teachers. But the book should be able to expand on the interactive whiteboard to never happen the same to himself. "
A consensus is emerging as a new mode of access to the media, in addition to those already available: the textbook as illustrated index to choose the exercises to be proposed in the classroom or at home to students. A simple code printed next to each exercise will give access to data with similar exercises but always different, enriched with all the "adaptability" in the authoring program is capable of.
In this way the authors and publishers can regain their central role in providing a teaching characterized and distinguished from the sea of material available on the web. And teachers can perhaps give up making hundreds of photocopies of cards from many different sources.

"In this way we could return teachers to focus on students rather than on the instrument: it is never served a training course to learn how to open a book and I hope that tomorrow will no longer need even to open an exercise on the interactive whiteboard" - is the conclusion of a professor of secondary school. How to blame him?

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