Archivi categoria: formazione

Giochi per la formazione IT

Il mio interesse per il software è scaturito, trent’anni fa, quando mi è stato presentato un problema da risolvere con un flow chart, e mi ha appassionato come i giochi della Settimana Enigmistica.

L’uso dei giochi per la formazione sta forse crescendo: “Puzzle-Based learning for Engineering and Computer Science“, su IEEE Computer, April 2010. (In inglese, i puzzle non sono solo i giochi in cui si incastrano le tesserine, ma anche tutti i giochi logici, linguistici, enigmistici, matematici.)

Insegnamento online

The Inevitability of Teaching Online, di Gregory W. Hislop in IEEE Computer, dicembre 2009.

“Faculty members who are not near retirement must come to terms with this seismic shift in higher education or risk being left behind. This is not to suggest
that traditional, face-to-face teaching will fade away. But it seems clear that online teaching will be a growing proportion of teaching overall, both in the form of completely online courses and blended courses with significantly reduced face-to-face interaction. To stay ahead of the wave, all instructors and institutions need to begin serious efforts in online learning today.”

Scratch: programmazione per bambini

Scratch è un linguaggio di programmazione pensato per i bambini.

Per chi lo usa (anche per gli adulti), è molto divertente, e permette di fare un sacco di cose interessanti.

Dal punto di vista tecnico è potente: il MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Media Lab ha realizzato un eccellente linguaggio didattico.

Su Communications of the ACM, novembre 2009, un articolo di presentazione da parte degli autori (scaricabile ma a pagamento per i non soci ACM).

Altri articoli su Scratch (gratis).

Non tutti i videogame rintronano

“A growing number of researchers – and an expanding body of evidence – indicate that joysticks can go a long way toward building smarter children with better reasoning skills.
Games such as Sim City, Civilization, Railroad Tycoon, and Age of Mythology extend beyond the flat earth of rote memorization and teach decision-making and analytical skills in immersive, virtual environments that resemble the real world.”

Samuel Greengard, “Are We Losing Our Ability to Think Critically?“, in Communications of the ACM, 07/2009.

Mari sul design

Un libro di Enzo Mari sul design:
Lezioni di disegno. Storie di risme di carta, draghi e struzzi in cattedra. Rizzoli 2008.

Il design (architettura, ma molti spunti sono trasferibili al software), la formazione al design, la società. Scritto e disegnato a mano, con intrecciarsi sapiente di testo corsivo e disegni.

Software per il sociale

Negli Usa, da anni, la computer science ha perso attrattiva per i giovani come oggetto di studio universitario. Per renderla più attraente, sostiene Michael Buckley, professore a Buffalo, è necessario che i problemi informatici trattati durante la formazione universitaria (casi studio, esercizi) contribuiscano a risolvere problemi sociali.

Michael Buckley: Computing as Social Science, Communication of the ACM, April 2009.

L’insegnamento e le stringhe

Alistair Cockburn: Teaching is pushing a string; learning is pulling the string

People keep asking, “What is the difference between teaching and learning? What is the instructor’s role? After years of noodling, here’s what I end up with:

Teaching is putting various strings in front of the students to pull on. The role of the instructor is to select and lay out the strings, indicate something about the meaning of pulling on them, etc.

Learning is their pulling on any of those strings. The role of the student is to select some strings, pull on them, abstract/note something about what happens. The instructor can’t really know which strings the student is pulling on, or what the student will learn/abstract/note.

Note that this applies to parenting as much as to teachers.

Education: how to be top

Economist, October 20th 2007, p.74-75

“What works in education: the lessons according to McKinsey

There are big variations in educational standards between countries. These have been measured and re-measured by the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) which has established, first, that the best performing countries do much better than the worst and, second, that the same countries head such league tables again and again: Canada, Finland, Japan, Singapore, South Korea.
Those findings raise what ought to be a fruitful question: what do the successful lot have in common? Yet the answer to that has proved surprisingly elusive. Not more money. Singapore spends less per student than most. Nor more study time. Finnish students begin school later, and study fewer hours, than in other rich countries.
Now, an organisation from outside the teaching fold—McKinsey, a consultancy that advises companies and governments—has boldly gone where educationalists have mostly never gone: into policy recommendations based on the PISA findings. Schools, it says*, need to do three things: get the best teachers; get the best out of teachers; and step in when pupils start to lag behind. That may not sound exactly “first-of-its-kind” (which is how Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s head of education research, describes McKinsey’s approach): schools surely do all this already? Actually, they don’t. If these ideas were really taken seriously, they would change education radically.

Begin with hiring the best. There is no question that, as one South Korean official put it, “the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.” Studies in Tennessee and Dallas have shown that, if you take pupils of average ability and give them to teachers deemed in the top fifth of the profession, they end up in the top 10% of student performers; if you give them to teachers from the bottom fifth, they end up at the bottom. The quality of teachers affects student performance more than anything else.

[…] Teaching the teachers
Having got good people, there is a temptation to shove them into classrooms and let them get on with it. For understandable reasons, teachers rarely get much training in their own classrooms (in contrast, doctors do a lot of training in hospital wards). But successful countries can still do much to overcome the difficulty.
Singapore provides teachers with 100 hours of training a year and appoints senior teachers to oversee professional development in each school. In Japan and Finland, groups of teachers visit each others’ classrooms and plan lessons together. In Finland, they get an afternoon off a week for this. In Boston, which has one of America’s most improved public-school systems, schedules are arranged so that those who teach the same subject have free classes together for common planning. This helps spread good ideas around. As one educator remarked, “when a brilliant American teacher retires, almost all of the lesson plans and practices that she has developed also retire. When a Japanese teacher retires, she leaves a legacy.”

[…] But there is a pattern in what countries do once pupils and schools start to fail. The top performers intervene early and often. Finland has more special-education teachers devoted to laggards than anyone else—as many as one teacher in seven in some schools. In any given year, a third of pupils get one-on-one remedial lessons. Singapore provides extra classes for the bottom 20% of students and teachers are expected to stay behind—often for hours—after school to help students.
None of this is rocket science. Yet it goes against some of the unspoken assumptions of education policy. Scratch a teacher or an administrator (or a parent), and you often hear that it is impossible to get the best teachers without paying big salaries; that teachers in, say, Singapore have high status because of Confucian values; or that Asian pupils are well behaved and attentive for cultural reasons. McKinsey’s conclusions seem more optimistic: getting good teachers depends on how you select and train them; teaching can become a career choice for top graduates without paying a fortune; and that, with the right policies, schools and pupils are not doomed to lag behind.