Institute for educational technology (ITD)

Research activities

In this section research themes and contracts signed in the last five years are briefly described.

Educational technology for scientific education
This theme is connected with the increasing need for mathematical, scientific, technological education which characterizes our society and with the need for fresh approaches both in methodologies and contents. From this standpoint Italy's gap is particularly serious (see OCSE Survey "Pisa 2003" and "Pisa 2006"). As to this context the activity focuses on the study of representation systems able to connect abstract scientific knowledge with concrete personal experience of the learner. More specifically, it concerns the study of iconic representations(1) and tangible representations (2), i.e., directly manipulable physical objects, able to create a correspondence between abstract operations on conceptual entities and concrete operations in an iconic and motor-perceptive space. In this context collaborative learning is particularly important since it creates a real basis for group learning based on direct experience and on meaning negotiations.

Individuals in the knowledge society: educational technology for the development of new cognitive skills
Knowledge in our society is like an expanding universe which requires a continuous updating of competencies. Hence, there is a need for an in-depth reflection on the general skills that education should provide. The width and rhythm of the ever changing knowable make current educational approaches based on the summative accumulation of knowledge ineffective. Consequently the development of basic cognitive tools able to develop new autonomous learning skills become indispensable. This theme aims at studying new cognitive phenomenologies, the selection, production and experimentation of methodologies and environments to foster their development.

Virtual communities for learning
The collaborative dimension is increasingly important both in professional activities and in learning processes. On one hand the nature of knowledge is more dynamic and the need for the construction of knowledge as a collaborative network of people is emerging. On the other hand the development of the so-called Computer Mediated Communication has made virtual collaboration possible and has dramatically reduced the need for the physical presence of the community members. Supplying the conditions to work and learn in a collaborative social context is therefore a major objective for all types of informal and formal learning contexts.

More precisely, the research activity focuses on some complementary issues:
o the study of psycho-social phenomenologies and dynamics occurring within virtual learning communities;
o the study of skills need to act effectively within virtual learning communities, i.e. cognitive and meta-cognitive skills, social skills and the ability to control emotion and motivation, rather than actual technological skills.
This theme has a double value - on one hand the experimental study of online learning dynamics and of skills the various actors in the process need (students, tutors, facilitators, teachers) in order to implement them; on the other hand criteria for the design of formative environments and actions based on virtual learning communities. The typical reference contexts are related to initial and in-service teacher training, higher education, and educational processes occurring at all school levels.

E-inclusion in the educational context
The issue of the relation between the educational system and marginal students (the disabled, immigrants, subjects with learning difficulties etc.) is faced from an inclusive point of view, i.e. creating learning communities that keep into account everybody's rights and are able to operate on the grounds of characteristics and needs of each individual instead of accepting these people in a structured, unchangeable system.
By the term "e-inclusion" we mean the process supported by ICT. ITD has carried out research work in this field for many years in order to set up technological tools to favour inclusion of all students in the school system and also to create models for the use of these tools in order to attain the desired and sometimes unexpected goals.
To this purpose ITD carries out the following actions:
o development of new competencies of teachers and putting existing skills to good use by working directly in Italian schools. ITD promotes and implements experimentations and research-action projects which involve students with difficulties;
o production of innovative software tools prototypes prototypes oriented to inclusion;
o research activity on models for the evaluation of ICT products accessibility and use of such models for the evaluation of educational software;
o dissemination activity to promote the concept that existing technology can support learning and inclusion both through in-service teacher training promoted in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and through the dissemination of information through the Internet and specific web sites.

Models, methodologies and tools for eLearning
This research area refers to the study of models, methods and tools related to specific aspects of e-learning.
E-learning is an emerging, ever-growing sector, in particular in continuing and in-service training, academic education and the market sphere. Its development emphasizes various issues, i.e. conceptual architectures, educational strategies for different contexts, evaluation and quality models, technological solutions as to both interpersonal collaboration/communication and the access to educational material and to standards. In this context ITD is engaged in a number of projects centred on theoretical/methodological aspects and on technical/instrumental ones.

Innovative tools, methods and infrastructures for teacher training
Teacher training is a crucial factor in school innovation. ITD has always been very active in this field and has oriented its research activity towards the design of innovative training centres prototypes for in-service teacher training (see LabTD), the study and evaluation of online course prototypes based on non-traditional approaches, the design of methodologies for pre-service teacher training (see SSIS-the post graduate school for secondary teaching, and academic education).

Models, methodologies and tools for classroom experimentation
The research activity in the field of educational innovation requires the involvement of all actors (teachers, students, educators...) in all its phases. The institute has a well grounded experience in the design and execution of field experimentations in real contexts (classroom, labs, etc..). In particular, ITD is very interested in the design, development and evaluation of medium/long-term experimentations in primary and lower secondary schools in close collaboration with teachers. Such activity implies both the use of new ICT-based tools (e.g. for math or language learning) and the design of specific pedagogical plans supporting the integration of such systems in the whole educational project. This layout accounts for the involvement of the institute in pedagogical design and in the design of the supporting tools, in the setting up of experimental methodologies able to favour collaboration among the various actors, in the study of new technologies to perform innovative educational activities (e.g. mobile devices) and in research activities on learning objects and on the design of new pedagogical ontologies.

Frameworks and prototypes for Digital Literacy
The term Digital Literacy refers to a set of attitudes and competencies (not only technical) needed to live in a society deeply modified by technology. The European Parliament has stated that Digital Literacy is a key competence, however, the Eurostat 2005 survey shows that most people in Europe do not possess basic skills for Digital Literacy. Hence the importance of developing innovative methods and tools to improve this condition. The institute has developed various projects in this field and is involved in adult continuing education and teacher training, thus contributing to the design of a common European framework.


FAD Project (2003)
Congress: "Distance Education: a Tool for Human Resource Development".
Project funded by REGIONE SICILIANA
(Total funding EUR 2.500,00)

ESPERFAD Project (2003)
Experts in Distance Education.
Project co-funded by Ministero Istruzione Università e Ricerca - MIUR
(Total funding EUR 82.832,00)

QFAD Project (2003)
Methodologies & Technologies for Quality in Distance Education.
Project funded by Ministero delle Comunicazioni
(Total funding EUR 785.381,00)

PROCOPIUS Project (2003)
Action Research for testing collaborative learning methods & technologies.
Project funded by Liceo Classico "Giosuè Carducci", Merano, Italy
(Total funding EUR 8.500,00)

ULEARN Project (2001-2003)
A European lifelong learning system on ICT in education for pioneer teachers.
EC co-funded Project
(Total funding EUR 139.282,00)

MEDEA Project (2004)
Development of an online course for teachers in methodologies for environmental education.
Project funded by Consorzio per le Ricerche e le Applicazioni di Tecnologie Innovative - CRATI
(Total funding EUR 10.000,00)

ITALES Project (07/2001 - 06/2004)
Innovative Teaching and Learning Environments for Schools.
EC co-funded Project
(Total funding EUR 164.192,00)

SD2 Project (2004)
Development of an online service for teachers providing information and support on educational software.
Project funded by Ministero Istruzione Università e Ricerca - MIUR and CNR-URP
(Total funding EUR 210.000,00)

COPERNICO Project (2005)
Training for secondary-school maths teachers.
Project funded by Istituto Tecnico Italo Calvino - Genova, Italy
(Total funding EUR 10.000,00)

EDU-ROBOT Project (2003-2005)
Teacher training in the application of ICT, robotics and new technology in learning processes and methodologies.
EC co-funded Project
(Total funding EUR 21.120,00)

SP6 Project (2003-2005)
Web Learning for quality in human resources (legge 449/97).
Project co-funded by Ministero Istruzione Università e Ricerca - MIUR
(Total funding EUR 15.495,00)

Polo - MIUR Project (2003-2005)
Science & technology centre for ICT in Higher Education.
Project co-funded by Ministero Istruzione Università e Ricerca -MIUR
(Total funding EUR 592.534,91)

FIRB Project (2003-2005)
New technologies for lifelong learning and networking in Italy's socio-economic sector.
Project co-funded by Ministero Istruzione Università e Ricerca - MIUR
(Total funding EUR 54.000,00)

IRRE LOMBARDIA Project (2004-2005)
Training for primary school maths teachers as part of consolidation of the Ulearn & ITALES projects.
Project funded by Istituto Regionale di Ricerca Educativa - IRRE Lombardia
(Total funding EUR 16.000,00)

TELEPEERS Project (2004-2005)
Self-regulated Learning in Technology Enhanced Learning Environments at University Level: a Peer Review.
EC co-funded Project
(Total funding EUR 32.000,00)

UTEACHER Project (2004-2005)
European teachers professional development in ICT for education.
EC co-funded Project
(Total funding EUR 68.498,00)

WEBLABS Project (2002-2005)
New representational infrastructures for e-learning.
EC co-funded Project
(Total funding EUR 217.719,00)

ASD Project (2006)
ICT & Special Education Needs: Educational Software Accessibility.
Project funded by Ministero Istruzione Università e Ricerca - MIUR
(Total funding EUR 200.000,00)

HSH Project (2003-2006)
"HSH@Network - Hospital School Home" ICT support for Schooling in Hospitals.
Project funded by Ministero Istruzione Università e Ricerca - MIUR
(Total funding EUR 480.318,00)

SO.DI.LINUX Project (2003-2007)
Support for the take up of open source software in education.
Project funded by Italiana per l'Informatica e il Calcolo Automatico- AICA (Total funding EUR 48.000,00)

LAB TD Project (2004-2007)
Establishment of a teacher training centre for ICT in education.
Project co-funded by Fondazione Carige Genova
(Total funding EUR 304.450,00)

INDIRE Project (2003-2007)
Scientific support for the creation of 2 portals dedicated respectively to special needs and intercultural issues in education.
Project funded by Istituto per l'innovazione e la ricerca educativa - INDIRE
(Total funding EUR 72.000,00)

KALEIDOSCOPE Project (2004-2007)
Technology Enhanced Learning - Network of excellence Kaleidoscope.
EC co-funded Project
(Total funding EUR 290.000,00)

MED MY SEA Project (2007)
Scientific support for the design and creation of the "project-game for primary school" (Med.My.Sea project)
EC co-funded Project (through CNR-IRAT and Interregional III B initiative)
(Total funding EUR 20.000,00)

SLOOP Project (2005-2007)
Sharing Learning Objects in an Open Perspective.
EC co-funded Project
(Total funding EUR 44.531,00)

SSIS Project (2003-2007)
Initial Teacher Education courses in educational technology.
Project funded by SSIS-Scuola di Specializzazione per l'Insegnamento Secondaria dell'Università di Genova (Post Graduate School for Secondary Teaching)
(Total funding EUR 75.514,00)

VICE Project (2003-2007)
Virtual Comminities for Training - Ministry of Education Project
CNR-ISTI (by way of Ministry of Education,University and Research) co-funded project
(Total funding EUR 84.710,00)

ODAS Project (2007)
ODAS Italia 1 Marine Laboratory
CNR-ISSIA (by way of Ministry of Education,University and Research) co-funded project
Total funding EUR 4.500,00)

EUNIC Project (01/2006-06/2007)
Eu-NIC towards European "conceptual approach" to digitale literacy.
EC co-funded Project
(Total funding EUR 37.300,00)

Specializzazione laureati ICT Project (2007-2008)
Post-graduate course in ICT for young researchers.
Project co-funded by POR REGIONE SICILIANA
(Total funding EUR 142.648,00)

CORFAD Project (2005-2008)
Centre for the Promotion and Testing of Methods and Prototypical Environments dedicated to Job Orientation & Online Learning.
Project co-funded by POR REGIONE SICILIANA mis 3.15 ricerca
(Total funding EUR 446.738,00)

EFELCREN Project (2007-2008)
Educational flexible and creative environments.
EC co-funded Project
(Total funding EUR 32.520,00)

E-START Project (2007-2008)
Digital Literacy Network for Primary and Lower secondary (K-9) Education.
EC co-funded Project
(Total funding EUR 11.984,88)

LOGIVALI Project (2006-2008)
Creation of tests for evaluating primary school students' logical/strategic thinking skills (FINVALI Project, 2005).
Project co-funded by Istituto Nazionale per la valutazione del sistema educativo di istruzione e di formazione - INVALSI
(Total funding EUR 49.925,00)

REMATH Project (2005-2008)
Representing Mathematics with Digital Media.
EC co-funded Project
(Total funding EUR 318.000,00)

STEEL Project (07/2007 - 06/2010)
Systems, technologies and methods for distance learning.
Project co-funded by Ministero Istruzione Università e Ricerca - MIUR
(Total funding EUR 258.200,00)

SHARE.TEC Project (06/2008-05/2011)
SHAring digital Resources in the Teaching Education Community
EC co-funded Project
(Total funding EUR 365.879,00)

WEL Project (2008)
Studio e messa a punto dell'attuazione di un piano per l'analisi del follow-up del progetto "Università in Rete"
Project co-funded by Univeristà degli Studi di Genova
(Total funding EUR 15.000,00)

ALADIN 2.0 Project (2008-2009)
Progettazione e sviluppo di attività sperimentali sull'uso didattico delle TIC. Prosecuzione dell'azione. (2 Convenzioni)
Project co-funded by Intendenza Scolastica Italiana della Provincia di Bolzano
(Total funding EUR 14.000,00)

UPS LIVORNO Project (2008)
Attività di aggiornamento docenti di sostegno sui temi della dislessia e della discalculia nonché dei non vedenti e non udenti
Project co-funded by Ufficio Scolastico Provinciale di Livorno
(Total funding EUR 9.500,00)

DD S.GIOVANNI BATTISTA di GENOVA Project (2008-2009)
Progettazione e gestione di un percorso di formazione blanded per i docenti di sostegno
Project co-funded by DD GE 36 S.Giovanni Battista, Genova, Italy
(Total funding EUR 2.800,00)

TIC@SCHOOL Project (12/2008-11/2010)
Definizione di strumenti e strategie che favoriscano l'avvio di una rete territoriale sul tema "Tecnologie e scuola"
Project co-funded by Scuola Secondaria Statale "Don Milani-Colombo" di Genova
(Total funding EUR 30.000,00)

CNR-URP Project (2008)
Riprogettazione del sito web dell'URP - CNR
Project co-funded by CNR-URP
(Total funding EUR 6.000,00)

PRIN 2007 Project (09/2008-08/2010)
Insegnare e apprendere l'algebra sfruttando le caratteristiche operative e rappresentative del sistema digitale Alnuset.
Project co-funded by Università degli Studi di Genova
(Total funding 20.000,00)

PRIN 2007 Project (09/2008-08/2010)
Supporto alla progettazione di piani pedagogici per l'apprendimento della matematica attraverso la messa a punto di un ambiente online dedicato
Project co-funded by Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale "Amedeo Avogadro" - Vercelli
(Total funding 12.300,00)

SSIS Project (2008 -2009)
Formazione di aspiranti insegnanti nel campo delle tecnologie didattiche
Project co-funded by Scuola di Specializzazione per l'Insegnamento Secondario dell'Università di Genova SSIS
(Total funding a 17.400,00)

LABINS Project (2008)
Laboratorio propedeutico alla realizzazione degli sportelli turistici presso gli istituti scolastici delle isole minori siciliane
Project co-funded by Comune di Lipari, Italy
(Total funding 24.000,00)

TENEGENS Project (2008-2010)
Connect the teachers to reach and teach the net generation
EC co-funded Project
(Total funding EUR 35.000,00)

JAVA Project (2008)
Esperti in tecnologie Java per lo sviluppo di sistemi informativi aziendali
Project co-funded by Regione Siciliana
(Total funding EUR 33.404,00)

STELLAR Project (2009-2011)
Network of Excellence - Sustaining Technology Enhanced Learning Large-scale multidisciplinary Reseach -
EC co-funded Project
(Total funding EUR 231.318,00)

MOTILL Project (2009-2010)
Mobile learning Technologies in lifelong learning: Best Practices
EC co-funded Project
(Total funding EUR 58.890,48)

ATENE Project (2004)
Atene: Advanced Technologies Encouraging New Employment.
Project funded by ROI SRL
(Total funding EUR 7.412,00)

Intelligent Business.
Project funded by FOF Srl
(Total funding EUR 17.580,00)

Promotion and support for research & innovation in the Region of Sicily .
Project funded by AZIENDE SICILIANE
(Total funding EUR 81.115,00)

ECM- Policlinico Project (2005-2008)
Design and implementation of learning environments and courses for hospital staff.
Project funded by POLICLINICO P. GIACCONE - Palermo
(Total funding EUR 295.200,00)

DIOGENES Project (2008-2009)
Local development of industrial districts through activities of vocational guidance and training for young people and staff in public institutions.
Project funded by Provincia di Arezzo, Italy
(Total funding EUR 10.080,00)

ECM- Policlinico Project (2008-2010)
Devising, designing and implementing learning paths and environments for Hospital staff training.
Project funded by Policlinico "Giaccone" (Palermo)
(Total funding EUR 295.200,00)

CANICATTI' Project (2009-2010)
Knowledge management per the Public Administration.
Project funded by Comune di Canicattì
(Total funding EUR 57.000,00)

Vocalsearch Project (2000-2003)
ICT to support blind people

Percezione FAD Project (2003-2004)
Students' perception of Distance Education Quality

M-Learn Project (2003-2004)
Mobile learning

Didabrowser Project (2003-2004)
Didabrowser: a web-based tool to support learning and stimulate learner awareness during web navigation.

Il bosco incantato Project (2002-2004)
The Spellbound Wood - a multimedia learning environment for recovering and developing cognitive and metacognitive skills in maths.

ELSE Project (2005)
Tools and approaches addressing deaf students' learning difficulties.

SOLE Project (2001-2005)
Education Technology supporting maths & logics learning in primary school.

XANADU Project (2001-2009)
Technology Enhanced Learning and University Education.

I.P.S. Project (2006-2007)
Information problem solving.

Didattica cooperativa in rete Project (2005-2007)
Methodologies and systems supporting networked cooperative learning.

FILO Project (2004-2008)
Teacher Traininig with Learning Objects.

Piattaforma STAT Project (2001-2008)
Platform for an online university course: "Science & Technology for the Environment & Tourism".

IO ROBOT Project (2007)
Educational robotics.

COM.TEL Project (2005-2006)
Writing skills in online learning.
Special CNR funding grant
(Total funding EUR 3.702,00)

GIOCHI Project (2005-2006)
Learning in the Internet age.
Special CNR funding grant
(Total funding EUR 21.600,00)

Information Problem Solving Project (2008-2009)
Questioning competence on autonomous knowledge building starting from multimedia web information.
(Total funding EUR 9.500,00)