Prof. Juan Carlos Olabe
Christian Brothers University, USA
Dr. Olabe and his research group are active participants in the field of learning and teaching technologies applied to online education, including the following areas: a) the design of multimedia content for primary, secondary and college level courses; b) the development of pedagogical methodologies for new digital learning environments; c) the creation and use of technological-based tools applied to teaching and learning; d) the implementation of resources for active pedagogical methodologies; and e) the delivery of Master’s, Bachelor’s courses and degrees using learning platforms. During the last two decades, Dr. Olabe and his research group have received the support of the European Union and the National Council for Science and Technology of Latin-American through the funding of a large number of research and development projects. Dr. Olabe has published several books and multiple articles in international journals, and has collaborated with international journals and committees. He has established working relationships with members of the MIT Lifelong Kindergarten group and with members of the One Laptop per Child project (OLCP) in the US and in multiple countries of Latin America. He has established relationships with governmental educational groups of the Ministries of Education of Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia, as well as the educational networks RENATA of Colombia and CONACyT of Paraguay, and research groups at the University of Alicante, University of Extremadura, University of Salamanca, Luisíada University of Portugal, University of Silesia and LaSalle Bajío University (Mexico).
Speech Title: Using Information Theory to Develop Modern Educational Methodologies
Abstract: The field of research in educational methodologies has been offering during the last decade a series of innovative and promising new initiatives. These initiatives have tried to apply to the educational environment the fruits of current psychology research. Ideas such as student motivation, gaming, multiple intelligences, project-based learning, flipping the classroom, makerspaces, and others, abound in the field of educational methodologies. These new initiatives are evaluated with traditional procedures grouped under the umbrella of the scientific method. This talk first discusses the limitations of these evaluations. Second, it describes learning and teaching as a computational process. Finally, it proposes the use of principles of Information Theory as the foundation for the design of modern educational methodologies.
Prof. Maria Beatrice Ligorio
University of Bari Aldo, Italy
Maria Beatrice Ligorio is Full Professor at the University of Bari (IT), Department of Educational Sciences, Psychology and Communication where she teaches Educational Psychology and E-learning. Her research interests concern new educational technology, digital identity, learning in virtual environments, Educational web- forums, communities, intersubjectivity, dialogical approach, cultural psychology, innovative learning methods, blended learning and e-learning. She is the main editor of the international journal called Qwerty (http://www.ckbg.org/qwerty). She also edits two Book Series about education and technology. She published about 80 papers mainly in international journals and she contributed at many international books. In 2013, together with M. César, she edited a book titled “Interplays between Dialogical Learning and Dialogical Self. (Book Series – Advances in Cultural Psychology) Charlotte, NC.: IAP – Information Age Publishing.
Speech Title: Technology as a Psychological Tool: Examples from a University Courses
Abstract: Why did we start using technology as a tool to support learning? Surely not to please Bill Gates, neither to follow a trendy style! Not even because we knew that a pandemic was coming! The reason why technology entered educational context it is because it is normal, because this is the way it should be! Technology is – using Vygotsky words – a mediation tool and human kind has always used mediation tools. They, of course, evolved together with human evolution and very soon we were no longer satisfied with the tools nature offered us. Therefore, we started to build our own tools, more and more sophisticated. In my talk I will outline how current technology function as a psychological tool able to improve and empower human cognitive and social skills. Bringing examples from a university course, I will show how technology can create situations able to improve learning strategies, advance social interaction, and empower problem-solving capacities.
Assoc. Prof. Alessia Cadamuro
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy
Alessia Cadamuro is Associate Professor at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy), where she teaches Educational and Developmental Psychology courses to psychologists, teachers and educators, and more recently in an innovative degree course in digital education. She is member of the newly launched Digital Education and Learning Analytics Center of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Her research interests include theory of mind, metacognition, the impact of digital technologies on education as well as the interconnections between these two aspects. She is also interested in strategies aimed to improve relations and well-being among children and adolescents. On these topics, she has published several articles in relevant developmental and social psychology journals, and presented her work in national and international conferences.
Speech Title: New technologies in Students' Learning: True or False Friend?
Abstract: Using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in school and other educational environments is becoming increasingly widespread and their employment is, even more, a hot topic now, during the COVID-19 sanitary (but also educational) emergency. But are ICTs really useful in supporting students’ learning? And, if the answer is yes, how so? What is the role of transversal skills in smart learning environments? According to some studies, ICTs offer new approaches to design learning environments, considering all the factors that can influence learning: materials, activities, and more importantly students’ motivation, learning styles, and self-regulation. Technological tools can determine a significant impact on transversal skills such as metacognition and self-regulation. Since teachers have often difficulties in working on transversal skills, due to their characteristics, ICTs can represent an opportunity, almost a gateway, to redesign educational activities that focus precisely on metacognitive teaching. Indeed, on the one hand, high-tech learning environments can assist students in using self-regulated learning strategies while, on the other hand, learning in a high-tech environment requires self-regulatory skills to organise and compare information. The relationship between a beneficial use of ICTs in pupils’ learning and the role of transversal skills has been highlighted in a review by Cadamuro and colleagues (2019): working in technology-mediated contexts fosters the development of metacognitive skills which, in turn, can lead to better learning outcomes. On the other hand, metacognitive skills are fundamental to take advantage of web-based training. More importantly, the combined use of e-learning and metacognition seems to produce the best learning outcomes. For instance, some studies compared “simple” e-learning environments with others associated with metacognitive training. These studies revealed how the e-learning-metacognitive combined activities led to better results in tasks, such as mathematical problem-solving (Kramarski & Gutman, 2006), decision making (Hsu & Lin, 2017), and knowledge performance on a given subject (Cadamuro et al., 2020). What is important is that ICTs are accessed by learners in a metacognitive way, that is that learners are not passive receivers of information, but learning is facilitated by the characteristics of these tools (e.g., synchronic communication, monitoring features) and metacognitive prompts. To conclude, ICTs are friends when they are accessed by students in a metacognitive and self-regulated way, so that students are supported in exploiting the affordances of these tools to become more competent learners. New technologies can represent a promising tool in the fight against educational poverty. Assuming that student achievement will automatically increase with technology use may be wrong and dangerous since it can lead to overly optimistic and unrealistic expectations.