With this post I introduce myself in the Connectivism & Connective Knowledge course.
I live in Firenze, Italy, where I teach mainly computer literacy in various curricula of the Medical School in the University of Florence.
Very interested in this course because I realized a posteriori that what I was trying to do with my students during the last years suits very well in the connectivistic thought. Really excited when I discovered it.
The existence of this course itself is a success, in my view, since I feel somewhat culturally sustained in my teaching experiments. Moreover, I already found useful readings for next teaching activities. It is a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas on similar experiments.
I would like to mix the participation to the connectivism course with my teaching activities.
Eight years ago I was put in face of 700 students per year, unequally spread in 2 semesters, about 25 classes in 6 different places within 100 Kilometers … they were of the first year of various curricula at the Medical School of Medicine, medicine, odontoiatry, nursing, physiotherapy and so on … I was supposed to teach basic informatics, computer literacy plus something else, more or less specific to the curricula …
First panic, then reflection, then a basic thought: if something appears to be very frightening may be it becomes a blessing when you change perspective … 700 girls and boys per year to talk to may represent a wonderful opportunity …
I started by using some Learning Management Systems to support a conventional series of lectures. Then, by means of successive innovations, now all my students are together in a blogroom, the chair is this blog (blog studenti), contents are coauthored in a wiki, the old rigid succession of lessons are now substituted by an initial lessons to introduce the method and by some very focused seminars, students are encouraged to seek what they need autonomously, to help each other, to connect with others in the blogroom and outside.
Since 2000, a student population of about 5000 students was involved. In the final surveys, the methodology received about 90% positive opinions. In the last semester, an average score of 3.3 (min 1, max 4) was obtained from 125 answers to the question “Do you like this learning method?” There is a page with some posts written by the students on their blogs about this experience, unfortunately in italian. Here you have some of these posts translated in English.
In the semester beginning in October there will be some 200 new students in this blogroom.
Now I’m involved in a new experimental course on WEB 2 at the italian Congress of Nuclear Medicine that will be held in Firenze in March 2009.
The idea is to attract professionals of Italian community of Nuclear Medicine in learning to use and using WEB 2.0 to cooperate, to search for Open Educational Resources and to discuss them. The experiment is amusing but it could be a failure because involving twenty year students or a community of professionals are different things. It is also difficult because it is not possible to use a first lecture to involve people. I tried to propose a half serious video to attract people. Here you have a subtitled version of this video …