Turin Jam Today: la game jam per serious game .. sul serio!

E’ stata davvero una bella esperienza organizzare la Turin Jam TOday che si è svolta dal 13 al 15 giugno 2014.

Le game jam sono maratone no stop di programmazione (come le hackaton) che hanno l’obiettivo di produrre risultati concreti come un’app o un videogame o un serious game.

La più famosa è la Global Game Jam: l’ultima edizione che si è svolta a gennaio 2014 ha coinvolto 23,198 jammers registrati in 488 località distribuite 72 Paesi e ha prodotto 4,290 progetti di gioco, una di quelle località era proprio Torino e l’evento è stato organizzato dalla T-Union, una associazione che riunisce aziende torinesi di videogioco.

Il mio coinvolgimento con il gioco è legato al tema dell’apprendimento e della didattica. Il primo esperimento risale al 1997, durante l’esperienza del Laboratorio Telematico di Collegno con il progetto di Didattica Collaborativa: l’obiettivo era imparare ad usare le tecnologie digitali per collaborare a distanza.

Molto dopo, nel 2012, l’idea dell’Italian Scratch Festival:   un concorso nazionale per sviluppare videogiochi utilizzano il linguaggio scratch, inventato al MIT per favorire l’espressività di bambini e ragazzi, e soprattutto un modo per insegnare informatica nel biennio delle superiori.

Poi all’inizio del 2014 il progetto JamToday – che prende il titolo da una citazione di Alice nel Paese delle Meraviglie

“The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today.” – Lewis Carroll

e il format  proprio dalla Global Game Jam: obiettivo del progetto è favorire l’adozione dei serious game nella didattica, attraverso la costruzione di un circuito europeo per la realizzazione di game jam  finalizzati alla realizzazione di serious game nella didattica.

Da febbraio si è  lavorato ad organizzare  la Turin Jam Today: il supporto di Marco Mazzaglia è stato senza dubbio decisivo, soprattutto perché lui aveva già organizzato la GGJ di Torino cosi’ come quello di Agnese Vellar di I3P che ha messo a disposizione la sede e il suo supporto nella promozione dell’evento.  Trovata la sede, è stata avviate  la fase di promozione e di ricerca di partner. e sono stati organizzati eventi di preparazione.  Come sempre ci sono cose che sono andate meglio del previsto e altre che invece non hanno funzionato, soprattutto in termini di visibilita’ ( sui siti di alcuni dei soggetti  direttamente coinvolti non c’era traccia dell’evento).  E’ un vero peccato inoltre che non ci sia sensibilità da parte di agenzie formative alla richiesta dei ragazzi che vorrebbero formarsi in questo settore: se da un lato si può comprendere che si tratta di piccoli numeri in termini occupazionali, dall’altra sembra tuttavia un’occasione sprecata.

Gli sforzi sono stati ampiamente ripagati dall’entusiasmo e dalla partecipazione dei 50 jammers che si sono cimentati con un tema veramente difficile da affrontare:  sviluppare un serious game che coinvolgesse insegnanti e allievi nell’acquisizione di competenze di programmazione (coding literacy).   I lavori sono cominciati con la costituzione dei gruppi attraverso lo speed grouping (ci si trova in gruppi che dopo 5-6 minuti, si sciolgono e si ricostituiscono in modo iterativo, portandosi sempre dietro un compagno), successivamente si passa alla fase creativa in cui si cerca l’idea che deve convincere tutti, poi alla fase realizzativa in cui si fanno i conti con le risorse disponibili e lo scarso tempo a disposizione, fino alla fase finale, in cui bisogna chiudere  e presentare il lavoro svolto, a cui segue la fase di valutazione e infine la premiazione, momento importante ma non cosi tanto, perché la parte più divertente è stato il tempo passato con gli altri.

Capisco perché  le hackaton stanno avendo una grande diffusione: la bellezza di lavorare con gli altri, di con-correre (nel senso di correre insieme) con persone che non si conoscono  e che hanno competenze complementari  per realizzare qualcosa che prima di tutto deve piacere a chi la realizza, vedere l’idea prendere forma in poco tempo,  che per forza di cose rimane un abbozzo e che magari continuerà in altre forme per altre vie…    un’esperienza che consiglio davvero a  tutti, anche a chi come me, l’ha vissuta da organizzatore:  ne vale davvero la pena.

 

 

Far fiorire la creatività

La differenza fra play e game in italiano non è immediatamente traducibile: detto malamente il game è un gioco con regole codificate, mentre il play è il gioco che si fa per svagarsi; in latino abbiamo  iocus e ludus, che un po’ si possono ricondurre a play e game, perché lo iocus era il divertimento,  mentre il ludus era gioco fisico, studiato; in greco paidià e agon/athlon, rimandano al gioco dei bambini e il secondo alla gara degli adulti (agonistico/atletico). Il ludi magister era i l maestro di scuola: solitamente uno schiavo greco che insegnava ai bambini romani i primi rudimenti del leggere, scrivere e far di conto. Crescendo si acquisiscono capacità di comunicare  e di fare:  attraverso la parola si comunica e attraverso l’appropriazione del gioco si attiva il pensiero, comunicando e facendo si  acquisisce la facoltà di riflettere e creare.

Un bell’articolo  di Peter Gray, tradotto e pubblicato da Internazionale nel dicembre 2013, con il titolo Lasciateli giocare, dice tra l’altro “Tutti i piccoli mammiferi giocano. Perché sprecano tempo e corrono rischi per giocare, quando potrebbero starsene tranquilli nella loro tana?”  Per rispondere a queste domande, lo psicologo ha intervistato antropologi:  i bambini di tutte le culture attraverso il gioco imitano gli adulti e si preparano al futuro.  Gray sostiene che i bambini di oggi non hanno più tempo per giocare ed è molto critico verso i test standardizzati: dichiara che le scuole asiatiche preparano studenti che hanno risultati migliori nei test, ma che sono poco creativi e motivati. La standardizzazione sta uccidendo la creatività:  infatti negli ultimi dieci anni i dati dei  Torrance tests of creative thinking (Ttct) sono in costante diminuizione, secondo Gray la “creatività non si insegna, si lascia fiorire”. Con il gioco di gruppo si acquisiscono abilità sociali: gioca solo chi ha voglia, bisogna negoziare bisogni e desideri di tutti, si impara a gestire la propria rabbia e paura.

La Lego, che di gioco se ne intende, lo sa bene e ha inventato un modo per favorire l’innovazione nelle aziende, utilizzando ca va sans dire, i suoi mattoncini (ma in realtà ormai ci sono pezzi di ogni tipo): si chiama Lego Serious Play e pare sia servito anche a loro per uscire dalla crisi.  Il metodo consiste nel trovare risposte a domande attraverso la costruzione, “lasciando che siano le mani a guidare” e con la convinzione che un oggetto  intorno al quale discutere, rende la discussione molto più “concreta”. La demo  a cura di OtherWise ospitata da Engim è stata molto convincente.

Come si fa a far fiorire la creatività?  Esistono sicuramente  sistemi e metodi (una lettura molto utile è  il blog “nuovo e utile“)  per allenarsi e il gioco sicuramente e’ uno di quelli.

“Non comprate un nuovo videogame: fatene uno. Non scaricate l’ultima app: disegnatela. Non usate semplicemente il vostro telefono: programmatelo”. Così, in un recente discorso, il Presidente Barack Obama si è rivolto agli studenti americani per stimolarli a imparare un nuovo linguaggio, quello della programmazione – il cosiddetto “coding” –, sostenendo la campagna “Hour of Code ”, lanciata da Code.org per la diffusione delle scienze informatiche. ”  Così Luca Indemini apre il suo articolo su LaStampa  in cui esplora il mondo della programmazione nella scuola italiana, veicolato attraverso il gioco.

Italian Scratch Festival da tre anni,  promuove l’insegnamento dell’informatica attraverso la progettazione di un videgioco. Anche quest’anno abbiamo visto ragazzi di prima e seconda superiore, che hanno ideato e realizzato in un periodo che va da uno a tre mesi, in totale autonomia, videogiochi più o meno complessi, lavorando sulla grafica, sulla musica e sulla meccanica del gioco. Ma all’Italian Scratch Festival hanno partecipato anche i ragazzi che con i minipc (come arduino, raspberrypi) hanno inventato oggetti come macchine fotografiche e c’era pure chi si è costruito da solo la stampante 3D. ISF Maker

La Turin Maker Faire è stata un’altra bella occasione di vedere creatività all’opera, grazie alle stampanti 3D, o attraversso luci e parti i movimento  bambini che non sanno ancora leggere imparano a programmare.   L’alfabetizzazione di domani sarà la capacità di controllare come gli oggetti interagiscono fra di loro e con noi  e solo attraverso tecnologie open questo saraà  patrimonio di tutti per evitare che l’Internet delle cose, diventi un incubo  secondo Massimo Banzi e Bruce Sterling  Banzi Sterling Turin Maker FAire

L’Università di Ferrara ha scelto un bel titolp Torino capitale dell’apprendimento ludico :  JamToday porta  a Torino la prima maratona di sviluppo di giochi per imparare. Un percorso iniziato da due anni con il progetto Boogames, perché i videogiochi possono essere anche un’opportunità di sviluppo.

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Turin Jam Today è un esperimento per sviluppare in 48 ore un serious game che serva a sviluppare competenze ICT: una cosa veramente da matti, un ingrediente fondamentale per il gioco.

 

 

 

All digital: the Los Angeles schools debacle

The project in  Los Angeles district (1124 schools) to equip all 640 thousand students with iPad was temporarily suspended (iPad initiative on hold ).

The investment to revive the results a bit ‘ poor students and Californians ‘ of $ 1 billion , which will add $ 373 million for infrastructure wifi .This is the  more extensive program in the United States for the digital equipment for students. The pilot phase of the project involved an investment of 50 million dollars for the purchase of 31 thousand iPad,  which 25,000 have already been distributed. The first problems occurred in the first week  students bypassed the block to access the social network – for these reason it was forbidden for students to take home the iPad (of course students have already declared that they will find a way to overcome the re- controls). There are also problems  on the cost side that have been underestimated: estimated costs should be tripled and it would need at least 152 trainers to teach the management of the tablet at school and any related problems, and it is estimated an annual cost of maintenance of 20 million dollars , which would be added another 600,000 dollars to improve safety management. The nodes appear to be coming home to roost: wifi networks don’t work and also the educational content provided by Pearson and Apple included in the delivery aren’t complete, although in each case the provision will expire in three years. In the committee that manages the operation has anyone questioned the choice of iPad proposing the purchase of cheaper and more versatile notebok: Superintendent John Deasy had to refute rumors about his alleged resignation. From the articles it’s not possibile to understand it teaches were trained  in terms of methodology. I hope that someone who knows the project of Los Angeles in deep,  will  soon write an useful “guide of things to do for digital school” , would definitely a better service to those who call a school “all digital “, perhaps evoking South Korea and Finland as examples , without knowing anything of their education systems and cultures.

On the sidelines, I beg a moment of pride as Dschola Association: with the project Digital School in Piedmont, in 2011 we set up the first introduction of “substantial” netbook in school. We started with an analysis of the OLPC project and wiht a first trial in a small number of classes, then the model was used for 700 netbook for 28 classes. The provided netbooks, was provided to  the pupils, pre- configured by other older students with a selection of default software on board,  selected in collaboration with teachers , and equipped  for a safe navigation. Teachers were provided by a content sharing platforms, teacher training and assistance in the event of a malfunction (which thanks to the reinforced configuration were very few). The netbook is brought home from elementary and high school students and their families were accountable, A perfectible model, especially in terms of training, that maybe left some faculty and some student discontent  but in the end it proved to be very solid.

For those interested Dschola mark next Open Day on 28 November at 14.30 at the Institute . Avogadro di Torino .

7 absurd prohibitions for women

The movement of opinion to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia may help to resolve a situation incomprehensible to most people. The day for the right for women to drive a car that was celebrated on October 26, 2013 gave international visibility to this issue.

However, in the world there are many cases of unequal rights of women similarly absurd. The Washington Post article highlights seven cases: in India, the helmet is not “compulsory for women not to spoil the hairdo ” according to the supporters of this ridiculous and dangerous disparity, Yemen testimony is worth only half of women that of a man and a woman can not leave the house without her husband’s permission – unless it is an emergency, the Vatican and Saudi Arabia, women are not entitled to vote and always in Saudi Arabia and Morocco raped women can be considered guilty for being out without an escort that protect , while in Ecuador only women can have abortions deemed ” mentally ill ” or demented .

Wanting to explore the condition of women in the world you can see the Gender Gap Index by the World Economic Forum: 2013 report in Italy needless to say is to place 71 out of 133 countries. (Thanks to Bruno for the tip)

Housework? a game .. girls

In some companies, it may be that sometimes the meeting room require a clean operatio , especially if you invite customers and external partners and then you have to know that the there is a vacuum cleaner available, it is useful information. More than useful, strategic maybe, so much that this information is given only to a few, carefully selected because ” hose who organize more meetings , events.” In short, the ” hostess ” who manages projects, perhaps with international partners, cure thoroughly all the details so who cares to arrange a comfortable space for guests and also gives the case a wipe .

Since I deal with video games , I organize a national competition and I read on the book by Jane McGonigal that she and her husband are racing to do the housework to take points in augmented reality games , I came up with the idea of search video games related to housekeeping. There are a lot ! on sites such as ” Spring Cleaning – Free Online Girls Games ” or ” Home > Games for Girls> Take care of > Cleaning” and avatars games are all female . Obviously things change if you are looking for games such as “clean snow ” where it comes to driving huge trucks snowplow .

Next target then  it will be “gamificate” the cleaning of the meeting rooms, who knows maybe with a remotely controlled robot it will  involve more  other segments of the corporate population .

Creative confidence for space design

Starting from the comment of  Conor Galvin in the Creative Classroom  “Themes” of the Media & Learning Conference, I discovered the d.school di standford (of course I really as it has the same name of the Dschola Association). Continuing in the navigation I found several interesting things and in particular the video  of David Kelley on how to build creative confidence

Kelley explained how to stop being creative and how you can return to be creative  using a method similar to that used by Albert Bandura (the fourth most psychologist cited in the world after Freud, Skinner and Piaget) to treat phobias, but above all it shows how it was possibile to eliminate the children fear when they had to undergo a CT scan. Still on the subject of creative spaces for learning, I then came across an old service by Euronews that I didn’t know and that has a column called learningworld on two very special kindergartens, one in Georgia, made in a plane and one Japan built inside a temple.

 other creative kindergarden here…

Lampedusa

[All links lead to Italian-language webpages unless otherwise noted.]

Five days after more than 350 African migrants lost their lives when the boat they were travelling on bound for Europe sank off the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, a commission in the Italian Senate voted in favor of repealing the crime of illegal immigration.

The commission on the evening of 9 October 2013 recommended that theBossi-Fini Law, which defined the crime of illegal immigration and prohibited bystanders from coming to the aid of illegal migrants, be modified to decriminalize undocumented migration. Because of that law, the 150 or so survivors of the shipwreck face criminal investigation in Italy.

On his blog, Fabio Sabatini, a University of Rome’s professor, had previously attacked the Bossi-Fini Law, calling it:

“[..] una legge che ammette i respingimenti al paese di origine in base ad accordi con stati in cui la detenzione e la tortura per motivi politici sono all’ordine del giorno. Che attribuisce pregiudizialmente al migrante irregolare la responsabilità di un reato, e che prevede quindi il reato di favoreggiamento per chiunque porti in Italia dei migranti senza visto. Col risultato poco lusinghiero di costringere gli immigrati a buttarsi in mare nel tentativo disperato di raggiungere la riva a nuoto, o di creare le condizioni per l’incriminazione di quei pescherecci che salvano i naufraghi da morte certa.”

“[..] a law that allows people to be sent back to their country of origin on the basis of agreements with states where detention and torture for political reasons are an everyday occurrence. The responsibility for the crime is prejudicially attached to the illegal migrant and, subsequently, there is also the offence of aiding and abetting for anyone who brings a migrant into Italy without a visa. The unflattering result is that immigrants are forced to jump into the sea in a desperate attempt to reach the shore by swimming, or bring an indictment upon those fishing vessels that save the survivors from certain death.”

The commission’s vote in favor of changing the law came at the end of the day when President of the European Commission Manuel Barroso and Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta visited Lampedusa, where they were strongly challenged by the residents, who greeted them with cries of “shame” and “murderers”. The Twitter user @Iddio replied:

Letta: “Unprecendented tragedy in Lampedusa”. Enrì, usually a lot more die, but more spread out and without press coverage.

– Dio (@ lddio) October 9, 2013

Many people believe that the complete abolition of the Bossi-Fini law, which has criminalised illegal immigration since 2009, would be the first step towards creating a legal system that better respects civil rights: La Repubblica’s campaign for its abolitionhas collected more than 100,000 signatures in a short amount of time.

On Twitter, people expressed their views on the possible repeal under the hashtag#bossifini:

Those who say “What’s the #Bossi-Fini got to do with it?” remind me of the farmers near Mauthausen. What’s that? Well, a factory

– Alessandro Robecchi (@ AlRobecchi) October 11, 2013

Thanks to the sailors who honour our flag by saving the lives of “criminals”, according to Bossi, Borghezio and Grillo. Down with the Bossi-Fini.

— Vittorio Zucconi (@vittoriozucconi) October 11, 2013

Those who died at sea have been granted the honour of state funeral, but only the abolition of the law against illegal immigration has prevented the survivors from being indicted. Some of the survivors of the 4 October wreck said that they had not received aid from the three fishing boats, but the Deputy Prime Minister Angelino Alfano replied that the ships hadn’t seen them. According to the blogdieles, this is not true:

[..] Angelino Alfano non può non sapere che la Bossi-Fini PROIBISCE DI PRESTARE SOCCORSO AI BARCONI. La pena è fino a 15 anni di galera (reato di favoreggiamento dei clandestini o dello sbarco di clandestini) !! Si, avete letto bene. Quella legge proibisce di prestare soccorso ai migranti che sono in difficoltà in mare. Le vite umane? NON VALGONO UN CAZZO. Quello che valeva, per il legislatore, era tenere in piedi il governo facendo un regalone agli alleati leghisti!

[..] Angelino Alfano must not know that the Bossi-Fini law PROHIBITS PROVIDING AID TO BARGES. The penalty is up to 15 years in prison (the crime of aiding and abetting illegal immigrants or bringing illegal immigrants ashore)!! Yes, you read that right. That law forbids helping migrants who are in distress at sea. Human lives? THEY ARE NOT WORTH ANYTHING. What was important for the person who wrote the law was keeping the government together by giving the Northern League allies a present!

The terrible tragedy of migrant shipwrecks didn’t end on 4 October: On the evening of 11 October, another shipwreck resulted in 50 deaths. Last summer, dead bodies were lined up on the beach between the umbrellas of the tourists, just a few metres from the sea.

A total of 250,000 people have been swallowed by the Mediterranean sea in the last 20 years, mainly migrants on their way to Lampedusa, according to Jose Angel Oropeza, Director of the Office for the Coordination of the Mediterranean of the IOM (International Organisation for Migration), quoted by the Sicilian online publication SUD. He highlighted the necessity to intervene in transit countries such as Libya, to avoid risking their lives at sea being the only way to reach Europe.

Lampedusa, an Italian outpost in the Mediterranean Sea, is an island of about eight square miles home to about 6,000 inhabitants with an economy based on fishing and tourism. In recent years, it has often faced emergency landings – and deaths – of migrants travelling by sea. The citizens of Lampedusa have shown great hospitality while paying a high price with the collapse of the tourist industry. Inevitably, the residents are exhausted: in this video some citizens report situations of difficult coexistence, thefts and assaults.

 

Fabrizio Gatti, a journalist who works for Espresso, a weekly political magazine who almost drowned himself in 2005 and was rescued by an inhabitant of the island, has launched a campaign to nominate Lampedusa for the Nobel Peace Prize. He has gathered more than 50,000 signatures so far.

There is nonetheless a bitter reflection on the topic from the blog “diecieventicinque”:

 La proposta di assegnare un premio del genere a Lampedusa è carica degli stessi sentimenti positivi e genuini che avevano mosso i promotori del premio per l’Africa, ed è già a rischio di subire la stessa strumentalizzazione politica. […] Condannare moralmente chi opera male sarebbe a quel punto altrettanto corretto.

The proposal to award a prize of this kind to Lampedusa is full of the same positive and genuine feelings that moved the sponsors of the prize awarded to Africa, and is already at risk of suffering the same political manipulation. […] To morally condemn those who preform evil acts at this point would be equally justified.

The European Council, in light of a proposal by the Commissioner Cecilia Malmstromfollowing the tragedy, decided to reinforce the Frontex [en] programme, which supports the fight against “criminal and illegal immigration”. However, an article on the“Sbilanciamoci” website criticises the agency’s activities:

In sintesi: le attività di sorveglianza e controllo delle frontiere esterne svolte da Frontex hanno come priorità quella di impedire l’arrivo dei migranti irregolari in Europa e sembrano lasciare in secondo piano le attività di pronto soccorso in mare. […] Frontex è una vera e propria macchina da guerra contro i migranti ed è scandaloso che il suo rafforzamento venga riproposto oggi a seguito della strage di Lampedusa del 4 ottobre.

In summary: the surveillance and control of external borders carried out by Frontex have the priority of preventing the arrival of illegal migrants in Europe and seem to leave the first aid activities at sea to the side. […] Frontex is a real war machine against migrants and it is scandalous that its reinforcement is re-proposed today as a result of the Lampedusa massacre of 4 October.

Andrea Segre, director of many documentaries on the conditions of migrants in Italy, including “Sangue Verde” (Green Blood) and “Mare chiuso” (Closed Sea), stressed on his blog that policies to combat illegal immigration based on military operations cannot work, and he proposed the following:

Si ma allora? Come si fa?

Si spostano i finanziamenti dal contrasto all’immigrazione illegale alla creazione di canali di emigrazione legale.

Si creano servizi e agenzie che danno informazioni su come e dove emigrare o su come e dove fuggire.

Ma così vengono tutti qui?

Non è vero.

La maggior parte di chi deve scappare da regimi e guerre, cerca rifugio vicino casa per sperare di tornarci quando le guerre finiscono o i regimi cadono.

Yes, but so what? What can we do?

Move funding to combat illegal immigration by creating channels for legal migration.

Create services and agencies that provide information on how and where migrate or how and where to escape.

But then they’ll all come here?

That’s not true.

Most of those who have run away from regimes and wars seek refuge close to home in the hopes of going back when the war ends or the regime falls.

There is no point hiding the fact that the abolition of the Bossi-Fini law will not prevent the desperate people landing in Lampedusa. For this reason, a humanitarian channel towards Europe is necessary along with a European asylum law, as proposed by theMelting Pot project:

Alle Istituzioni italiane, ai Presidenti delle Camere, ai Ministri della Repubblica, chiediamo di farsi immediatamente carico di questa richiesta.

Alle Istituzioni europee di mettersi immediatamente al lavoro per rendere operativo un canale umanitario verso l’Europa.

Alle Associazioni tutte, alle organizzazioni umanitarie, ai collettivi ed ai comitati, rivolgiamo l’invito di mobilitarsi in queste prossime ore ed in futuro per affermare IL DIRITTO D’ASILO EUROPEO.

We ask that the Italian institutions, the Presidents of the Chambers and the Ministers of the Republic immediately act on this request.

We ask other European institutions to immediately begin work to open a humanitarian channel to Europe.

We ask all the other Associations, humanitarian organisations, collectives and committees to rally in the next few hours and to say yes to THE EUROPEAN RIGHT TO ASYLUM in the future.

2013 has been declared the European year of citizenship. It is reasonable to ask yourself how those on the edge of society can be better included, and try to question a status quo that risks the exclusion of many.

 

(Article published on Global Voice Online .Translation in English by Mirella Biagi)

Adaptive, creative, social and personal is the new education

Today I followed the streaming of @SirKenRobisons in his talk for RSA “How to change education – from the ground up” –

RSA is the organization that realized the graphical edition of the speech of Ken Robinson “Changing education paradigm”

The today’s talk (Jul,1 2013) in about 45 minutes, had the aim to describe how to fix education, after his previous talks in which he described the troubles in education.

Of course, the years pass for everyone and today the event  maybe was an opportunity to  launch the new Robinson book: he was not brilliant as in the famous video for TED “ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity'”  that collected more than 14 millions views, and maybe I missed something, so I will  watch again the recorded version of the talk.

He reiterated the concept that the education system today has a legacy that is derived from the industrial era, today a company where every 40 minutes a bell rings, and a group of people move from room to room to do different things, eight times per day wouldn’t be alive yet.
He argued that the issue of education can be approached from two points of view: economic and cultural. Entrepreneurs want an education that favored the maximum adaptivity and creativity, while from a cultural point of view, education should be more social, also with reference to the issue of democracy and even more personal, to encourage the development of talents, which I suppose to be the central thesis of his new book “Find your element”, sequel to “the Element” – which incidentally I purchased, started and abandoned as boring – the same things he says in the video in the TED 15 minutes.

The part I liked the most was the one in which he cited the theater (the theater is a bit ‘the metaphor of all I think … who remember the book ” Computer as a theater ” by Brenda Laurel), and in particular Peter Brook’s” Theatre can be a genuinely transformative experience ” to draw a parallel between actor and audience, teacher-student ..
The most important point is that the core of the educational process is the encounter between teacher and students, that it is an adaptive process and complex an ecosystem and that policy makers should invest on that, not on the process of “knowledge distribution”

Just in this day in an Italian newspaper published a news about the SteveJobs school in Nederland that from next september will give an iPad to every student, allowing flexiblity in the time pupils will stay at school and also if the teacher is absent for a short time, is not a problem for the student as all the lessons are on available and ready on the iPad.

Some of my network contact published enthusiastic comments to this news: I didn’t completely agree as I just read this article
Catching on at last – New technology is poised to disrupt America’s schools, and then the world’s,. The article speaks about the tremendous pressure of suppliers of IT solutions to the schools: in 2011, the peak of investment on education was almost to the levels of the dot.com bubble in the early 2000s, and various other aspects, related to the use of learning analytics (ie, profiling of students through the data provided by the various learning environments) and how all this eventually marginalize the weaker students, and finally as a teaching methodology heavily based on digital media can make use of facilitators that are not necessarily “full” teachers (fearing a demotion of teachers).

And what if the blended school model could be an opportunity also for the better teachers? This presentation How Blended Learning Can Improve the Teaching Profession  argues that through digital technology, teachers may be allowed to work better.

At the end of the day, the most interesting reading, as suggested by a twitter during the conference of Sir Robinson, just related to the relation between teachers and students, was the Harvard Magazine article
“Twilight of the Lecture”  where the prof. Manzur, said he found out – with a little dismay – that his students repeated perfectly what they were taught without understanding it in depth … and how then ihe suggested them to discuss with each other to clarify the concepts: the best part is where he says that the students were very angry to have to learn on their own, since they paid expensive fee and take exams on things that had not studied before.

We could talk about “critical thinking”, or “problem based education” or “inquiry based education” but it’s about learning to think, to put things into relations, to build hypotheses, and in that case the little girl that through her iPad is very fast in  checking  if the teacher said nonsense can be a resource and not a boring know-all.

My first home made bread

Home made bread
Il primo pane fatto in casa con pasta madre
Il primo pane fatto in casa con pasta madre

I’ve already written of my participation to the healthy cooking course , organized by GADOS, and I learned that you can cook reducing fat and sugar, and using new ingredients (for me) as the arrow root (which is used more or less as corn starch), agar agar (to make azuki pudding ) or many other spices. The teacher  that organizes the course on behalf of Giolitti school, the last night gave us the natural yeast and I had  also the other natural yeast  that my friend Vielmina gave to me. I ventured into the production of homemade bread .. a process a bit long. I started the Saturday of Easter cooling the dough at 6 pm, then at  9pm, to continue Sunday morning with the realization of the dough starter  at 7 am, than mixin again at 8am and then at 10.30 I baked, they cooked about an hour.

I kept it separate the two yeasts, and I made bread with whole flour and wheat flour 0: to be the first attempt, I was very satisfyied. I think the prof Mariangela Zandonadi will be happy if I share his instructions BREAD recipe passo_passo .
As I was awake  and I had to wait the time between a mix  and the other I prepared other dishes, including sweet Easter which is prepared in Sicily, or the cuddura cull’ova, following this recipe .

Tipico dolce siciliano di pasqua
Tipico dolce siciliano di pasqua

I do not know how long this desire to cook, but in the meantime I enjoy it enough, like last Sunday, preparing brunch with pumpkin muffins, spinach strudel, homemade bread, jam, tea, strawberries and apple tarte tatin.

Il brunch delle Palme
Il brunch delle Palme