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The Sloop2desc courses in Italy

The Sloop2desc courses in Italy

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Published by Pierfranco Ravotto
The article presents the experience of the Sloop2desc courses in Italy, courses that involved over 600 teachers, mostly in the computer science field.
The data show that the courses have been strongly characterized by interactions among people and collaboration for the production of open educational resources to use with students.
The article presents the experience of the Sloop2desc courses in Italy, courses that involved over 600 teachers, mostly in the computer science field.
The data show that the courses have been strongly characterized by interactions among people and collaboration for the production of open educational resources to use with students.

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Published by: Pierfranco Ravotto on Nov 16, 2011
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Sloop2desc - Sharing Learning Objects in an Open Perspective to Develop European Skills and Competences1
Mara Masseroni
, Francesca Berengo
, Luigi Petruzziello
, MonicaTerenghi
, Pierfranco Ravotto
ITSOS “Marie Curie”, Cernusco sul Naviglio
AICA, Milanomasseroni.mara@gmail.com
, p.ravotto@aicanet.it 
The article presents the experience of the Sloop2desccourses in Italy, courses that involved over 600 teachers,mostly in the computer science field.The data show that the courses have been stronglycharacterized by interactions among people and collaboration for the production of open educational resources to use with students. L'articolo presenta l'esperienza dei corsi Sloop2desc in Italia, corsi che hanno coinvolto oltre 600 insegnanti, inmaggioranza di informatica. I dati forniti evidenziano come si sia trattato di corsi fortemente caratterizzati dalle interazioni fra persone ecollaborazione la produzione di risorse didatticheaperte da usare con gli studenti.
Teachers' training, Online learning,Virtual classroom, Tutor, Open educational resources,Competences, EQF, EUCIP, e-CF.
Formazione docenti, Formazione in rete,Classe virtuale, Tutor, Risorse didattiche aperte,Competenze, EQF, EUCIP, e-CF.
Too often, the Italian school is perched on the oldmodel of transmission of teaching: the lecture still has thelion's share of teaching, the student has the role of listener-performer only to explain procedures in detail, but rarely is asked to participate in building his/her ownknowledge.A first element that hinders educational innovationis to be found in some "laziness" of teacher's category,which not being stimulated by economic or socialrecognition, it hardly keeps up the onerous commitmentto change their way of teaching, both through the 'use of new technologies, both through the overturning of the oldmodel "teacher-centered".The second factor hindering change is the lack of training courses that are truly effective in helpingteachers to "reprogram" the way they teach. In particular:we have repeatedly stated the importance of acompetence-based didactics, but how can you actually doit?Finally, as regards the integration of onlineeducation and face-to-face learning, there remains the problem of teaching resources. Although the network isan almost inexhaustible source of materials, and perhapsfor this reason, it is difficult for the teacher and thestudent to navigate through the sea of educational proposals, which are almost never actually reusable,missing the opportunity to change and adapt them tospecific school contexts.The Sloop2desc project has tried to give an initialresponse to these needs intertwining several themes: theuse of online learning to complement face-to-facetraining, the sharing of open digital resources andcompetence-based learning.
As envisaged in the original plan, the transfer actionof the project has had its focus in Italy. The courses inSlovenia and Romania have had the role of testing thetransnational effectiveness of the approach chosen, but itis in Italy that the goal was the training of a large number of trainees.The training was implemented in two phases [1]:
 pilot courses: from 23 February to 27 June 2010,
cascade courses: between November 2010 and May2011.The pilot courses have been advertised throughnotices in schools in Sicily and Lombardy, with thesupport of the Educational Committees of these tworegions, and through the network. The proposal primarilyaddressed teachers of computer science, but all those whoapplied to participate were received, among them a smallnumber of people outside the two regions and some non-computer persons engaged in University or privatetraining. In total the trainees enrolled in the pilot coursewere about 60.The cascade courses - where tutoring was supported by a group of trainees selected from the pilot course -were advertised over the network at national level andwere supported with communications to schools by thetwo regional Educational Committees. The goal was to
Giovanni FULANTELLI, Lucian OPREA Case-study Italy2reach 400 teachers (primarily computer science teachers).The applicants were more than 1,700: teachers fromsecondary schools (but not only) of all disciplines,demonstrating a strong interest in the themes of thecourse and a great need of training even though in theabsence of incentives or formal recognition. All theapplications of computer science teachers andmathematics teachers, in some way involved in teachingcomputer science, were accepted: to them teachers of other disciplines were also added to reach the total of 547trainees.Ten classes - with the names of victims of theMafia, as a tribute to them and the tenacious will toremember: Paolo Borsellino, Agostino Catalano, EddieWalter Cosina, Dicillo Rocco, Giovanni Falcone,Vincenzo LiMuli Emanuela Loi, Antonio Montinaro,Vito Schifani, Claudia Traina - were each assigned twotutors, selected from participants in the pilot courses. 6classes were composed mainly of computer science andelectronics teachers, 3 of mathematics teachers and 1 of Italian and foreign languages teachers.An eleventh class was then added to them: PeppinoImpastato, consisting of teachers of businessadministration, for possible connections with anexperiment in progress by three Commercial TechnicalInstitutes (programmers specializations): Romanazzi inBari, Baffi in Rome and Fermi in Pontedera.Such course comes out of the consideration that thesyllabus of this specialization mainly covers the EUCIPcore syllabus and therefore the proposal is to make thestudents acquire such certification at the end of a three-year course. Business teachers are responsible, under thatlogic, for the training related to the Plan area.It seemed therefore interesting to support this experimentinvolving a large group of teachers of Business in thetraining path related to EUCIP core.This eleventh class had a small number of trainees (abouthalf of the others) and was entrusted to a single tutor.
The two pilot courses started with a meeting in presence and had another two additional face-to-facemeetings: an interim and a final one. Here you find theanalysis of data concerning the course in Lombardy, butwhat is reported is also valid for the Sicilian course.
3.1 Participation and dropouts
The trainees were over 40, but some of them did nottake part even in the face-to-face meeting and others,after this meeting, have never entered the onlineenvironment. We therefore refer only to the 33 studentswho entered at least once in the platform.Of these, seven have never gone beyond Module 1 and, ingeneral, have only started it (five under two hours and ahalf, one four hours and another six hours): a trainee hasentered Module 2, but with a total connection time of 
 of an hour. Two have been present throughout the course but, again, one for a total of 
of an hour and the other for a total of 3 hours. A total of 10 students, almost 30%,have just looked out to the course but have not actuallytaken part in it.All this is shown in the figure below, where thecolumns indicate the connection time for each of the 33students for each module.
 Figure 1. Connection Time of 33 trainees.
We therefore limit our analysis to the remaining 23 participants (Figure 2). They all have arrived at theconclusion of the course even though four have not participated in the creation of OERs. Thus, the 70% whodecided to take the course after seeing what it was like,100% has arrived at the end and 82% has completed it asrequired (57% compared to 33 who have started).How can we evaluate this data? The dropoutsconcentrated in the very first stage of the course: peoplewho rated the course as not relevant to their interest or too difficult or too challenging.Those who considered the course of interest didnot generally change their minds along the way butremained until the end even though, in some limited
Sloop2desc - Sharing Learning Objects in an Open Perspective to Develop European Skills and Competences3cases, without accepting the collaborative involvement inthe production of OERs.The merit of such constant presence - for a longtime - in our opinion is due to the pleasant climate of interaction and the feeling, made explicit by many participants, to be actually learning something useful for their professional practice.Many trainees often apologized that they couldn'tdevote to the course as much time as they wanted, andthey thought necessary, because of work and familycommitments. A working time of at least 2-3 hours aweek, then between 32 and 48 hours for the 16-week course had been indicated. Sixteen students haveexceeded 40 hours, three of those who also participated inthe production of OER were under 32.Eight spent over 70 hours online (i.e over 5 hours per week). But these figures show only the connectiontime in Moodle, do not include the work in the production of materials or contacts among trainees inother settings, sometimes - for students of the sameschool or in the same city - even in the presence. 
 Figure 2. Time connection of the 23 active trainees.
3.2 Interactions
The data relating to posts in the Forum providesonly a partial measure of the interactions occurred. In thetwo collaborative phases of Module 2 and Module 5, thetrainees were, in fact, called to interact via email, phone,Skype and Web 2.0 environments. But the interactionsoccurred with other instruments are not measurable, sowe give only the data related to the forum, which,however, show how the expected level of interaction has been achieved.The table on the right shows the number of opendiscussions and the total number of messages. A verylarge number, reflecting the fact that a course based onstrong relationships between tutors and students andwithin their peer group has succeeded.Figure 3 is the result of an analysis performed onthe flow of communication in the first three modules. Inthis sociogram, each node represents a participant; if twonodes are connected by an orange line that means thatone of the two students has commented, at least once, a post written by the other trainee. If the line is blue, itmeans that the interaction occurred in both directions.The analysis of this graph also allows you to identify therole of individual trainees in the virtual classroom(community).
discussions posts
General Forum 42 347Coffee Area 15 108Mod 1 Forum 17 348Mod 2 Forum 10 439Mod 3 Forum 13 381Mod 4 Forum 8 118Mod 5 Forum (1) 17 133Mod 5 Forum (2) 17 370
Total 139 2.244
(Forum 5 had two forums, one for group discussion, one for general discussion).
According to J. Nielsen [2], user participation inmost online communities more or less follows a 90-9-1rule: 90% of users are lurkers (i.e., read or observe, but

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