Istituto per le Tecnologie Didattiche     
Delfino M., Persico D. Informal learning as a leverage for digital awareness and SRL. In: "Self-Regulated Learning in Technology-Enhanced Learning Environments: Challenges and Promises" Stellar-Taconet Conference, Barcelona, October 1, 2010, Universitat de Barcelona (Barcellona, 01 ottobre 2010). Proceedings, pp. 50 - 58. A. Bartolomé, P. Bergamin, D. Persico, K. Steffens, J. Underwood (eds.). Shaker Verlag, 2011.
This study focuses on the relation among formal learning, informal learning and SRL and provides some provisional considerations on this subject based on the results of a survey addressed to a community consisting of the students of a large Italian lower secondary school, their teachers and their parents. The data were collected through three questionnaires aiming to investigate the phenomenon of cyberbullism (Li, 2005) and, more generally, shedding light on how "wise" is the use of digital technologies among the community members. By wise use of technology is meant here the mastery in using digital tools, not just from the point of view of the technical skills , but rather from the point of view of the control on and awareness of the implications of their use (cfr., digital cleverness vs.digital wisdom, Prensky, 2009). Even though the investigation of students SRL was not among the explicit aims of the survey, some of the information gathered provide interesting hints on the way SRL intertwines with formal, not-formal and informal learning (Bjórnavold, 2000; Eraut, 2000). This contribution is based on an excerpt of the results obtained from the questionnaires filled in by the teachers (nt=56), complemented by the data emerged from the questionnaires compiled by the students (ns=626) and those filled in by the parents (np=579). The following are the main outcomes of the survey relevant for our discussion: - personal use of digital technologies is quite frequent among teachers and students, but technology has not yet assumed an important role in formal learning. Interestingly, while parents regard a major role of technology in schools as desirable, teachers are more cautious about this; - teachers (as well as parents) believe to be less familiar and less skilled with technologies than their students, thus recognizing their digital cleverness, although the educators sensibly doubt about their digital wisdom; - teachers claim to be in control of their time when navigating the web, while students affirm that they often find themselves spending more time than expected on this activity; parents allegations are closer to those of the students; - teachers appear to underestimate some of the risks connected to the use of technology, such as finding unreliable information, having their computers infected by viruses, coming across undesirable websites, being contacted by unknown and uninvited people; - teachers believe that their students lack some important cognitive skills (long term and in depth concentration power and other learning abilities) and put down these problems to their intensive use of the web. Teachers attitudes towards the use of technology in the educational context do not seem to take into consideration the fact that technology has entered their students' and their own households and has consequently changed the practice of learning, at least in non-formal and informal contexts. Underestimating this factor prevents teachers from activating a dialogue between their students digital cleverness and their own (digital?) wisdom in order to improve the integration of technology in formal learning contexts and the self-regulation of the learners.
Subject cyberbullying
digital awareness
formal and informal learning
lower secondary school

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