Distance learning, in September will not go to the attic [INTERVISTA]


From handicap to opportunity? Distance learning could prove to be a great opportunity for schools. Whatever the type of judgment, favorable or contrary to the lessons remotely imposed by the health emergency still in progress, over seven hundred thousand teachers in a few months have been forced by the situation to measure themselves intensively with telematic technologies.

No training course, even if impressive, would have allowed the teaching staff to prepare in such a precise, fast and efficient way to use the platforms to manage remote lessons, from synchronous ones in videoconference to those recorded, albeit with many, too many difficulties encountered. The inconvenience related to the sometimes more than precarious connectivity of the network have paired with the inequalities that have arisen. These problems will obviously have to be resolved as soon as possible, since the near future too – next September – as well as the present of the last days of school, speak the language of lessons at least partially at a distance, given the expectation of the feared second wave of the pandemic .

But the future also speaks of distance learning, which even outside the pandemic could support teaching in the presence that it would be foolish to imagine it could go to the attic. They are convinced of this, for example, at the classical high school Telesio of Cosenza, where in recent weeks they have thought of making the most of distance learning, a difficult moment from an operational point of view for both teachers and students, as an opportunity to encourage the meeting direct and at a distance of the students with some great intellectuals of our time, who gave lessons, made speeches, moreover at no cost, and compared themselves with the students of the high school directed by the engineer Antonio Iaconianni. And so, from the idea of ​​Professor Angelo Costa, a Latin and Greek teacher of a terminal class, the format entitled “The Great at home” was organized, a series of meetings on the Skype platform with some of the greatest living intellectuals. Nuccio Order, a professor of Italian literature at the University of Calabria and world-renowned essayist who spoke of the usefulness of the useless in the time of the coronavirus, intervened. The linguist and philologist Luca Serianni, an academic from La Crusca and an academician from the Lincei, from the La Sapienza University of Rome, talking to the students spoke about the cultural achievements at the end of the classical high school. Bruna Pieri, a professor of Latin literature from the University of Bologna, one of Augustine’s greatest scholars, spoke about the time in the Christian author, a useful lesson also in view of the preparation of the paper for the upcoming State exams. The philologist Roberto Antonelli, vice president of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, La Sapienza University of Rome, gave a lecture on the classics, ranging from Homer, to Virgil up to Dante. Finally, the archaeologist Ermanno Arslan, former Superintendent of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, as well as an academic from the Lincei and a professor at the IULM Free University of Languages ​​and Communication in Milan, finally gave a very interesting lesson for the students by telling his experience on the excavation of Scolacium linking it to the classical world.

“It is a beautiful idea that we had with Professor Costa, which I thank, and which has received a lot of consents, even outside our educational institution, both from families and from students”, is the comment of the headmaster Iaconianni. “Quite simply,” explains Iaconianni, “it was thought to make the best use of distance learning which, although carried out in an excellent way by the dedication and spirit of self-denial of many teachers and shared by the students’ maturity, risked, like all experiences in break-in, to proceed a little tiredly, therefore we thought of a cycle of lessons with the great intellectuals of our time who intervened, and for this we thank them very much, and have held some wonderful lessons. I was present at each meeting and I was able to gather great enthusiasm from the students, supported by many questions at the end of each lesson. These young people of ours took these meetings as a nice opportunity and I was able to touch the goodness of an idea that we will certainly propose again in the next few years, to offer even more quality and thickness training offer to our users: because the great people continue to pass by Casa Telesio ”.

Professor Antonio Iaconianni, will this idea die with the desired death of Covid-19 or has it opened a breach for the future?

“This idea will continue, all right. The idea that handicap can become a resource excites me. It is not a matter of replacing face-to-face teaching, indeed one should not exaggerate, but the idea of ​​being able to use these distance teaching platforms, which in a few months have become common teachers and pupils, in a valuable tool for creating initiatives such as “Half an hour with ..”, live, and with famous people who intervene in class, soon and outside the pandemic, I really like it ”

How was the idea born?

“The idea is simple but when you are in an ordinary situation you don’t think about it. But suddenly a light bulb turns on. Distance learning has shaken up but over the years we have conducted a project that has brought so many characters here to Telesio. So I said to myself: now they are all at home, they have time, they don’t have to take any planes, why don’t we ask them to intervene remotely? But yes, we ask them to come. And so came – at a distance – many beautiful people and our children had the pleasure of attending equally beautiful lessons with which illustrious personalities have deepened some themes of interest “.

And what does it boil for the future?

“The ideas are endless. The possibilities become endless. You can ask the mad scientist, the mathematician, the humanist, the journalist, the man of the institutions, the virologist why not? to intervene by videoconference at any time it deems useful to discuss a topic, a theme. The parliamentarians, the men of the institutions can intervene, who can speak of a problem of strict legal, economic or social relevance. I imagine Rubbia or Zichichi or others who can virtually arrive among the desks to explain some topics, to animate the teaching.

Then I think of other cross-cutting activities. I think about the possibility of recording the interventions, the dialogues, I make the boys do the cover and the end credits, the editing, from there to many other collective activities. I will push to die on this precious tool, we will use it above all in terms of cultural exchanges, on twinning. And again: with the national network of smart schools, which we have created, and with which we want to interact and intervene on the Ministry of Education “.

Did the kids appreciate it?

“The boys are delighted, there has been a good response, they have appreciated the insights, they have compared with interest with all the scholars. In my opinion, with videoconferencing it is easier for people of culture to approach our schools and, moreover, you have it for free. The cycle The Great ones at our house it has allowed us to record the initiatives and the interventions, we have clips of recordings, this really revitalizes teaching, gives new life. Look, believe me, I bring this idea to me even after Covid “,

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