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Annuncio spostamento blog

Ho deciso di muovere la mia pagina web accademica e il mio blog in un posto unico, e ho scelto di fare un blog e il sito con l'hosting gratuito su wordpress. Per favore, aggiornate i vostri feed reader al seguente indirizzo:


Se mai cambierò di nuovo, aggiornerò il feed, così voi non vi accorgerete di nulla. Analogamente, mi sono deciso a comprare un dominio che rimarrà anch'esso permanente:

Tutto ciò che ho pubblicato sul blog di Blogspot rimarrà intatto perché già riferito nel web, perciò non ha senso toglierlo. Per non perdermi di vista, potete farvi vedere in qualche social network. Quelle a cui partecipo sono tutte listate a questo indirizzo.

Blog Change News

I moved my academic web page and my blog in one place, and they are both hosted (i.e., web page and blog) with the free hosting by wordpress. Please, update your feed readers with the following:


If I would ever change again, I will update the feed, so you won't notice. Analogously, I finally decided to buy a domain for me. This will act as a permanent url:

Every post I published in the Blogspot blog will remain here as it is already spidered by the web. If you want to be in touch with me, consider to knock me via some social network. Mine are listed here.

Ŝanĝo de blogmotoro

Mi portis mian universitatanan tekstejon kaj mian blogon al ununura ejo, ambaŭ gastigitaj de Vordpreso. Bonvolu aktualigi vian rettralegilon al la sekva treleg-adreso:


Se mi volus ŝanĝi denove ejon, mi aktualigos la traleg-adreson, tiel ke, vi eĉ ne notos la ŝanĝon. Simile, mi finfine min decidis aĉeti porĉiaman ttt-adreson por mi:

Ĉiu blogaĵo kion mi eldonis per Blogspoto restos tie ĉar jam araneigita ttt-e. Se vi volas resti en kontakto kun mi, frapu al iu socia reto kiun mi partoprenas. La kompletan liston vi trovas tie ĉ.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Cowboy Bebop: mangao enhavas esperantaĵon!

Jes ja, mi trovis esperantan skribaĵon en la mangao Cowboy Bebop. Nekredeble!!!

Friday, November 24, 2006

On research papers based on questionnaires

My second bad feeling about some papers is the use of students in questionnaires about learning method evaluation. My First Assumption is: students always lie. Participants' feedback is always too high. No one will ever tell you are completely wrong in doing your work, if you play a role hierarchically higher than every particiant's, as teacher role is, whatever pedagogical framework you actually use.

Corollary: do not base your research only on student-based questionnaires. And please provide a control group! This is sociological basics!

Integrating ICT into school curricula: the Fifth Dimension project.

This morning two people from Australia presented the Fifth Dimension project, which I was unaware about. Based on the cultural-historical Activity theory by Mike Cole, the teach digital media production to pupils (10-13 age) with Garageband and other good mac stuff, using a lot of examples as the famous movie Chicken Run and of course mind maps and brainstorming.

See the results in their web site!

Virtual words to teach object orienting programming?

Everybody gets cracy about virtual worlds for group world, such as Second Life or SLoodle (connected with Moodle LMS). As they are developed with an object-oriented technology, you may use them to teach object-orienting programming: imagine how feel students learning to use obejcets through real objects (in the virtual world of course).

Why not?

On the use of psychological taxonomies

Some papers use psychological taxonomies applied to ICT environments. The most popular here are Peter Senge's Fifth Discipline, Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI).

It is a fascinating idea, but it has some risks inside.

Let's take a common example, such as the learning styles by Honey and Mumford. They individuate theorists, who want rational and structured knowledge; reflectors prefers to obeserve and review; pragmatists, who look for practical applications and finally activists, who learn by experience.

But don't we use every learning style during our learning process?

The risk is to collocate yourself in one of the style, once for all. I think that everyone use more or less very style in his or her learning process. This is trivial, but when you evaluate automatically students' learning styles, as some papers show, the risk of using Ockam's razor as an axe is quite concrete...

Aware of this caveat, I was impressed by the paper presented yesterday by two nice girls from Gent Universiteit: how may you structure the information fluxus in a thread system, say a web forum? Their answer is: force people tag messages in a appropriate way, as the usual OT (Off Topic) subject mark is example. In particular, they tried to applied two different frameworks: De Bono (1991) Six Thinking Hats (unfortunately trademarked as Buzan's mind maps...) and Weinberger (2005) argumentation visualisation script (see this ACM citation). While the second one seems to be a rethorical basic taxonomy (argument, counterargument, integration), De Bono's one seems to be more articulated and it worked well with their students. They did use control group and a solid data analysis, unless most of their colleagues here! More details here about their work.

An original way conducting an oral presentation

Yesterday Mike De Kreek and Josephine Lappia showed the most exiting interactive oral presentation I've ever seen. Every participant holds three different colored cards, i.e. red, yellow and green (as traffic-lights). They put general questions about their paper. If you want to examine a particular question, you should raise the green card. If the question isn't clear enough, you raise the yellow one. if the question has no interest for you, raise the red one (indeed, in this case people didn't raise any card at all.

From Josephine I learned I'm a knowledge broker, that is someone who loves to create connections between community of practices. Sounds good.

One interesting thing that was focused in this presentation was a common risk of publicly available e-learning content. The risk is that people out of your institution see and use the content far more than people within, and they are almost all free riders, i.e. they catch content put they don't contribute to its development. Let's describe it with a table metaphor: people join a table discussion, they don't say anything at all and at last they take proceedings without ever say goodbye.

Does anyone participating at conferences have a sense of deja vu?

On the technological ignorance in some e-learning researchers

I have a bad general feeling about a specific aspect during the panel "pedagogical aspects" in this conference. It's true that Technical problems need to be addressed very careful before classes start. As Maria Teresa Ciaffaroni told us with W.B. Yeats,
education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
A lot of people talk about the constructivism learning perspective (with the usual references: Rogoff 1990, Duffy and Cunningham 1996, Vygotsky 1962, 1978) in a technological context totally unfit to the very perspective! But if you don't know the underlying technology basic choices (i.e. LMS vs. blogs vs. wikis) you can't really say something pedagogically new, as the fundamental decisions were already taken by someone else, in particular the software designers, usually -- but not always, as Ward Cunningham explains about wikis -- unaware of the underlying pedagogical framework.

Summary of my argument. We need an explicit learning theory, in order not to fall to the 'silver bullet' conception of technology. In fact, as Maria Teresa (again!) said: there is no ready-made software tool for learning suitable for every occasion once for all.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Wanted: blended learning

Wow! First conference I see where every day posters change. I decided to post my notes following topics instead of conference time schedule, it sounds a more promising approach to me. But let's talk about the content...

Ok, we have cross-cultural communication (even if cyberspace is the product of western culture), temporal and geographical freedom, community of practice, multimedia accessibility... someone call all this new "academic literacies" (for instance, the old one is taking notes; the new one is how to search into electronic sources). And yes, forums allow to feel part of a learning community (of practice, if you like the term).

But what do we really want?

Productivity or creativity? the general feeling is, that students don't need more and more information, but a method to distinguish the important infos from the rubbish! If distance learning becomes "try to push buttons until the program let you enter the next level" we don't increase intelligence in our trainees more than in Weizenbaum's Eliza.

I feel there is a new wind in e-learning professionals, called blended learning. Yes, after the euphoria in distance learning for some years now the most advanced parts of the world as Canada reckon the value of face-to-face interaction, where accountability and course rigor is better. This happens as teachers are not so confident in technological self-efficacy. So, the solution is: use both, according to situations. After all, as Dianne Yee said (more or less), excellent instructors are so in every environment.

Nevertheless, yesterday Werner B. Korte, form Empirica, showed us how much the EU commission spend to make distance learning available to NMS (New Member States, in the EU jargon), project called i2010, because you need hardware and software before dealing with quality.

Out of topic: a great system for blind pupils was presented by a clever Japanese guy, really worth a look.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ah, Sevilla... il viaggio

Rieccomi in un'altra conferenza/avventura. Questa si chiama Formatex, e mette insieme forma(zione) e tex(nologia). Ah, sono a Siviglia, o, come scrivono qui, Sevilla.

Ore 17:25. Parte il bus che dall'aereoporto giunge in centro a Siviglia. Di fronte a me ho un tramonto senza infamia senza lode. Ogniqualvolta vengo in Spagna non so mai se rispondere in italiano o in inglese. Mi parlano in spagnolo, e capisco quanto basta per sopravvivere. In aereo ho provato a leggere una di quelle riviste da aereo, e sí, leggevo prima in spagnolo e poi in inglese per controllare. Se le frasi non sono troppo lunghe capisco bene. Certo, era uno spagnolo certamente anglicizzato, per lo meno per il forte spezzettamento delle frasi. Quasi un corpus parallelo frase per frase, pronto per la traduzione automatica statistica... Ma non divaghiamo troppo.

Ho letto l'intervista al presidente dell'Instituto Cervantes, che fa quello che potrebbe fare, e non fa, la Società Dante Alighieri da noi: promuovere l'idioma nazionale. L'anno prossimo ci sarà un convegno a Milledolil (se ricordo bene il nome) dove l'Instituto Cervantes si incontra con le principali università ispanofone di tutto il mondo per redigere una Grammática Panhispànica. Un bell'atto di pianificazione linguistica, non c'è che dire.

Il viaggio? Tranquillo. I timori di sacchetti e sacchettini per i dentrifrici sono stati fugati fin da Malpensa: come mi ha confermato l'operatore addetto, basta mettere tutto nel bagaglio principale e non in quello a mano ed è morta lí. In fondo posso non lavarmi i denti dopo pranzo, per una volta. Ho mangiato un trashburger sorvolando i Pirenei, e mi sono pentito. Allora a Madrid mi sono rifatto con un ottimo sushi, nemmeno troppo costoso (circa 14 euro). Nota: sul biglietto c'era scritto gate/puerta de embarque HJK che significa "ovunque nel terminal". E i terminali non mostrano tutti i voli, solo quelli della stramaledetta lettera dei gate circostanti. Eppure i gate con le K sono adiacenti a quelli con le J, e senza soluzione di continuità. Comunque.

Dopo aver sbagliato la fermata del bus, mi sono diretto a piedi a bordo del centro verso l'albergo, che è alquanto carino e caratteristico, in pieno centro (e neppure troppo costoso: ho prenotato volo e albergo contestualmente con eDreams e in effetti risparmi anche il 10% a notte). Alle 18:00 c'erano 17 gradi, l'ho visto su una farmacia, e il sole stava tramontando. Credo che ci sia stata un'escursione di 8-10 gradi nel giro di un'ora, dopo il tramonto infatti fa freddo come a Milano. I vicoli del centro sono deliziosi, molto, molto spagnoli come te li immagini: nomi delle vie ultracattolici, case colorate, caratteristiche.

Prometto che farò delle foto.

Web 3.0: last hype?

Everyone is blogging about the last article by John Markoff, in the NYT. A good report you find in Mikele's post, and an enthusiastic explanation in Roin Good's post -- also availabel in Spanish and Italian.

I just tried Opine, and I have two remarks: (1) the language menu doesn't work at all, at least in Italian. I switched to Italian, then I typed "Roma alberghi" and it didn't understand. Bad design: let a menu if and only if it works, otherwise don't put it, they say; (2) trust everyone's opinion as Opine seems to do implies a terrible risk to have positive feedback, i.e. everyone finally has the same, stupid opinion. I don't think democracy or web 3.0 is equal to "majority rules", and no more.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Ah, Sevilla... First conference day

And finally I'm here, at the Facultá de Communication, where m-ICTE is held this year. Not so difficult to find: with Google maps or likely services you really can't lose yourself anymore.

Among today's presentations (about 100 lectures during the whole conference!) something interesting emerged, that I report here. This morning I learned that there are some certification of e-learning quality, at least three (EFMD, CEL and SCIL) and they tell not always the obvious: (a) you should have surveys form the trainees about their feelings in the distance learning experiences; (b) these surveys show that videogame-learning style is preferred and (c) that mostly production workload don't enter the curriculum (neither teachers' nor students') -- this is a major problem in the field. A great spreadsheet about surveys was presented by Wannemacher.

Vicki L. Cohen ahd a very interesting talk about the literacy in our time. Our pupils learn to read through blogs, for instance, iPods, chats, text messaging, far more than on printed books. Which kind of new literacies get involved in reading e-text? We should teach students (a) how to select keywords in order to better googling, otherwise they browse only by clicks in trusted portals; (b) they learn factual knowledge instead of posing conceptual questions, and consequently (c) they do not know how to select reliable web sources and they try to find only one answer to the question, even if there are more possible good answers. She ese in classes a mind map software for kids called kidspiration. She is publishing a textbook about these topics, by sure worth a look.

An other fil rouge of the presentation was the use of videogames, especially to teach hard sciences such as maths or engineering -- a K-12 student example for Taiwan learners of English was presented. An interesting task was explaingin own land's holydays -- why esperantists don't do the same sort of things? I found useful insights form the experience. They do use videogames to reach teenagers that abandoned school, and they explained their pedagogical method with a eBay or Wikipedia metaphor: learners seek out teachers form a wide available range of sources, as in these popular web sites. You should propose the best offer!

Yvonne Barnard form Eurisco showed a 4-level model to evaluate learning improvement, by Kirkpatrick, which is adaptable in a lot of contexts: (1) reaction of the trainess; (2) learning as improved knowledge, skills and attitudes; (3) behaviour, i.e. improvements in actual work and (4) results, i.e. organizational benefits. It's trivial to observe that without (3) and (4) your teaching method is a failure.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Il miglior manuale italiano di esperanto è scaricabile liberamente in PDF

I miei lettori piú affezionati lo sanno: il mio incontro con l'esperanto è avvenuto qualche anno fa su internet, quando la parola web in
Italia era sconosciuta e nei dizionari significava (ragna)tela.

Oggi la situazione è cambiata moltissimo: c'è il Kirek, corso gratuito per email, valido in Italia come credito formativo, ottimo per chi usa la posta elettronica quotidianamente; più difficile, ma più remunerativo e probabilmente più divertente, è il corso basato sul romanzo giallo per apprendenti Gerda malaperis, che si può anche seguire anche dopo il Kirek; un corso gratis con molte canzoni, da fare sul proprio pc (windows o linux), utile per chi si connette di rado; c'è il portale Lernu ricchissimo di nateriale didattico e con una buona comunità alle spalle (non so perch´ l'italiano non figura piú tra le sue lingue).

Prima di tutto questo, molti italiani avevano imparato l'esperanto sul manuale di Bruno Migliorini, insuperato nel panorama italiano per chiarezza, concisione e completezza. Bruno Migliorini fu linguista e italianista insigne, celebrato quest'anno a Firenze in una giornata di studi a lui dedicata. Per chi non sapesse chi era Migliorini, si legga almeno il ritratto a lui dedicato da Tullio De Mauro, purtroppo solo in formato word.

Il manuale di esperanto lo si può acquistare sul web presso i tipi di Edistudio, ma -- sorprendentemente, e spero legalmente -- si può scaricare liberamente in PDF dal sito della Federazione Esperantista
Italiana, e il vocabolario bilingue a parte.

Adesso dalla rete si può imparare l'esperanto anche senza rete: la chiusura del cerchio. Un'ottima occasione se siete incastrati dai parenti qualche giorno, siete scollegati, e avete sempre desiderato avere un momento tranquillo per imparare i rudimenti della lingua internazionale del dottor Zamenhof.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

IF Comp 2006, The End

The Interactive Fiction competition has ended (here the final results), and I casted my votes! My preferred games was Möbius, which I found very interesting, as you can't write such a story in an uninteractive fashion, and Floatpoint, by Her Majesty Emily Short. It contains a great introduction to IF -- I'm an absolute beginner -- and it ahs a very friendly hint mode. However, I found it a bit too difficult for me, and after one hour playing I wanted to read the walkthrough.

I tried to play to Requiem, good atmosphere on start, but how I can restore a saved game?!? This stupid limitation prevented me to play it at all. The worst I tried was Bible Retold: I find very unfunny to play a story that I already know, and a bit unrespectful play in such a way Jesus' life.

An other great game was Moon-Shaped, an interesting mix. It started as a very famous child story, but don't believe it! The more you go along, the more it goes complicated, frightening, and adult... but with (at least one) happy end. With this game I learned that if an object is closed, sometimes it happens it's not closed... the same place may appear very different if you have a higher level of consciousness. I don't like to have a complex map when playing, and in the last part it is a bit difficult but well written. I used the walkthru to know how it might end.

Tentellian was really frustrating. It's unfunny to get prisoned after some moves and the whole thing you seem to do is to rightly move here and there. Terrible. Also bad the web games.

I think it's better to use Inform7 or Inform6, or TADS3 or TADS2, to build your own IF. They are both mature programming languages suitable for IF building. Otherwise, the risk is to have a poor and frustrating parser. An example of bad parsing from The Sisters

> open glovebox
You open the glovebox. Your penknife, your mobile phone and your mobile phone charger are inside the glovebox.

> take all
There is nothing to pick up here.

Frustrating, isn't it? An other example from Enter The Dark, where you type "hit the door with the bar", and you have no answer, even "you can't do that". And you can't examinate anything. Where's the pleasure in reading descriptions? The walkthru also is bad... it's not clear how to do things with it. No hint, poor help for novice players as me.

The Elysium Enigma has a great introduction to IF, in particular about the conventions used about dialogue with NPCs. You feel a bit stupid at the start, as you don't know who you are ad what are you supposed to do. It
is well written and a very good parser, the best one I proved, along with Floatpoint. Also hints are good. It's a bit similar to Emily Short's story, but far less complicated...

This IF may also be used to teach Italian youngsters a bit of English.

The philosophy behind Rails is getting real...

Ok, you are using Rails to build your web app... but where does Rails come from? The framework was extracted from Basecamp, a real-world, revolutionary web app that started this magic world. Now, the guys at 37 signals have released Getting Real, a book about the philosophy they use to stay at the edge.

Free for browsing!

Mappe mentali per le cose da fare: esperienze

Enrico Mangano è autore di un interessante post sulla tecnica del pomodoro, e si è mostrato interessato sul mio uso delle mappe mentali per tenere traccia delle cose da fare -- la mia "todo list".

Tutte le cose che devo fare con il computer (il 99% delle cose lavorative, dunque) sono tracciate mediante una mappa mentale di freemind. Usa la mappa in complemento alla tecnica del pomodoro per tenere sott'occhio gli obiettivi a medio termine, la "big picture".

La mia mappa TODO di ieri la vedete in figura in alto: i numeri indicano le priorità temporali di quello che devo fare, in termini di obiettivi -- per una granularità operativa, uso i pomodori. Le etichette in maiuscolo o CamelCase (come si dice in italiano?!?) indicano le mie personalissime macroaree di lavoro.

Dico di ieri perché il ramo marcato come "1" l'ho cancellato, brutalmente, avendo fatto la mia conferenza ieri, senza salvarlo, tanto ho la traccia dei pomodori sul processo di sviluppo. Dopo aver cancellato un ramo (che soddisfazione, ragazzi!), cambio la priorità ai rami rimanenti o ne aggiungo di nuovi, come nella mappa di oggi (in figura qui in basso):

Notate che ci sono dei rami non espansi: sono cose da fare in là, non immediate e quindi richiuse in se stesse per non complicare il colpo d'occhio. Purtuttavia, sono già ben definite in compiti di medio periodo. Per "medio periodo" intendo al massimo un mese di lavoro: per esempio, il ramo della tesi di dottorato è alquanto complesso, e se non ne sto facengo un pezzo.

Thinkature, the web whiteboard

Thanks to Matteo who drop me a note about it! What about? Thinkature, the web whiteboard for remote brain storming and idea collaboration (I tried using in chat with two colleagues of mine, and it was a cool experience).

By the moment, Thinkature servers are slooow, but I'm sure this is not a real problem. Should you switch off your beloved Freemind? you may ask.

Well, not really. it doesn't work on line, and I often sketc my idea privately, not collaboratively, at least at the first glance. But sure there will be occasion where Thinkature may play a role.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Babel, nemalvidebla filmo

Ĉiu e-isto devas vidi Babel-on, kiu montras kien tutmondiĝo portas nin kaj povas inspiri kiamaniere e-istoj povas proponi alian vojon por tutmondiĝo.

Vere nemalvidebla filmo!