Master “Le nuove competenze digitali” 2015-16

Master – nuova edizione 2015-16

“Le nuove competenze digitali: open education, social e mobile learning”

Il Master è istituito presso il Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Educazione e Psicologia dell’Università degli Studi di Firenze, avvalendosi dell’esperienza e della lunga tradizione di ricerca del Laboratorio di tecnologie dell’educazione (LTE).
Dopo 12 anni di attività con Master e Corsi di perfezionamento nel campo delle tecnologie di rete e dell’Instructional Design, il Laboratorio ha progettato un nuovo Master. Le competenze sviluppate risultano di particolare rilevanza nel mondo della formazione professionale, della scuola e dell’editoria multimediale, settori attualmente in trasformazione sotto l’impatto del digitale.

Fra i profili in uscita dal Master:

Instructional Designer
Il profilo in uscita prevede la conoscenza delle metodologie fondamentali dell’Instructional Design e la capacità di progettare, implementare, disseminare percorsi didattici aziendali o istituzionali, efficaci, efficienti, basati su evidenze scientifiche e supportati da tecnologie (e-learning, open courseware, MOOC).

Per maggiori informazioni consultate la pagina del Master:

Affrettatevi a iscrivervi o informate chi ritenete possa essere interessato.

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Instructional simulation: from theory to practice

Charles Xie has written a review of my book “Simulation and learning”, you can read it here:

Doctor Xie is a senior scientist at the Concord Consortium, where he has developed and co-developed Energy2D, Energy3D, Molecular Workbench and Quantum Workbench (see links below). These are amazing instructional simulations that have been used by countless students around the world!

The review perfectly captures the main idea of my book, namely the interplay between computer-based simulation and the cognitive capacity of mental simulation. I’m really honored by that!

If you are a teacher, parent or scientist, interested in science education, don’t forget to visit the following links:

Energy2D-ConductionVsConvectionA model that shows the difference between natural convection and conduction. Image from a simulation conducted with the Energy2D simulation program, courtesy of the Concord Consortium. Web site

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What’s the role of mental simulation in understanding scientific concepts?

This article offers an interpretation of scientific concepts’ understanding in terms of mental simulation.

A series of studies are reviewed, showing that mental simulation is a fundamental form of computation in the brain, underlying many cognitive skills such as mindreading, perception, memory, and language. Current investigations in cognitive neuroscience are then considered, that relate mental simulation with brain regions involved in episodic memory, future thinking and problem solving. The role of mental simulation in scientific thinking is described and a link is made with model-based reasoning in scientists and students. The simulation and linguistic systems are shown to be integrated and mutually reinforcing. The reviewed studies provide a set of ideas that are applied to science education.

Finally, instructional design guidelines are proposed to facilitate the mental simulation-based process of concept understanding, together with a list of possible difficulties in concept comprehension and conceptual change.

Draft version available here:


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Book review

A review of my book has been published on Amazon.

It can be found here:

Simulation and Learning A Model-Centered Approach

The reviewer is doctor James Hadley, Instructional Designer at The Boeing Company, specialized in designing PC-based instructional simulation for technical or strategic training.

Thanks Jim!

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Master 2015 “Le nuove competenze digitali”

Il Master è istituito presso il Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Educazione e Psicologia dell’Università degli Studi di Firenze, avvalendosi dell’esperienza e della lunga tradizione di ricerca del Laboratorio di tecnologie dell’educazione (LTE), guidato dal professor Antonio Calvani. Uno degli elementi di distinzione del master è la presenza di un modulo dedicato all’Instructional Design e alla progettazione didattica.

 Locandina: Locandina-Master-FI-2014-15Fare clic per ingrandire

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Conference presentation

Here are the slides I used to assist my presentation at the Innovation in Science Education conference:

If you’d like a more detailed account, please check out my previous post.

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Innovation in science education

The conference “Innovation in science education in primary school and kindergarten: At the crossroads of science and humanities” will be held on November 21-22, 2014, at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, in Italy.

I will be there to give a talk entitled “The role of mental simulation in understanding and creating scientific concepts”.

Hereafter is the abstract of my talk:

Concept comprehension can be examined at different levels of analysis. In instructional contexts, it has mostly been identified with the ability to recognize the instances of a concept, and to differentiate it from other similar concepts. An additional level of complexity is that of representing the map of relations among concepts. In this presentation, I argue that a third level of processing is required for the understanding and use of scientific concepts, i.e., that of mental simulation, a unique cognitive capacity which is grounded on sensorimotor experience and also requires a continuous interaction between simulation and language. Simulation-language interaction might be facilitated by the use of figurative language, analogies and narratives, but might be hampered by a lack of motivation and working memory resources.

If you happen to be there, don’t miss this unique conference which will be combine different perspectives on the important topic of science education for children.


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