13 SES 08 A, Active ageing, narration, and temporal distortion
The pandemic has highlighted the temporal distortions (acceleration and suspension) in contemporary society and in schools.
In the so-called society of acceleration (Rosa, 2010) the virus acted as an ambivalent environmental factor. On the one hand, the time of the lockdown represented a sort of accidental structural slowdown, on the other hand, the frenzy dictated by smart-working, daily web-conferences and the acrobatic disentanglement between professional and private times, further heightened the sense of urgency.
Among the realities involved, the school experienced this double and paradoxical temporal distortion with incisiveness. The frantic research for an adequate technological adaptation of the didactic offer, which involved teachers, students and families, has produced wavering results, at least in Italy, the privileged point of observation of this paper. The school, facing the emergency, found itself not equipped for distance teaching (CENSIS, 2020.CENSIS is Centro Studi Investimenti Sociali. It is a socio-economic research institute founded in 1964, the most qualified and complete authority in interpreting Italian reality). The most obvious critical aspect emerged from the point of view of accessibility and inclusion of all students. Recent studies shows that distance learning increases the potential learning gap between students (World Bank of Education, 2020).
On these bases it appears that the guidelines for the school of the future have still to be written and deciphered, especially if related to ICT. More generally, school represents the tip of the Iceberg in a complex learning change related to human interactions with ICT (Buckingham, 2019).
The ineluctability of digital technologies in our lives delivers the dialogical need to rethink from an educational stand point the technical-media dimension that intercepts and modifies the horizon of education for all human beings. This contribution aims to verify the relationships existing between human beings and ICT, with special reference to how these interactions involve learning processes.
Studies on changes in cognitive processes (reading and memory) deriving in part from the habit of persistent use of ICT, raise questions about the learning transformations.
It is no longer the world of the anthròpos - where technè was an instrument controlled and dependent on a human being (Gehlen, 1957). It is a world co-inhabited by men and machines; both can be considered as acting beings characterized by a symbiotic and interdependent relationship (Braidotti, 2019). Information has passed from the functional-communicative level to the structural-ontological level (Floridi, 2010). Through numbering and binarization reality has become informational (Castells, 2009). This is the infosphere society, where history is fragmented because collective and individual memories are fragmented (Baron, 2014). It happens for two reasons: the exorbitant amount of data (Ulin, 2010) and their volatility, and the new habits of reading. Digital devices combine a hasty way of approaching reading, often carried out in contexts that are not adequate to activate processes of deep reading and meaningful learning (Rivoltella, 2020). So we pursue a present made up of information that does not survive at the moment they are new (Benjamin, 1962), and the ability to remember reduces (Levitin, 2014).
The average person consumes data in rhapsodic and fragmented sequences of activities, losing the habit of continuous reading, prolonged and concentrated (Wolf, 2018).
What role will deep reading play in a hyper-accelerated context (in which reading has fragmented)? How can we remember if the time for long-term memory will be increasingly eroded by the continuous and volatile multimedia stimuli? The paper aims to answer these questions, expanding theoretically Wolf's proposal on the need for bi-literacy - alphabetic and digital - for learning.
As an essay on the philosophy of education, the methodological approach of the paper is theoretical, according to an approach that refers to the critical tradition (Cohen, Manion, Morrison, 2018). The survey - focused on the cognitive transformations of memory and reading in the contemporary world and their educational implications - starts from the contingency offered by the pandemic and from the acceleration of the digitalization of the educational offer. The analysis of reality is thus absorbed as a circumstantial paradigm within a speculative approach, through which a problematic tension is established with the data, or rather, with the set of data. The latter are presented in their phenomenal-descriptive nature to be overcome - in the perspective of a limited rationality - in the direction of a theoretical reconfiguration represented by the educational proposal at the end of the contribution. The methodological criterion used is therefore "remettre en question", using the fatigue and rigor of the concept to try to penetrate the fragmented complexity of the present and observe in blacklight the essential fibers of our daily life experience (Conte, 2016). This approach is carried out according to logical, analytical and reconstructive rigor and on the basis of an anthropological sensitivity that makes own the declinations of the philosophy of the person (Reid, 1962; Ricœur, 1990; Joas, 2011). In this way, the cognitive aspect and the horizon of goals are kept correlated, avoiding the risk of reducing the educational reflection to the technical-applicative side.
Wolf proposes a reform project of learning where reading and media literacy are maintained as parallel and integrated skills. In this way the culture of the book and the ICT culture could be integrated: a sequential, alphabetic, narrative culture, capable of organizing and structuring thought, should be combinate with topological, spatial culture, where intuitively exploits the analogies, the comparisons between images and interactivity. The integration of topological and alphabetic approach gives rise to hybridization in the learning processes, safeguarding alphabetic education that leads to an analytic-narrative thought and integrating it with a sensorial education that activates spatial logics, favors the intuitive thinking and activates sharing and co-construction processes (Kahneman, 2011). The ultimate goal would be to develop a bialiterate brain for the new generations, capable of allocating time and attention to deep reading skills regardless of the medium used (Wolf, 2018), while maintaining the abilities offered by habits of digital life. Thus, the opportunities that teaching activities can draw from a stable relationship between students, teachers and technologies in hybrid, plural forms of learning, capable of combining formal and informal (Potter, McDougall, 2017), are enhanced, passing from an (emergency) distance teaching to digitally augmented didactics. Building a bi-literate brain brings back the goal of learning to learn (Delors, 1996; Recommendations 2006/962/CE; Recommendations 2018/C 189/01 ) - beyond specific literacy (reading and media) - within a meta-reflective horizon, in which the importance of learning does not reside exclusively in skills or activities, but in the allocation of time to investigate one's own cognitive processes (Novak, 1996). In this perspective school would acquire the role of meta-reflective guide, offering support to students in the construction of an increasingly conscious and personalized study method, in which to rediscover the centrality of reading and memory in the learning processes.
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