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Research and Innovation for the Italian School

Immersive Teaching

The Immersive Teaching project aims to explore and consolidate the potential of so-called “Virtual Worlds” in educational environments. Virtual Worlds are online 3D environments simulated by computer in which users – through an ”avatar” – can explore settings, contribute to creating them, plan and take part in activities, and communicate with other users.

Over the last few years, the  virtual in the educational sphere has been recognised as a powerful and effective tool to support teaching and learning, in line with a constructivist didactive approach. In particular, Virtual Worlds make it possible to carry out specific tasks inside different  ”settings” built as scenarios for learning objectives. This makes it possible, for example, to learn English in a virtual setting that simulates the experience of an airport check-in desk, or while ordering at a restaurant, or maybe learning about science by exploring the sea bed or the inside of a volcano. Furthermore, it offers teachers and students the possibility to actually build these scenarios themselves. For example, a class – but also several classes geographically distant from one another – can use a Virtual World to set up an exhibition space on a particular subject, or rebuild a historical site from the past.

As part of its “Immersive Teaching” project, INDIRE has developed a technical platform called “edMondo”, a Virtual World to support innovative teaching designed for teachers and students in Italian schools. Based on open source technologies, with particular attention to scholastic needs, edMondo is distinguished from the most common Virtual Worlds by three characteristics:

  • Security
    Only teachers and students (authorised by their own teachers) have access;
  • Identity
    Access is only permitted using real identities (no false/hidden identities);
  • Class Management Options
    The possibility for teachers to register their own students and manage accounts and permission.

Open from 2012 after three years of testing, edMondo hosts teacher training courses (to date more than 1,000 teachers have been trained). After training, the teachers can continue to use “edMondo” to carry out teaching activities with their students.