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March 28th, 2012
Geomatics and Intelligent Geography: Leading Curriculum Innovation in Practice

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Events that reward educational initiatives pertaining to non-profit and profit specialism reflect experiences that have allowed us to gain a broad perspective on the implementation of new curricula, including ‘disadvantaged’ sectors, but not limited to, and falling within the field of geomatics and intelligent geography. These events have been analyzed in a number of European countries (eg Italy, England and Spain), selected according to criteria of significance of the courses offered and reform, as well as geographical relevance. These models were compared with American models. 
The guidance in Europe and the world appears to be towards a greater synergy between the different educational addresses and between higher education and university courses. With greater cooperation between institutions of secondary education more research centers and universities can offer new growth opportunities for both “general” courses, as well as those for 
targeted vocational training, encouraging, for example, students career paths to gain from the valuable resource of school-work, as well as  from dimensional flexibility of the curricula on offer.

It ‘s interesting to note how the management of training processes aimed at the weakest ones (student disadvantaged, with special educational needs, etc..) can not be resolved in the dichotomy of “private / public” education, but requires instead a 
synergistic relationship and “subsidiarity” of all the actors involved.

Under the guidance of several investigators, professional expert, etc. a strong multidisciplinary and multicultural education approaches to the fundamental theme will be developed. This is a work in progress.

General Introduction
The events that reward educational initiatives related to non-profit and profit recount experiences that enables us to gain a broad perspective on the implementation of new curricula, even for “disadvantaged” sectors, but not limited to and related to the field of Science and Technology. 

Studies conducted during a course implemented at Maryland University, with collaborations with the English Trust for European Education (ETEE) and other Educational Institutions provided interesting insights for the analysis of structural models and curricula. The Author’s collaborative interests have verified the opportunity to deploy open source applications from 2004-2005 and educational projects in blended mode e-learning and approaches (eg combined strategy), and implementations of the first generation to distributed simulation (http://www>.mimos.it). 

These studies took root in England at Manchester University since 1993. “The Notebooks of Eurydice”, however, offer interesting insights for further analysis of curricula to implement in the field of “techniques and technologies of representation” (especially for secondary schools and university courses in Italy and Europe), as well as the design of new curricula aimed at comprehending the reasons that triggered the reforms in recent years comparing models, procedures, and structural and curricular organizations related to this particular level of education.

A selection of European countries (eg Italy, England and Spain) was analyzed in particular, based on significance criterion of courses offered and reform, as well as geographical relevance. These models were compared with the American models. It should be noted however, that Spain has just concluded the process of reforming the entire education system, following the Education Act of 2006, and therefore, at present, the new reforms are considered work in progress.

The guidance in Europe and the world appears to be aimed at greater synergy between the different “educational addresses” and between higher education and university courses.   Greater cooperation between upper secondary education institutions, research centers and universities can provide new growth opportunities for both general courses as well as those aimed at professional training, encouraging, for example, students of diverse career paths to follow simultaneously courses of a general nature, yet implementing the valuable resource of school-work, or greater curricula flexibility. 

The new reforms in professional development, implemented since the reform of upper secondary level of a general and technological kind, can also be read from the perspective of a slowdown in the drop-out phenomenon. In France, for example, there is great concern about the annual average figure of 50,000 young people who leave high school permanently without having obtained the baccalauréat, as well as the almost 50% drop out rate of first year university students. Reforms are designed on the principle of a more personalized guidance, support and education to update and improve curricula to meet the challenges of “globalism”.

On the other hand, in education and training, regional bodies are specifically being created for the promotion of innovation in the ICT sector, where all stakeholders (educational institutions, social partners and associations industry, associations of families, etc..) are called to assist.  These are founded on the principle of subsidiarity with the primary purpose of creating better opportunities to switch between the dual system and other pathways, as well as between vocational and other schools, institutions of Higher education and universities. 

It ‘s important to remember that the British Ministry of Education, published in 2008, an update of the implementation plan of the so-called “14-19 reform” of 2005 (Delivering 14-19 Reform: Next Steps) which defines the various stages and timetable of the reform until 2015. A planned extension of compulsory education and training up to 17 years, from 2013, and up to 18 years, from 2015 was simultaneously envisaged through this reform, with the aim to achieve greater flexibility, simplification and quality of the system of “new skills”, for students aged between 14 and 19 years.

Progress made by Member States in relation to benchmarks established by the European Commission on dropouts and completion of upper secondary education should make us reflect. The launch of  “Education and Training 2020” (http://www.europa.eu) is a further confirmation of the strategic importance assigned to it by the recent European Commission Communication, later converted into a Council Recommendation on the policies of reducing early school (even in cases of “at risk groups”).  

Diversity in the European education systems and across the world is recognized as a value at all levels, and has a strong impact on the performance of higher education systems pertaining to the field of new technologies. This also calls into question the problem of evaluation of research in the areas where it is difficult to establish a clear separation between Social Sciences and Humanities against hard Science and could therefore refer to the proposal’s main theme (Evaluation of Research in Social Science, Humanities and Sciences Scientific : Prospectives).
 
Experts from various Italian and foreign universities, European Union officials and representatives of scientific and major international research organisations dedicated to the evaluation of scientific research (eg, WOS, Scopus, etc.) are facing the problem, largely in the current debate on Italian university research, of limiting the possibility to introduce in social sciences and humanities research classification criteria permitting an assessment similar in form to that customary in scientific research. However, this does not solve the problem of those disciplines where it is difficult to establish a clear separation between the areas. The question in these cases is whether such clear distinction is actually needed. 
 
Technological progress, the Internet and globalization have radically changed the way in which data is collected, accessed and processed for pedagogical-didactic purposes too. New proposals in the field of geomatics and ICT are intended to update and modernize the principles enshrined in the 1995 directive on the protection of personal data.  This aims to ensure that future users of education systems are brought under a single unified legislation, with a uniform protection of privacy  rights and data transmission services and the aims to enhance users’ confidence in online services, thus promoting economic growth, jobs creation and innovation in Europe and globally.

As far as “Open Source in Public Sector Information” data is concerned the question remains to be decided and this therefore relates to research carried out by the group NEXA, also referring to Article 5 of Law 633/194 and an extensive reading that allows to interpret the rules more flexibly. However, problems arise in terms of ownership rights (eg in the treatment of different kinds of works – literary works commissioned from the wall protected by law and databases, even “scientific” commissioned)

Educational Institutions are increasingly interested in the potential of Linked Open Data to enable new ways of leveraging and improving our digital collections and dissemination of information, as recently illustrated by international cultural events. The Linked Open Data approach combines knowledge and information in new ways by linking data about cultural heritage, education and other materials coming from different sources. This not only allows for the enrichment of metadata describing individual cultural objects, but also makes our research and experiences more accessible to students and general users by supporting new forms of online, blended discovery and data-driven research.

As the word “open” implies, the Linked Open Data approach requires that data be published under a license or other legal tool that allows everyone to freely use and reuse the data. This requirement is one of most basic elements of the “novel online architectures”. And, according to Tim Berners-Lee’s 5 star scheme, the most basic way of making available data online is to make it ‘available on the web (whatever format), but with an open licence’.

“In line with the Open Knowledge Definition and the Definition of Free Cultural Works, licenses that either impose restrictions on the ways the metadata may be used (such as ‘non-commercial only’ or ‘no derivatives’) are not considered truly “open” licenses in this context. This means that metatdata made available under a more restrictive license than those proposed in the 4-star system above should not be considered Linked Open Data. Ideally the online community will come to agreement about the best approach to sharing metadata so that we all do it in a consistent way that makes our ambitions for new research and discovery services achievable”.

Stability rules and codes should always be seen as resources and never obstacles, just as technologies should be seen as good teachers and professors and never alienating systems.  In principle,  users (and never customers) must become co-authors of a process of change.  There are no manuals for the resolutions of cases,  but there should always be continuous experimentation where networks provides valuable opportunities. Needless to say,  curricula are vital organs of Educational Institutions as enabling elements of continuous improvement of educational offerings. This approach actually should change the structure of the curriculum and encourages students to view concepts, issues, themes, and problems from several perspectives and points of view. 

Selection criteria that are currently based mainly on direction of studies, or on the chosen curriculum could also be based on  student population characteristics, or of combinations of different approaches. In an era where lifelong learning is essential to generate a competitive labour market  to remain anchored to traditional admission approaches, and to the exclusive concept of completion of higher education, may not be a winning strategy in the medium term. An assessment is essentially a verification instrument based on “pedagogical reasoning” and cannot be entrusted to closed models and mere psychometric approaches, but should instead be aimed at identifying and strengthen the “multiple intelligences”.  

In conclusion, it is interesting to recall how training processes management aimed at the least advantaged pupils, such as those with special educational needs, etc. cannot be resolved by the application of a “private / public” dichotomy, but requires instead a synergistic relationship and “subsidiarity “among all the players involved, where there is no single key-worker, but where the entire network becomes an agent and director of changes, opening windows onto new territories, beyond those of a mere “terrestrial identity”.  One could also attempt an integrative approach including different stages of evolution of an educational institution, initially such approaches could be deemed “political” and then moving on to collegiate and / or formal structures. However, the primary reference model remains the democratic one, as this is the only one that gas garnered increased development over time. In this specific perspective geomatic technologies can offer great opportunities to implement new curricula, while seeking for  the “common good” (Giussani, http://www.clonline.org/FirstPage.htm).

Acknowledgement

My sincere thanks to all my friends, professors and colleagues (e.g. E. Ciliberto, S. Cristalidi and M. Fantato) who have contributed to and worked on part of this project. My special thanks goes to AIMC and UCIIM  and Dante Alighieri University (Reggio Calabria).

 

Web sites:

http://www.asita.it

http://www.avsi.org

http://www.cdo.it

http://www.etee.org.uk/

http://www.euresis.org

http://ec.europa.eu/education/

http://www.miur.it

http://nexa.polito.it/

http://www.novauniversitas.it

http://www.tracce.it

http://www.umuc.edu/

http://www.unicatt.it

http://www.unict.it

http://www.unistrada.it/

http://www.ibe.unesco.org/en.html

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