T.E.S.T.: Technologies for STEAM Teaching
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transition. While teleworking and distance learning have become a reality for millions of people in the EU, the limitations of the current level of digital readiness have also often emerged. The pandemic has exacerbated the existing digital skills shortage, while new inequalities are emerging due to the fact that many people do not have the required level of digital skills or work or study in contexts that are lagging behind in terms of digitization. Digitization has been, and will undoubtedly be, the central element in managing and overcoming the emergency, and the crisis will probably act as an accelerator for some training processes. If, indeed, online teaching has allowed millions of students in Italy and around the world to continue their studies, to graduate and to continue to do research, universities are, therefore, called upon to develop comprehensive strategies for the full integration of electronic learning (e-learning) , mobile learning (mlearning) and ubiquitous learning (U-Learning), involving the didactic mission and the entire academic body. It is, therefore, necessary to promote innovative and quality teaching and learning methods through new technologies and digital content, helping universities and teachers, especially those of the STEAM disciplines whose empirical nature doesn’t find a match in an old-concept distance learning and instead requires advanced, interactive virtualization solutions, to acquire digital skills and teaching methods, supporting the development and availability of Open Educational Resources and mobilizing all stakeholders (teachers, learners, families, economic and social partners) in order to change the role of digital technologies as catalysts of didactic, content and methodological innovation of higher education at European level. In fact, scientific, technological and artistic education is based on the experimentation of students in a laboratory, where theoretical models are confirmed, a practical, pragmatic, empirical orientation is provided, creativity and group work are stimulated. These aspects require European Universities to evolve, in a digital key, the forms, methods and opportunties of teaching/learning and which call the teaching staff to personally evolve towards the role of the Adaptive teacher, able to govern digital teaching tools and to introduce teaching methods that combine virtuality and laboratory skills (learning by e-doing) as experimental grounds to introduce elements of flexibility, simplicity, accessibility, interactivity and personalization, which represent key quality indicators in open learning.