Institute for Educational Technology, National Research Council of Italy (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN23 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 7579-7584
ISBN: 978-84-09-52151-7
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2023.1971
Conference name: 15th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2023
Location: Palma, Spain
Innovation culture in schools is mainly associated with the organizational and didactic dimension, such as defining strategies that promote innovation or foster innovation-oriented teaching practices. It rarely concerns spreading innovation culture directly among students themselves. This article presents a laboratory pathway called DigInnoLab, which is aimed at seeding digital innovation culture among students, with a particular focus on AI. The idea is to help learners not only to become conscious users of digital innovation products but also active participants in digital innovation ecosystems, e.g., by becoming future developers. Through the proposed pathway, students will learn about key characteristics of digital and sustainable innovation, basic AI concepts and major applications. Critically, they will also develop anticipatory thinking skills for imagining possible futures and how to generate them. As UNESCO highlights in its 2017 report on “Education for Sustainable Development Goals”, fostering anticipatory competency is crucial to boost digital transformation of education and students’ 21st century skills.

The DigInnoLab pathway comprises three interconnected stages: Lab#1 focuses on key features of innovation processes and basic AI concepts; Lab#2 is devoted to understanding and applying anticipatory thinking in order to foresee and evaluate multiple futures for sustainable AI development; and Lab#3 entails a hackathon event to engage students in developing innovation ideas on DigInnoLab topics. Each lab stage encompasses four activities:
(i) Warm-up, where the teacher stimulates students to reflect individually on the Lab topic so as to draw out their initial conceptual images of the theme;
(ii) Induction, during which an expert introduces the key concepts covered in the lab;
(iii) Consolidation activity, where students produce an artefact to consolidate what they have learnt both individually and during group activities;
(iv) Peer-review, where students share their artifacts and engage in a peer review activity. DigInnoLab has been developed as a blended pathway, with some activities taking place in an immersive online environment (e.g., Metaverse), supported by an automatic agent in the role of counsellor. To ensure its sustainability and up scalability, the DigInnoLab pathway is designed so that teachers can manage it autonomously. To this end, an online training course has been developed that helps teachers familiarize with the contents and strategies for handling the lab pathway with their students.
Digital innovation culture, anticipatory thinking, AI basic concepts, sustainable innovation, 21st century skills.