M-LEARNING AS A LONG-LASTING SCAFFOLDING TOOL. HOW SOCIAL MEDIA AND MOBILE COULD SUPPORT NEW HYBRID FORMS OF DESIGN STUDIO TEACHING
Mobile learning refers to distributing training content via mobile devices. Mobile technologies are pretty flexible and can support different models, from content delivery to those that leverage interaction, experience and knowledge building. Today, learning "almost anything" is possible through mobile devices.
This aspect is so crucial that the term "bring your own device" (BYOD) was introduced to describe this new way of learning. BYOD implies that learners increasingly use their gadgets to learn in class or study alone or in groups. In addition to becoming a part of our daily lives, BYOD is defined by the widespread availability of mobile apps, which increases the complexity of interactions between people and learning settings.
The potential for using these technologies as training tools, thanks also to their flexibility and wide use for non-teaching purposes, should be a factor not to be underestimated is the fact that through mobile learning, the learning phase is no longer bound to a given time or place with specific characteristics, but allows learning to take place potentially anywhere, as well as the fact that thanks to these devices it is possible to define increasingly open and shared interactions, implementing different forms of participation and collaboration between the users involved, thanks also to different software and the myriad of social channels. However, the contemporary mobile and social environments do not replace but complement institutional ones, creating new virtual spaces for learning and collaborative construction of knowledge and hybridising formal and informal contexts. In this framework, Instagram could be considered a learning tool capable of stimulating the creation of learning communities, supported by different forms of scaffolding and continuous formative feedback actions.
The potential of M-learning and social media as an activator of virtuous and transmedia processes leads to the emergence of new forms of innovative didactics capable of stimulating processes of cooperation, sharing and integration. The article intends to investigate the relationship between design studio teaching and visual social media, sharing an experiment on Instagram as a channel to build a "social" form of the augmented classroom in Visual Communication courses. Instagram is, therefore, considered here from different points of view, both as a platform for interaction and sharing of information between teachers and students and among the students themselves, as a channel to support the different project phases and last but not least, as a creative stimulus.
The research implemented was structured following an iterative form of the design process, based on the "4A" model: starting from the concrete experience of the current situation (Actual), moves towards the design of experimentation (Act) by reflecting (Analyse), interpreting and imagining different alternatives (Abstract). To validate the results and the action implemented, we then proceed to analyse the tools implemented not only using as a framework the Bloom's Taxonomy Periodic Table of Activities for Inspired Learning, considering both teachers' and students' points of view, but also considering the results of surveys and focus groups undertaken by students and teachers. The research results allow defining a set of actions and digital tools to support visual design education using Instagram as an augmented classroom mobile form.