History, linguistic abilities and sciences:
an example of collaborative learning through e-mail
in a secondary school


Background information on the observation site

The lower secondary school "Guido Reni" (11 to 13 years old) is located in the historical centre of Bologna, in a recently renovated historical building. It has 16 regular classrooms, 3 special rooms for handicapped pupils, two special rooms for artistic and musical education, a library, a gymnasium and 4 labs: the linguistic lab (25 seats equipped with microphones and earphones), the scientific lab (chemistry, physics and natural sciences), the audio-visual lab, equipped with tools for the production of audiovisuals (both still and moving images), and the computer lab.
The activities here described refer in particular to those undertaken by the class 3°D (13 years old, 21 kids).


The technological equipment available and its localisation in space

The computer lab, in which the activities related to e-mail and Internet take place, is equipped with 11 computers. All computers are linked to the server Kidslink through a UUCP connection system. All the kids have their own e-mail address. The lab is accessible during normal class area, according to the calendar established at the beginning of the school year. Each class has at least one activity per week taking place in the lab.


Description of the activities involving the use of e-mail

The activities started in 1992, in the framework of the Kidslink project. Launched in 1990 by two researchers in astrophysics in the National Council for Research (CNR) based in Bologna, on a pure voluntary basis, Kidslink original aim was to link some of the schools of the city and province of Bologna, through the server of the CNR, to allow the kids to exchange messages on themes that particularly interested them, with kids all over the world. The following activities are now undergoing in the school "Guido Reni".

The activities involving the use of e-mail are fully integrated in the school curriculum.


Pedagogical issues

The main pedagogical objectives underpinning those activities are:

All these activities aim at encouraging the autonomous initiative of kids and the collaborative learning processes between kids and their peers, kids and their teachers and finally teachers among themselves, through the setting up of interdisciplinary activities. For the third grade, they also aim at the preparation of the final exam, which entails an interdisciplinary assessment.



E-mail address and contacts

Write to Prof. Giuliano Ortolani.
For additional information, hit the following URL: The KidsLink Project

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last ver. 30.7.98