Paola Limone, born in 1964, is a teacher in the province of Turin, a technology enthusiast and a person who is faithful that a change and improvement of the Italian school system will occur thanks, in part, to the use of digital tools. She has founded the Facebook group “Insegnanti” (Teachers) that counts 16,634 active members and, for about two years now, has been working on the project of mapping teachers that are online.
ALL ABOUT PAOLA LIMONE. Her passion for technology has always distinguished this teacher from Turin who, for 30 years, has taught at the 1° Circolo di Rivoli, and, in September, will transfer to Ciari di Grugliasco, her town of residence. For 15 years she has been the scholastic reference for new technologies, and is Webmaster of the school’s site. Along with her scholastic responsibilities she also manages two portals dedicated to studying and teaching, one for young people, Bambini siete pronti a navigare (Children you’re ready to navigate), and one for families and teachers, Portale dei docenti e dei genitori (Portal of teachers and parents). She is also co-editor of the magazine Bricks and is part of the support group for Progetto Scuola Digitale Piemonte (Piedmont Digital School Project).
THE MAP OF TEACHERS. The initiative began two years ago with the intention of creating a network of teachers and proposing didactic initiatives and useful information, allowing teachers to self-train themselves on new tools offered by the Internet. The map of teachers online, continuously updated, offers a general overview of where other teachers that are online can be found. Anyone can contribute and signal new groups and new work and meeting spaces by contacting her on Facebook or via email. (To visualize the teacher groups click on the button ).
THE FACEBOOK GROUP CREATED BY MISTAKE. Obviously, one of the communities that has been mapped is the Facebook group Insegnanti that Paola founded three years ago as a “technical error”. At the time, she did not know much about social networks and thought that creating a group would simply put her contacts in order, dividing them between friends and work colleagues. However, as time passed almost 17,000 teachers signed up. It is a closed group, dedicated to teachers (future, aspiring, tenured, precarious, retired, etc.), to students at the primary levels of schooling, to instructors and researchers, and to scholastic directors. They come from all over the globe, which makes the dialog stimulating and interesting. From July 1st to September 1st new members are not allowed to join in order to give a break to the 30 administrators who help Paola and to rethink the true nature of the group, which should be prevalently didactic.
THE PROS AND CONS OF TEACHERS AND INTERNET. The teacher groups on social networks, that Paola is trying to map, are constantly growing. She has felt the need to get out of the classroom and isolation by sharing experiences, problems, and initiatives online. And Paola’s map is a work in progress that helps identify these spaces that are online where one can learn more about innovation and new learning methods, and where everyone is invited to participate.