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Social sciences and humanities


single-cycle master degrees (5 years) in PRIMARY TEACHER EDUCATION

Course year 4
Teaching units Unit Linguaggi dell'arte e media digitali
Arts (lesson)
  • TAF: Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class SSD: L-ART/03 CFU: 8
Arts (laboratory)
  • TAF: Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class SSD: L-ART/03 CFU: 1
Teachers: Annamaria CONTINI
Exam type oral
Evaluation final vote
Teaching language Italiano
Contents download pdf download


Annamaria CONTINI


The course aims to provide:
1) In-depth knowledge of aesthetics and related theories of art, image and digital media, supporting the development of the ability to understand and interpret educational contexts and training processes.
2) Knowledge about the theoretical debate on verbal and visual metaphors and the characters and functions of artistic-expressive languages, also considered concerning educational contexts.
3) The ability to use the tools of aesthetic-philosophical research to recognize the cultural and value components at work in an educational context or institution.
4) The ability to critically read different types of visual texts and design educational activities for preschool and elementary school.
5) The ability to enhance the potential of artistic-expressive languages in the educational field to activate intellectual, imaginative and creative processes.
6) Knowledge and skills of using educational digital storytelling, understood as a methodology that can support both media literacy and critical reflection on the use of digital technologies, both in preschool and elementary school settings.
N.B. The course is supplemented by a MANDATORY FREQUENCY Lab (1 CFU) for eligibility to be taken before the exam. Lab information is available on the Teams online portal.

Admission requirements

Training acquired in secondary school.

Course contents

"How Images Mean. Metaphors, artistic languages and new media."
This course will study the question of meaning in artistic images: how they convey certain content, whether literally or symbolically or metaphorically, and the implications of these processes in education. (1 CFU).
It will look at how the status and enjoyment of images, both artistic and otherwise, are changing in the digital age, asking in what sense we can speak of a "pictorial turn" and what configuration visual experience is taking in the current media universe (2 CFU).
It will also study the cognitive function that contemporary debate assigns to verbal and visual metaphors, considering them as much a tool of thought as language. The status of visual metaphors a (1 CFU); this will be followed by an in-depth study of the role of visual metaphors in children's learning processes from preschool age onward (1 CFU).
The teaching methodology is known as "Educational digital storytelling," an approach that can support both media literacy and reflection on the relationship between storytelling and artistic-expressive languages, which will then be explored (1 CFU).
Finally, starting from the study of Bruno Munari's perspective, methodological issues related to art didactics, applicable in preschool and elementary school contexts, will be investigated (1 CFU). This aspect will also allow contextualizing more recent paths of image education, examples of which will be analyzed and developed concerning different educational settings (1 CFU).
The course will complement laboratory activities with compulsory attendance (1 CFU). In these activities, students will explore the aspects of the discipline most related to their future profession as preschool and elementary school teachers.

Teaching methods

The lectures will be accompanied by moments of discussion on the contents of the course, and by deepening several interdisciplinary aspects. The use of the integrated platform Teams-Moodle Moodle will allow to take advantage of the multimedia system, and provide students with materials, notes, and slides to better understand and/or understand the course. In order to prioritize in-person teaching activities, the lectures will not be carried out in streaming (except in cases where there was overcrowding of the classroom). However, given the continuation of the health emergency, to ensure the right to study (diritto allo studio), all students will be provided with additional teaching material, consisting of lectures recorded during previous academic years and in lectures recorded during the current lectures recorded during the current academic year. For organizational reasons and for a better didactic fruition, all this material will be provided gradually, according to the order of the lectures held in presence. For students of the Master's degree course in Primary Education, specific practical laboratory activities are planned, with compulsory attendance. During the laboratory activities, students will deepen the aspects of the discipline most related to their future profession of teachers both in preschool and in primary school. Details regarding the organization of the laboratories will be communicated on the Teams-Moodle platform of the Course.

Assessment methods

Learning will be assessed through a written examination of three open-ended questions on the program content to be answered with three essays. The test, which will take place at the end of the teaching, will assess knowledge, ability to understand, ability to apply knowledge and understanding, independent judgment, and communication skills. Each of the three essays will be graded in thirtieths. The exam will be considered passed if the average of the marks achieved in the three essays reaches at least 18/30. The examination, which is held in person, lasts one hour and thirty minutes; students entitled to additional time may avail themselves of the scheduled hourly increment. The results will be announced on esse3 within ten days after the test.

Learning outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes.
The student develops skills that enable them to connect the main features of relevant modern and contemporary theories in the areas of philosophy of art, image theory, metaphor and new media. They also develop a critical reading concerning translating these theories into the educational field.
Knowledge and ability to understand
The student, at the end of the teaching, is able to:
(a) describe, distinguish and organize some essential aspects of today's debate on the status of images, artistic languages and metaphorical processes;
(b) understand how images, particularly artistic images, convey certain content, whether literally or symbolically or metaphorically;
(c) show awareness of some issues related to how digital media help to shape a new kind of experience;
d) describe, distinguish and organize the main features of some critical contemporary theories on the educational potential of artistic languages, also pointing out open issues in the current debate.
Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
The student at the end of the teaching, is able to apply the concepts learned to:
(a) distinguish the historical, cultural, and value components acting in an educational context;
(b) recognize the academic potential of artistic-expressive languages;
(c) design didactic-educational paths that promote both learning processes and creative thinking and doing.
Through laboratory activities, the student can observe, design, implement and document paths of image education and art didactics.
Autonomy of judgment
The student, at the end of the teaching, is able to:
(a) establish a comparison between different interpretative models of the phenomena studied;
(b) critically approach theories of art and image;
(c) critically analyze educational programs and interventions centered on aesthetic processes and/or experiences;
(d) recognize the need to justify, based on value, epistemological and cultural assumptions the choices made in educational planning.
Communication Skills:
The student at the end of the teaching can:
(a) appropriately use concepts, topics and terms specific to the teaching;
(b) effectively communicate teaching topics to both specialist and non-specialist interlocutors;
(c) sustain a discussion regarding the issues covered.
Learning skills
Upon completion of the teaching, the student can:
(a) develop, organize and integrate knowledge independently using appropriately the methodological and critical tools provided;
(b) exercise a critical attitude regarding the value, epistemological and cultural assumptions in the practice of educational design;
use the acquired methodological tools to pursue studies and independently provide for their updating, as well as to select sources and information data available on the web, in libraries and in archives.


- E. Gombrich, A cavallo di un manico di scopa (qualunque edizione), solo i primi due capitoli: “Il cavallo a manico di scopa ovvero le radici della forma artistica” e “Metafore visive dei valori nell'arte” (testo disponibile sulla pagina Teams-Moodle del Corso).
- R. Barthes, L’ovvio e l’ottuso. Saggi critici III (qualunque edizione), solo il capitolo “Retorica dell’immagine” (testo disponibile sulla pagina Teams-Moodle del Corso).
- R. Cardarello, A. Contini, Parole immagini metafore. Per una didattica della comprensione, Junior, Parma, 2012, solo i capitoli 8 (La metafora come strumento cognitivo) e 10 (metafore visive). I testi sono disponibili sulla pagina Teams-Moodle del Corso.
- E. Corte, S. De Poi, C. Giudici, V. Vecchi, A. Contini, (a cura di), Un pensiero in festa. Le metafore visive nei processi di apprendimento dei bambini, Reggio Emilia, Reggio Children srl, 2022.
- W.J.T. Mitchell, Pictorial turn: saggi di cultura visuale, Raffaello Cortina, 2017.
- S. Bonaccini e A. Contini (a cura di), Il digital storytelling nella scuola dell’infanzia. Contesti, linguaggi e competenze, Edizioni Junior, 2019 (con contenuti digitalmente aumentati).
- B. Munari, Fantasia, Laterza (qualunque anno di edizione).
- T. Calvano, C. Rech, Immaginarte. Percorsi di educazione visiva, Carocci, 2005 (solo i capitoli 1, 2, 3 e 4, disponibili sulla pagina Teams-Moodle del Corso).
Tutti gli studenti integreranno lo studio dei testi sopra elencati con i materiali messi a disposizione sulla pagina Teams-Moodle di Teoria e didattica dell’immagine e/o con gli appunti presi a lezione; materiali e appunti costituiscono parte integrante del programma d’esame.