E-LEARNING AND EVOLVED DIGITAL EDUCATION

The demand for evolved educational services has undergone a profound transformation in recent years. The focus has shifted from the simple electronic use of content to disseminating and sharing knowledge by new methods that are more engaging for young people, based on Web 2.0 models. The solutions already integrated in the Telecom Italia e-learning platform and the prototypes of the ones developed by analysing the requirements of the educational world, meet the demand for evolved services based on collaboration, communication and the involvement of end users.

eSchooling

The younger generations rely on technical innovation on a daily basis, even through social communities and the countless sources of information present online; this context requires the identification of new digital teaching models in keeping with the styles of acquiring knowledge and skills.

The project, starting with the technologies adopted and/or adoptable in the school context and a new form of participatory education, has defined and validated a “digital teaching model for schools” which is sustainable and capable of integrating technologies (even “social” ones) effectively, to support new learning processes and extend them outside the classroom. The project ended in 2015 and the technical and scientific objectives achieved were:

  • to devise an educational communication model supported by digital technologies in all the intra-inter-extra curricular relations for thepromotion of a Learning Community;
  • to devise a learning support model, which moves towards “support for cognitive processes” and overcomes the traditional paradigm of the “presentation of content”;
  • to devise a methodological and educational publishing model that offers a flexible publishing format;
  • to identify and develop a digital education model that incorporates the specific models identified and is based on specific educational and methodological standards;
  • to develop prototypes for the various models identified.

Digital Culture Projects

The common denominator of all the projects is the establishment of participatory, equitable and stable relationships and replicable intervention models both inside and outside. These initiatives are part of the Corporate Shared Value activities #ilfuturoèditutti, an activities programme based on creating shared values with the communities the Company operates in. EducaTI is a CSV digital education project developed for students, teaching bodies and families, a multi-annual synergistic programme which plans the implementation of a series of complementary initiatives carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) and with some institutional partners of excellence. The main ones are listed below:

  • Programme the future: the Group was the first company to sign up, in the role of “Founding Sponsor” partner, to MIUR’s “Programme the future” initiative to encourage the introduction of computational thought and coding to primary school students. The initiative is being implemented by CINI (Consorzio Interuniversitario Nazionale per Informatica - National Inter-University Consortium for Information Technology). The Company is contributing in three ways, providing economic support (by supporting the activities and awarding prizes for the most deserving schools) through communication (with initiative development activities through the website telecomitalia. com and the Group’s social channels) and providing corporate volunteering. The Company provides volunteers (over 400) from its staff to offer support and tutoring to teachers and students. The commitment will allow it to achieve the objective of ensuring the presence of its staff in around 4,000 classes over the three years of the plan. The initiative was started at the end of 2014 and will be carried out for the next three school years. At the end of May 2015 an awards ceremony was held at MIUR for the end of the first year of the initiative which saw over 300,000 students take centre stage, around 2,100 schools participate and 16,500 classes get involved. October 2015 saw the start of activities for the second year; specifically, TIM4CODING” was held on 8 October, a day when 100 volunteers provided teaching support to teachers and children in 100 schools to encourage the introduction of computer science to schools.
  • A Social Life: during 2015 the Group renewed its collaboration with the Postal and Communication Police to run the second edition of the “A Social Life”, a road show, aimed at raising awareness among young people on the topic of online security and the dangers connected with being uninformed about the use of the internet and Social Networks. The project was organized by the External Relations Office and the ceremony by the Secretary’s Office of the State Police in collaboration with MIUR. The educational tour on legality on the web was developed throughout the country, in all regions and in several cities and small towns where the Company organized events and presentations by representatives of Marketing and Security departments on the topic of Internet safety and communication activities through the Group’s corporate website and social channels. A “Handbook for young surfers: the rules for safe browsing” was created, in collaboration with the State Police, with 10 virtuous behaviours that a “social” teenager should follow on the Internet. The brochure was distributed during the stages of the tour. The second edition of the initiative came to an end in June 2015, visiting 55 cities and involving 400,000 students in schools and over 100,000 in city and town squares.

Moreover, a special edition of the tour was put together for Milano EXPO, offering visitors truck entry and parking at the Fair (9 and 10 May) and a special corner was set up for the State Police within the Company’s temporary store.

  • YouTeach: is a creative contest set up in collaboration with MIUR for high schools throughout the country involving the creation of videos in which, in a reversal of roles, students conduct a lesson for their teachers on the use of social networks. The aim of the initiative was to involve 10% of the 5,000 secondary education schools and receive 50 video productions. The classes participating had to prepare and film a lesson, using a smartphone, lasting no more than five minutes and addressed to teachers, on the responsible use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube. The contest rewarded the films received (around 120) which best conveyed the learning process of the social tool and its value as regards the digital culture to be disseminated at school.
  • TIMWebRulez: is a digital education campaign starring ten webstars who will be the ambassadors of the booklet developed in collaboration with the National Police to disseminate the responsible use of the Internet among teenagers. The TIMWebRulez website also offers a section dedicated to scientific reflection on internet safety topics: ten real cases, news events, each linked to one of the ten rules, commentated by experts from the Postal and Communication Police and the Minotauro Institute of Milan.

The initiatives concerning the school environment include:

  • Technical applications 2.0: an event organized in Turin with 20 schools during which an introductory lesson was delivered at the same time, which allowed around 1,000 students from primary and secondary schools in the city to acquire the first electronics/making/DIY (do it yourself) skills, encouraging them in the informed use of the new technologies through a problem solving experience and technological creativity.
  • TIM Young College: an offer for students consisting of a package including a Tablet + connectivity + study contents.
  • Study Plan: since 2009 Telecom Italia has partnered with MIUR in this project which aims to provide secondary school students who own a student card with offers in all goods sectors at favourable conditions. The group provides special offers for talking, messaging and browsing.
  • #TIMgirlsHackathon: the Company organizes a hackathon1 for girls in the last three years of high school. This coding opportunity allows them to experience the world of technology as key players, a total immersion of around 7 hours to bring out the feminine side of technology. This is a project with a great scope capable of involving young women who would like to become part of the technology world or who would like to gain familiarity with it but who are not confident enough of their skills.

Moreover, Telecom Italia is a member of the advisory board of SIC - Italian Safer Internet Centre - in the context of MUIR’s Connected Generations project and it is part of the “ICT Coalition for Children Online” Association, a platform of around 25 European ICT companies (including some telcos and players such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) which help young European Internet users to address the risks and challenges of the web.

The digital culture is also the scope of projects aimed at bringing high quality cultural content and digital languages together, making the most of the interaction opportunities offered by the Web. In so doing, the Company is asserting itself as an innovative partner in the Italian cultural and artistic world. Using digital technologies generates shared value: Telecom Italia therefore assumes a role recognised by stakeholders who work alongside it in the various cultural sectors in which digital dissemination initiatives are run.

The partnership with Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia takes the form of the PappanoinWeb project conceived for the purpose of bringing great classical music to the web. 2015 was its fifth year and it has been enhanced by the experience offered by “360° overview” filming technologies. Over the five years of the programme, the concerts offered have been watched by over 200,000 users in streaming on telecomitalia.com/pappanoinweb, thanks to the listening guides, exclusive interviews and the opportunities to interact with an expert musicologist at the Accademia during direct broadcasts. A big open air rehearsal also allowed around 2,000 colleagues to experience the excitement backstage, with the protagonists, and to view the real difficulties of a high level musical performance.

As regards writing we should mention the collaboration with the Eutopia webzine (resulting from a partnership between the Company and Editori Laterza) and the partnership with Scuola Holden, Turin, founded by Alessandro Baricco. The first fulfils the aim of drawing the public, particularly the young, into the debate about the prospects for a new European model of society. The second experiments with new ways of teaching and sharing ideas, knowledge and creativity through digital technology. The Web becomes a vehicle to allow the public to participate in master classes and special events happening in the School. The collaboration has allowed a pioneering multimedia laboratory to be set up and together we are implementing original dissemination projects, including the #wehaveadream social writing experiment. Scuola Holden also supports, with a working group formed by the best students, communication of all the stages in the travelling Digital Championship project, promoted by the Company and the Digital Champions association.

On the Brazilian front, the social investment strategy implemented by Tim Participações aims to promote the social inclusion of disadvantaged groups in Brazilian society, particularly children and teenagers, by running education programmes that support the corporate “without borders” concept even in the social sphere.

In 2013, the TIM Institute was founded with the aim of defining strategies and providing resources for the dissemination of science and innovation to support the development of the community in Brazil, particularly by means of mobile technology.

Four areas of activity were identified in which to develop projects:

  • education/teaching
  • application
  • work
  • social inclusion

  TOOLS  STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES  PROJECT SELECTION AND MONITORING
  • Partnerships with organisations, institutions and public and private entities.
  • Implementation of educational projects for the social inclusion of young people and teenagers.
  • Implementation of training projects to encourage daily use of the Internet and mobile phones as tools for social development and inclusion.
  • Projects are selected according to their relevance to the company’s strategies and requirements.
  • Initiatives are monitored and a final evaluation is carried out on completion. A report is drawn up for each project that provides a detailed description of the initiative and the results achieved, also in quantitative terms.

The following is a summary of the Instituto TIM modus operandi:

O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil (Brazilian Math Circle)

One of the greatest obstacles to scientific and technological progress in Brazil is the poor standard of maths teaching in schools. According to the Ministry of Education, only 42% of students in the third year of primary school can do simply arithmetic like addition and subtraction. In the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012, based on the results achieved in maths by its students, Brazil came 59th on a list of 65 countries. By focusing attention on the first few years of primary school, the O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil project, working with its founders, professors Bob and Ellen Kaplan of Harvard University, introduces the Math Circle approach to the Country, perfecting and adapting its content to the Brazilian context. The strength of the Math Circle lies in its educational aspect, according to which student participation and reflection are fundamentally important for acquiring mathematical knowledge. In 2013, 7,000 lessons were held in connection with the project, involving over 6,000 students between the ages of 7 and 9 from 61 schools across the Country. The project began by training 50 teachers selected from public schools throughout the Country. The teachers attended a training workshop with Bob and Ellen Kaplan and learned to replicate the Math Circle approach in class with their own students. At the end of the period, an assessment of the project was carried out, which showed that in just three months the maths skills of students had increased by 5.7%. Over 14,000 lessons were held in 2014 at Brazilian public schools in the cities of Duque de Caxias (RJ), Porto Velho (RO), Belém (PA), Brasilia (DF), Fortaleza (CE), Aracaju (SE), Salvador (BA), Porto Alegre (RS), Rio de Janeiro (RJ) e São Paulo (SP), involving 8,000 students and promoting the training of 2000 teachers from the schools where the lessons were held. In July of the same year, three teachers were selected to take part in the 7th annual training held at the Math Circle Summer Teacher Training Institute, Notre Dame University, Indiana, United Stated, as ambassadors of the O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil programme. The impact assessment conducted at the end of the year showed that children who took part in the project improved their maths skills by 7.3% on average. In 2015, 12 cities and 5,546 students were involved in the project, and still are. Around June, 50 teachers began to take an active part in this training process, replicating the approach and taking responsibility for training a further 1,800 teachers. This will allow more than 50,000 students in 20 Brazilian cities to enjoy the fruits of the teaching method.

TIM Faz Ciência (TIM Does Science)

The results achieved by Brazilian students in science are far from ideal. The PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) science test conducted in 2012 placed Brazil in 59th place on a list of 65 countries. Out of the three areas assessed - reading, maths and science - the last was the one in which Brazilian students achieved the least satisfying results. However, during academic year 2014, more than 2,000 teachers in public schools across the country were able to apply a more interesting approach in science lessons. In the second half of 2013, Instituto TIM launched TIM Faz Ciência (TIM Does Science): an educational activity aimed at teaches and students in the 4th ad 5th years of primary school. The project is intended to develop a set of resources aimed at providing guidance to teachers in teaching the foundations of scientific thought to children. The content explores the notions of definition, observation, formulating questions and assumptions, classification, verification, application and generalisation. Overall, in 2014, 70,000 students were invited to explore scientific notions and concepts in a more pleasant and effective way. In 2015, the programme involved over 125,000 students and 4,000 teachers and was adopted by 6 cities as a local training project.

Further information is available in the Sustainability Report of Tim Participações and on the website en.institutotim.org.br.

     

1 The word “hackathon” is a portmanteau of the words “hack” and “ marathon”, where “hack” is used in the sense of exploratory programming. It is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software and hardware development collaborate intensively on software projects. Some hackothons are intended simply for educational or social purposes.