In February, I attended the British Digital Classroom in Italy event run by UKTI at the British Embassy in Rome. We have been supplying Clicker in Italian for the last 10 years, and have recently launched Clicker 6 Italian
, so this was a great opportunity to show the new version. The event was simultaneously translated into English (or Italian) and 10 UK companies were able to demonstrate their products in a 15 minute presentation and at a mini-exhibition. We also heard from Italian officials from the ministry about the local market, where they are and where they plan to be, with regards to the digital infrastructure and materials to support teaching and learning.
I was interested to hear from Italian 2.0 schools – schools that are really pushing the boundaries of technology. One of them had started a 1:1 iPad®
project. In Italian schools, parents purchase all the text books for the children. This school had figured out that if they purchased the digital versions of the books, and used iBooks to distribute teacher-created books and resources, they could keep the costs of the books the same, but offer an iPad as part of the package, too! They used a company who provided the parents with interest-free credit for 12 months so that all of the children could have their own device. Of the 1,000 students at the school, they only had a handful whose parents couldn’t afford this 40 euros a month, and the company they bought the iPads from donated these to them! They have been able to share resources created by teachers AND students and this has dramatically improved the students’ work.
I spoke to individual teachers and parents who all echoed the opinion that technology in education in Italy is currently very patchy, and that they were only just starting to implement whole school strategies for using technology in the classroom. They loved Clicker 6 and could see right away how it could be used to support emergent and struggling writers.
We have been asked by the ministry to get involved in a pilot project to show how Clicker can make a difference. They have been watching the videos of UK schools on our website as well as the success stories – these have given them ideas on how they might run the trial.
It was a great event to showcase Clicker 6 Italian, in an impressive venue, in a beautiful city!