“UN GIORNO A SCUOLA” (“A DAY AT SCHOOL”): A MOBILE SERVICE TO IMPROVE SCHOOL-FAMILY COMMUNICATION
The main goal of the project was the enhancement of IT technologies and modern man-machine interaction paradigms to facilitate the processes of acquiring skills and knowledge from children and to provide support in connection with relationships and communication among members of the school community.
As part of the project, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, with the Smart Communities research team, have designed “Un giorno a scuola”, a service for teachers and parents of children attending kindergarten to facilitate the relationships between the players who collaborate for their growth and development.
The Un giorno a scuola Service wishes to provide a concrete and practical answer to the school/family information exchange needs linked to the daily management of children’s school attendance, integrating and promoting, but not replacing, interpersonal communication. The goal is to make communication between parents and teachers more effective, multiplying the opportunities for dialogue and sharing of goals, soliciting an active involvement of parents, creating “virtual meeting” venues and helping parents and teachers in managing information.
The service consists of two mobile applications, synchronized with each other through Internet connection.
1. An app “Un giorno a scuola – Parents“, developed for smartphones with Android and iOS operating systems, which allows parents to communicate to teachers on a daily basis information useful to their children while they are at school (e.g. attendance, absence, pick-up, etc.) and receive – in turn – from teachers and school, information about everything that happens to children at school (e.g. requests, announcements, news, etc.).
2. The other app “Un giorno a scuola – Teachers“, developed for Android tablets provided to teachers (one per section), allows them to visualize on a practical dashboard the overall situation of the classes (attendance and absent children at various stages of the day, composition of schoolbus, meals, etc.), details for each child (such as attendance and pick-up times, contact information, authorized adults) and to communicate with parents via public “bulletin board”-like notices and/or individual private texts (chat-like).
Thanks to the close collaboration with the Office of Innovation and IT and with the Children’s Office of the Autonomous Province of Trento, the service was tested for two years at the Province Kindergarten of Cogolo di Peio (TN) and for one year at the Province Kindergarten of Povo, one of Trento’s districts. In total, 5 classes, 17 teachers, 125 children and 152 parents were involved.
The evaluation of the two years of service proved unanimously positive: for the majority of parents “going back is unthinkable“; teachers hope this experimentation will become “a regular feature of all kindergartens”.
All in all, the capability to make announcements in real-time which has allowed to spare time to dedicate to the care of children was welcomed by all the players with favor and satisfaction.
By virtue of these results, the Autonomous Province of Trento has decided to launch a new project called DIGI@School&Family, which aims to extend the service to as many kindergartens as possible. For school year 2017-2018, other 9 Province Kindergartens in Trento and in the Non and Sole Valleys have been involved. The upgrades will expand the amount of information exchanged and shared between school and family (e.g. cafeteria, calendars, etc.) and offer innovative solutions for additional aspects of the relationship between schools and families with children in the age of kindergarten (i.e. enrollment, payment, etc.).