Dschola is a regional project (set up in Piedmont, in the North West of Italy) aimed at stimulating greater attention to ICT, by involving students, teachers and families in partnership with schools. It is based on accelerating and supporting developments that are already taking place within the New Economy.
It is part of a three-year project (2000-2003) set up by the Ministero dell’Istruzione (the Italian Education Ministry) and Regional Public Administration directed towards the creation of a Regional Collaborative Network of Piedmont Schools. At the moment it involves 18 schools widespread on the regional territory, 2.828 educational structures and 50.000 teachers.
The project works on three main action lines, that are coordinated with each other, in order to stimulate school and citizens to take part and understand the changes caused by the development of the Information Society
- Co-financing of ICT-based school projects (a “Call for proposal” was published )
- Low-cost connectivity with the Piedmont Government Network for all schools (the so-called “Universal Service”. This connection system supplies all schools in Piedmont with safe and certified network communications, mail boxes (one for each school operator), high-speed Internet access for management, administrative and educational purposes, information systems and hosting for school web-sites (free of charge for maintenance and connectivity), , community resources, long-distance support and training activities.
- Creation of Service, Animation and Experimentation Centres. These are secondary technical schools that have proven experience in ICT with particular reference to the Internet. Starting from their potential, they set up the required technical and organizational structures in order to become technological reference points in their area. They are working hand-in-hand with the new school organization and process of gradual school-autonomy. Besides of these, a group of primary schools, with proven experience in didactics and educational methodologies, are in charge of organizing and fostering workshops, seminaries and conferences, in order to disseminate their own competencies.
The project has followed an innovative operational model that merges a top-down with a bottom-up approach. The top-down approach sets up a very general objective: overcoming digital divide in schools and in the educational field as a whole and promoting a conscious use of ICT.
Nevertheless, the project provides to schools a framework to promote and enhance bottom-up initiatives, idea, expertise. In fact, Dschola wants not only to stimulate and accelerate the use of ICT amongst the educational community, but also to increase flexible learning and distance working and cooperation activities. On the other hand, and for the most, Dschola aims to:
- Create and stimulate a virtual community of schools through the official Web site
- Improve the excellence of the Centres of Service, Animation and Experimentation
- Disseminate the didactical excellence of the Centres of Animation through workshops, seminaries, conferences
- Stimulate, sustain and improve the training between teachers
- Stimulate, sustain and improve the cooperation between the Centres of Service, Animation and Experimentation and their territorial schools, as suggested by the slogan of the project: “Schools for schools”
- Stimulate and enhance schools’ business skills and capacities in order to co-fund their projects.