Aldo Agostinelli

Coronavirus disease, which has been hitting heavily both the health and the economy of our Country, may teach us a lesson and offer us an opportunity, a chance to learn and improve our systems. It would have been nice if, in order to pass on a powerful message to the world and to all citizens, all closed schools had activated online learning platforms to keep the lessons going in a sort of smart school. It would have meant saying: Italy is not giving up, neither are its schools. We keep learning, because our kids’ culture is a priority and we are not living up on it. For a Country whose citizens are well educated is a Country which can face emergencies, like the one we are facing now and the ones of the future.

The digital transformation must take over school

Unfortunately, innovation cannot be improvised. It stems from years of study, devotion, investments, skills, foresight and hard work. A lot of hard work. And over the years, not all institutes have been able or have had the chance ( unfortunately ) to get ready for e-learning like the Savoia Benincasa high school in Ancona, whose story has been told by the Corriere della Sera. 89% of the teachers in this school have  been able to complete the hours of teaching foreseen by their syllabus. Thanks to interactive whiteboards, documents which can be downloaded from the school free platform, interactive exercises: the school, including a scientific lyceum, a foreign language high school and a technical-financial high school has been defined as “ the perfect example of how remote learning, fundamental in these days due to the closure imposed by the authorities because of the Coronavirus disease emergency, should work”. 

Alessandra Rucci, the school headmaster, claimed: <<This is no improvisation, we have been working on this system for 10 years, putting our work and a lot of patience into it » (Scuole chiuse? Così funzionano le lezioni a distanza: video e app per chi studia da casa)

The challenge of the future starts today

If we want our efforts and hard work, the current ones and the post-emergency ones, to pay back and help us do better and achieve better results, we have to see the virus at the same time as a damage and an urge to do more. It has showed us what we have been wrong about. However, we can and we must put a remedy to it, so not to be caught unprepared again.

The Minister  of Innovation and the Minister of Education must work together and bring home some results. Starting from the call to action addressed to public and private schools to make them provide some technological solutions ( both software and hardware ) to students. It is a first step to dig out of the rough.

And if we want to be ready for future emergencies ( climate experts have stated it clearly: climate change will lead to more and more epidemics caused by bugs and pathogens), in my opinion, public bodies, authorities and schools must be open to the digital transformation (The Wuhan Coronavirus, Climate Change, and Future Epidemics).

Our school system is worth some public money

The first crucial step is the e-learning system.

Remote teaching has to be intended not only as a way to face global crisis, but also as a tool to support students who are sick, hospitalized, recovering after an accident or who cannot physically attend the lessons due to serious problems.
Technologies are already available, the businesses needed to implement them are ready, too. And the cost of such operations is no longer unaffordable. I seriously believe that resorting to free technologies only, as recommended by Minister Azzolina, is not  always the right solution. Free-of-charge is not always synonymous to quality, and when it comes to our school system we cannot always think about saving money.  By the way, it is time for some action. What do you think about this?

Do you have children/grandchildren who are attending school? How is your school coping with the current suspension of all lessons? Which solutions have been applied? Tell me your story tweeting @agostinellialdo.

To find out more about the digital world, you may read my latest book entitled: “People Are Media” 

If you liked this post, you may also like: “The digital transformation 6 main steps

Aldo Agostinelli