Can the digital divide be reduced in schools?  The open fiber revolution

Can the digital divide be reduced in schools? The open fiber revolution

Have you ever wondered How long, on average, we spend on the internet? Let’s go roughly 6 hours of our day to surf the ocean of the Web. And why do we do it? Mainly to communicate with others, to be informed about what is going on in the world, and often connected for fun too.

The Internet is a universe of opportunities that not only allows us to maintain ourselves contact with everyone, but also to deepen our knowledge, tickle our curiosity or simply have fun after a long day, watching movies, TV series or funny videos. How much has changed over the past decades with the so-called Numerical revolution? A term that we have heard over and over again and which has taken on a new meaning over the past year.

Digital acceleration in the era of COVID-19

More than a revolution, we are talking about a very strong acceleration. Our habits have changed because of COVID-19. If before ordering a sandwich with one click seemed purely practical to us, with the pandemic it has become a need. While shopping for clothes on the web seemed like a good idea to avoid running into a mile-long line at the checkouts, it has now become the the fastest, safest way to shop. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Many businesses and schools have also had to adapt to manage tasks and tasks remotely. The daily life of everyone has been turned upside down by events so great that they have forced people to withdraw into their private life, in a state of wakefulness. The only way to keep moving forward? Stay online.

Obviously, it was not easy for everyone. We often take for granted that Internet access is immediate for everyone and in all Italian cities, while very often, especially in many villages and small towns, a strong network is not available. Have you ever heard of Numeric fraction?

Digital divide: how to break it?

The digital divide is the gap between those who can use new technologies without too much difficulty, accessing the Internet, and those who cannot. The reasons are various, in fact they can be technical, economic or social.

When we talk about economic and social issues, we are referring to that most disadvantaged segment of the population who cannot afford the necessary tools. With the digital acceleration of the past year, these people have unfortunately been left behind, with educational, cultural and professional repercussions.

If, on the other hand, we refer to the purely technical aspects of the absence of infrastructure, we are talking about the regions of our country in which access to the Internet, in general, and to new technologies, such as optical fiber, in particular, is totally or almost totally prohibited.

It may seem strange to us, but there are many who have such difficulties. Then there are those activities that should never be without, because Internet is a vital resource and inclusive, which affects everyone and everyone. Unfortunately, among these realities we must necessarily include schools.

READ ALSO: Digital divide and digital skills in Italy: where we are

The problem of the digital divide in schools

The digital divide is a serious problem that many schools have experienced on the front lines. Used to spending the morning in class and most of the afternoon studying books, all the students ended up in their own rooms, the lucky ones to spend hours in front of the PC from morning to night, living in an isolated school, far from classmates and teachers.

The same fate happened to the little ones, those in kindergarten. But how do you explain to boys and girls that they can no longer play or color together? And university students, finally freed from class hours and now perpetually on PC. How many graduates in jackets and pajamas?

A huge change certainly not facilitated by ballet relationships, but not just for boys and girls. Many teachers found themselves faced with tools they were not used to but had to learn quickly.

But how can you overcome the Numeric fraction in the school environment?

Numeric fraction

The open fiber revolution begins in schools

Open fiber is a wholesale operator only whose mission is to create an infrastructure Ultra wide band (BUL) in Italy. Its objective is precisely that of create a future where new fiber optic technology it can change the life of everyone, from small villages to big cities.

In a delicate period like this, we must improve people’s lifestyle, families but also businesses by overcoming the much-desired digital divide.

The revolution of Open fiber it also goes through schools, ensuring more service, speed, accessibility and reliability for many schools.

The turning point of the Alighieri Kennedy Institute in Turin

This is the case ofAlighieri Kennedy Institute of Turin which was already equipped with a computer connection since the 1990s, but during the last 5 years had started working on the full fiber optic connection in the main headquarters of the Institute. The change has been huge and immediate.

Ultra-fast fiber optic connection allowed carry out educational activities in many classes simultaneously without having problems with disconnection or slow loading. In their particular case, the children were already used to working online and cooperatively even before distance learning, but the activities were mainly linked to face-to-face and home-based projects and workshops.

The closure of schools without the possibility of attendance has radically transformed the way project activities are carried out. Without an adequate internet connection, DAD’s experience it might be not very fluid and not usable, but thanks to the full fiber optic connection, there were no major problems. The Institute students themselves noticed and recognized the change between the previous connection and the FTTH network. But this is certainly not the only case.

How the Aleandri Institute is changing

TheAleandri Institute is one of more than 10500 schools affected by Open Fiber’s FTTH optical fiber which, at the start of the pandemic, immediately mobilized to activate alternative forms of education capable of compensating for face-to-face lessons. But even then, the start was traumatic. It was certainly not a simple job, especially the coordination of the older teachers who had enormous difficulty making up for time. But it was not easy even for the children, who were often confused and demotivated.

The full fiber optic connection was essential to carry out all the lessons optimally. The problems before its use were mainly line overload with slow video calls and difficulty loading tasks in real time. With its use, these problems disappeared, optimizing the times.

The Complete Institute of Palena-Torricella Peligna against the digital divide

We then have theComplete Institute of Palena-Torricella Peligna which consists of 17 complexes spread over 9 small municipalities in an internal area of ​​the province of Chieti. Here, too, the pandemic presented a challenge for the school and the difficulty of distance education added to the discomfort of isolation, with the limits of connection. Nevertheless, the teachers used their skills and the figures of the animator and the digital team were fundamental, in addition to the technological equipment already available.

The school has in fact granted the students all the notebooks available on loan, But that’s not all. The plexus began to work on a fast and powerful computer connection, fast and uninterrupted network access. It was the mayor of Lettopalena, Dr. Carolina De Vitis, together with his administration, to equip a large part of the institute with the long-awaited FTTH optical fiber. The connection entirely in optical fiber makes it possible to exploit the potential of the network shared between several workstations at the same time and to enhance the technological equipment and digital skills acquired over the years. In addition, the services intended for students implemented through the use of optical fiber have made it possible to:

  • the creation of networks between small schools within the Institute;
  • the management of multi-classes;
  • the active involvement of the territory and the parents;
  • collaboration between schools belonging to distant territories;
  • the implementation of quality education through the creation of didactic language, computer and coding laboratories;
  • internal and external communication.

The FTTH network promotes learning beyond the classroom by innovating the school. In contexts like these, it is important to do our best to overcome the digital divide. We must guarantee a quality training offer to students who represent the future of a territory threatened with depopulation.

The associated institutes of the city of Lecce

Marco nuzzaci, municipal councilor of public works of the city of Lecce requested the intervention of Open Fiber to wire 12 schools in the municipality with optical fiber and guarantee the continuity of online school activities. An operation which would certainly have required time for the authorization process and for the excavations which were nevertheless carried out in only 5 days.

The Municipality has demonstrated its ability to create a system streamline bureaucracy and work constantly to be able to quickly guarantee the right to education. There are many positive reactions from schools and students.

Digital can enhance and integrate all of this and, in a difficult phase like the one we are facing, help us to overcome the emergency without having to stop the school world.

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