We write “EDU Day” and read “Innovative Teaching” for the world of school, university, research, and culture in general. Now in its seventh edition, EDU Day is Microsoft’s event dedicated to new digital opportunities and the development of new skills for the growth of Italy. “It’s a challenge that appeals to the whole ecosystem, and Microsoft is responding,” he said Elvira CarzanigaDirector of the Education Division of Microsoft Italy, during the EDU Day 2022 held on April 29.
The subtitle of the edition was “Augmented” and that’s exactly what we talked about: methods and technologies that today allow us to promote education, research and culture through a reality “augmented” by digital opportunities. We talked about the new numbers achieved in Italian classes with Microsoft Showcase Schools and Showcase Incubators; of two stories that are rewriting the relationship between education and university by bringing integrated digital education into the classroom; of the new summer edition of WebValley and the Library and Museum Education Transformation Framework.
“Microsoft confirms its commitment to institutions, teachers, students, researchers and culture professionals with the aim of bridging the digital divide. Thanks also to the PNRR funds, we have extraordinary possibilities ahead of us; the real challenge is to put everyone, the only school principal, researcher, museum director, in a position to make the most of it by accompanying him in this digital transformation with a long-term vision and guidelines for navigating the complexity “, said Elvira Carzaniga.
Microsoft brings the future into the classroom
In the last two years Italy has had to reinvent itself so as not to stop completely and that “far but near” – which accompanied us in the hardest and most unexpected phases of the pandemic – has also translated into new opportunities. of relationship, which in a very short time made a mode of use considered “something of the future” to “present”.
The figures achieved in these two years in Italy by Microsoft Innovative Educators, that is, the teachers who have made a technological path for a new digital education and who today have reached 350, represent a concrete example of this remarkable acceleration towards to digital.
In just one school year, the number of schools that have joined the Showcase School & Incubator program has doubled in Italy from 14 to 28.
Showcase School & Incubator is an international program that involves schools that have chosen to adopt Microsoft technology as part of a school community where the least common denominator is an innovative teaching-focused approach and vision.
On the one hand, the Showcase School & Incubator allows the school to network with other institutes that represent excellence in the field of digitization and innovation applied to education, with the possibility of sharing ideas, methodologies, solutions and participate in international and local events. . On the other hand, there is the support of the Microsoft Education team, which, in collaboration with schools, proposes the use of personalized digital tools and solutions in educational programs, to encourage inclusion, creativity, productivity, autonomy and encourage greater security in students.
University halfway between physical and digital
The University Federico II of Naples, despite its almost 800 years of history behind it, was presented at Microsoft’s EDU Day 2022 as the first Italian university to bring mixed reality to the university. This title is gained with the new experimentation that introduced the immersive virtual classrooms at the University of Naples, the Hybrid Learning Spaces, which is “a new educational model that can be used both remotely and in person, through lessons and support for holographic laboratories “both humanities and scientific subjects. A project that is being implemented through Microsoft technology that has made available “Cloud-based solutions to public and private realities to create metavers, with the aim of enabling shared experiences between the physical and digital world “, as indicated on the dedicated site.
The University of Insubria in Varese also plays with experimentation in teaching. Here, following the online lessons on Microsoft Teams that took place during the emergency period, the collaboration with Microsoft continued with Microsoft Surface Hub 2S. Interactive digital whiteboards are currently used in the classroom, which can be used both in person and remotely by students and teachers, offering engaging, quality lessons.
Microsoft and the Ministry of Education to reform the AP
Microsoft Italy participates in the project “Re-form the PA. Qualified people to qualify the country ”, the Strategic Plan for the improvement and development of the human capital of the Public Administration. A strategic plan that aims to increase the knowledge and skills of 3.2 million public workers through their training and updating and support the transitions provided by the PNRR, with a focus on digital and cybersecurity. In this sense, and thanks to a collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Microsoft Italy makes available to the Ministry more than 40 courses on the most popular technologies, training events and IT skills certification itineraries.
Digital skills and new needs in the world of work also involved another agreement that Microsoft renewed during EDU Day 2022: the partnership with the Conference of Italian University Rectors – CRUI. An agreement that will allow companies to find new professionals with high technical skills, as demanded today by the world of work and the new professionals that are emerging.
Data Science Summer School
In more than 20 years since its inception, more than 400 students have had the opportunity to participate in a full summer dive to delve deeper and see up close what it means to work with data to read and interpret reality and predict possible scenarios. This is WebValley, the International Summer School of Data Science, which, as announced during EDU Day, returns this year to carry out the interdisciplinary research dissemination program promoted by Microsoft Italy for students of fourth year of high school.
This year’s edition will be held from July 17 to August 6 at the Instituto Artigianelli in Trento and will feature the participation of about 20 students. Partially sponsored by the European project IPCEI Microelectronics, it will allow to deepen in the application of the tools of data science and artificial intelligence in the field of the monitoring of the quality of the air, in collaboration with the centers “Sensors & Devices “and” Digital Health & Wellbeing “. And with the “Data Science for Health” unit of the Bruno Kessler Foundation.
How digital are museums and libraries?
Another Microsoft project aims to answer this question, which is also essential today in the face of the whole process and investments linked to PNRR: the Framework for the Transformation of Library and Museum Education. It is a tool with which Museums and Libraries, through a final report, can assess their level of digitization, set goals and the next steps to follow to improve the innovation process in the management of collections, in the visitor’s user experience, in internal operations and processes, and in the development of intelligent environments.
This project was also presented at EDU Day 2022. A day that, therefore, focused on the issue of training and retraining, the skills needed to support the digital transformation in various areas of the AP, on how technologies can support this path, especially if placed in a context of experimentation, collaboration, sharing, and if supported by a long-term vision.