Thursday, 18 October 2012

Global Junior Challenge 2012 - Projects to share the future

The Global Junior Challenge is the international competition that rewards the innovative use of technology for the education of 21st century and the social inclusion.
Promoted by the Municipality of Rome, the GJC is hosted every two years by the Fondazione Mondo Digitale under the High Patronage of the Italian Presidency and the sponsorship of the Italian Foreign Affairs Minister.

The 2012 GJC encouraged the reflection on educational technology and its impact on social equity.
Among the challenges of the 21st century education there's in fact the link between educational and social innovation. Can ICT help us building a better future for us and our students? That's the main question.

I had the opportunity to take part in the competition both as a member of the jury in the "up to 10" category and as a contestant with my classes in "up to 15".
It was interesting for me to see the projects from within. I think I learned a lot about Primary School - not only in Italy, but in the whole world - by examining the projects I had to evaluate. There was much to learn for me, and I felt it was a privilege to explore and understand so many different pathways.

And it was a pleasure and a pride for me to be among the finalists with my students, with three projects - Comenius-eTwinning "Bridges of Water", eTwinning "BE TWIN - twinning up the everyday lesson" and "BIANCO ROSSO E VERDE".

We could travel to Rome and meet other schools, students, teachers and experts from all around the world. And coming from Casole d'Elsa - 4000 inhabitants - even just walking through the capital was an adventure for my pupils. Our journey in the underground was a sort of "Indiana Jones" mission, with much laughing, ooohing and ... trembling! But the whole experience was great, from our arrival during the plenary session, to the preparation of our area, to the "social integration" workshop for the pupils (great animator of the workshop, the pupils loved her!), to the interviews with TV and the photoshots. We felt like movie stars!

And the day went on with a walk through Rome, and a very special stop at the "Museo del Risorgimento", just to remember where we come from, and why we are here today.

In short, a fantastic experience, always with our Twins in mind: Hungary, Turkey, Slovakia, Spain... you were there in our thoughts!

Just a final personal note: in such a difficult period, with this huge crisis and more and more families facing unemployment, can new technologies really be considered a tool for social equity and integration? or are we going to see the rise of a new clique, that of the I-can-spend-on-ICT, versus a majority of ICT beggars?


  1. Dear Laura,
    I am happy to read your post, and see your photos. I think, an experience like this is very important for children. We live in small towns (even if Szeged in Hungary is a big one, my pupils live in the suburb,which is much more a village, and they don't go often to the town), and our pupils can discover and experience an other kind of lifestyle.
    And it is nice the twin reason), why you and your pupils did the trip. Of course, we thought you a lot, and we are really happy because of a great success of our project and European adventures what we have together.)
    And, it is great when there are events, workshops, activities where children can live, they are the protagonists of project,and everything what they did, it's important and great. It is important for a larger community as well.
    Congratulation and many Twin hugs, Mónika

  2. Dear Laura, Dear Monika
    I follow your blog, and the lines you, Laura, wrote about ICT becoming a tool for the "rich" parts of Europeans (and also in global perspective) really struck me. Maybe schools can help a little to make the differencies more even, but we cannot do miracles! It's an important issue!

    1. Thank you Agneta,
      this is something I'm really concerned about. We're going through a very difficult period in Italy - and I think I can speak for Hungary as well - with lots of families living on the very verge of poverty. This means the Local Authorities have to support those families first, then (if they can) provide schools with what are considered to be "luxury items". And of course, they don't have the money to do it.
      In my school, which is new and really beautiful, we have an electronic board in each class, but we do not have any computer rooms (which we used to have in the old school). The Municipalities found the money to build a new school, but doesn't have any money left for computers. And we are in one of the richest parts of Italy!!!!
      Now, what can we do with 120 students and just 6 elecronic boards?
      In Rome I saw projects where the students had their i-pads, one each, or talked about augumented reality, or followed their lessons on laptops, answered their teachers via twitter, etc.
      I was like - WOW !!! - but I was also upset. It is offensive to show "the best projects" using ICT and talking about the schools of the future when most of the present schools do not have a sufficient basic ICT equipment. Monika would probably say - when lots of students cannot buy books, or pencils...
      But we'll have to face this, and find a way out I hope.

  3. Hi Laura and Monika,
    as you know, I share your concern for the future of our schools, and the future of our students.
    Once Monika wrote about an ICT congress she was attending, and said that her school was not a "science fiction school". I agree with you.
    Sometimes, at congresses, conferences (even eTwinning conferences), awards like the GJC, we see a model of school that is not the REAL schools.
    In real schools there are old PCs (that are considered to be a treasure!), sometimes no internet connection or a very slow one, a scanner is considered to be the most futuristic object and web cams and microphones are unknown. What can we say about politicians and experts presenting schools with tablets or I-phones?
    Please guys, come back to reality!