New technologies in support of creativity and innovation
National Digital School Plan
The use of new technologies to support creativity and innovation is promoted nationally in 2015 by the National Digital School Plan (See 6.8, 8.6). The policy act, implemented starting from 2016, is in continuity with the previous experiences activated by the Ministry of Education with funding and regulatory guidelines starting from 2009. In this context, digital is valorised, identified as an enabling and driving tool of change. The idea behind the interventions provided for in the plan is that any digitalization efforts are channelled within an idea of innovation, of a school that is no longer solely transmissive, but open and inclusive. As part of the Plan, other interventions have been considered to pursue the objectives set, including the promotion of active policies for BYOD (bring your own device), the implementation of a digital identity (SPID) through the activation of digitalization for each student and for each teacher, the completion of the digitization of the school administration and teaching, in order to reduce processes that use only paper, improve school-family-student digital services and open school data and services to citizens and businesses.
Plan in 10 actions
Among the actions of the Ministry of Education to support creativity and innovation, there is the “Plan in 10 actions”, launched in 2017, within the framework of the sustainable development goals of the Agenda2030.
The objectives strictly related to the promotion of the use of new technologies and network environments in a conscious manner by students are: to train students in an informed use of the Internet; activate paths to valorise digital creativity.
Week of Scientific and Technological Culture
Among the various initiatives organized by state institutions to support creativity and innovation, there is the Week of Week of Scientific and Technological Culture, established in 1991 by the then MURST (Ministry of University and Scientific and Technological Research), in collaboration with the then Ministry of Education (today the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of University and Research) and the Ministry for Cultural and Environmental Heritage (today MiBACT).
The Week of Scientific and Technological Culture aims to spread a solid technical-scientific culture, stimulating the creation and launch of effective communication and exchange channels between the universe of civil society and the Research System (represented by universities, public and private research centres, museums, companies, associations, etc.). Among the objectives of the initiative, there is the promotion of a project aimed at creating a national system of permanent institutions (museums, centres and cities of science and technology, universities, academies, etc.) that provide citizens and in particular school-age young people updated and certified technical-scientific information. The subjects who take part in the “Weeks” organize specialized workshops aimed at young people.
AICA-Ministry of Education agreement
In promoting the creativity and innovation capacity of young people, the consolidated partnership between the Italian Association dedicated to the development of knowledge, training and digital culture (AICA) and the Ministry of Education is worth mentioning. In April 2020, AICA announced the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry for the promotion and support of the development of the culture of digital innovation and the dissemination of digital skills. The agreement, valid for three years and signed for the first time in 1999, is aimed at students but also at teachers and non-teaching staff. It provides for the implementation of activities aimed at greater digital development in schools and the skills that students should develop.
The objectives include: valorisation of IT certifications in schools; implementation of national and territorial initiatives that aim to promote digital skills for the effectiveness of web research and the improvement of multimedia communication; definition of means and tools that promote the connection between the world of school and the work market, digital businesses and local initiatives aimed at orienting young people; support for activities and programs for the dissemination of culture and skills aimed at digital security and safe web browsing by students.
Some specific initiatives are aimed at promoting the creative and cultural use of digital and the digitization of institutions. They aim at the active involvement of young people through digital media and social networks, taking advantage of some events of national importance.
Regarding the school year 2019-2020, it is worth mentioning:
“#200infinito”, the initiative started on the occasion of the day that was established to celebrate the two hundred years of “L’Infinito” by Giacomo Leopardi. The activities connected to this event were also protagonists on the Internet and social networks: the reading of “L’Infinito” was documented on social networks (YouTube) as well as the official websites of schools, through the use of the hashtag #200infinito, with a mention on the official pages of the Ministry of Education (@MIsocialTW) and @casaleopardirecanati. In addition to the initiative, an Instagram contest was launched in which students participated: some videos were selected from the Instagram profile of the Ministry of Education for a repost and a republication;
“L’arte ti somiglia”, a campaign that already exists and re-proposed in 2020 as a result of the limitations to use in the presence of cultural sites, due to the COVID-19 health emergency. Among the various activities and in addition to the #iorestoacasa, there is the social campaign, aimed at users and above all young people, which invites to find similarities between people and portraits in the works of art in Italian museums, sharing them on social networks using the hashtag #l’artetisomiglia. The MiBACT then relaunched the photos of all those who participated on its social channels. In this way, the “ArTyou ready” campaign was carried out in an innovative way and through a new edition, which weekly involves users on the Internet in order to stimulate creativity through digital media, with particular attention paid to cultural heritage;
Dantedì: “Dantedì” is one of the initiatives that has exploited new technologies to encourage the use of cultural products during the lockdown. On 25 March 2020 – a date that scholars identify as the beginning of the journey of the Divine Comedy – the day dedicated to Dante Alighieri established by the Government was celebrated: the activities related to Dantedì took place entirely online, not only with a re-reading of Dante’s verses in the field of distance learning, but also with online initiatives aimed at every citizen, streaming readings, performances, etc., aggregated and identified through the official hashtags #Dantedì and #IoleggoDante.
Facilitating access to culture through new technologies
Syllabus for digital civic education
In 2018, the Ministry of Education (then MIUR) presented a syllabus dedicated to digital civic education. The platform aims to provide young generations not only with materials, content and useful resources – available through an OER (Open Educational Resources) collection – for an informed use of the Internet but also the right tools to train citizens who can actively participate in social life using digital means. The syllabus was created together with over one hundred organizations (institutions, national and international academia, civil society, etc.).
General Catalogue of Cultural Heritage
To facilitate access to the immense Italian tangible and intangible cultural heritage, the MiBACT and the ICCD (Central Institute for Catalogues and Documentation) created the General Catalogue of Cultural Heritage, a database which contains all the descriptive information of the cultural heritage catalogued in Italy and the result of the activity of the various Institutions that, in the area, deal with their protection and valorisation.
The catalogue cards are managed by SIGECweb. The database in 2020 contains over 2,700,000 heritage cards and will be updated progressively. As of 2020, only a part of the heritage cards (monuments, collections, collections, objects of artistic and historical interest, archaeological finds and sites, scientific and naturalistic assets) can be consulted. The platform allows to search, view previews and access the catalogue sheet of the individual asset of interest. From the site, it is possible to consult a summary sheet (from which to draw the essential information on the asset :) and download an analytical sheet, which contains detailed information, including historical information, state of conservation, legal conditions and presence of constraints, etc.
National Library Service (SBN).
The National Library Service (SBN)is a network promoted by MiBACT, the Regions and the Universities and coordinated by the ICCU (Central Institute for the Single Catalogue of Italian Libraries and Bibliographic Information). It was created for the consultation of books and volumes. Currently, state libraries, local authorities, universities, public and private institutions operating in various disciplinary sectors adhere to the program (over 6 thousand in June 2017). In August 2020, the SBN Catalogue allows access to 18,156,651 bibliographic information, accompanied by 100,784,105 localizations. Access to the catalogue is possible from the web and through a special smartphone app, which can be downloaded from the main app stores (Google Play and AppStore).
Through the SBN Public Catalogue, it is possible to: identify the documents of interest; identify the libraries that possess these documents and access the personal data sheet of the single library; access local catalogues for additional information on document availability; access the remote lending service or supply of documents in reproduction through the libraries participating in this service; access the Entries of authority, i.e. controlled entries in order to guarantee the uniqueness of the term sought.
During the COVID-19 health emergency, in 2020, the “#IOLEGGODIGITALE” project was launched, as part of the digital solidarity initiative “Unite to restart”, promoted by the ICCU together with other private partners (DM Cultura and Amazon Web Service). The “ioleggodigitale” portal allows access to over 2 million free books, copyright-free digital resources belonging to the INDACO Network digital library, including e-books, audio books, music, films, language courses, video games that can be used and downloaded for free, without the need for authentication.