5G Smart School, a program from Qualcomm Incorporated, through its Wireless Reach™ Initiative, and in collaboration with WeSchool, Telecom Italia (TIM) and Acer, is providing schools with next generation wireless technology solutions.
The program, which launched today at an event in Rome, aims to enhance the learning experience so teachers and students can take advantage of digital tools, content, and experiences.
5G Smart School improves teaching and learning in secondary schools (students aged 11 to 19) across Italy using wireless technologies, 5G connectivity, access to an online learning platform, training on innovative digital teaching methodologies, and continuous teacher support.
Marco De Rossi, CEO WeSchool says: “5G Smart School proves that technology in education is not just a tool to improve individual work. Technology, connectivity and innovative methodologies can also enhance in-person collaboration, envisioning a new school model for the future.”
Qualcomm partners with WeSchool, TIM and Acer
Education is a key driver for growth, economic prosperity, and the advancement of both developed and developing countries. Access to new digital technologies and ultra-broadband connectivity can bridge the digital divide by bringing high quality education to all communities regardless of income, status or location. However, substantial barriers remain in effectively utilizing these new technologies in schools.
According to World Economic Forum data, more than 60% of global GDP in 2022 is expected to depend on digital technologies. Yet, 37% of the world population, close to 3 billion people, remain offline and many others only have access to unreliable internet connections.
Enrico Salvatori, Senior Vice President, Qualcomm Europe, Inc. and President, Qualcomm Europe/MEA, says: “Qualcomm is a leader in advanced technologies and solutions that are essential to bridge the digital divide, including wireless connectivity and high-performance, low power systems. We believe access to advanced digital tools in schools is so important for students’ educational growth. The 5G Smart School Program is an example of our efforts within the Italian school system and schools, across Europe and the world to narrow the divide.
The 5G Smart School program addresses the obstacles to the adoption of wireless technologies in and outside of the classroom, including the need for digital content and assessment, infrastructure, privacy and security, and professional development for teachers.
The program seeks to accelerate the development of digital skills among Italian secondary school students, beginning with nearly 2,000 students and 100 teachers across eight schools. Teachers and students are provided with advanced digital tools, such as Snapdragon™ 5G platform-enabled ACER notebooks for teachers and WiFi models for students. The devices are connected to TIM’s 5G network, which enables ultra-reliable, fast and high-quality connections, and expanded opportunities for collaborative educational experiences within and across schools. These “always on, always connected” personal computers enable teachers to connect to the internet and lesson plan from virtually anywhere.
Daniele Franceschini, Head of Technology and IT Planning, Engineering & Innovation at TIM says: “Our commitment has always been to guarantee quality connectivity services and accelerate digital transformation in Italy. We joined this project because we believe that it is in line with what we are already doing in every sector, both public and private. The 5G FWA and 5G mmWave technologies are a further tool to bring our Italian schools up to the pace of innovation”.
Teachers receive ongoing training and access to the WeSchool online platform that prepares them to leverage the educational tools. This includes Minecraft for Education and CoSpaces Edu, combining these tools with innovative methodologies such as Project Based Learning and Role Play, to make teaching more effective and learning more engaging, favouring the development of soft and hard skills in students and involving teachers regardless of their starting level in digital knowledge and the subject they teach. The second phase of the project also features virtual reality headsets in order to enhance immersivity and engagement, bringing advanced technologies to schools located both in urban and rural areas.
Alessandro Barbesta, Commercial Head of Acer Italy says: “We gladly joined the 5G Smart School program, which allowed us to equip the involved schools with our devices and let students and teachers use the necessary technological tools in order to improve their teaching experience. In fact, our products represent the essential tool to support school activity, as they are design to feature reliable performance, resistance, versatility, security and advanced connectivity options to facilitate students’ connection, collaboration and involvement.”
The event featured speakers, including from the Italian Ministry of Education, Italian Parliament, European Commission and UNESCO, highlighting the current challenges in the education system, technology improvements and a new model for the future.