An abstract in English of the “PirateBox in classroom” initiative – #loptis

Ieri ho scritto un tweet sulla presentazione dell’iniziativa “PirateBox in classe” che farò al prossimo Linux Day a Firenze. Yesterday I twitted about a presentation about the “PirateBox in classroom” intitiative we will give at the next Linux Day in florence:

Con questo post cerco di rispondere a Stuart e ad altre persone che non conoscono l’italiano e che potrebbero essere interessate all’iniziativa – in particolare persone appartenenti alla comunità di sviluppo e promozione della PirateBox. Chi frequenta abitualmente il #loptis queste cose le sa. Continuiamo quindi in inglese.

With this post I try to answer to Stuart and other non-Italian speaking people who may be interested in the initiative – in particular to people belonging to the PirateBox community.

The context

The initiative is coordinated in this blog. The specific objective of the blog is to help people in using digital technologies in educational contexts. The general objective consists in contributing to the knowledge of the highly ethical and technical values of hacker culture. The approach is maieutic and very soft, from the technical point of view: we seek to improve a little bit the digital competencies of many teachers instead of creating a handful of specialists. The blog is thought as a permanent on-line laboratory of Internet technologies for education: Laboratorio Online Permanente di Tecnologie Internet per la Scuola – #loptis. The “PirateBox in classroom” initiative belongs to a few recent ones where we sought to extend the online laboratory in the physical world – the PirateBox turned out to be strategical. The idea of experimenting the PirateBox in educational environments is supported by the following facts. In Italy the mainstream information talks all the time about technologies in education but…

  • the bandwidth pro capite in Italy is still quite low, ranking at about 1/5 with respect to top-ranking countries
  • a small minority of schools is fully connected (all rooms)
  • the average digital literacy is low – often the “tecnico responsabile” is not there “now”, or is not there at all…
  • even if the connection exists, the Internet is not available for educational purposes, because of the prevailing worries about security issues
  • (the availability of even a conventional library in the school is not granted either)

At the same time there are a lot of teachers which are struggling to make good use of bibliographic resources and digital media resources.

What has be done so far

On 28 June, I launched the idea: Who is willing to try the little box of the (good) pirates? The proposal was: I take care of buying the hardware, of preparing the boxes and sending them. My work time is free but you will tell us what’s going on in your classes. Frankly, I believed we would involve some four or five people. Now there are 40 participants, pardon, 41: I stumbled in a new one last evening 🙂 The OpenWrt version based on the MR3020 was chosen to start the initiative, but probably we are going to try some Raspberry one’s, in some cases. During July, August and September I learned to build the Piratboxes efficiently, set up some trivial scripts to facilitate repetitive tasks and wrote a few tutorials to give some aids to the coming participants. I sent the first boxes on 4 September, the last ones on the 25-th. On 28 September, with Roberto Marcolin (the wiki owner and the friend who let me know the PirateBox), we set up a wiki page to gather experiences, problems and new ideas.

Next…

The experimentation in the classrooms will take some time, a couple of months I guess. The main task will be to exchange stories, case studies, problems, new ideas. On the base of such results, we will see if it will be worthwhile to continue and how to develop the initiative. Feel free to comment and ask for further information.


My English is barely decent. If something is unclear please tell me, so that we will improve the text and my skills at the same time 😉

2 thoughts on “An abstract in English of the “PirateBox in classroom” initiative – #loptis

  1. luciab ha detto:

    Congratulations, Andreas and all the involved teachers!
    Teaching some classes in a technology-deprived building, I have opted for the use of the digital platform Edmodo, which is also non-proprietary in philosophy. My students log in from home (Italian houses are often rich in technology) and our digital life is now blooming.
    At the moment I am very much concentrated on this experiment of mine, but I have been following this Pirate-box enterprise from afar and I’m looking forward to learning about the educational outcome.

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