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Italy: University of Palermo launches app for migrants

An e-learning platform that will support refugees and migrants attain school qualifications and learn Italian has been launched at the end of March in Palermo, Sicily  Italy.

The app was presented in Palermo on March 27. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Materials are designed to allow students to complete them on their own or with the help of non-specialised personnel and include immediate feedback

Named Studiare Migrando (Studying while migrating), the app was developed by the Italian language centre of the University of Palermo (ItaStra) in collaboration with the Institute for Didactic Technologies of the National Research Council, and was supported by UNICEF and by the Sicily Regional Education Office.

“The availability of the course on a smartphone allows to overcome economic and logistic limitations”

Its goal is to support refugees and migrants learn the Italian language and consolidate knowledge of school subjects, allowing them to sit and pass the middle school progression exam.

The exam, which students can take as external candidates, is composed of three written tasks (Italian, Mathematics and Foreign language one and two) and an interdisciplinary oral examination. It allows students to progress on to high school or vocational and professional training.

The app presents teaching and learning interactive modules that can be accessed from a smartphone, or a desktop computer, though the availability of mobile devices means the course can reach many more customers on this platform.

Materials are designed to allow students to complete them on their own or with the help of non-specialised personnel and include immediate feedback.

The language centre of the University of Palermo will also make personalised support available through the app.

“The availability of the course on a smartphone allows to overcome economic and logistic limitations,” reads a statement on the project’s website.

The platform is now going through a pilot phase, during which it will be tested by 800 students attending the Italian Language Centre at the University of Palermo, adult education centres in the region of Sicily and migrant centres.

This builds on a previous project by ItaStra called Ponti di Parole (Word Bridges) which developed course modules and materials to teach Italian to students with low levels of schooling.

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