The 2015 National Digital School Plan (Piano Nazionale per la Scuola Digitale — PNSD) refers to “digital innovation”, “digital education”, and “information and communication technologies (ICTs)”. ICT (TIC in Italian) is routinely used in several laws and policy documents. In parallel, 2025 National Strategy for Innovation Technological Innovation and Digitization mentions “e-learning”, “AI in education”, “in-person learning” and “distance/remote learning”. Finally, the 2020 Operational Plan refers to “assistive technologies in education” and “Smart classes”.
Constitution and laws: Article 34 of the 1947 Constitution states that schools are open for anyone: "Elementary education, imparted for at least eight years, is compulsory and free. Capable and deserving pupils, even without financial resources, have the right to attain the highest levels of education”. Article 2 mentions promoting technological research but not in the context of schools.
The 1998 Education Act (D.Lgs. n. 112/98) is the primary legal framework for the organization and governance of the education system and the rights and duties of teachers, students, and institutions, but it does not refer to technology. However, the 2015 Buona Scuola (Good School) Law No. 107 aims to reform the National Education and Training System by introducing “innovative technologies” (Article 1), and it is a priority to include them in the education system the “development of students' digital skills, with particular about computational thinking, critical use and aware of social networks and media as well as production and links with the world of work” (article 7).
Policies, plans and strategies: The 2015 National Digital School Plan (Piano Nazionale Scuola Digitale — PNSD), first introduced by the 2015 Buona Scuola Law No. 107, reflects the government's stance on the major innovation challenges facing the public education system and is the primary plan for boosting students' digital skills. The Ministry of Education, University and Research launched the policy introducing innovation in the school system and positioning the education system in the digital era. The plan is organized into three intervention areas: 1) Tools: these actions aim to provide schools with cutting-edge digital technology-based learning environments where innovative teaching techniques can be experimented with and implemented. 2) Skills and Content: these actions are focused on boosting students’ digital skills and promoting the creation of high-quality digital education content. 3) Training: these actions are meant to facilitate learning and digital innovation through training programmes for school personnel. The Plan introduced the electronic register, a tool that greatly simplifies and speeds up internal school processes. It is an immediate communication tool for families, thanks to the provision of all the information useful for achieving full awareness of their children's school life.
The first step of the Plan was to provide all primary school classes with an electronic register. In the same year, the Declaration of internet rights was presented by the Parliament. It is a fundamental document to guarantee each individual the exercise of active digital citizenship in respect of the freedom, dignity and diversity of each person. The text identifies a series of general principles that embrace the various issues connected to the use of the Internet: the right to knowledge and education on the Net, the neutrality of the Net, and the right to identity. Starting from the recognition of the right to access the internet, the Declaration is founded on the full recognition of freedom, equality, dignity and diversity of every person. The guarantee of these rights is a necessary condition to ensure the democratic functioning of the institutions.
The 2025 National Strategy for Innovation Technological Innovation and Digitization is based on the premise that the country's digital transformation is anchored in the growth and diffusion of digital culture. It adds that “the epidemic's devastating effects made it increasingly clearer how crucial the use of digital technology is for both social and economic life and education”. Within the “2025 Italy” framework, the “2020 Repubblica Digitale”, a strategic initiative that “aims to reduce the digital divide and promote education on future technologies”, is expanding rapidly and intends to constitute an organic and comprehensive response to the issue of digital skills”. The 2020 National Strategy for Digital Skills and its 2020 Operational Plan were developed as part of the Repubblica Digitale initiative to represent an organic and complete response to the issue of digital skills.
The 2020 National Strategy for Digital Skills “Digital Education” represents “computer culture and digital skills” as an “essential requirement for full citizenship”. Therefore, it states that both the public and private sectors should invest in developing digital skills, as they are crucial for economic growth, international competitiveness, the creation of public value, and national prosperity. Additionally, schools, universities, and the media should help combat all forms of digital illiteracy.
The 2020 Operational Plan states that the 2020 National Coalition for Digital Skills is an important resource for achieving the objectives of the digital skills strategy. The National is made up of a variety of entities, including public entities, third-sector organizations, individuals, and territorial networks, which are working together to achieve the goals of the digital skills strategy. By bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders, the National Coalition can leverage its members' resources and expertise to implement innovative projects aimed at promoting digital skills.
To promote strategies aimed at making the Internet a safer place for younger users, encouraging positive and aware use of it, the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) has launched the "Connected Generations" initiative, supported by the European Commission, to provide schools with a set of didactic tools, of immediate use, including: training activities (online and face-to-face) aimed specifically at school communities (teachers, children, teenagers, parents, educators) who will undertake a dedicated course; information and awareness-raising activities carried out in collaboration with the State Police to explore the issues of safe navigation on the Net. Schools wishing to participate in the initiative can log on to www.generazioniconnesse.it and follow the instructions provided to register for the project.
Through a guided process and specific work materials, the schools registered in Connected Generations undertake a path to bring out the strengths and weaknesses of the institution itself, on issues related to the Project, by filling in a self-assessment questionnaire available on the website www.generazioniconnesse.it. The questionnaire is a tool which allows the institute to identify its needs, areas for improvement and the actions to be undertaken to arrive at the development of a personalized project called "Plan of Action". This Plan will allow educational institutions to focus their Three-Year Plan of the Educational Offer to define: own approach to issues related to digital skills, online safety and the positive use of digital technologies in teaching; the rules of conduct and procedures for the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the school environment; measures for prevention; and measures for the identification and management of problems connected to an unconscious use of digital technologies.
Digital competency frameworks: The 2020 National Strategy for Digital Skills states that Italy adheres to the European Digital Competence Framework for Citizens (DigComp), which is a tool to improve the digital competence of citizens and the 2017 Digital Competence Framework for Educators (DigCompEdu) as “it is necessary to leverage on what has already been achieved, taking into account the limits of an approach exclusively based on self-assessment and moving towards the use of evaluation and qualification systems”. The DigCompEdu, the European digital competence framework for teachers and educators, is aimed at teachers of all education levels, to support and encourage the effective use of digital tools to improve and innovate teaching and learning processes. “Teachers’ training can become more effective with the adoption of structured training programmes on digital skills; the European DigCompEdu framework represents a good reference for the measurement of digital skills among teachers and educators”.
The 2015 National Digital School Plan (Piano Nazionale Scuola Digitale — PNSD) is currently engaged in a multilevel strategy for the adoption, in all schools, of digital curricula, European reference frameworks on digital competences (DigComp and DigCompEdu), innovative teaching methodologies, innovative learning environments, and opens to the new scenarios designed by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and by the European Structural Funds.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: The digitalisation of the Italian education system started in the mid-2000s. Interactive whiteboards started being introduced later in classrooms, followed by the digital register in 2012 and the National Plan for School Digitalisation in 2015. According to 2020 Decree No.19, all educational institutions and activities of schools of all levels were suspended from the 25th of March and converted to distance learning modalities as it was declared a state of emergency. The 2020 School Decree No.22 (Decreto Scuola) was then enacted along with the 2020 Scuola Solidale Digitale initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Education set up a web page with a knowledge bank of initiatives for schools. These spanned from mentions of schools’ experiences #lascuolanonsiferma; lists of e-learning platforms (e.g. Google Suite, Facebook, Weschool, etc); resources supporting students with disabilities (Progetto Tris, Dida Labs Prezi, Institute for Learning Technologies ITD, etc.), multimedia content (Rai Scuola, Rai Cultura, Treccani scuola, Fondazione Reggio, etc.); and webinars. The National Institute for Documentation and Innovation in Educational Research (INDIRE) with other two networks developed Flipped Classroom, a project adopted by 592 schools, through which lessons with associated homework are provided via videos and other digital resources.
Peer learning and collaboration became vital: some teachers mentored colleagues via webinars and on Facebook. The community La scuola per la scuola (The school for the school) has produced over 90 free webinars involving more than 18,000 teachers sharing good practices. In Turin, the association Next-Level records videos of dialogues with teachers and students, which are then published La Stampa, a national newspaper. Primary and secondary schools are also sharing good practices. In Lombardy, the ITE Tosi of Busto Arsizio hosts events and training initiatives for teachers, with good practices and materials distributed on its website, My different school. In Genoa, the Institute of Educational Technologies (ITD) of the National Research Council supports teachers by giving training on distance teaching with an equity lens.
The European Union established the 2021 Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) in response to the economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. The RRF is a €750 billion fund that is intended to support member states in their efforts to recover from the pandemic and strengthen their economies for the long term. Italy, which was one of the countries hit hardest by the pandemic, decided to use its entire national allocation under the EU's Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) to invest in a wide range of measures aimed at improving its economic competitiveness, social and environmental sustainability, and resilience to future crises. The 2021 National Recovery and Resilience Plan included investments to modernize and reform its education system by focusing on digitalization, improving the quality of teaching and professional development of teachers, and addressing issues of inequality and social inclusion in education. These measures are intended to build a more resilient and adaptable education system that can better serve the needs of students and support the country's long-term economic growth and social development.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
The National Digital School Plan (PNSD) is the main planning tool for the digital transformation process of the Italian school, introduced by article 1, paragraphs 56 -59, of the law of 13 July 2015, n. 107.
The Plan in force was adopted with the decree of the Minister of Education, University and Research 27 October 2016, n. 851. It consists of a total of 35 actions, divided into three areas of intervention :
- Connectivity: actions to ensure access to the Internet by all educational institutions, students and school staff;
- Environments and Tools: actions aimed at providing educational institutions with innovative learning environments, based on the use of digital technologies;
- Skills and Contents: actions aimed at promoting and strengthening students' digital skills and encouraging the development of quality content for digital teaching;
- Training and accompaniment: actions aimed at supporting educational and digital innovation through accompaniment courses for educational institutions and training for school personnel.
The National Digital School Plan is financed with the resources allocated annually on the basis of article 1, paragraph 62, second sentence, of the law of 13 July 2015, n. 107, with the resources relating to the PON " For the School - skills and environments for learning " 2014-2020, with resources deriving from the investment fund for the financing of digital educational laboratories.
For digital infrastructure, measures have been promoted to enhance connectivity (93.4% of classes are connected to the internet - data from the 2020 Digital School Observatory), to set up innovative learning environments (present in 81 .3% of schools), for the purchase of equipment and tools for digital teaching (the ratio between students/devices has halved in 5 years), for the development of students' digital skills (85.5% of schools promotes digital citizenship courses) and for training teachers in digital teaching skills (80.3% of teachers use digital technologies in teaching on a daily or weekly basis).
Electricity: Legislative Decree 297/1994 is the reference legislation as regards the energy responsibilities of schools and local bodies. This document clarifies how the structural interventions for energy efficiency and the payment of utilities should be managed. In particular, article 85 states that, in the field of construction, the municipality deals with the aspects attributed to it by state and regional law, regarding interventions on nursery, elementary and middle school education. The province, on the other hand, will have to deal with interventions in the sphere of high schools and vocational training institutes. It should also be noted that with regard to elementary and middle schools, the municipality must also deal with the costs of purchasing furniture and equipment. According to article 3 of Law no. 23 of 11 January 1996 ("Regulations for school construction"), municipalities and provinces must also pay for the electricity, water, gas and telephone bills of schools.
Also in Legislative Decree 297/1994, in articles 89 and 107 it is stated that the calculation of the payment of utilities also includes the open areas of schools and gymnasiums, therefore considering in all respects school premises and that the rules also concern schools state nurseries.
In summary, therefore, it can be stated that municipalities are responsible for the utility payments of the first cycle of education schools, while the provinces are for those of the second cycle schools. In most cases, provinces pay the expenses by anticipating the economic resources and then request reimbursement from the institution that owns the buildings.
Computers and devices: Important investments have been made since 2015 with the aim to equip all classrooms with fundamental tools such as digital monitors, innovative learning environments, tools for educational robotics, tinkering, making, digital tools for STEM and STEAM, individual digital devices for BYOD (tablets and notebooks), advanced educational and professional training laboratories, tools for learning with virtual and augmented reality. Action 4 for equipment and structure of the National Plan, emphasizes the need to bring laboratory back to the center, made up of learning environments that act as an essential meeting point between knowledge and know-how. Central to this vision is the innovation of learning environments.Each school must have a sufficient number of environments and equipment enabling digital teaching, chosen and adapted to the needs of teachers and students as well as the realities in which they take place. numerous interventions have been promoted in recent years which have made it possible to create over 14,000 innovative environments in schools and which the National Recovery and Resilience Plan aims to bring to at least 100,000. From NOPs for digital environments and smart classes to PNSD funding for environments in risk areas, digital inclusion, innovative learning environments, STEM spaces, also in synergy with action #7, the building site of digital school has gradually expanded and made a reality in most schools. Within its action 5, the Plans has fostered challenges prize. Starting from the 2018-2019 school year, the Digital School Award was established, in which over 4,000 educational institutions have participated to date. The Award intends to enhance projects and initiatives of schools, which propose innovative models and good practices of digital teaching, promoted by teachers and students.
The Digital School Award includes a provincial/territorial, a regional and a national phase and is made up of three sections, the first reserved for first-cycle schools, the second for second-cycle schools, and the third for provincial centres for the education of adults. Over the years, the PNSD has also promoted competitions for ideas and the exchange of practices.
One of the objectives of the 2020 Operational Plan is to develop an equipment project to promote a bring-your-own-device/technology (BYOD) policy. The project aims to offer educational institutions the opportunity to create virtual classes suitable for allowing forms of digital teaching. The initiative is aimed at the primary and secondary schools cycle. The plan also states that it aims to provide tools and assistive technologies (e.g. PC, Tablet, optical sensors, etc.) for teaching students with disabilities.
The plan includes short-term initiatives to assist low-income families in accessing broadband services and purchasing PCs or tablets for internet connectivity. These efforts were supported by information and training activities, particularly for those with limited digital skills. The distribution of vouchers to families was preceded and accompanied by these actions. The PNSD highlights that the digital school, in collaboration with families and local authorities, must open up to the so-called BYOD ( Bring Your Own Device). Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Digital School Plan fund was increased with additional resources to strengthen the availability of individual digital devices in schools, useful for both classroom and home activities, with the related connectivity, which will empower BYOD efforts in both the short and long term.
Internet connectivity: The 2015 Strategy for Ultra-Broadband represents the national reference framework for public initiatives to support the development of ultra-broadband networks; it highlighted the importance of adopting a provision for access to a “universal digital service”. One of the main priorities of the 2020 National Strategy for Digital Skills is to support “all schools in Italy to have broadband access”.
Progress in this area was also made thank to the implementation of the National Digital School Plan (see above). The Plan highlights that access to the network in a stable and secure manner is the primary enabling condition that allows the creation of conditions for the realization of digital innovation in the school and the teaching of the future. Access to the Internet includes a broader idea of digital inclusion, beyond territorial and economic differences. The "Connectivity" area provides for ultra-broadband in every school, internal wiring, and interactivity, with a view to global connectivity. Connectivity today represents the first major axis to give access to the Internet to all schools, at the maximum speed possible thanks to ultra -broadband.After the investments in cabling by the PON "For school" in the years 2015-2018, the school is now at the center of a new important government initiative on infrastructure: the National Ultra-Broadband Plan of the Ministry for Economic Development (MISE). To locate individual educational institutions and provide them with the connectivity identified in the National Ultra-Broadband Plan, action 1 of the National Digital School Plan, as part of an important agreement between the Ministry of Education and the MISE, envisages the new scenario of connecting, by 2023, all school complexes at a speed of 1 gigabyte per second, which will be reached by the public connectivity service for a period of 5 years. The second action aims to the creation of wired and wireless local networks within all educational institutions to allow the best access to connectivity by school staff and students was divided into 3 phases: the first, launched with the previous Digital School Plan in the years 2013-2015, which reached 1,500 schools; the second, implemented with an investment of 88.5 million of PON funds "For the school" 2014-2021 between 2015 and 2018, which allowed the wiring of 5937 educational institutions; the third, under construction in the period 2021-2023, with a total investment of 445 million in PON REACT EU funds, in complementarity with the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, to strengthen/create wired and wireless local networks in over 31,000 school buildings. The third action is the "Right to the Internet" in schools is implemented through a twofold strategy: ensure that all students have access to the Internet while they are at school, in complementarity with actions #1 and #2; promote safe Internet access by less well-off students, even at home, for carrying out study activities, in complementarity with the actions for the development of distance learning and integrated digital teaching launched during the health emergency.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
Italy has a long history of distance learning in its education system. In regards to COVID-19, the 2020 School Decree No.22 (Decreto Scuola) provided a legal framework for the completion of the 2019/2020 school year and ensured that students were able to take their final exams and receive their end-of-year assessments safely and effectively, given the challenges posed by the pandemic. The decree also guided the start of the 2020/2021 school year and regulated the hiring process for lower and upper secondary school teachers. Overall, the "School Decree" was a necessary measure aimed at mitigating the impact of the pandemic on the education sector and ensuring that students could continue their studies and receive the support they needed to succeed.
Italy's schools quickly adapted to distance learning during the Covid-19 pandemic by implementing practices such as MOOCs, virtual classes, and smart working to follow the normal school timetable. Many schools activated or accelerated training opportunities for teachers, and peer learning and collaboration have become vital. The Ministry of Education set up a web page with a knowledge bank of initiatives for schools that include lists of e-learning platforms, resources supporting students with disabilities, multimedia content, and webinars. However, distance learning has been more challenging for younger students who cannot be kept in front of a computer for several hours a week, and collaboration between teachers and parents is not always possible. Affordability and remoteness can compound difficulties, and some regions have devoted specific financial allocations to enable poorer families to buy the equipment necessary for distance learning. The National Institute for Documentation and Innovation in Educational Research (INDIRE) developed Flipped classroom, a project adopted by 592 schools, through which lessons with associated homework are provided via videos and other digital resources.
The 2020 Scuola Solidale Digitale (Digital Solidarity School) programme was launched to support the adoption of distance learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The programme was jointly launched by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Technological Innovation and Digitization. The Digital Solidarity School programme provided resources and technical support to secondary schools in Italy to facilitate the implementation of remote learning during the pandemic. The programme aimed to provide students and teachers with access to digital tools and resources, such as hardware and software, to support online learning and ensure that no student was left behind due to a lack of access to technology. The programme also aimed to provide training and support for teachers in using digital tools and platforms for remote teaching and to promote students’ development of digital skills.
COVID-19 response plans to deliver distance education online also included two important initiatives to support adopting distance learning. In an agreement with the Ministry of Education, the INDIRE webinar platform provided online training sessions for teachers to help them effectively adopt digital tools and methodologies for remote learning. Meanwhile, RAI Scuola, a partnership between the national public broadcaster RAI and the Ministry of Education, provided educational content for students, including animated series and shows on various subjects, such as art, music, history, and science. These initiatives aim to provide teachers and students with the resources and support they need to continue learning and growing, even in remote or distance learning.
By April 2020, the Ministry for Technological Innovation and Digital Transition launched the Italian National Coalition for Digital Skills, following the multi-stakeholder initiative 2020 Repubblica Digitale. The coalition seeks to promote digital skills at all Italian economy and society levels by engaging various stakeholders, including businesses, public entities, and NGOs. The initiative’s main goal is to create a cultural shift that prioritizes the improvement of competencies needed to maximize the benefits of digital transformation in the education sector and the labour force.
Due to the pandemic, the 2020 Operational Plan and the 2020 National Strategy for Digital Skills were launched to strengthen the Italian educational system through digital transformation. The plan focuses on five main areas of improvement, including the infrastructural digitization of the school system (smart classes, future classes through developing laboratories, high-tech integration tools), development of students' digital skills and culture, digital training of teaching staff, and strengthening of ICT training and education-economic sector relations.
The Ministry of Education has also signed a protocol with Rai to diffuse education content in Rai Scuola and Rai Play as part of a campaign, #LaScuolaNonSiFerma (The school never closes) to address issues of internet connectivity. Despite the challenges, Italy's education community wants to find solutions and there is much to be learnt from the innovative distance teaching practices adopted in the country.
#LaScuolaNonSiFerma (The school never closes) is a campaign initiated by the Ministry of Education in Italy in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. As part of this campaign, Rai has signed a protocol with the Ministry of Education to broadcast educational content on Rai Scuola and Rai Play. The campaign aims to ensure that education continues for all students, despite the school closures, by promoting distance learning initiatives, collaborating with teachers and parents, and providing resources and mentorship opportunities for teachers. The goal is to ensure that every student has access to education, regardless of their location, socio-economic situation or level of digital literacy. The campaign has met with positive response from the education community in Italy, and various initiatives have been undertaken by schools, teachers and parents to support students' learning at home.
The 2020 National Strategy for Digital Skills states that the development of students' digital skills and culture can be achieved by promoting collaborative networks, incorporating digital skills into the curriculum, evaluating and certifying students' e-skills, encouraging innovative teaching methodologies, and utilizing digital tools and platforms for teaching and learning. The curriculum should include both soft skills and basic digital skills such as coding and specific ICT sector-related skills, based on the grade and areas of study.
In addition, “evaluation and certification of pupils' e-skills within the school system” can be done “by applying DigComp, the framework for citizens' e-skills, developed by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre”. The strategy’s goals include reducing the gender gap in STEM fields, both in terms of the number of students studying STEM subjects and those pursuing STEM careers after secondary school.
The 2020 Operational Plan aims to strengthen digital and more innovative STEM skills, particularly for female students, to improve gender balance: “At least 8 thousand schools will activate projects in the field of STEM skills, making use of a national platform that will take care of the implementation of the programme, data monitoring and information dissemination”.
The 2022-2024 Strategic Programme for Artificial Intelligence (AI) objectives include the promotion of courses and careers in STEM subjects by investing in new skills and schools (Innovative schools, new classrooms and laboratories) as well as integrating STEM, digital and innovation skills within the curricula of all school cycles, of activities, methodologies and content, with particular attention to equal opportunities and females.
The Law of 13 July 2015 n.107 introduced, among the priority educational objectives, the development of students' digital skills, also aimed at a critical and aware use of social networks and the media, as set out in the National Digital School Plan. Students must be made aware of responsible use of the web and made capable of managing digital relationships in unprotected contexts, given that one of the School's tasks is to encourage the acquisition of the skills necessary for exercising and aware digital citizenship. These indications are also contained in the law of 20 August 2019 n. 92 "Introduction of the school teaching of civic education" which provides, among other things, in the context of the transversal teaching of civic education, digital citizenship education.
The PNSD highlights that students ‘must transform themselves from consumers into "critical consumers" and "producers" of digital content and architecture, capable of developing (and this is required by the world of work) transversal skills in every sector and occupational field; able to solve problems, implement ideas, acquire independence of judgement, creative thinking, awareness of one's own abilities, ductility and flexibility in the search for solutions. Talking about digital skills, therefore, means taking into consideration some fundamental guidelines. First, the need to place any reasoning within the broader framework of skills and teaching activity.
Second, to clarify that the dimensions of digital skills are different: from a tool for teaching to a vehicle for the development of transversal skills and attitudes, and finally as a new literacy, basic through computational thinking, and in its macro and applied dimension, associated to the great social and economic changes and in its relationship with information and rules.’ In this dimension, the PNSD has prioritized 10 actions: (1) A framework for digital skills (2) Innovative scenarios for digital skills (3) Research unit for skills (4) computational thinking in primary school (5) Updating the technology curriculum (6) A curriculum for (digital) (7) Girls in Tech & Science (8) Digital Career Plan (9) Minimum standards for online learning environments (10) Production of open educational resources, and (11) School libraries as literacy environments for the use of digital information resources.
The 2020 National Strategy for Digital Skills states that the Minister of Public Administration and the Minister for Technological Innovation and Digitalization have signed an agreement to advance a more organized approach to promoting digital skills. These skills are not only necessary for the in-service training of employees but are also an initial-training requirement for individuals seeking to join the civil service in all sectors. Therefore, one of the strategy’s main priorities is to promote “effective training paths for enhancing teachers' digital competencies”.
The strategy also mentions that two essential preconditions that ensure its success include the teachers' knowledge of information security “as an essential component of the development of digital skills” and the promotion of media education projects to encourage the responsible use of digital technologies and minimize associated risks. It also highlights that to enhance teachers' digital skills effectively, specialized training programmes should be offered, focusing on specialized training for those with a strong interest in digital culture.
The 2020 Operational Plan includes intervention goals that aim to develop the digital teaching skills of teachers through continuous/ in-service training that accelerates the digital transition and the adoption of a single integrated teaching model for all schools.
With the PNSD, a network of 8,200 representatives of digital activities ("digital animator"), 24,000 innovative teachers (figures present in every school) and 200 teachers who are experts in digital teaching have been created to support educational and digital innovation, in addition to the "Future Labs", managed by hub schools for the training of school staff in the digital transition present in all Italian regions.
The "Teacher Charter", introduced by law 107/2015 to support the training, updating and cultural and professional growth of the teaching staff, adds a fundamental value to the MI offer to enhance its human capital. In developing the Teacher Charter, the Ministry will take care of creating a continuum between the information bases pertaining to the teacher, creating a definitive link between different classes of information, to which must be added the others available on the entire school system and on individual institutes.
When fully operational, through the creation of the single digital identity, the teacher's profile will be associated with the multiple information and administrative interactions that will form a teacher's file complete with all the professional aspects that characterize the profile.
The PNSD recognized the key role of teachers and all education staff and foresees a large number of actions with the aim of making them the pivot of change. For example, Law 107/2015 introduced compulsory in-service training for teaching staff for the first time in the national school context. This is an important innovation, accompanied by a further stance: among the priorities of the next Three-Year Training Plan, training on the topics indicated in this Plan is included, with particular emphasis on the training of teachers in didactic innovation. It was decided that an overall plan was needed: a new model of dissemination that addresses, at the territorial level and in each school, the need to strengthen, activate, propagate and animate training activities. The experience gained in recent years in the many training initiatives on the digital theme directs a new training model on the following address areas: 1. training to accompany and upskill not only to transmit, as a training project rather than as a mere provision of courses; 2. greater diffusion, stability, continuity, sustainability and qualitative verification of the training carried out, through a renewed system of territorial training networks; training on a multiplicity of methodological models supported by European and international comparison; 3. a national and regional orientation of training with respect to the objectives of the Plan, but giving a fundamental role to the territories, which must allow the best innovations to express themselves and consolidate, without losing spontaneity and the possibility of exchange; 4. an important role, also thanks to the digital animator, also for internal school training, based on common needs and the stimulus to active participation in training activities.
2.4.1. Data privacy
The 2021 Data Protection Code provides a comprehensive framework for the protection of personal data, which is aligned with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This ensures that Italy's data protection regime complies with the EU's data protection framework. The law's primary goal is to preserve people's privacy and personal information, which applies to both public and private organizations that process personal information. It also establishes guidelines for storing, using, and disclosing personal information. For instance, Article 13 mandates that people be notified about the processing of their data and the reasons for the processing. The law governing data protection is enforced by the Data Protection Authority (Garante per la Protezione dei Dati Personali). No specific information on the context of schools and education was found.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
Online abuse and cyberbullying are considered criminal offences and are regulated under the country's criminal code. The 2022 Criminal Code includes Articles: 595 (Defamation), 600 (Possession or access to pornographic material), 612 (Threats), and 612-bis (Threats Committed Using Information and Communication Technology).
The 2020 Operational Plan refers to the 2014 Safer Internet Centre initiative by the Ministry of Education, specifically the Directorate General for Students, School Inclusion, and Guidance, to promote responsible and safe Internet use. This is achieved through various means, such as offering training courses and awareness-raising initiatives and providing information, advice, and support to children, teenagers, parents, teachers, and educators who have had experiences or problems related to the internet. Additionally, the initiative aims to facilitate the reporting of illegal online material. One of the key initiatives under this programme is activating a platform specifically designed to assist teachers in developing an internal school e-policy. This e-policy serves as a crucial document to plan and/or update digital education activities and identify actions to prevent cyberbullying and bullying.
Law 107/2015 includes among the priority educational objectives the development of students' digital skills, also aimed at a critical and aware use of social networks and the media. Law 71/2017 provides for the protection of minors for the prevention and contrast of the phenomenon of cyberbullying. InN October 2017, the Ministry of Education issued guidelines for the prevention and contrast of bullying and cyberbullying originally. Law 92/2019 introduced the teaching of civic education, which includes digital citizenship education in the curricula. In 2021, the guidelines have been updated with decree n.18/2021 and related note. They are a working tool to address the problems of youth discomfort which very often manifests itself through episodes of bullying and cyberbullying. They aim to provide educational institutions with indications for carrying out effective interventions; Enable managers, teachers and school operators to understand, reduce and combat bullying episodes affecting male and female students, providing tools with proven scientific evidence. They target all those that operate in the world of education, healthcare and those who have to deal with bullying and cyberbullying phenomena.
The ELISA Project (training in ELearning for Teachers on Anti- bullying Strategies ) was born out of a collaboration between the MI – Directorate General for Students and the Department of Education, Languages, Interculture, Literature and Psychology of the University of Florence. The ELISA Platform aims to provide schools and teachers with the tools to intervene effectively on the subject of cyberbullying and bullying. To respond to this objective, two specific actions have been prepared, which do not involve financial burdens for the participants: E-Learning Training and Monitoring. The e-learning platform is accessible to the two teachers responsible for bullying and cyberbullying identified by each Italian school, according to article 4 of law 71/2017, and to other members of the Anti-bullying and Emergency Team, up to a maximum of five other figures, in order to promote the establishment of a working group activities in the prevention and contrast of bullying and cyberbullying. The training is addressed to the school director and to teachers. The Monitoring is aimed at all Primary and Secondary Schools of the first and second degree of the national territory. Each school will be able to periodically access national surveys to assess their situation by receiving a personalized report.
Registered schools in Connected Generations that fill in a self-assessment questionnaire available on the website www.generazioniconnesse.it are able to identify their needs and areas for improvement to the project called "Plan of Action". For the implementation of the "Action Plan", the school is supported by a "school support" service ([email protected]) and by qualified personnel from the Italian Safer Internet Centre.
Another tool to combat harmful behavior online and at the same time increase awareness of the phenomenon is "iGloss@ 1.110, the ABC of deviant behavior online", elaborated by the Juvenile and Community Justice Department. The glossary, in recognizing the specialist terms on risky online behavior, offers a concise explanation of the main characteristics of deviant behavior and the implications socio-legal. The goal is not only to describe and frame the new phenomena of online deviance, but also to promote the acquisition of awareness of the social and judicial consequences of these specific transgressions. The glossary, available online in Italian and English on the Ministry of Justice website (www.giustizia.it), is aimed at operators of social, health and judicial services, young people and their parents.
The Ministry of Technological Innovation and Digitization and the Ministry of Education have been working together to promote technology integration in education, including at the secondary school level, through joint initiatives and policy development.
The Digital Solidarity initiative, launched by the Minister for Technological Innovation and Digitization, was coordinated by the Department for Digital Transformation with the technical support of the Agency for Digital Italy; during the months of the lockdown, it made a series of digital services available to citizens and businesses, offered free of charge, to reduce the economic and social impacts of the emergency Coronavirus.
The Digital Transformation Department coordinates the Technical Steering Committee, which, in addition to defining the National Strategy for Digital Skills and its Operational Plan, follows its implementation and monitoring with the support, among others, of the Coalition National, promoted by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers' Department for Digital Transformation.
The Connected Generations initiative is coordinated by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) and carried out in partnership with the Ministry of the Interior-Postal and Communications Police, the Authority for Childhood and Adolescence, Save the Children Italia Onlus, Sos Il Telefono Azzurro, the University of Florence, the University of Rome "La Sapienza", Skuola.net, the E.D.I. Cooperative, Movimento Difesa del Cittadino and the Dire Agency, the Department for the Education system of education and training, and the Directorate General for Students, Integration and Participation.
The 2022 Ministerial Circular contains indications on the use of mobile phones and similar electronic devices in the classrooms: “The ban on using mobile phones during lessons is confirmed, as it is an element of distraction for one's own and others and a lack of respect for teachers, as already established by the Statute of female and male students of 1998 and by Ministerial circular no. 30 of 2007”. Therefore, as can be seen from the aforementioned circular, there is a general ban on the use of cell phones in class; however, the circular specifies at the end that the use of cell phones and other electronic devices can be allowed, with the teacher's authorization, and in compliance with the institute regulations, for educational, inclusive and training purposes, also within the scope of the objectives of the National Digital School Plan (PNSD) and of “digital citizenship”.
Initially banned in Italian schools, Chat GPT has also become available in Italy again since April 28 2023, after the agreement between the Privacy Guarantor and Open AI, subject to certain conditions.