Keys to Success

There were four keys to the success for the contest in Italy.

  1. Filtering - Despite being open to all Italian schools of any degree in Italy and abroad, the promotional messages and the rules of the contest themselves were highly selective and structured with a language aimed at involving only teachers with a strong interest in didactic experimentation and at least curiosity about digital issues. A key selector is the requirement to join the "Telegram" messaging system as the only channel for communications with the organizers.

  2. Ministry for Education's support - The support of the MIUR has materialized under only one aspect, but of extreme usefulness: sending of an official note on the initiative to all schools. This channel has proved itself to be a more effective communication vector than any other used, including social media.

  3. The chat channel and the "coopetitive" principle - Since the third edition, much emphasis has been placed on a principle of "coopetition", borrowed from the successful model of Made in Italy industrial districts: all participants collaborate in the overall success of the initiative and an individual winner emerges only if a common minimum goal is reached. This principle was also explicitly included in the rules of the contest. This way it was intended to overcome a contradiction inherent in the competitive model of traditional contests: the event is organized to aggregate teachers with the same passion, but then dialogue between them is discouraged making them antagonists for victory.

  4. Metaverse models - In the still rather immature panorama of the offer of platforms and services for the AR, Metaverse Studio of Gometa Inc. has been identified as the most adequate system at the moment to realize the first instances of the experience of Piazza Europa. Despite numerous obvious product limitations, Metaverse Studio has three features that make it perfect for the current needs of the project:

    1. it allows to geolocate digital content with ease;

    2. it works reasonably well on a large number of smartphone models;

    3. it allows to create template experiences that can be cloned and customized with extreme ease even by people without programming skills. This last aspect is the most relevant for the success of Piazza Europa and was highly appreciated by teachers both because it allows students to begin to discover the world of augmented reality and because it allows them to see an immediate and very gratifying result with the obvious positive effects in motivational terms.

The "Piazza Europa" discussion group on the Telegram platform was the key element for the dissemination of this coopetitive mentality among teachers. Thanks to a patient work of animation and orientation of the conversation by the moderators of Stati Generali dell'Innovaizone, the group came to life and became the heart of the project. Today it counts on about 100 members, who have exchanged more than 6,000 messages altogether and use it as a point of information exchange on educational opportunities of all kinds, including coordination for participation in initiatives such as a network of schools for public calls. During the contest the group is used for a common deepening of the topics, which each teacher then develops independently with their students.