The project SCUOLA IN OSPEDALE-OPEN EDUCATION IN HOSPITAL SCHOOLS is part of the national network of hospital schools and it is aimed at creating forms of teaching and learning specifically addressed to long term-hospitalized pupils. These are educational activities dedicated to pupils who, due to heavy and prolonged treatment protocols or specific pathologies, cannot participate in ordinary day-by-day school activities in the schools they attend. The initiatives forecasts the use of innovative tools and methodology largely based on ICT.

General Information



Case Study Provider


Name of the institution

Scuola polo regionale: I.C. "A. Peyron" di Torino

Responsible person

Sophia Danesino

Contact details

Sophia Danesino- danesino.sophia@gmail.com

Tiziana Catenazzo- toic8a200n@istruzione.it

Angelo Raffaele Meo- meo@polito.it

Other links to online materials







Geographical area applied

Piedmont Region, Italy

Place of origin


Timeline of the project

The description of activities is related to 2015/16 and 2016/17 school years

Kind of organization in which the initiative takes place

primary school

Narrative, origins and objectives of the initiative

What kind of project is this? Please give a short description (summary) of it.

SCUOLA IN OSPEDALE-OPEN EDUCATION IN HOSPITAL SCHOOLS is an initiative trying to combat the isolation and the distance from school environment that the long term-hospitalized pupils face. It consists of educational activities and background forms of teaching, as well as learning and innovative tools specifically addressed to this target group. It is based in the most important children's hospital in the Piemonte Region, the Ospedale Pediatrico Regina Margherita, in Torino.

The main objectives of the Teaching Group was the production of special learning units that are based on the educational needs and development of technological tools that allow hospitalized children and young people to participate via video-conference to the activities of their classes (useful objective not only for didactic purposes but also from the psychological point of view).
Another objective was to create a software, Electronic Class Register, that allows the teachers of the hospital school to stay connected to their school of origin, with the aim to include the student from the previous learning environment and to facilitate a continuous educational path.
Afterwards, the Educational Group decided that the developed tools and learning units could be useful in all schools and not only in hospital schools. Additionally, the tools could be very useful in promoting scientific culture. Therefore, the Educational Group developed a new platform called FARE, "Free Architecture for Remote Education", accessible at "fare.polito.it". From the experiences of FARE, another platform specifically designed for hosting MOOCs was created (openedx.polito.it). These MOOCs include learning games that can be played online/offline or mobile (Android).

Please tell us why, in general, this project is considered a successful one?

The number of hospital sections that use the class register has increased, as wells as the learning content on the platform. Many teachers use FARE to build individualized teaching units, which relate to the specific needs, in time and manner, of the hospitalized students.

The project was aimed at hospitalized students in the city of Turin (Italy). The amount of students involved in the project:

The school year 2015 / 2016
- 265 students, including 62 foreigner – infancy and primary school
- 171 students, including 17 foreigners - lower secondary school
- 113 students, including 17 foreigners – higher secondary school

School year 2016/2017
- 315 students, including 64 foreigners – infancy and primary school
- 139 students, including 15 foreigners - lower secondary school
- 123 students, including 11 foreigners – higher secondary school

And why would you consider it a grass-roots initiative?

The initiative originated from the collaboration between:
1. the "Amedeo Peyron" lower secondary school in Turin, which is responsible for the management of the "School in Hospital" for the Piedmont Region
2. the Department of Automatic and Computer Science of the Polytechnic of Turin
3. the Educational Group: a group of researchers and teachers, coordinated by the Professor of the Polytechnic of Turin, which operates free of charge with the aim of producing software and open source educational material available to schools.

What challenges needed to be solved in this project?

SCUOLA IN OSPEDALE was designed for hospitalized students who will be away from their own school for a long period of time. This could lead to negative consequences on their personal development and their cultural background, but also on their communication skills and future reintegration into society and future career. The need for inclusion of hospitalized students is therefore particularly important and urgent.

Is this initiative based on any particular theoretical framework? Which one?

  1. Digital tools

The Teacher Education for Inclusion Agency (TE4I), 2009–2012 defines the focus of an inclusive education system: “The ultimate vision for inclusive education systems is to ensure that all learners of any age are provided with meaningful, high-quality educational opportunities in their local community, alongside their friends and peers.” (European Agency, 2015, http://www.european-agency.org/agency-projects/TeacherEducation-for-Inclusion).  We strongly believe the use of modern technology can help to make education more accessible for students who would otherwise not be able to attend the lessons.


  1. Open education

Open education is a philosophy about the way people should produce, share, and build on knowledge. Supporters of open education believe everyone in the world should have access to high-quality educational experiences and resources, and they strive to eliminate barriers (e.g. high monetary costs, outdated or obsolete technology) to reach this goal.


  1. Open Educational Resources

[1] The term OER (Open Educational Resources) first came to use in 2002 at a conference hosted by UNESCO. Participants at that forum defined OER as: “The open provision of educational resources, enabled by information and communication technologies, for consultation, use and adaptation by a community of users for non-commercial purposes.”

The currently most used definition of OER is: “Open Educational Resources are digitised materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use and re-use for teaching, learning and research.” To further clarify this, OER is said to include:

  • Learning Content: full courses, material, content modules, learning objects, collections and journals.
  • Tools: software to support the development, use, re-use and delivery of learning content including searching and organization of content, content and learning management systems, content development tools, and online learning communities.
  • Implementation resources: Intellectual property licenses to promote open publishing of materials, design principles of best practice, and localization of content.

[1] Open Educational Resources: Opportunities and Challenges Dr Jan Hylén OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation Paris, France www.oecd.org/edu/ceri

(Appendix) Is your intervention standing on its own or is it a part of a bigger and more holistic approach?

The initiative has been promoted by the national network of hospital schools to create teaching forms and appropriate learning environments for hospitalized students.

Please describe the group(s) intended as beneficiaries of this initiative

Why has this group (have these groups) been chosen?

The project was designed for hospitalized students in Turin who believe that they will be away from school for a long period of time. That could have negative effect on their personality development and cultural background, but also on their relational skills and future reintegration into society and their future career. The need for inclusion of hospitalized students is therefore particularly important and urgent.
The students who attend the Turin Hospital school are residents of the local area. Additionally, the percentage of students coming from other regions of Italy and from other countries, in particular from South America and Eastern Europe, is increasing.
The students are between 3 and 18 years old.

Could you please tell us something about the relative size of the (of each) target group, within the school/university population, region and/or country?

We can compare data with the overall student population in Italy: for the school year 2015/16 there were 7.056.779 students. The project, therefore, accommodates 0.77% of the entire student population.

Which social characteristics are taken into account and what is the geographical area covered?

Students who attend the Turin Hospital school are residents of the local area. Additionally, the percentage of students from other regions of Italy and other countries, in particular from South America and Eastern Europe, is constantly increasing.
The students are between 3 and 18 years old.

On which level is the project implemented?

The project started at local level and then networked with other initiatives at national level. This led to a specific activity, the Electronic Register ("registro elettronico"), receiving national funding from the Italian Ministry of Education.

Please describe the political and socio-economic factors that you believe have been important enablers for your initiative

Did the initiative have political support?

The Ministry of Education and the School Regional Office of Piemonte support and encourage the initiative, considered to be of strategic importance and highly innovative.
The initiative is part of the reference legislation "National School and Hospital Education and Home Service" and the regional law. (http://www.istruzione.it/web/istruzione/normativa-della-scuola-in-ospedale)

How did it fit with local, regional or national policies?

The project SCUOLA IN OSPEDALE responds to the need to share the educational path with other families, schools and hospital schools.
The electronic class register is used in many hospital sections today. What started as an experimentation, spread to Piedmont (where today it is used by all the hospital sections) to other sections in Italy. At the institutional level, the intention is to use to a single electronic class register.
One of the key factors for the success of this initiative is the national regulatory framework for open source software within the Public Administration. The Code for Digital Administration (Cad) states that the public administrations release all the codes they own under a free license, allowing other administrations to customize and use it for free. Guidelines were also published to define the processes to be followed in detail. https://lg-acquisizione-e-riuso-software-per-la-pa.readthedocs.io/it/latest/

Who are the stakeholders supporting the initiative?

The initiative is supported by the Ministry of Education and the regional office. The secondary lower school "Peyron" is in charge of the coordination. The school is connected to a separate section operating at the "Regina Margherita" Children's Hospital in Turin (http://www.icpeyron.gov.it/). The technological aspects are coordinated by the Department of Automation and Computer Science (DAUIN) of the Polytechnic of Turin (http://www.dauin.polito.it/en/). (http://www.dauin.polito.it/it/).

Are there particular demographic changes present that are influencing the project?

In recent years, there has been an increase in foreign students attending the hospital schools. They have a particular need for inclusion, because of the physical and cultural distance from their country of origin and due to frequent linguistic difficulties they might experience in class.

What is the institutional strategy and culture of the (educational) organization?

SCUOLA IN OSPEDALE allows the continuity of studies and guarantees the hospitalized children and teens the education and learning they need, despite their illnesses. In many cases, it allows the children and their families to continue their hopes, beliefs and investments in and for the future. The main goal of the activities that are carried out with school-aged patients, is to help them undertake a cognitive, emotional and didactic journey that allows them to stay connected to a school life environment.

There are 167 hospital school sections in Italy, involving 765 teachers. In the 2015-2016 school year, 62,204 students benefited from the service, including 4,400 students of higher secondary school. The School in the Hospital is, therefore, one of the points of excellence of the national education system and is recognized and appreciated in the health sector as an integral part of their therapeutic program. [Http://www.miur.gov.it/scuola-in-ospedale-e-istruzione-domiciliare]

In the 2016/17 school year, the service was promoted by 58.049 students, and 245 hospital sections were activated with a total of 784 teachers.

To what extent does the initiative have an influence on institutional policy (or potential influence) of the (educational) organization?

Hospitalized pupils need a sharing of educational planning, activities and methologies between families and schools - more than in an ordinary teaching-learning environment.

An electronic class register is used in many hospital sections. It started as an experiment and spread to Piedmont and subsequently to other regions of Italy. In Piedmont all the hospital school sections use the electronic class register. At institutional level, the intention is to use a single electronic class register for all the hospital sections involved.

(Appendix) Is there public support for your initiative and the issue it addresses?

The Ministry of Education granted an economic contribution for the development of the electronic class register.

(Appendix) What other factors do you think have been important for the success of this initiative?

One of the key factors for the success of this initiative is the national regulatory framework for open source software within the Public Administration. The Code for Digital Administration (Cad) states that the public administrations release all the code they own under a free license, making it available for other administrations who want to customize and use it free of charge. Guidelines were also published to define the processes to be followed in detail. https://lg-acquisizione-e-riuso-software-per-la-pa.readthedocs.io/it/latest/

Please describe the overall initiative design and the methods and tools used to reach the goals

Please describe the specific activities carried out.

THE F.A.R.E. Platform

  1. FARE, the Free Architecture for Remote Education, is first and foremost a large archive, mainly based on interactive tools of elementary scientific or didactic units such as documents, handouts and educational books (which can be printed or transformed into ebooks for free), video lessons, video-conferences, educational video games, remote laboratory experiences, and virtual visits to museums. This archive is aimed to promote a scientific culture in society and in schools.
  2. The platform is equipped with tools to create information, training and teaching courses, re-using the educational material already available in the archive. Using such tools, the teachers of the school in the hospital will be able to create the so-called "LO-learning objects"(short learning units, that can be defined as "digital self-contained and reusable entity, with a clear educational purpose, with editable components: content, learning activities and elements of context") geared to the particular needs of children, whether in hospital or not (see https://fare.polito.it/guida-libro).
  3. The platform’s architecture has been designed with a modular approach to support every step of the learner's learning process. For example, one of these modules allows lectures to be held via video conference, using shared video or other shared teaching aids, depending on the different needs: schools, schools in hospital, decentralized school premises, or wide-spread conferences. Another module, also already integrated within FARE, provides a series of useful tools for teaching programming in Python, also tailored for non-professionals in a user-friendly environment, especially designed for education. All the tools and the scientific and educational contents are free. Actually, the source code of the entire architecture is protected by permissive licenses, such as the GNU GPL, while the contents are also protected by licenses that allow and encourage reuse, such as the "Creative Commons" . In particular, textbooks (including multimedia) are free, and they can be printed or used on different devices (PC, Tablet, E-reader).


The electronic class register for the hospital class

The electronic class register is a software, accessible online, that allows managing and browsing school data and information that is relevant for the students attending the hospital school. This is in collaboration with the schools of origin.

The documents can be uploaded and downloaded at any time in order to have a complete overview of the educational activities carried out during the hospital stay. This allows real-time communication between the hospital, the student's previous school and the family. The system keeps track of all the different periods passed in the hospital and provides reports with the didactic activities carried out in the various subjects.


Remote activities: the Robot Lab

Inside the hospital school in Torino, the Lego robots were experimented in collaboration with the Polytechnic to learn the programming of the robots and consolidate the knowledge of mathematics. This experimentation included:

  • Robot construction: construction of a LEGO robot in the hospital lesson rooms.
  • Computer programming: once the robot was built, it was used for teaching the basics of the computer programming (both basic exercises and complex problems, such as the use of sensors, the emission of sounds, light or moving objects). This activity took place in the hospital lesson rooms.
  • Remote control of the robot: methods and tools have been developed to allow remote access to a laboratory hosted at the Polytechnic for hospitalized children or decentralized schools.

In the remote laboratory, there was a camera that allowed students to see the robot's movements with manual commands or through instruction programming.  A tutor in the laboratory followed all the activities of the pupils who remotely guided the robot. The students created a  program and tested it with the robot, displaying its movements and operation through the camera. The program was downloaded to an online repository with protected access and the tutor downloaded the program at fixed times and transmitted it via Bluetooth to the robot. The student was able to write several programs and verify their functioning. The laboratory tutor helped helped the pupil to solve computer programming problems by communicating through a chat or video conference system.

The new version of the module, currently being tested, allows to completely automate the interaction with the remote robot. These innovations allow you to repeat the experiments several times within a session without the need of human intervention on the laboratory side, greatly reducing the staff's load. In addition, a scheduling system has been integrated to provide the user with the possibility to book a time slot and to experiment without interruption at that time. This tool is integrated with the Python programming module illustrated above and therefore allows to have a complete programming experience, from the realization of the source code to the visualization of the result, all in a single web-page.

What were the key roles (teacher, student, management team etc.) within the project?

The software for the electronic class register was developed by the Educational Group within the DAUIN Department of the Turin Polytechnic, with the coordination of prof. Meo and in collaboration with a group of teachers from the hospital school (head Prof. Aliberti)
The materials included in the portal are contributions of many teachers.

What ideas, tools, theories, models, methodology (etc.) have been used to reach the goals?

1. OER
The term Open Educational Resources (OER) was coined at UNESCO’s 2002 Forum on Open Courseware and designates “teaching, learning and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions. Open licensing is built within the existing framework of intellectual property rights as defined by relevant international conventions and respects the authorship of the work”.
“At the heart of the movement toward open educational resources is the simple and powerful idea that the world’s knowledge is a public good and that technology in general and the Worldwide Web in particular provide an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to share, use, and reuse it. OER are the parts of that knowledge that comprise the fundamental components of education: content and tools for teaching, learning, and knowledge development. ”
The Promise of Open Educational Resources, by Marshall S. Smith and Catherine M. Casserly, September 1, 2006.
The terms "open content" and "open educational resources" describe any work that is licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:
Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, revisions, or remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend).
The school in the hospital is an integral part of the therapeutic process and responds to a constitutionally guaranteed right; moreover, it contributes to the maintenance and psycho-physical recovery of the pupils, keeping as close as possible the pupil's relationships with his scholastic world and the system of social and friendly relations deriving from it.
The methodology of the school in hospital aims to:
- develop essential knowledge and consolidate disciplinary and transverse skills
- teaches how to retrieve information in a problematic situation, increasing the skills needed to build a method of study
- allows the deepening of topics of particular interest of the students
- rationalize teaching/learning times through the use of digital technologies
- favours educational models that allow students to be the creator of their products
- be as close as possible to the school daily life.

What are the final revenues of the project?

1. Many materials have been produced: many conferences and lectures are available, as well as the basic technologies for their use. The platform hosts:
- Over 250 films of popular conferences.
- Many educational materials and textbooks for the secondary school of mathematics, science, physics, Latin, biology.
- Two computer textbooks for primary and secondary schools.
- Various teaching materials for teaching Science in schools of all levels
- Other scientific and educational material.

2. The electronic class register is used by all the hospital sections of Piedmont.

Please describe if your project ensured its sustainability

If so, how did you ensure the short-term impact of the project?

Most of the work was done voluntarily. The development of the Electronic Class Register was financially supported by the "Peyron" polo school. The computer infrastructure was hosted by Polytechnic and Top-Ix, a public company that supports the launch of innovative projects and research.

And how did you ensure the long-term impact of the project?

In order to extend the use of the electronic class register and open education contents, infrastructures are necessary (space to host resources), but above all investments are needed for paying staff who develop the code. No long-term impact is assured.

Has your project been replicated elsewhere?

It has been replicated using commercial software (not open source).

Please tell us about the resources used in this initiative

What was the budget for the initiative?

1. FARE was entirely carried out by volunteers who made their work and materials available for free
2. The development of the electronic class register was supported by the Ministry of Education. The server on which the electronic register is installed is hosted in TOP-IX thanks to an agreement between the Polytechnic of Turin and TOP-IX.

How much did the initiative depend on volunteers?


How were the costs perceived by the public/the sector/other stakeholders?

The efforts made by the volunteers covered almost all the activities, so there were no particular difficulties.

To what extent did the initiative achieve its objectives?

Please describe the evidence to support the success of your initiative.

The number of hospital sections that use the class register has increased, as wells as the learning content on the platform. Many teachers use FARE to build individualized teaching units, which respond to the specific needs (in time and manner) of the hospitalized students.

Did the intervention lead to any unintended (positive) outcomes?


What indicators (quantitative and qualitative) have you measured to demonstrate success?

The use of the electronic register is monitored annually by the Ministry of Education.

(Appendix) How did you evaluate/monitor this intervention?

Quantitative indicators:
- Number of hospital schools hosted on the register
- Number of students
- Number of courses/materials available on FARE

Qualitative indicators:
FARE Platform supports the possibility of building an individualized educational path for the student in the hospital (https://fare.polito.it/guida-libro).