The «Ilaria Alpi» Comprehensive Institute of Milan renews its labs with Linux

The “Istituto Comprensivo «Ilaria Alpi»” of Milan has endorsed, as other schools before, the LibreSchool project and has renewed its didactic labs in three schools with GNU/Linux and free software: the Primary School of via Salerno 3, Milan, the Secondary School of via Salerno 1, Milan and Tre Castelli building.

Conversely to what happened with other schools in the province of Bergamo, we were not the only people to give them help: OpenLabs, another association of volunteers from Milan, did most of the work inside the school labs with great success. We are thankful to them, as they turned out a valid partner and we surely extend our collaboration with them on other schools.

Other people which helped a lot are the teachers who believed in our vision and actively partecipated, worked, suggested, required new implementations, tested and provided high value feedback to improve the technical solution. We are amazed at their enthusiasm and thankful to them, too.


But let’s look at how the relationship with the Ilaria Alpi Institute was born. Everything started with an e-mail, dated May 24th, 2016, sent by Professor Stefano Tolio:

I'm a teacher at IC Ilaria Alpi in Milan. 
I found you through your website. In my school we would like to set up 2 new labs with Linux.
I'm looking, in addition to online information, for someone who can help us with specific tips and experiences.
Have you collaborated with schools in Milan? Or do you know some similar associations to yours in the city? 
If you wish, I'm also available for a chat or to come to Bergamo.
Thank you so much

When we received the message we were pleased, but at the same time scared: who wants to go to Milan? We were aware that our project offers more than the installation of some PCs and requires considerable commitment from all involved actors: it also meant to go on-site for surveys, installations and training sessions. What to do? We thought we would be a lot more effective if we found someone in the same territory as the school that has our own values ​​and goals: OpenLabsWe wrote them, explaining the project and that we already had a contact in Milan, and OpenLabs responded with enthusiasm.

There have been meetings with Stefano Tolio of the Ilaria Alpi Institute who, as proposed in his mail, came to see the development group in Bergamo. With him we evaluated his needs and the correspondence of the features of our project and the friends of OpenLabs detailed the surveys and made sure that all was going to be fine with the implementation.

Meanwhile, Stefano Tolio and Martina Palazzolo (his colleague) attended our course at the end of October 2016 for our lab maintainers at the Camozzi School in Bergamo.

In November, we all together (Stefano Tolio, OpenLabs and us) met in Bergamo to perform installation and configuration of the three servers, brought by Stefano Tolio on the behalf of the Ilaria Alpi Institute. The goal of the day was obviously the server installations, but it also served as training to replicate server installation and configuration autonomously; so other people from OpenLabs and BgLUG joined the group.

In the following months, Stefano, Martina, their colleagues and OpenLabs made most of the physical and technical work on-site, with our remote support. They worked in unison to get to the common goal and any hiccup was not treated as material for arguing but as a sincere opportunity to improve the overall project.


So the labs were now finished, but the work continues: the goal was not to have a bunch of machines work with a new OS, but being functional to the didactics and for teaching. And also to convey, to anyone that will use the labs, the fundamental message of free and open source software: a message of freedomcollaboration and sharing.

We are positive that we will pursue other form of collaboration with OpenLabs and with the teachers of the Alpi Institute, to further improve the quality of the training sessions or of the software provided.

From the technical point of view, nothing new arose: Edubuntu on the clients and the indispensable NethServer on all the servers met Ilaria Alpi Institute requirements and this now becomes a winning point of the project.

And now, full speed ahead with the project!!!


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