Literary award for pupil using satellite education services

Paolo Bellofiore (Telespazio)
Paolo Bellofiore from Telespazio (left) gave a presentation on Advanced Satellite Distance Learning
26 November 2002

Overcoming cultural and geographical boundaries, the CROCUS project provides education services via satellite for immigrant communities.

Via a small antenna schools, cultural centres, libraries, training agencies and associations of immigrants have been able to receive multimedia and interactive educational material for first and second language learning and intercultural education.

System architecture of the CROCUS system
System architecture of the CROCUS system

The CROCUS project has been running since November 2000. This year the project founder COSPE (Co-operation for the Development of Emerging Countries) initiated a literary contest. Two themes were proposed for the CROCUS (CROss-CUltural Satellite services for immigrant communities in Europe) competition, which took place in Italy. Non-native Italian children were invited to write a biographical story and all children, regardless of origin, could write a story about a friendship in a multicultural society. Children from all over Italy responded.

The award ceremony for the contest, which received many outstanding entries, took place during a conference held in Florence on the 21 November, 2002 at the Palazzo della Signoria, with the support and sponsorship of the Municipality of Florence (Italy). The event also marked the conclusion of the Project’s preoperational phase.

“CROCUS has enabled individual tutoring, live language sessions via satellite, live audio chatting, an interactive white board and telekiosk support activities to take place” said Francesco Feliciani, CROCUS project manager at the European Space Agency. “The pilot phase has seen the involvement of more than 30 Italian schools, plus 3 schools in Albania, with more than 250 pupils actively participating.”

CROCUS project participants
CROCUS project participants

The contest was held in collaboration with the publisher Vannini that produces, together with COSPE, the series of intercultural and linguistic materials called ‘Hibiscus’. The winning entry was awarded a scholarship, with the school attended receiving a free subscription to the CROCUS satellite system as well as teaching materials. The runners up also received gift packs of Hibiscus teaching materials.

To coincide with the successful first Annual ‘CROCUS School’ contest, the CROCUS system was presented on 11 November in Padua and on 20 November in Prato (Italy). All participants of the presentation days received a free ‘Guide to Hibiscus intercultural tools’ and a valid password to access the online section of the Crocus system for 15 days.

The success of the CROCUS system, supported under the European Space Agency (ESA) Telecom User Segment programme line, has received much media interest, including an article on the winning entry in the Italian newspaper, “L’Arena di Verona”, with the Italian-Chinese monthly “Zhong Yi Bao” reporting a description of the CROCUS service.

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