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Smarter embraces new ways of learning

Thanks to a donation of all-new Lenovo Chromebooks, IC Toscanini was able to jump-start its transition to a smart classroom model, sparking a more interactive and engaging approach to learning.

Established in 2000, Istituto Comprensivo (IC) Toscanini provides nursery, primary, and secondary level education to hundreds of students. The institute comprises eight schools, located in three different towns on the outskirts of Milan, Italy.

Catalyst for change

At the heart of IC Toscanini is a community of educators who aim to help each and every student flourish on their learning journey. Leading this effort is head teacher Maria Elena Tarantino and deputy head and humanities teacher Luca Raina. The two have been championing more flexible and forward-looking ways of learning, enabled by new technology.

However, change hasn’t always come quickly, especially in a public-school environment where processes and mindsets tend to favor the status quo. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it was necessary for IC Toscanini to quickly embrace new ways of teaching and working.

Head teacher Tarantino takes up the story: “At the start of the pandemic, we were thrust into a situation where we needed to enable remote learning very quickly. We initially gave teachers the liberty to choose their preferred platforms. We felt that, during such a difficult period, it was best to let our educators decide the right tools and approaches for their individual students and subjects.”

At the same time, Tarantino and Raina knew that a more consistent, long-term strategy was needed to keep learning on track for all students. They decided this was the right moment to adopt a unified smart classroom platform and looked for a solution that was easy for both teachers and students to use.

Shaping a smarter classroom

Their timing couldn’t have been better. In early 2021, Lenovo launched the Teacher Ambassador initiative in Italy, where the company partners with outstanding educators to promote better learning practices and collaboration, supported by leading technology.

As part of the program, Lenovo invited five popular educators to act as ambassadors. With embraces new ways of learning 100s of students aged between three and nineteen Providing education for over 20 years 8 schools providing 3 levels of education his following of hundreds of thousands on social media and obvious passion for education, Raina was an easy pick.

“I accepted immediately as it was a great opportunity for the school,” recalls Raina. “As part of the program, we received 26 Lenovo 100e Chromebooks with LanSchool Air software, which we used to kick-start our smart classroom initiative.”

Lenovo solutions have revolutionized the way we teach. We’re no longer confined to fixed IT labs, and can bring technology directly to teachers and students.”
Luca Raina, Deputy Head Teacher, IC Toscanini

IC Toscanini worked with Lenovo partner Campustore to configure and deploy the Lenovo Chromebook devices. Campustore also provides ongoing support; and while the institute has yet to experience any issues with the Lenovo solutions, it can rest easy knowing that dedicated help is available when needed.

After receiving the fleet of Lenovo Chromebooks in mid-2021, IC Toscanini established a new mobile IT lab. It started using the Lenovo devices to support interactive learning at one school, before expanding the smart classroom initiative to more locations.

“We were able to deploy the Lenovo Chromebooks very quickly – they basically install themselves!” confirms Raina. “We find the devices to be very intuitive and high-performing; they are a great fit for our teachers and students.”

Currently, IC Toscanini is using Google Classroom as its main hub for managing classes, coursework, and other learning resources. The institute is also using Lenovo LanSchool Air to support classroom management for a number of middle- and high-school classes, and hopes to expand the solution to cover more classes in the future.

Fit for the future

Lenovo hardware has proven to be an ideal fit for a public education institution like IC Toscanini, with a tight budget and lean resources.

Raina comments: “We were lucky that Lenovo made a generous donation to our school, but even if we had to purchase the Lenovo Chromebooks ourselves, they offer great value for money. They’re also very easy to manage: we don’t have to worry about licenses and software updates are automatic. It means we can focus on using the devices for learning, instead of spending lots of time on IT admin.”

With its Lenovo Chromebooks, IC Toscanini is powering a more flexible and interactive approach to learning that’s engaging students in new ways and elevating teaching performance too.

Raina says: “Lenovo solutions have revolutionized the way we teach. We’re no longer confined to fixed IT labs, and can bring technology directly to teachers and students. It’s allowed us to create open classrooms, where students can work together in groups.”

He concludes: “Receiving these brand-new devices really lifted our teachers’ spirits. They appreciate having this technology to add a new dimension to their lessons and we’ve definitely noticed an improvement in teaching performance. We are very grateful for the advantage that Lenovo has given us, and we look forward to using this as a springboard for supporting more innovative ways of learning.