HSH@Teacher: teacher training on the educational use of ICT for the schooling of hospitalised and homebound children

The use of network-based technology in long-term patients’ education is not that fresh either in Italy or abroad. In fact many projects have been started for many years now to experiment ICT potential in hospitalized patients’ education.

Though such projects contributed to a general interpretation on the ways technology-supported special education is effectively practiced, each of them has focused on specific situations and/or issues and tended to privilege either technological aspects, i.e. hardware tools or network technologies, or psycho-pedagogical ones, i.e. technology as a tool for cognitive support and recovery and also as a tool to motivate, enhance and guarantee the continuity of the learning process for long-term patients.

With the passing of time however, the need for a project able to systematize the experience of hospital education favouring its large-scale dissemination and including important areas such as homebound education, appeared necessary.

To this purpose in 2003 the Ministry of Education, University and Research started the HSP@Network Project (Hospital School Home Network) approved by the CMSI (Committee of Ministries for information society) and co-funded by MIT (Ministry of Technological Innovation). ITD was asked to set up the HSP@Teacher training program aimed at exploiting the role of ICT to guarantee the right to study for hospitalized and homebound students.

The project is characterized by an innovative model for network-based technology use able to create a strong connection between the three environments involved in the student learning process - hospital, school and home. This triangulation involves hospital and school teachers and those who support the student at home when needed.

Due to the need for a strong integration between the action of these three figures, HSH@Teacher tended to foster the development and sharing of educational methodologies among the various actors. In this sense the project acted on two complementary planes - the technological-infrastructural plane and the teacher training one.

As to the technological-infrastructural plane the project outcomes are:

  • a network for educational, technical and organizational support for the activation of hospital education service, of homebound education and of connections with the school;

  • a portal to supply services both to  the staff and the users of the hospital school;

  • videoconferencing for student participation to lessons of their school.

HSH@Teacher specifically exploited the educational event to throw the basis for a set of communities of practice mainly consisting of hospital and home teachers. Their objective is the exchange of experiences, educational material and good practices as well as the establishment of a strong continuity in the educational process of the students through a coordinated action of the various teachers that support them in the learning experience.

In order to familiarize with online collaboration the course was delivered to teachers mainly online using both multimedia material and forum where participants could exchange experiences and help each other during study activities.

Through the two years of activity HSH@Teacher project produced the following:


  • training of all teachers working in hospital (about 600) during two courses;

  • a self-instruction eLearning course (access at: both for hospital teachers and for all other potential actors interested in homebound education (school managers, parents local administration staff, etc.);

  • promotion of six online professional communities of operators 5 of which for hospital teachers (4 for the various school types and a general one) and 1 for home teachers.

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