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Martina is a web app developed for preschool and primary school children.
How was Martina born?
It has been just under a year since Martina, our learning support platform for preschools and primary schools, was created.
It all started during the first lockdown when we worked from home and watched our children struggling with remote lessons and navigated between groups Whatsapp, bad connection and directs via skype.
At each lesson we saw the interest of the little ones decrease, the boredom substituting the enthusiasm of the novelty of the first days and the effort of parents and teachers to try to keep the children’s attention high: they were not at all attracted to lessons to which they could not actively participate.
Not to mention the lack of human relationships, of not being able to talk and play with the friend of your heart, nor confront him during the lesson.
The main problem was that in the vast panorama of e-learning platforms there was none designed for them and that took into account the needs of schoolchildren aged 3-10.
It was then that, first as parents and then as engineers and computer scientists, we decided to make our contribution to improve the distance learning experience of our children. And so one afternoon Martina was born!
But whats is Martina?
Martina wants to be a fun and engaging alternative to classic video lessons.
In this difficult time for the whole school and in particular for preschools and primary schools, we at Martina want to help teachers to offer their pupils another way of teaching.
It has attractive graphics, is easy to use on both the teacher and student side and allows to create interactive lessons that see the children as actors and not mere spectators of the lesson, just as if you were in the classroom.
Martina took shape thanks to the collaboration with the teachers of the Arcobaleno del Sorriso preschool who helped us understand what the real needs of teachers and children were.
The difficulties encountered were not few. The main one was certainly to give life to graphics and usability suitable for children: colors, application layout, texts … Everything was designed by identifying ownself with small users.
At the same time, however, the platform also meets the need for use by teachers: to be simple and intuitive for them too, to get away as much as possible from the typical layouts of already existing platforms that are not very userfriendly and that require a lot of effort on teacher’s part to learn how to use them correctly.
We started from the traditional learning platform and created a completely new one, revolutionizing its graphics and features to make everything simpler and more immediate: hours and hours of work, meetings and discussions that ultimately led to the basic version of Martina that we have made available to schools and individuals, so that they can touch the potential of our proposal.
Not just a platform but an educational project…
But Martina is not just a support tool for face-to-face and remote teaching, Martina is an ongoing educational project that aims to radically change the way children teach.
We want to give those teachers who are not satisfied with the “less worst” for their children, who care about their growth and their education, who are always looking for a new way to teach and train, the opportunity to enter be part of the Martina community.
A community made up of schools and individual teachers who have downloaded the free basic version of the platform and who, using it daily both remotely and in person, help us with their feedback to improve it, adding new features and activities and correcting any malfunctions.
To date, after just over 4 months from the launch of Martina, which took place in September 2020, in addition to numerous individual collaborations, we already have 11 collaborations with educational institutions (a preschool in Salerno, one in Puglia, a primary school in Bergamo and several other regions) enthusiastic about their experience with Martina.
These are some of their experiences and reviews:
Antonella Galiano teacher and president of the Arcobaleno del Sorriso of Salerno:
Abbiamo adottato la piattaforma per il nostro progetto infanzia 3.0. Martina è intuitiva, di semplice utilizzo sia per il docente che per l’alunno. Permette di creare lezioni dinamiche e pertinenti al processo per il raggiungimento degli obiettivi. La utilizziamo per consolidamento e generalizzazione delle competenze, sia in presenza che in LEAD. L’aspetto che più mi entusiasma della piattaforma? Il docente non deve adattare la didattica allo strumento.
Letizia Pastore, professor at the Pietrocola Mazzini Institute in Minervino Murge:
“Ho eseguito l’applicazione dal mio pc portatile e ho provato a raccontare una storia con le immagini in sequenza. Sono riuscita a creare ben 14 schede colorate nonostante pensassi di non farcela e che l’attenzione dei piccini sarebbe scemata data la loro età (3 anni). Invece è successo l’esatto opposto: mi hanno seguito con attenzione ed entusiasmo, aspettavano con ansia che cambiassi la scheda. Sono soddisfatta, la proverò anche con i tablet per farli interagire direttamente. Mai più senza Martina!”
Jolanda Caponata, teacher and founder of the Docenti Virtuali group
Alba Violace teacher of the Pietrocola Mazzini Institute of Minervino Murge:
Valentina di Giacomo, mother of Mario 5 years
Ho iniziato ad usare Martina a causa della chiusura delle scuole dell’infanzia. La differenza sostanziale con le altre piattaforme è proprio la possibilità di condividere la lavagna con tutti gli utenti collegati. Quello che mi piace di più, infatti, è la possibilità di interagire direttamente con l’insegnante e che mio figlio possa utilizzare forme, lettere, colori e tanto altro che stimoli la sua fantasia; a lui piace giocare con l’app, si diverte molto.
Towards a new frontier of teaching
2020 marked a turning point in the way of teaching. There are many experts in the sector who believe that now there is no turning back and the time has come to add the tools that technology makes available to us and to start looking at them as allies and not as obstacles to learning.
The time has come to ask oneself if you want to stay still fighting with inadequate platforms for your way of teaching or if you want to contribute to the change of the Italian school.
Many teachers have already chosen the second option: they have chosen Martina and we, with our team of technicians and pedagogues, parents, children and teachers, will continue to move forward to improve it day after day!