Sustainability

Integrating diversity

Information technology can now promote diversity and remove barriers to communication. Telecom Italia and the Telecom Italia Foundation support innovative projects based on the use of technologies that try out new forms of education, approaches and tools to overcome communication difficulties.

Volis Project

How can we learn a language that uses signs as words?

Educators, speech therapists and psychologists every day provide support to hearing-impaired children and those suffering from language disorders. One of the most complex aspects is assessing children's understanding of Italian sign language (ISL). The Volis project, a partnership between the Telecom Italia Foundation and the Institute of Cognitive Science and Technology of CNR (Italy's national research council), has led to the creation of a digital platform that helps assess ISL comprehension levels by means of tests. Answers to the test are recorded by the platform, enabling educators to improve and adapt teaching methods in accordance with the needs of their young patients.

Volis is one of the three projects selected by the Telecom Italia Foundation following the "Communication Problems" Open Call in 2013. The second project, SI DO RE MI, focuses on children suffering from autistic disorders, while Cinque Petali (Five Petals) is dedicated to children with learning difficulties.

I speak Italian

Italian for students who have just arrived in Italy

The number of foreign pupils in Italian schools who have very recently arrived in the country and who cannot speak Italian is growing. To help them integrate, the Telecom Italia Foundation finances the Io Parlo Italiano (I speak Italian) project, promoted by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research. It has been rolled out in more than 75 schools, involving 450 pupils and 150 teachers, for a total of 15,000 hours.

The objective is to facilitate the study of our language among foreign students up to the third year in junior high schools, with intensive courses and lab sessions, to help them pass the state exam and guide them in their choice of high school.

Comunico-IO

Bringing down communication barriers between the hearing and the hearing-impaired

“Comunico-IO” (I communicate) facilitates communication between the hearing and the hearing-impaired, thereby bringing down the barriers that isolate the hearing-impaired in society. The project, targeted at employees of the Telecom Italia Group, fosters integration within the company. In the first phase, a high-definition webcam made it possible to conduct video chats in Italian sign language (ISL). Subsequently, an application was created to convert written messages into voice messages: a useful tool not only in emergencies but in everyday communication.

Given the project's success, a new application is being developed that will enable visually-impaired people to convert voice commands into e-mails or text messages.