Vatican City, September 3, 2014.- “Building peace through Education and Technology”. Those are the words with which the organization Scholas unveiled today the first online, collaborative and multi-religious platform, that seeks to connect educational institutions all over the world, regardless of race, color or religion.

The announcement comes after a week of intense activities. On Monday, Pope Francis inaugurated the Scholas Third Global Congress on Education event in the Saint Paul VI Room with the participation of soccer celebrities who played the first interreligious soccer game for peace, and their relatives.

“We dream of recovering the healthy tradition that conceived education and school as an integral process, where the soccer ball wasn’t an enemy of books. We dream of a school for today’s students, who are no worse nor better than what we used to be. For them, those born connected and in the middle of a network, is who we think of for today’s classrooms”, said José María del Corra, Globa Director of Scholas, at the press conference held at Paulo VI room, at the Vatican.

The new platform Scholas.Social seeks to unite the educational institutions from all creeds and cultures, to build a space and culture of encounter. The site allows students and teachers to learn from one another and share the projects that they are working on which require an extra set of hands, whether it be funding or volunteers. Similarly, it allows these volunteers to easily identify those schools and projects that could best use their help.

Scholas was born a year ago in this same city, when Pope Francis entrusted Scholas to build a network of schools that could collectively change the way students learn. The initiative is modelled after two projects he ran as Archbishop of Buenos Aires and which are dear to his heart: Escuela de Vecinos (Neighbor Schools) and Escuelas Hermanas (Sister Schools). Both projects focus on sharing the concerns and problems of students in richer and poorer neighborhoods, and looking for solutions together, thus promoting participation and enabling change.

Taking this idea global required a robust, yet easy to use, platform. To this end, three technological companies joined Scholas in this endeavor by donating their work: the software development company Globant devised the website, Line64 was responsible for the programming and Google integrated its educational tools Google Apps for Education. Representatives of these companies were also present at the event: Enrique Palmeyro, Global Director of Scholas; Martin Umaran, from Globant; Santiago Carmuega, representing Line64; and Adriana Noreña  from Google SpLatam.

Scholas.Social combines features from social and collaborative platforms, where users can upload projects and are encouraged to participate in other initiatives by promoting them or donating knowledge, time or materials. This is done through different “gamification” strategies, a worldwide trend that encourages the use of game mechanics in non-game context to promote user engagement. In a second stage of the project, Scholas and its partners will work on bringing more tools and functionalities to the site to continue building the Classroom of the Future. The platform can be visited at  http://scholas.social

Digital Background

Noticing the importance of social inclusion through digital inclusion, Pope Francis asked Scholas directors to work hard on this field. That’s why last March, the Pope planted the first virtual olive tree from the Vatican. As an answer to that call, the company Aula 365 by Creapolis developed a virtual olive tree that will be planted throughout the world.

About Globant

Globant is a new-breed technology services provider focused on delivering innovative software solutions by leveraging emerging technologies and trends. Globant combines the engineering and technical rigor of IT services providers with the creative approach and culture of digital agencies. Globant is the place where engineering, design and innovation meet scale.  

About Line 64

Line64 defined the architecture of the site and worked hard to reflect Schola’s spirit by building a dynamic and global platform. The company has actively participated in the user experience’s definitions.

About Google

Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google participates in Scholas by providing access and integration of Google Apps for Education, including tools such as Hangouts, Docs, Sheets, GMail, Sites and Classroom. 

Video Scholas.Social (English Audio / Spanish Subtitles)

Video Scholas.Social (English Audio / Italian Subtitles)

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Press Contacts: press@scholasoccurrentes.org

·         Roberto Dabusti:  roberto.dabusti@scholasoccurrentes.org Phone in Roma: +39 33 91 64 16 67

·         Virginia Priano virginia.priano@scholasoccurrentes.org  Phone in Roma: +39 33 91 64 16 54

About Scholas

Why?
Because it is necessary to motivate the “culture of encounter”. Thereby, a different education has to be created. This education should recover the focus on human beings, essential human values, and should encompass different circumstances that children face. This is education with a holistic vision and with a social integration component. We all have our place in this educational initiative: doctors, policemen, artists, homeless... the Pope calls on everybody. As Pope Francis says, popular and beloved celebrities educate millions of children with their example, sports and arts are great ways to shape human values.

Vision
Transform the world into a more integrated and peaceful society.

Mission
Improve education and integrate different communities, with a special focus on those with fewer resources. This is done through the commitment of all stakeholders and by connecting schools and educational networks from all over the world, and by means of educational, artistic and sport initiatives.

Values
Peace, Diversity, Cooperation, Participation, Honest, Environmental conscience.

Who integrates Scholas?
Schools and Public and Private Education Networks, from all religions: cultural, sports, scientific and government organizations, and other actors that want to take a leading role in education

What does it do?
It works within four different lines of action:
A. Promotes awareness campaigns on human values - Planting the olive tree
B. Develops its own programs for children and youth integration to their communities and to the world.
C. Supports educational projects.
D. Encourages and facilitates connecting schools and educational networks from different cultures, beliefs and forms around the world.

How does it do it?

A.  Awareness campaigns  - Planting the olive tree. National and international campaigns about peace and the culture of encounter. Some examples: the Pope planted an olive tree in some of the main sports fields. Promoting the Pope’s messages of these values through concerts, art galleries, prisons, neighborhood and other spaces

B. Development of Schola’s own programs to integrate children and youth to their communities and to the world by promoting citizenship values

C. Support to educational projects: Scholas promotes connecting different social stakeholders, so that they can provide counselling as well as technical and economic support. This enables the development of educational projects at schools that address underprivileged people.

D. Encourages and facilitates connecting schools from all over the world. The schools, educational projects, and educational networks that compose Scholas are part of the global network, which in turn fosters the interaction and synergy creation among projects to strengthen them. In this sense, a Digital Educational Platform has been developed to connect schools from all over the world.


The Olive tree, symbol of Peace, is Scholas’ symbol

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