Exciting adventures in safe waters for school
new browser for children,
The use of Internet for younger children (5-10 years) could involve many risks due to the lack of control on contents present on the Net.
Two years ago SAM started to analyze the area of solutions for the children’s safety on the Net and after a first period of research SAM decide to develop a solution based on one fundamental principle: enable a safe use of certified and qualified internet web sites (white list), privileging children activities such as playing, reading, deepening, studying, interacting, communicating and, least but not less: collaborating.
”Il Veliero” in the family version is the result of this approach .
In the SAM vision, kids in the age from 5 to 11 need to be driven by an expert guide (“Il Veliero”), which could aid them to discover all the potentialities offered by Internet, always assuring suitability of contents and the safety ,
A good website for younger children must be suitable, usable, readable and accessible; these are the fundamentals requirements.
The Veliero School is a complete system that enables the informatics laboratory’s activity management on the Internet, conceived for children between 5 and 10 years; it includes chat and messaging functionalities with others schools.
The Veliero system is composed by two different components:
1. the Teacher Workstation, named “Nostromo”, that controls all the activity of pupils and
2. the Child Workstations: an application similar to an internet browser used by the children to navigate on the authorized websites.
Il Nostromo (Boatswain)
It is the teacher’s workstation; it can activate new websites, manage the kid’s browsing activity, control emails and chats from and to other schools.
It is organized in four areas: browsing, laboratory’s activity, email and chat.
In this area the teacher can freely browse the Internet to discover and evaluate new websites and to enable them if they are compliant with the “good website” criteria mentioned in the previous paragraph.
During the classroom’s activity, the teacher can takes children on a particular website by only one click.
This function is fundamental for a didactic use of the Net and to take kids through educational paths.
Ecological search engine
A powerful, filtered search engine offers to the kids the opportunity to look for information on the Net, classified by Google’s directory service, without run the risk of finding something inappropriate.
The Veliero’s staff has evaluated a wide series of Google directories and selected only the appropriates ones.
Teacher can define:
moreover he/she can control the websites where each child is browsing on: using this feature it’s possible to start and quit all the Veliero in the class by only one click.
Veliero offers a complete system for managing email. This feature uses the Outlook style but it isn’t a traditional electronic mail because it’s based on a dedicated component: only the schools adopting it can send or receive messages.
Thank to this approach
it’s impossible to receive spam email or malicious contents through
this email component.
The teacher can prepare a message, involve the children in order to help them in creating a message themselves, enclosing an audio message, showing to all the kids the emails received.
The teacher can decide to chat with classes of other schools; the Veliero’s chat is organized in islands; the teacher can follow a class on a island where he/she is chatting or invite one of the classes on line.
During a chat, the teacher can control either the classes present on the island or the kids list of the classes that are connected to the Veliero. He/she can decide if the child can actively participate (read/write) to the chat session or not (only read).
Every message contains the icon selected by the child at logon.
The teacher can enable an animated character, named Jack the robot, to help the younger kids to understand the chat’s content. Jack reads all the messages written by the partecipants and move itself to mime the dialog.
Veliero is the pupil’s workstation, it permits to browse only the certified kid-safe websites, selected by a central staff. The teachers can enrich this “white list” adding their preferred websites. Moreover, kids can participate to chat sessions, compile a message for an other class, use the search engine inside the categories selected by the teacher.
The child can specify his/her name and a preferred animal from a predefined set of icons; the name and the icon are used to identify the kid when he/she takes part in a chat.
The graphic interface
is nice and easy to use.
Animated buttons will easily indicate the main functionalities.
Searching on the Net
Nocchiero (Helmsman) is a search engine, developed by the Veliero staff; it searches inside the appropriate Google’s directories in accordance with the sections selected by the teacher.
In the pages found, external images and links will be hided by the Veliero to assure the safety.
The child, if invited by the teacher, can take part of a chat session; he/she can call Jack the robot, who will read the text for him.
There is a complete list of emoticons to make funnier the message.
The kid can write a message to send to another class. This message is initially received by the teacher in the draft queue; then the teacher can correct it and decide to send it.
The Veliero includes a component named Sentinella (Sentry) whose purpose is to prevent the use of all other browsers or, in general, no-safe applications that permit to use the Net. This block can be suspended by the teacher.
The software requirements are:
One of the following operative systems:
Computers must share the same local network and must be connected to Internet.
Veliero is an italian software; the first version was issued on the market in 2004 and has been adopted in hundreds of elementary schools and thousands of Italian families. It has received the acknowledgement of Ministry of Education.