SoNeCS - Social Networking for Catering Schools

Final report  - July 2008

Funded by HP

Project goal

Expanding the educational opportunities through the creation of social networks among students of a catering school between 14 and 18 years old (Istituto Professionale Alberghiero, undergraduate school). This goal has been achieved using different approaches.

First of all giving students and teachers the opportunity to publish their own contents through a Learning Management System or through blogging. Students built blogs not as “diaries” but as a personal demonstration of what they were learning, so that contents could be useful for other students. We enhanced the relationship between school and families and between our institution and similar ones by rebuilding the school website, in order to show all school activities but also to make useful information easily available: job opportunities, historical archive, etc.

Our goal was to enlarge the network including societies, professionals and other stakeholders.


40 students of SAFI catering school and their teachers were involved.  

Later on, the activities will be extended to two partner schools (in Bari and in Palermo) with 40 students more.


IPSAR SAFI on MoodleLearning Management System


The first step was to enable the use of a Learning Management System, using Moodle, an open source program which is gaining wide acceptance in Italian schools and universities. The experience of ELIS vocational training school, which has been using the tool for some years, has been useful to adapt it for the needs of SAFI catering school.


The students decided to set up sections regarding their lessons and "on the job" activity. Therefore procedures, instructions, glossaries as well as tests and exercises are filling the site, as you can see in a composition of screen shots aside.


Some audiovisual lessons, recorded in other classrooms out of SAFI, are included. They provide extra training and are available also from the students' home, giving them the chance of enhancing their competencies.


The students started publishing resources they already had access to, and are now creating new learning objects which will be tagged by anyone accessing the site, in order to give them "social value".


The access to the site is restricted to the students of SAFI.


Public site


The public site has been rebuilt from scratch, in order to better address the needs of the future students: it is primarily a show of what the school is able to provide. The imagery publication process is on going with the help of current students.


The historical archive is a report of the most important activities of the past years, to give an idea of the wide range of lessons, excursions, training, internships and meetings.


A section called "offerte di lavoro" is dedicated to alumni who are seeking a job or are looking for employees. 


Albatrova - motore di ricerca per scuole alberghiereSpecialized search engine 


The students started a specialized search engine, using Google co-op custom search engine. The goal is to provide all students of catering schools with a tool to easily find information about topics in their field, avoiding the overhead generated by a general purpose search engine. They selected some sites which they regarded as reliable and useful. The list is slowly growing because of a careful assessment for the validity of any new entry.


The name has been proposed following these criteria:

  1. easy to remember

  2. not in the Italian or English vocabulary

  3. not existing on the web

  4. recalling the idea of looking for ("trova")

  5. recalling the idea of catering schools ("scuole alberghiere")

The students are now voting the acceptance of the search engine name, using a specific tool in their Moodle site. 


Uno dei blog del progetto SoNeCS

Personal blogs


Some of them decided to open a personal blog, using free resources on the net. They published information for their colleagues. In the picture you can see the one dedicated to the analysis of websites of catering schools in Italy.


The experience of blogging with educational purposes is very important. Unfortunately, among teen-agers, there is a tendency of using the web as an entertainment resource or a place where to find information. Very few of them are enriching the web with their personal knowledge, although in many cases they are fully able to set up valuable and useful sites.


In some lessons with teachers, parents and students, we noticed for example that very few, and sometimes nobody, has ever written a single word on the Wikipedia. This behaviour is particularly negative when dealing with teachers: they are the "experts" in many topics, and are not willing to share their knowledge, leaving the task to other people who, less skilled, may write erroneous information or data on the Wikipedia. Given that, in Italian, the Wikipedia has become one of the most relevant sources on the Internet (it is usually the first result in searches of many words), we are committed to foster the production of good articles by experienced authors. 


Arte e salute in cucina


Blog Arte e salute in cucinaA new idea from a teacher and a former student was to start a special course for learning how to cook in a nice, simple and effective way for people suffering from diabetes, hypertension, celiac disease.


To promote the lessons, especially for housewives, they set up a website with information, recipes, videos and the methodology, based on mental mapping of the procedure to prepare a dish.


They also produced a blog (a partial screenshot is aside) with more information on the topic and some social networking tools (voting, new recipes, tests, games, Q&A, etc.).


New ideas stemmed from the original project: a "cooking bus" touring the schools in order to teach students how to cook (and eat) healthy food and a special course for dieticians. Fund raising is on going to support these activities.


Next steps

The news about (registered in July 2008) will be spread among the partner schools of SAFI in Bari and Palermo. From these schools the students will cooperate in adding new validated sites for the search engine list. Later on, when the list grows to a sufficient level, we shall inform all the catering schools in Italy about the availability of Albatrova. We shall seek only cooperation from reliable sources, opening the contribution for the enrichment of the list to everybody, but with a validation of the quality of the proposed sites to add.


The cooperation with the Alumni Association and their site will be enhanced to give more services to former students of SAFI, while asking for help from them, fostering the social network.

Riflettori su:



"La persona al centro della tecnologia informatica. La CMC (Computer-Mediated Communication) come strumento di interazione e organizzazione del lavoro, apprendimento e divertimento in un istituto alberghiero".

Abstract ricerca
Descrizione ricerca
Presentazione ricerca

Lavoro presentato dalle studentesse SAFI del III anno al Convegno Incontro Romano (Roma, 20-27 marzo 2005) e vincitore del primo premio.



"La cucina come memoria affettiva e comunicazione intergenerazionale. Salvare i sapori del passato con le nuove tecnologie".

Descrizione ricerca
Presentazione ricerca
Sito web realizzato

Lavoro presentato dalle studentesse SAFI del II anno al Convegno OIKIA 2005 (Castelgandolfo 17-20 febbraio 2005).



"Comunicare CreativaMente in Cucina".

Presentazione ricerca


Lavoro presentato dalle studentesse SAFI del I anno al Convengo OIKIA 2005 (Castelgandolfo 17-20 febbraio 2005).