Experts discuss questions of information ethics in Berlin
Which role can Open Educational Resources play in the effort to overcome the digital divide? How can we meet the demand of information ethics to afford all groups of society equal access to information and education? These questions were discussed by circa 100 experts from all over Europe on 22th January in Berlin.
Leading academics and practitioners followed the invitation from the Digital Opportunities Foundation, which has coordinated the project Digital Literacy 2.0 for two years, to discuss how to facilitate access to the opportunities of our information society for educationally and socially disadvantaged groups. At the conference a curriculum was presented which can be used in non-formal education.
"In all European countries we notice a clear gap between the higher educated and the less qualified sections of society", explained Jutta Croll, executive director of the Digital Opportunities Foundation. "Those who are able to use the internet for educational purposes are extending their lead in society, while those who are unable are left behind. Thus there is a growing need to find new ways to overcome the Digital Gap,'' says Croll.
After a two-year runtime the outcomes of the project Digital Literacy 2.0 show that web 2.0 applications allow a low-threshold introduction to the internet, even for people who have previously used it very little or not at all. Circa 850 professionals and volunteers working at libraries, community centres, welfare and housing organisations in seven European countries were qualified as ICT facilitators for their target groups. Thereby several thousand people in Europe were encouraged to use web applications to manage their daily lives more easily.
The information ethics expert Prof. Dr. Rafael Capurro as well as Barbara Lison, director of the public library in Bremen and board member of IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations), and Dr. Verena Metze-Mangold, vice president of the German commission for UNESCO, confirmed the need to support non-formal learning processes by using Open Educational Resources (OER). According to the experts, quality assurance, also beyond the runtime of projects, is necessary for a widespread dissemination and sustainable use of educational offers.
Peter Birch, head of the ICT, Languages and Roma sections at the European Commission, congratulated the conference organisers on the relevance of the Digital Literacy 2.0 approach and the outcomes of the project. At the same time he pointed to a change in the perception of quality, saying that it was no longer solely the experts who define what quality is but that in the digital age the general public also decided what is perceived to be of high quality.
The material developed in the project, now on hand in seven European languages, is supposed to be openly available under a Creative Commons licence from spring 2014.
For further information about the project „Digital Literacy 2.0“ and the training and learning material please visit www.digital-literacy2020.eu .“Digital Literacy 2.0'' is a European project funded in the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union. Its objective is to enable socially and educationally disadvantaged adults all over Europe to autonomously use web 2.0 applications and thus allow them to participate in society more strongly. In order to reach them circa 850 professionals and volunteers in non-formal learning settings - e.g. libraries, community centres and welfare organisations - in seven European countries were qualified as ICT facilitators for their target groups. In that way several thousand people in Europe were encouraged to use web applications to manage their daily lives more easily. The project consortium consists of: Aga Khan Foundation in Portugal, Bibnet in Belgium, Cologne Public Library in Germany, Regionalna biblioteka "Pencho Slaveykov" in Bulgaria, Biblioteka Publiczna im. W.J. Grabskiego in Poland, Bibliothèque publique d'information in France, National Institute of Adult Continuing Education in the UK and Digital Opportunities Foundation (Berlin, Germany) as coordinating institution.