Learning Layers in Leeds – Part One: Paving the way for the final run

September 27th, 2016 by Pekka Kamarainen

Last week our EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project had its last joint project consortium meeting (before the final review meeting) in Leeds, hosted by Leeds University, NHS and our software partner PinBellCom (latterly merged to EMIS group). This consortium meeting differed from many earlier ones because most of the work of the project has already been done. Also, quite a lot of strategic decisions concerning the final reporting had already been done. Therefore, we could concentrate on harvesting the most recent results and coordinating some preparatory processes for the final reporting. Yet, this meeting also had its salt and spices as well. In the first post I will give a brief overview on the meeting on the whole. In the second post I will focus on the picture that I/we gave on the construction sector pilot in some of the sessions.

Overview on the main sessions

After a quick situation assessment on the current phase of the project we started working in groups and in interim plenaries to be followed by group work:

  1. With the sessions on evaluation studies we had parallel groups working with the evaluation studies that had been adjusted to the progress in construction pilot and healthcare pilot. Concerning the construction pilot, our colleagues from the UIBK presented quantitative data and summarised the qualitative findings that have been discussed earlier on this blog. We had some discussions, whether we can enrich that material with some last minute interviews but that remains to be decided at the local level.
  2. Regarding the integrated deliverable (result-oriented website) we had common discussions on the structure, on the current phase of the main sections and on the technical implementation. Then we had parallel groups on the impact cards, ‘learning scenarios’ (or instances of change) and on the ‘research, development and evaluation approaches’. In the group work we focused on the situation in the sectoral pilots and on the complementary relations between impact cards (demonstrating particular impact), the scenarios or instances (in interpreting the findings in a conceptual and future-oriented way) and the research approaches (in presenting the contribution of the main research approaches represented in the project work).
  3. In a joint demonstration session Tamsin Treasure-Jones informed us, how the Learning Toolbox had been used in an adapted participative “Barcamp” session that was implemented in the AMEE (Association for Medical Education in Europe) conference in Barcelona. This example served as an inspiration and can be adapted for other research and development communities as well.
  4. In a practicing session we rotated between different topic tables to prepare ‘marketing pitches’ to convey the key messages of our tools/infrastructures/impact cases/research approaches. Each table was managed by moderator and the participants could take the role of presenter or listener. This helped us to get an overview and to concentrate on the core message of our presentations.
  5. In the Elevator pitches session we then presented the pitches (20 second pitch to qualify as presenter and a 3 minute pitch to convey the message). In this session Pablo served as real-time rapporteur and colleagues from Leeds had invited ‘critical friends’ to give feedback. This session helped us to shift us from project-internal reporting to speaking to new audiences.
  6. In the concluding session we discussed the organisation of the review meeting, the time plan for remaining activities and some final dissemination activities.

Altogether we made good progress in getting a common picture, what all we have achieved and how to present it. To be sure, we have several points to be settled in a number of working meetings during the coming weeks. But the main thing is that we set the course to achieving common results in the time that is available – and we are fully engaged to make it. In the next post I will take a closer look at the work with the construction pilot in the Leeds meeting.

More blogs to come …


Thoughts on “Digital divide 4.0” – Part Four: How to bridge the gap between formal and informal learning?

September 18th, 2016 by Pekka Kamarainen

With my three latest posts I have presented reflections on “Digital Divide 4.0” (regarding the concept, see the first post). These reflections have been inspired by recent experiences with fieldwork for our ongoing EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project and in particular with its key product the Learning Toolbox (LTB). In my second post I discussed, how this concept reflects the initial difficulties of our project work in the construction sector training centre Bau-ABC.

In this post I shift the emphasis to another part of the German vocational education and training (VET) system – to vocational schools. This is partly triggered by a recent working meeting with a vocational school teacher, who wondered, why their school was not included into our project.  Indeed, for us in ITB and in the training centre Bau-ABC it is a key issue, how to bridge gaps between formal and informal learning when developing workplace-based learning. In my short answer I referred to the funding priorities that emphasised strongly the promotion of informal learning (and SMEs as target groups). In order to understand this it is useful to look back at the development of earlier policies to promote e-Learning or Technology-Enhanced Learning (on the one hand) and initiatives to promote professional development of teachers and trainers in VET (on the other hand). Yet, we need to ask, why the conceptual gap between parallel earlier policies and initiatives has remained. Moreover, we should reflect, how our work in the LL project could help to bridge the gaps.

Background: Earlier e-Learning as ‘alternative’ for institutionalised education and training

Looking back at the educational initiatives in 1980s and 1990s there was a gradual movement in efforts to create new opportunities for open learning. This was reflected in the terminology – ‘remote learning’, ‘distance learning’, ‘open distance learning (ODL)’, ‘blended learning’ – all these referred to different steps and measures to open access to education and learning. Suddenly, at the end of 1990s and at the brink of the ‘New Millennium’ there was a great hype on ‘eLearning‘. In the newer initiatives there was a clear tendency to push the institutionalised education (and the adult education movement) aside. Some protagonists tried to bring forward private providers and new ‘career spaces’ via commercial eLearning programs as the innovation leaders. This was reflected in the separate European funding opportunities for e-Learning of that time. However, concerning the projects on the uses of e-Learning by work organisations, I remember that they concluded that the take on eLearning provisions was low. Instead, wider European surveys – like the the ones of the project “ICT and SMEs” – provided valuable information on the ways that SMEs actually used to support (organisational) learning.

Shift of emphasis: Teachers and trainers in VET as ‘key actors for lifelong learning’

Whilst the above mentioned developments emerged from fringe areas in education and training policies, the next wave – the follow-up of the EU Lisbon Summit 2000 – was part of an overarching development of EU policies. In the field of education and training this took shape firstly in the European Commission strategy document Education and Training 2010 and the aim was to promote a digital learning culture to support global competitiveness of European economy. In the first phase this follow-up was promoted by European working groups and supported by commissioned follow-up studies. In particular the follow-up study for the Maastricht meeting in 2004 drew attention that the engagement of teachers and trainers (notably in vocational education and training (VET) was lagging behind regarding the promotion of digital learning culture.

This gave rise for the European Commission to introduce new initiatives to stimulate trans-national cooperation and European exchanges with different formats: the Eurotrainer surveys, the TTplus framework project, the network ‘Trainers in Europe’, the policy-makers’ Peer Learning seminars and the Europe-wide series of ‘regional’ consultation seminars for different stakeholder groups. Altogether these measures increased the European knowledge basis on VET teacher education and training of trainers across Europe. However, these activities did not provide a basis for common qualification frameworks – instead they recommended the continuation of such participative dialogue forums with emphasis on learning lessons from recent innovations.

Another shift of emphasis: Focus on digital media and mobile technologies to support informal learning

In the meantime the development of web technologies and the spread of mobile devices had given new impulses for technology-enhanced learning. This became manifest in the wider use of online learning platforms, e-portfolios and open educational resources (OER). Now, there was less talk of sidelining the educational establishments but promoting specific initiatives (the networks of open universities) or by joint services (for consortia of member universities). Parallel to this there was a need to explore, how new forms of online learning could be promoted in working life, in particular in such occupations that were characterised by SMEs (and not catered for by university-industry alliances). Partly, the newer policy priorities were looking for genuinely work- and organisation-based modes of (informal) learning, partly for ways to reduce training costs by promoting flexible learning alongside work.

The experience with Learning Layers: The role of trainers and facilitators as change agents

In my two previous posts I have discussed the issue ‘digital divide’ in its current forms (“Digital divide 4.0”) in general and in the light of our fieldwork in the Learning Layers project. Also, I have given insights, how we have made progress with our application partners in the construction sector training centre Bau-ABC and in the network for ecological construction work (NNB). In both cases we have not relied on stand-alone tools or self-learning of practitioners (with the help of online tutorials). With the Learning Toolbox we have managed to develop – in a co-design process with the users – an integrative toolset that meets several basic needs and is easy to expand by the users themselves. Also, we have trained the pioneering users in joint learning sessions to work as peer tutors and mentors in their own communites and networks. However, the wider use has always been dependent on the interest of new users (and anticipation of practical benefits for them). Here, the success factor is to introduce Learning Toolbox as one instrument to promote knowledge sharing, coordination of tasks and real-time communication – and in this way work-related and organisational learning.

Follow-up: What role for teachers and trainers in promoting digital agenda in vocational education?

In the light of the above we (the partners working with the construction pilot of the LL project) have good reasons to consider, what role could teachers in vocational schools play in the follow-up phase. In the German dual system there is a constant challenge to improve cooperation between the fundamental learning venues: enterprise (workplace and the intermediate training centre) and school. In this respect the Learning Toolbox will offer new prospects. Also, the new importance of European mobility schemes (training of apprentices from Spain, Greece etc. in Germany) and the integration schemes for refugees provide new challenges for teachers and trainers in VET. Here, we believe that the introduction of Learning Toolbox could help different parties work together. I will get back to these issues soon.

More blogs to come …

Thoughts on “Digital divide 4.0” – Part Three: Discussions on the use of Learning Toolbox at construction sites

September 17th, 2016 by Pekka Kamarainen

With my two latest posts I have presented reflections on “Digital Divide 4.0” (regarding the concept, see the first post ). These reflections have been inspired by recent experiences with fieldwork for our ongoing EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project and in particular with its key product the Learning Toolbox (LTB). In my previous post I discussed, how this concept reflects the initial difficulties of our project work in the construction sector training centre Bau-ABC – and how our collaboration helped the trainers to become innovation leaders with LTB. In this post I shift the emphasis to our other application partners – the network for ecological construction work (Netzwerk Nachhaltiges Bauen – NNB) and craft trade companies in building and construction.

Revisiting the Learning Toolbox Workshop with craft trade companies (8.9.2016)

One week ago  ITB organised a workshop on Learning Toolbox in which Thomas Isselhard from NNB presented, how he has started using the Toolbox and representatives of craft trade companies from Bremen region discussed, what benefits the Toolbox could bring to them. In my earlier blog post I have already reported of this event on the basis of my first impressions. Now I have had the chance to revisit this experience when editing the video material from the event. In particular I have been inspired by the way Thomas Isselhard has explained, how he has overcome his own doubts about ‘yet another tool’ and how he has been able to introduce the Toolbox as a joint instrument for coordinating the work and sharing information in real time.

Using the Toolbox to manage a construction site in Verden – challenges and possibilities

Looking again at the video material on Thomas Isselhard’s presentation it strikes me, how many points he makes on the transition phase: “Why should I start using the Toolbox and what could it bring to me/us in charge of construction sites?”. He starts with the simple things to be coordinated with the help of the Toolbox – lists of contractors and partners as well as the distribution of tasks between different parties. He gives insights into difficulties in coping with changing plans and versions of plans in the traditional way – with paper documents and communication via phone calls and e-mails. In this way we get an insight into the advantages of real-time communication, coordinated version management and notification of changes – all enabled via Learning Toolbox. (See below the edited short video on Thomas Isselhard’s presentation – in German but with subtitles in English):

Getting used to working with the Toolbox – starting with simple steps that make sense

In the other video Thomas Isselhard discusses with Werner Müller (ITB) and Gilbert Peffer (CIMNE), how to get other actors interested in using the Toolbox. Thomas emphasised how they started in their own organisation – by simple content tiles and by replicating the standard processes and the filing systems that they were used to (even using the same colours for same contents). In the network for ecological construction work he addressed the young professionals in the partner organisations to get them working as the pioneers for introducing the Toolbox. When starting a cooperation with a contractor on a construction site Thomas links the introduction of the Toolbox to the instruction to the task (uploading with a QR-code) In this context he explains, how the Toolbox can be used to follow the updates of the plans and to give feedback on the progress with the contractor’s work. Whilst the use of Toolbox has been introduced as a service provided by the planners (architects, construction site managers), the real benefit lies in the interactive use of all parties involved. (See below the edited short video on the discussion – in German but with subtitles in English):

Concluding remarks

I guess this is enough of this part of the workshop and on the videos on Thomas’ presentation and the immediate discussion. Whilst the previous post looked at a lengthy co-design, preparation and deployment process (in Bau-ABC), these samples give insights into a quick transition into active use. Also, it is interesting to see, how Thomas is able to demonstrate the smooth entry to using Toolbox and the benefits it can offer in the day-to-day cooperation in construction work. (This was taken up in the further discussion in the workshop but I need to have a fresh look at the video recordings before continuing my reporting on that part.) In the meantime I will discuss the role of vocational school teachers as potential users and promoters of the Learning Toolbox.

More blogs to come … 


Thoughts on “Digital divide 4.0” – Part Two: Observations on the uses of Learning Toolbox in Bau-ABC

September 16th, 2016 by Pekka Kamarainen

With my latest post I started a series of reflections on the concept “Digital Divide 4.0” (see my previous post ). These reflections have been inspired by recent experiences with fieldwork for our ongoing EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project and in particular with its key product the Learning Toolbox (LTB).  In particular these thoughts have been triggered by our LTB workshops (covered in my earlier posts) and our working visit to the construction sector training centre Bau-ABC. With this blog I try to give insights into our observations on ‘digital divide 4.0’ in the beginning phase of the LL project and into the role of our project work in overcoming such divides. Here I would like to emphasist the role of participative design processes, capacity-building measures and the user-driven deployment of LTB in the training activities of Bau-ABC.

Findings on the use of digital tools and mobile apps in the early phase of the LL project

In the beginning phase of the LL project the ITB team carried out several interviews among Bau-ABC trainers and representatives of craft trade companies regarding their use of digital tools, web platforms and mobile apps. Likewise, we carried out (in collaboration with Bau-ABC) a user survey among the Bau-ABC apprentices.

Without going into details, both the interviews and the survey gave a picture of a scattered landscape of stand-alone tools, apps and platforms. The trainers and company representatives had looked at different sites but were not convinced of the quality – it was difficult to distinguish, what tools/apps were meant for professional use and what for hobbyists. The apprentices new very few of them and had hardly any experience with them.

In general, this picture corresponds with my characterisation of ‘digital divide 4.0’ (see my previous post). Both our interview partners and the apprentices responding to the survey were users of smartphones, had acquired a considerable web capability and were exploring, how to use the new tools and technologies. Yet, the trainers and company representatives experienced a kind of Tantalos-situation (see my previous post) – having a multitude of possibilities but not getting a hold of them. Likewise, the apprentices were frustrated because web tools, apps and mobile devices played no role in the training.

What was the role of co-design processes and multimedia training?

In the co-design workshops with Bau-ABC trainers we were looking for ways to support their pedagogic approaches (action-oriented learning, self-organised learning) in context-specific training projects. Likewise, in the workshops with apprentices we were looking at characteristic working tasks and specific situations in which digital tools would be useful. This all was fed to the development of the Learning Toolbox.

In the Multimedia Training we (the facilitators from Pontydysgu and ITB) helped the Bau-ABC trainers to find their own approach to using digital tools and web resources – and to editing their own contents. The most important achievements of this phase were the trainers’ own WordPress  blogs with which they have made their training materials publicly available. (See Zimmererblog, Maurerblog, Tiefbaublog, Brunnenbauerblog.)

Interim assessments by Bau-ABC trainers during the project

In between the Bau-ABC trainers have contributed with their interim assessments that have given important impulses for the development of the Learning Toolbox and for reshaping of the multimedia training arrangements:

  • In August/September 2014 the Bau-ABC colleagues couldn’t participate in the LL consortium meeting in Tallin. Instead they prepared a video message that was later on edited into short videos. These outlined different contexts for using the Learning Toolbox in the training of Bau-ABC and in different work situations. In one of the videos four trainers discuss their pedagogic principles (action-oriented learning; self-organised learning) and how they see the possibilities to promote such learning via Learning Toolbox (see below).

  • In May 2015 the Bau-ABC trainers made an interim assessment on the earlier Multimedia training (2013 -2014) and on their internal follow-up (2014 -2015). They came to the conclusion that Bau-ABC needs to organise a training scheme for the whole trainer staff to bring the media competences to a common level and to work out joint approaches for using the respective tools, apps and platforms. This provided the basis for the Theme Room training campaign that was implemented in November 2015 by tutors from Bau-ABC, ITB and Pontydysgu (with on-site support by Jaanika Hirv from TLU). This campaign was a major step forward to prepare the Bau-ABC trainers to take the role of active users of the Learning Toolbox.

Reflections on the deployment of Learning Toolbox and on the feedback from the users

In February and March 2016 we started the active phase of deployment of the Learning Toolbox with some Bau-ABC trainers in their training projects. Already at that stage we could see that the trainers quickly developed their own ways to use stacks, pages and tiles to shape their training projects:

  • In the trade of well-builders (Brunnenbauer) the emphasis was given on a specific project folder that is supported by content tiles (Reference materials) and collection tiles (photos and videos). When the pilot group of well-builder apprentices moved on to training periods in other trades (metalworking, borehole building), the trainers in these trades provided similar project folders.
  • The joint project of carpenters (Zimmerer) and bricklayers (Maurer) was based on a common mother-stack that was linked to daughter stacks that presented the respective subprojects to be carried out during training periods in the respective trades. In addition, the mother stack provided links to other daughter stacks that provided collections of tools and of further learning materials.

When collecting feedback on the use of Learning Tools the LL researchers involved (mainly Markus Manhart from UIBK) could conclude that the trainers were becoming owners of the innovation and that the apprentices had adopted the use of Learning Toolbox as ‘their way’ of managing the projects. In particular the following observations were of interest:

  • From the pedagogic point of view the trainers had set somewhat different accents. Some of them put an emphasis on equipping the apprentices with comprehensive sets of reference materials and challenging them to do selective and searches for their purposes. Here one could use the metaphor of ‘well’ for the stacks as stable learning resources. Other trainers put an emphasis on curiosity- and interest-based learning and with respective opening of new pages or tiles for apprentices. Here one could use the metaphor of ‘watering cans’ for the stacks as learning resources that are adjusted to the learners’ progress. Consequently, their apprentices have developed either explorative or level-by-level progressing learning approaches.
  • From the infrastructural and organisational points of view the trainers concluded that the deployment of Learning Toolbox had been carried out as a limited pilot. Now the time had come ripe to make commitments for the whole organisation (including the infrastructure and the availability of mobile devices for all training areas). The apprentices had experienced difficulties due to limited internet access – both in the training centre and even more when they were on construction sites. Yet, they emphasised the advantages of using Learning Toolbox vis-à-vis the time when they had not had such a toolset. Also, they put a major emphasis in having the necessary tools in an integrated and contextually adjusted set. However, very few had been able to convince their employers or supervisors of the benefits of the Toolbox. Here, it apparent that the company representatives have to find their own ways to use such a toolset and to become aware of the benefits from their perspective.

Concluding remarks

I believe this is enough of our learning journey in the context of the Learning Layers project and with focus on the project activities in the construction sector training centre Bau-ABC. To me this story serves as an example, how participative design process, capacity building and user-driven tool deployment can work well in the long run. As I see it, we started in a situation that could be characterised as ‘digital divide 4.0’ and worked through processes that helped us to overcome such divides (including us as researchers and our counterparts in the training centre). However, the story shows that we need extra efforts to help the construction companies to find their ways forward. I will get back to this in my next blog.

More blogs to come …

Thoughts on “Digital divide 4.0” – Part One: How to overcome such divides?

September 13th, 2016 by Pekka Kamarainen

With this post I will start a series of reflections on the concept “Digital Divide 4.0” (to be explained below). These reflections have been inspired by recent experiences with fieldwork for our ongoing EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project and in particular with its key product the Learning Toolbox (LTB).  In particular these thoughts have been triggered by our workshops last week (see my previous posts) and our working visit to the construction sector training centre Bau-ABC (to be covered in my next posts). All of a sudden I started thinking, what kind of ‘digital divide(s)’ we are encountering.  And in addition to this, I got struck by the question: In what ways can the Learning Toolbox help us to overcome such divides?

The different meanings of  ‘digital divide’

As I see it, debates on the topic ‘digital divide’ have come and gone in several waves. In the more recent debates the authored have characterised their point of view with expressions like ‘Digital divide 2.0’ or (in some cases) ‘Digital divide 3.0’. This, of course has been shadowing the authors view on the evolution of web technologies, uses of web and the perception of the gaps that cause the respective divide.

I am not an expert on this topic but my rough picture of this history is the following:

  • The initial discussion on the topic ‘digital divide’ (which we could now label as the phase of ‘Digital divide 1.0’) drew attention to lacking access to computer technology and computer literacy as main problem. Thus, strategies to overcome digital divide were directed to provide access (private and public) to devices and to promote computer literacy by different campaigns involving formal and informal learning opportunities.
  • The second phase of these debates – named by some authors as ‘Digital divide 2.0’ – has shifted the emphasis on computers and computer literacy to Internet, World-Wide Web and to social networks. The key problem is seen in the lacking or poor Internet connections and web-literacy. Thus, the strategies to overcome digital divide have emphasised the necessity to promote access to internet and to engage the users as participants (clients) of social networks and networked services.
  • The third phase – arising from the previous one and only rarely distinguished as ‘Digital divide 3.0’ shifts the emphasis to mobile devices, in particular to smartphones. In this perception the lack of Internet access via mobile devices (and/or the lacking capability to use them for real-time Internet searches and communication) is the main problem addressed by the concept. And, consequently, the main emphasis is given on informal coaching, tutoring, mentoring, scaffolding etc. to get the potential users over the hurdle and turn them into active users.

What are we missing from this picture and how – in this respect – could these divides be overcome?

Whilst the above presented picture seems valid, to us it is one-sided: the technologies (as such) appear as the driving force and the users only need to get access to the devices and to the respective ‘literacy’ to use them. In this way the ‘ordinary’ users need to be educated to be able to use the technologies in the way the designers have planned.

However, from starting from very the beginning of the LL project and up to present date we have experienced another type of problem constellation that we could characterise as ‘Digital divide 4.0’. Here we have a situation in which the potential users have access to appropriate devices and to average digital literacy but are confronted with a multitude of stand-alone apps, tools, platforms and services – the relevance of which remains a riddle to them. Thus, the users lack orientation and guidance that would help them to make informed choices for options that match their needs. This can be characterised as a Tantalos-situation – by analogy to the antique tale. (Tantalos was stuck into position next to fruit treas that were quasi at his reach but kept their branches out of his reach. Likewise, he was standing next to a river, but when he bowed down to drink, the water escaped his lips.) Therefore, this new divide is not characterised by lack of access to (and command of) particular technologies but lack of overview and strategic mastery of them in terms of user-competences.

What is so specific in the Learning Toolbox regarding ‘Digital divide 4.0’?

In the light of the above we are happy to announce that on several occasions we have been able to witness that the introduction of the Learning Toolbox has clearly contribute to processes that help to overcome such Tantalos-situations. At the moment our experiences are episodic and limited in numbers. Yet, we can start looking at the turning points and at the criteria for overcoming the kind of ‘Digital divide 4.0’ that has been typical of the situation before our pilot activities.

– – –

I guess this is enough as an introduction to the topic. In my next post I will have a look at our fieldwork and on our observations concerning the use of the Learning Toolbox to overcome the kind of digital divide I discussed above.

More blogs to come … 


Ψηφιακό χάσμα στην Ελλάδα ….πραγματικότητα ή μύθος;;;

January 11th, 2010 by Maria Perifanou

Περί τεχνολογίας ο λόγος και ξεκινάω την συζήτηση από το πώς αυτή έχει χαράξει την παρουσία της στον Ελλαδικό χώρο τα τελευταία χρόνια. Η κατάσταση όπως έχει καταγραφεί σύμφωνα με τελευταίες έρευνες στον Ελλαδικό χώρο αναφορικά με την τελευταία πενταετία δεν θα έλεγα ότι μας δίνει και πολύ ενθαρρυντικά αποτελέσματα. Μα ποια είναι η πραγματικότητα και πώς την βιώνουμε μαθητές, εκπαιδευτικοί και ερευνητές?
Σύμφωνα με την τελευταία μελέτη του «Παρατηρητηρίου για την Κοινωνία της Πληροφορίας» όπως αναφέρει σε άρθρο της η «Ημερησία» Διαδικτυακά αναλφάβητοι παραμένουν σχεδόν 7 στους 10 Έλληνες πολίτες καθώς μόλις το 18,2% διαθέτουν ικανοποιητικές δεξιότητες όσον αφορά στη χρήση του Internet και γύρω στο 10% χαμηλό επίπεδο δεξιοτήτων, προσθέτοντας ότι ελλοχεύει ο κίνδυνος διατήρησης ενός ψηφιακού χάσματος ειδικά σε κοινωνικά ευπαθείς ομάδες του πληθυσμού.
Σε σύγκριση με τα υπόλοιπα κράτη-μέλη της Ε.Ε. η Ελλάδα δείχνει να έχει μια σαφή άνοδο του ποσοστού εκείνων που διαθέτουν ικανοποιητικές δεξιότητες στη χρήση του διαδικτύου μεταξύ 2005 και 2007 καθώς από το 8,9% ανεβήκαμε στο 18,2% αλλά αυτό παραμένει το μόνο θετικό στις μετρήσεις. Δυστυχώς η Ελλάδα βρίσκεται στην 24η θέση στην σχετική κατάταξη των ευρωπαίων πολιτών που σε ποσοστό 34% είναι σε θέση να αξιοποιούν σε ικανοποιητικό βαθμό το Διαδίκτυο (μέτριες ή υψηλές δεξιότητες).
Αντίστοιχα, το ποσοστό των πολιτών χωρίς δεξιότητες μειώθηκε κατά 7,7 ποσοστιαίες μονάδες στο 72,8%. Το ποσοστό των Ελλήνων πολιτών με χαμηλό επίπεδο δεξιοτήτων παρέμεινε σχετικά σταθερό γύρω στο 10% (συγκεκριμένα 9% – 10,6%), ωστόσο το ποσοστό αυτό είναι περίπου το 1/3 του αντίστοιχου των Ευρωπαίων πολιτών με χαμηλό επίπεδο δεξιοτήτων, το οποίο κυμαίνεται γύρω στο 30%.
Στα θετικά στοιχεία και το γεγονός ότι παρατηρείται υψηλή αύξηση στους διαμένοντες σε αγροτικές περιοχές και τους ανέργους, από την άλλη πλευρά, όμως, το χάσμα δείχνει να διευρύνεται στους ηλικιωμένους και τα άτομα με χαμηλό μορφωτικό επίπεδο
Μια δεύτερη έρευνα αυτή την φορά από την Eurostat και δημοσιευμένη και αυτή στην «Ημερησία», φέρνει την Ελλάδα να καταλαμβάνει την προτελευταία θέση όσον αφορά τη διείσδυση του Internet στο ελληνικό σπίτι. Παράλληλα εξαιρετικά μεγάλη συνεχίζει να είναι η απόσταση που χωρίζει την Ελλάδα από τις υπόλοιπες ευρωπαϊκές χώρες όσον αφορά στη χρήση του Διαδικτύου και των ευρυζωνικών συνδέσεων.
Ενδιαφέρον είναι το γεγονός ότι η Ελλάδα είναι αρκετά πίσω στη χρήση του Διαδικτύου ακόμη και στις ηλικίες 16 – 24 ετών. Σύμφωνα με τη Eurostat, το 57% των Ελλήνων αυτής της ηλικίας χρησιμοποιεί σε καθημερινή βάση το Internet, όταν ο ευρωπαϊκός μέσος όρος είναι στο 73%. Η συγκεκριμένη επίδοση μας δίνει και πάλι την προτελευταία θέση.
Στο σύνολο των Ελλήνων ηλικίας 16 – 74 ετών, μόλις το 27% των Ελλήνων χρησιμοποιεί το Διαδίκτυο όταν ο ευρωπαϊκός μέσος όρος είναι στο 48% και η χώρα μας καταφέρνει να ξεπερνά μόνο τη Ρουμανία (19%). Απογοητευτικά είναι τα ποσοστά και όσον αφορά τις online αγορές καθώς μόλις το 10% των Ελλήνων ηλικίας 16 – 74 ετών έχει αγοράσει από το Διαδίκτυο με τον ευρωπαϊκό μέσο όρο στο 37%. Ενας στους δύο ωστόσο χρησιμοποιεί υπολογιστή.
Από την άλλη πλευρά σύμφωνα με τις μετρήσεις της Εθνικής Στατιστικής Υπηρεσίας η Ελλάδα βρίσκεται σε ανοδική τάση στη χρήση προσωπικών υπολογιστών και του Διαδικτύου. Για την ακρίβεια η ΕΣΥΕ αναφέρει ότι το ποσοστό των ατόμων που χρησιμοποίησαν υπολογιστή κατά τη διάρκεια του α’ τριμήνου του 2009 ανήλθε στο 47,3% (έναντι 44,4% το ίδιο χρονικό διάστημα του 2008), ενώ το αντίστοιχο για το Διαδίκτυο διαμορφώθηκε στο 42,4% (έναντι 38,2%).
Επιπλέον, σύμφωνα με την ΕΣΥΕ, το 38% των ελληνικών σπιτιών με πρόσβαση στο Διαδίκτυο ανέρχεται στο 38%, όταν το 2005 το αντίστοιχο ποσοστό ήταν 21,7%. Εξ αυτών, το 87% διαθέτει ευρυζωνική σύνδεση.
Τα στοιχεία της ΕΣΥΕ είναι υψηλότερα από αυτά που αναφέρθηκαν προηγουμένως σύμφωνα με το Ευρωβαρόμετρο (27% των Ελλήνων χρησιμοποιεί το Διαδίκτυο). Η διαφορά έγκειται στο ότι το Ευρωβαρόμετρο υπολογίζει μόνο εκείνους που χρησιμοποιούν το Διαδίκτυο σε καθημερινή βάση, ενώ η ΕΣΥΕ όσους χρησιμοποίησαν το μέσο έστω και μία μέσα στο τρίμηνο. Σύμφωνα με την ΕΣΥΕ, το 64,4% των Ελλήνων χρηστών συνδέεται σχεδόν καθημερινά.
Τα ποσοστά χρήσης υπολογιστή και Διαδικτύου είναι υψηλότερα στις μικρότερες ηλικίες (π.χ. στην κατηγορία 16-19 ετών, τα ποσοστά είναι 94,1% και 89,6% και πέφτουν σε 1,2% και 0,9% στην ομάδα 70-74 ετών).
Λαμβάνοντας υπόψη τα παραπάνω αποτελέσματα των τελευταίων στατιστικών ερευνών το ερώτημα είναι ποια είναι τελικά η πραγματικότητα. Πρέπει να μιλάμε για “ψηφιακό χάσμα” στην Ελλάδα ή μπορούμε να είμαστε ικανοποιημένοι ως πολίτες για την ένταξη της χώρας μας σε μια νέα ψηφιακή εποχή που επιφέρει λογικά ανατροπές και ορίζει νέους κανόνες σε όλους τους τομείς και φυσικά στον τομέα της παιδείας;
Η δική μου ανησυχία δεν είναι μόνο αν τελικά οι πολίτες της χώρας μας έχουν κατανοήσει την αναγκαιότητα της «ψηφιακής επανάστασης», αλλά αν έχουν αντιληφθεί σε βάθος πόσο απαραίτητη είναι αυτή για τον ερχομό μιας πραγματικής προόδου σε όλους τους τομείς και κυρίως της παιδείας. Για την γεφύρωση ωστόσο τόσο του «ψηφιακού χάσματος» όσο και του «χάσματος» σε πολλούς άλλους σημαντικούς τομείς οι σημερινοί πολίτες και – όχι μόνο οι μαθητές ως αυριανοί πολίτες-θα πρέπει να αποκτήσουν τις οκτώ βασικές ικανότητες της διά βίου μάθησης όπως αυτές ορίζονται από το ευρωπαικό πλαίσιο. Αυτές είναι αναγκαίες για την προσωπική ολοκλήρωση του ενεργού πολίτη, την κοινωνική ένταξη και την απασχολησιμότητα σε μια κοινωνία της γνώσης. Μεταξύ αυτών αναφέρω την 1)επικοινωνία στη μητρική γλώσσα• 2) επικοινωνία σε ξένες γλώσσες• 3) μαθηματική ικανότητα και βασικές ικανότητες στις φυσικές επιστήμες και την τεχνολογία• 4) ψηφιακή δεξιότητα κλπ.
Το ουσιαστικό θέμα δεν είναι απλά να κάνουμε λόγω για την εξάλειψη   του ψηφιακού χάσματος, αλλά για την υιοθέτηση μιας συνείδησης για μια δια βίου μάθηση. Μόνο η αλλαγή της νοοτροπίας για μια συνεχιζόμενη μάθηση θα μπορέσει να μας οδηγήσει από μια επιφανειακή δεξιότητα χρήσης της τεχνολογίας σε μια βαθειά και ουσιαστική χρήση αυτής αρχικά στην εκπαίδευση και την έρευνα αλλά και ακολούθως και σε άλλους σημαντικούς τομείς .
Ο διάλογος είναι ανοιχτός και το ερώτημα παραμένει….μπορούμε να είμαστε αισιόδοξοι ότι αυτά τα βήματα αλλαγής θα πραγματοποιηθούν έστω και αργά ή είναι απλά προβληματισμοί μιας ονειροπόλου που θα μείνουν απλά και μόνο σκέψεις γραμμένες σ’αυτό το ιστολόγιο…..;;; Δεν σας κρύβω ότι είμαι πολύ αισιόδοξος άνθρωπος και θέλω να περιμένω πάντα τα καλύτερα….

How you can participate in Alt-C

September 7th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

This post provides a summary of how you can particpate in the Alt-C conference wherever you are.

It’s the Adanveced Learning Technologies (ALT) conference this week in Leeds in the UK. Together with Cristina Costa I will be reporting from the conference on the Pontydysgu blogs.

In the past if you couldn’t spare the time, forgot to submit your abstract and thus had no institutional support for the conference fees or just couldn’t face another four days of papers and workshops, that would be it. No conference, no networking. The times they are a changing. First we have all manner of distance communications. And secondly we are beggining to loosen up in our ides of how knowledge is shared with the grwing popularity of technology enhanced unconferencing. AltC is not open to all this year. But there are events you can participate in wherever you are and differents spaces to interact with conference delegates.

First a plug for Sounds of the Bazaar. We are broadcasting LIVE from the Jisc Emerge social at Alt-C on Tuesady at 1725 UK summer time, 18.25 Central European time. Sit back and relax (perhaps with a glass of wine yourself) and listen to what the party goers are saying.  Just point your browser to http://radio.jiscemerge.org.uk/Emerge.m3u This should open in your MP3 player of choice and after a few seconds delay start streaming. Better still, if you’d like to join in the fun, you can join our conference special chat room and share your opinions with others. You can also ask questions to the people being interviewed. Cristina Costa will be moderating the chat LIVE at Leeds at the following url – http://tinyurl.com/soundschat – no account needed.

What else is going on? Alt-C themselves have go in on the act and are providing access to the keynote speeches through Elluminate. Just head  over here to get the full details. Alt has provided a Crowdvine social network site for the conferrnce. Sadly that is only open to registered delegates. But there is an open aggregator here (or download an OPML file with the aggregator RSS feeds).

F-Alt is the first ever fringe being held at Alt-C. It sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun. You can get full details on the F-Alt wiki. There’s a chance that sessions may be broadcast live on ustream. Keep watching on twitter for more details. You can find a FriendFeed aggregator here.

Last but not least, the Alt-C Digital Divide slam is open to all. Full details on the wiki. Go on – its much more fun than that report you should be writing. Create your own entry.

I am sure there will be more. Just hang out in the right spaces to find out what is going on. Or, of course, you can watch this blog for regular conference updates.

Digitally Divided

September 5th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

This video has been produced by Pontydysgu and friends as our entry for the Alt-C2008 Digital Slam competition. We discussed the idea over skype and then each recorded our own part of the soundtrack. The text is from Wikipedia entries about the Digital Divide. We wanted to bring music and pictures togather to explore the multi faceted and often contradictory phenonomon of the digital divide. And we wanted to bring voices and pictures together from different countries and cultures. We had orginally intended to include Greek language in the mash but found that there is no Digital Divide entry in the Greek version of Wikipedia. We will write one.

Anyway hope you enjoy it.

Words – Graham Attwell, Cristina Costa, Dirk Stieglitz and Maria Perifanou.
Music – Break Rise Blowing by Countdown.
Text – Wikipedia
Pictures – Abrilon, Lisachaos, Maebmij, ninnet, AnantaB (all Creative Commons, Flickr)
Production – Dirk Stieglitz

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