IT’s Social is Unsocial

The portal elearningeuropa.info has an article about the project IT’s Social.

As far as I can read, it seems that IT’s Social has done a very good job. But it’s only an impression, as I just cannot test it.

Ok, they say the title stands for “Introduction of the ICT in social sector organisations in Europe” but it’s very difficult, at a first view, what part of the digital divide they are hitting: infrastructure? capacitation? digital content? It looks like it is capacitation, but I sometimes guess it’s content. Or services, depending on how you catalogue e-learning.

On the other side, this following statement is something it really made me laugh/cry:

The improvement of the availability of training units for the disadvantaged was the main objective of the project work. This was to be attained by creating an IT-based information and training platform

What? so you need books and you buy… a building! There was Moodle and there was Claroline and there were many others back in 2002, where’s the need for a new e-learning platform? BTW, I can read that the platform “is free of charge and […] can freely be worked on” but I’m having a hard time finding the documentation and the downloadable files to install it wherever I want. Is it Free Software or is it Something Software the European Union paid for someone?

In fact, this is the point: the EU paying – with our taxes – some unnecessary “new” development – instead of improving an existing one – and some learning objects that only the partners of the project can use, because all of them are locked in in this free to use but kept under keylock learning platform.

I can understand that (virtual) classrooms are not places to have people messing around, but this does not exclude the possibility to give to the public commons the output of some public funded project.

Last, but not least, reading the conclusions I wonder if this project was ever treated in some pedagogycal way or ICTs (LMS, LOs and so) just fell over the people. I’d like to think there was a pedagogycal approach, but once again, I cannot see it anywhere.

So, what do I get from this whole thing? Nothing.
Is that fair, being me (and others) a direct funder through my taxes? Nope.

Who gets harmed all in all?

  • People in need, who can not benefit from the output of the project.
  • Taxpayers, who don’t know what happens with their money.
  • The partners of the project, who, presumably having done a good job, there’s no way to know it and we, evil minded, tend to think they could have done it better.

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2005) “IT’s Social is Unsocial” In ICTlogy, #18, March 2005. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=230

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