Inés Bebea (from Ondula), Gabriel González (from Fundación Esplai) and I (with the help of Juan Sánchez, also from Fundación Esplai) have just issued our report Inclusión en la era de la Postdemocracia (Inclusion in the age of post-democracy).
The origins of the proposal “Inclusion in the age of postdemocracy” come from the debate held during the day of the plenary meeting of the Advisory Council of Fundación Esplai on Committed Citizenship, held on January 20, 2015. In this debate took part the Advisory Board, the Board of Trustees and the technical team of the organization, and during the event the participants identified the challenges that technology is creating at the social level at the present time, and to which the Fundación Esplai Foundation should respond in order to collaborate in the the construction of a technologically empowered citizenry that makes a critical, responsible and useful use in the pursue of their own personal development and that of one’s community.
The project takes as its starting point a basic document, which sets out the concrete objectives to advance in this line:
- Present the state of the situation on the practices of active citizenship in the areas of health, education and democracy.
- Propose consensuses that group different actors and sensitivities towards a common strategy and action lines.
- Design action lines for the promotion of active citizenship based on an intensive, open and community-based use of ICTs.
Between July and October 2016 Fundación Esplai launched a proposal to study and debate the role that Information and Communication Technologies play in social inclusion and in the active exercise of citizenship, as essential tools for access to education, health and democratic participation. The work proposal, which emphasizes the analysis of the call third-level digital divide, included a participation process to which a broad sector of the citizenry was invited, especially those more linked to Fundación Esplai initiatives: members of the Advisory Board, Board of Trustees and professional staff of the Fundación Esplai, organizations of the of the Red Conecta and associated networks, professionals in the ICT sector, Education and Social Inclusion as well as private individuals interested in the topic.
Amartya Sen revolutionized the concept of human development by presenting his capability approach. From his point of view, it is not enough to have physical access to resources, but, in addition, one must be able to put them to the benefit of oneself. This step from objective choice to subjective choice has been completed in recent years with a third stage of development: effective choice. According to that, it is not enough to have resources, or to want or know how to use them, but, moreover, it is necessary that one is allowed to do so. Indeed, it is the strengthening of democratic institutions what has recently been at the center of debates around human development and, by extension, social inclusion.
In a digital world, in the Information and Knowledge Society, it is easy to establish comparisons between these three stages of development with the three digital divides that have been identified since the term made its fortune in the mid-1990s.
- The first digital divide is one that refers to access (or lack thereof) to technological infrastructures. A gap that, although persisting, will soon be residual as economies achieve certain income thresholds.
- The second digital divide refers to skills, the so-called digital literacy. A gap that schools, libraries and telecentres have been tackling as a priority for some years.
- The third digital divide, which adds up to (and does not replace) the former two, refers to the strategic use of ICTs to improve one’s life. We speak of online education, e-health or technopolitics, to mention only three cases where this gap is already more than patent.
This third gap, opened relatively recently, is quickly widening with the increasing presence in our lives of teleassistance, online training or political participation through social networks and spaces of deliberation, etc.
Therefore, social inclusion, and by extension the active exercise of citizenship, will increasingly depend on that third level e-inclusion, which enables a development based on full objective, subjective and effective choices.
It is likely that there will be no democracy, health or education without the active participation of citizens in these aspects.
Available data tell us that while the first digital divide is getting smaller and smaller, the second (skills) is increasingly important (especially in relative and qualitative terms: there are no more people, but they do see themselves as more digital illiterates) and, consequently, it contributes to enlarge the third one, that in many cases ends up with a flat rejection to everything that has to do with digital technology.
The so-called digital refuseniks are a group generally neglected when it comes to addressing social inclusion policies, with the probable outcome that they will be the great excluded of a society that, today, is building heavily on digital participation.
In an age of participation, engagement, co-building, it is to expect that there will be no greater active exercise of citizenship without greater and better use of the Internet; and there will be no greater and better use of the Internet if the problem of effective use of the Net is not addressed beyond physical access to infrastructures and beyond digital literacy.
As it has been stated above, there are three areas — health, learning and democracy — that are today the three most important areas (besides economic, often determined by the three previous ones) where social inclusion will be determined especially by the respective degree of e-inclusion of a given person… or an institution.
The recent achievements that have come from social innovation, open innovation and open social innovation are virtually inexplicable without that desire for an emancipated citizenship enabled by ICTs.
Peña-López, I. (2015b). “Política, tecnopolítica y desarrollo digital
”. In Cristianisme i Justícia (Ed.), ¿Qué nos jugamos? Reflexiones para un año electoral
, 12-14. Colección Virtual nº10. Barcelona: Cristianisme i Justícia.
Tarbal, A. (2015). “TIC y salud, un binomio saludable para todos
”. In Roca, G. (Coord.), Las nuevas tecnologías en niños y adolescentes. Guía para educar saludablemente en una sociedad digital, Capítulo 1
, 21-37. Barcelona: Hospital Sant Joan de Déu.
Professors Begoña Gros and Cristóbal Suárez have edited a new book that has just been released, Pedagogía red. Una educación para tiempos de internet (Networked pedagogy. An education for the Internet age).
I have been invited to write a chapter for the book on how can we learn in networks or as networks. The easiest way to answer the question would have been to come up with a list of tools… which would have been outdated the day after the book saw the light. Instead, I focused on how “educational institutions” (understood in a very broad way: the textbook, the teacher, the classroom, the library, evaluation, etc.) could be opened, unfolded so that their momentum gathered along the years could be disrupted and actors and tasks profoundly changed.
Besides thanking both Begoña Gros and Cristóbal Suárez for their invitation, I also very heartily have to thank Toni Aguilar, as he was the first one to force me to think in this terms when he invited me to do the talk ICT and education:: evolution of education, revolution in learning, which I have repeatedly given after that — and finally became a book chapter, as now can be seen. Gràcies Toni!
The book is in Spanish, the chapter is called ¿Con qué aprender en red? Estrategias y herramientas para la abertura y disrupción de las instituciones educativas (Networked learning: strategies and tools to open and disrupt educational institutions) and here goes the abstract and the bibliography I used.
Cuando se habla de qué herramientas utilizar para aprender en red, es fácil acabar utilizando la herramienta por la herramienta. A pesar de que nos repetimos a nosotros mismos cual mantra que las herramientas son solamente instrumentos para conseguir unos fines – en este caso de aprendizaje – nos ocurre una y otra vez que ponemos las herramientas en el lugar de los fines.
Ello ocurre incluso en los casos donde nos dotamos de categorizaciones o de verdaderas ontologías para asignar cada herramienta al cajón del que solamente saldrá cuando tengamos claro su papel instrumental.
En este capítulo vamos a evitar caer en la tentación prescindiendo, por completo, de una caja de herramientas. O de una lista. O de una categorización. Todo un reto para lo que, a primera vista, debería ser un despliegue de estrategias y herramientas para el aprendizaje en red.
En su lugar, nos centraremos en tejer la red de aprendizaje. Y lo haremos desmontando, desplegando, abriendo las instituciones que, hasta hoy, siguen protagonizado (y con mucho éxito, no querríamos perder esto de vista) la enseñanza. Y el aprendizaje, a menudo confinado a esas instituciones.
Más que en las herramientas, pues, queremos poner bajo el foco la disrupción que las instituciones educativas están sufriendo y que, en parte, viene de la mano de determinadas estrategias y herramientas. Y es analizando las disrupciones que se están dando en el papel de 10 instituciones educativas que hemos seleccionando que veremos cómo actúan determinadas estrategias y herramientas.
Castañeda, L. & Adell, J. (2013). “La anatomía de los PLEs
”. In Castañeda, L. & Adell, J. (Eds.), Entornos Personales de Aprendizaje: claves para el ecosistema educativo en red, Capítulo 1
, 11-27. Alcoy: Marfil.
Hollands, F.M. & Tirthali, D. (2014). MOOCs: Expectations and Reality
. New York: Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education Teachers College, Columbia University.
Meishar-Tal, H., Kurtz, G. & Pieterse, E. (2012). “Facebook Groups as LMS: A Case Study
”. In International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13
(4). Edmonton: Athabasca University.
Peña-López, I. & Cerrillo i Martínez, A. (2011). “Herramientas 2.0 para el desarrollo de competencias profesionalizadoras
”. In Cerrillo i Martínez, A. & Delgado García, A.M. (Coords.), Las TIC al servicio de la docencia del Derecho en el marco del EEES
, 89-102. Actas de la II Jornada sobre Docencia del Derecho y Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación, 6 de junio de 2011. Barcelona: Huygens.
Peña-López, I. & Cerrillo i Martínez, A. (2012). “Microblogging en el aula. De la información a la participación
”. In Cerrillo i Martínez, A. & Delgado García, A.M. (Coords.), La innovación en la docencia del Derecho a través del uso de las TIC
, 143-157. Actas de la III Jornada sobre Docencia del Derecho y Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación, 8 de junio de 2012. Barcelona: Huygens.
Stacey, P. (2014). “Pedagogy of MOOCs
”. In International Journal for Innovation and Quality and in Learning
, (3), 112-115. Brussels: EFQUEL.
Yousef, A.M.F., Chatti, M.A., Schroeder, U., Wosnitza, M. & Jakobs, H. (2014). “MOOCs – A Review of the State-of-the-Art
”. In Zvacek, S., Restivo, M.T., Uhomoibni, J.O. & Helfert, M., CSEDU 2014 – Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Computer Supported Education, Volume 3
, 9-20. Barcelona: SciTePress.
Silvia Luque, Fundació Ferrer i Guardia
The participatory experience of the Municipality Action Plan through the decidim.barcelona platform
One of the biggest challenges in a hybrid online-offline participatory process is, precisely, how to balance participation in both spaces, virtual and face-to-face.
The oneline platform has been the amplifier of what was going on in the offline arena. It also gathered all the information and contributed to trace the participation footprint.
Of course, the digital platform itself held lots of debates and collected proposals directly online.
Mobile points — ad-hoc kiosks on the streets — provided offline feedback from what was happening online.
The online platform was both a participatory platform and a work platform: everyone worked within the platform. Both citizens and managers used the platform for all the tasks and procedures related to the participatory process.
There was a good balance between online and offline participation, though in the online platform there was slightly more participation. The platform, though, affected the topic: in wellbeing, there were more proposals offline, while in the topic of environment more proposals came online. This sure has to do with the profile of people that participate online or offline. On the other hand, face-to-face events were mostly organized by the city council, who did not organize the same amount of events for each and every topic of the Municipality Action Plan. Participation and proposals, also, not necessarily go hand in hand: one can find topics highly participated that produced relatively few proposals, and lowly participated topics that notwithstanding produced lots of proposals. The topic and the nature of the participation sure explain the differences.
The nature of participation was also diverse: make proposals, comment on the proposals, support others’ proposals, vote proposals, attend events, interact with a mobile point, comments on online debates.
New tools require new literacies and new working logics. And also taking into account the possibility that there is a digital divide. As online and offline behaved differently, the most promising approach is a hybrid one that enables both logics of participation.
Robert Bjarnason, citizens.is
Digital tools for the democratic revolution in Iceland and beyond
Citizens must have a strong voice in policymaking with formal and persistent participation in the political process.
The Citizens Foundation created three open source tools:
- Your Priorities, an idea and debate platform, on crowdsourcing. Your Priorities is about building trust between citizens and government.
- Open Active Voting, on budget voting, but very pedagogical on how budgets work. Participatory budgets are not only about having a direct influence on expenditure, but also on knowing how much things cost and what it means to have a budget. After that, trust is built and better decisions are made in collaboration with citizens.
- Active Citizen: improved participation with artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Artificial intelligence helps in participation with little time spent, helping to overcome bubbles and biases; virtual reality for data visualization and online meetings.
Participation must be fun, informative and educational. Yes, it has to be democratic, and rigorous. But also engaging, something you enjoy doing. Gamifying participation is a good approach for a successful participatory initiative.
Participation tools have to meet people where they are. Tools have to have a “mobile first” design in mind.
But the key for participation to succeed is that it has an impact. Decision-makers do have to listen and take into account what citizens say. If citizens feel they are participating for nothing, they will quickly move away from all other participatory processes.
Participation is also about communication and marketing: people do have to know to be able to participate. It’s not propaganda, but informing the citizen.
This research is part of the Voice or Chatter? Using Structuration Framework Towards a Theory of ICT Mediated Citizen Engagement research project led by IT for Change and carried on under the Making All Voices Count programme.
The research began in May 2016 and is about to end by January 2017.
The project consists in analysing several cases of ICT mediated citizen engagement in the world, led by governments with the aim to increase participation in policy affairs.
This subproject deals with the case of decidim.Barcelona, an ambitious project by the City Council of Barcelona (Spain) to increase engagement in the design, monitoring and assessment of its strategic plan for 2016-2019.
These specific pages focus on the socio-political environment where this subproject takes place, specifically speaking Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain, for the geographical coordinates, and for the temporal coordinates the beginnings of the XXIst century and most especially the aftermath of the May 15, 2011 Spanish Indignados Movement or 15M – with some needed flashbacks to the restauration of Democracy in 1975-1978.
The working paper Technopolitics, ICT-based participation in municipalities and the makings of a network of open cities. Drafting the state of the art and the case of decidim.Barcelona, thus, aims at explaining how and why such an ICT-based participation project like decidim.Barcelona could take place in Barcelona in the first months 2016, although it will, of course, relate to the project itself every now and then.