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.
On April 12th, 2011, I was in Belgrade take part in the Quality standards in ICT education workshop, belonging to the Click to Europe, aimed at
promoting and contributing to e-inclusion of people, businesses and communities in Serbia, thus improving quality of life, employability and social inclusion of citizens.
Knowing myself very little about quality standards, I was asked to provide the participants — mainly telecentre administrators and other related profiles — with a general framework where they could situate their own e-inclusion projects and, most especially, what was the importance and role of ICT skills in the whole scenario.
Keeping that in mind, and for something more than three hours, I began explaining what the digital revolution was about, that is, what was the outer framework, and went on zeroing in until I ended up talking about digital competence, e-portfolios and personal learning environments. The underlying idea — which almost became a mantra — was that it was not about e-inclusion, but about inclusion, inclusion in an always changing world that required the most valuable skill: being able to learn, to take control of one’s own learning process. And digital skills were there to help people in that.
The speech, Citizens in a Knowledge Society: rethinking education from scratch was structured as follows:
- In The digital revolution: citizenship and inclusion in a post-industrial society I explained how digitization implied the shift from an industrial to an informational, knowledge-based, network society, and how in such a society institutions (and intermediators in general) have seen their roles and sheer nature radically transformed.
- Policies for (e-)inclusion: from physical access to meaningful use depicted a comprehensive model of the digital economy and how each and every category of digital development was strongly related with other ones or with some indicators we generally use to measure development.
- In Netizens: towards a set of digital competences I tried to exemplify how ICTs have become general purpose technologies and are now embedded in the core of our daily lives. Thus, e-inclusion is definitely about inclusion in a very much broader sense.
- Lastly, New assessment frameworks for new skills provided a comprehensive definition of digital skills which I related, again, with daily experiences and, most especially, with the new ways of learning that Information and Communication Technologies have enabled.
The workshop provided me with two positive feelings.
The first one is that I got the sensation that there was an overall coherence and consistence in the work that I have been pursuing in the last years (I revisited and reused material of my own from, at least, the last four years). Thus, realizing that somehow you’ve been adding up or building around a core idea (and not just producing splattered thoughts) is pleasantly comforting.
The second one is that, at least, most of the theory I handle (of my own and, most of it, by third parties) seems to be having strong strings attached to reality and being ready to provide advice for policy making and project designing. The more feedback I get from people from the terrain, the more I think we’re going parallel (or converging) paths, which, again, is absolutely a good thing to be aware of.
Please see below the slides that I used.