Final event of the Open AE: Promote open source technologies in non-formal adult education project

One of the last acts of the Open-AE project was the organisations of final multiplier event. Initially planned as a half day event in Brussels where project partners from Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Belgium would meet and present the project results to stakeholders (policy makers and educators inn the field of education and training) in Belgium. Due to COVID-19 pandemics the face-to-face event was moved online.

The event, organized on 20 October, was opened by ALL DIGITAL CEO Renato Sabbadini who in his opening remarks and followed by a panel debate where : Véronique Guisen (CABAN DIBAC, Digital Public Space, Director of the “Saint-Gilles Web Workshops”), Francesc Rambla (Centre de Telecomunicacions i Tecnologies de la Informació), Frédéric Colignon (Popular Digital University, Brussels Linux User Group (BxLUG) and member of ABELLI) and Luca Pagliaricci (Centro Studi Città di Foligno) discussed the use of free and libre (FLOSS) technologies in non-formal adult education. Initial presentations were followed by a discussion among panelists which was moderated by Leonor Afonso from Foundation Ynternet.org. You can watch the panel debate here.

After the panel debate representatives of the project consortium presented the project results. They were accompanied by trainees who participated in the piloting of the Open-AE Curriculum.

Florian Ruymen from MAKS vzw presented Open-AE Analysis Report (watch Florian’s presentation here) which was the starting point of addressing the priorities of the Open-AE project which are:

  • to promote access and learning through open educational resources (OER);
  • to promote Open Source (OS) technologies in the non-formal educational sector to support the upskilling of adult educators and learners;
  • to address adult trainers working in the non-formal educational sector to reinforce digital skills and competences.

The objective of the analysis was to establish a foundation for the development and contextualization of the Open-AE Curriculum and the Open-AE Toolkit, and for the delivery of the training itself providing an adequate contextualization of the expected methods and tools. This was done by (1) desk research (to collect all open educational resources used in non-formal adult education in each of the participating countries and select those that can be used in the implementation of the Open-AE curricula) and (2) field research (done by conducting focus group interviews with 8-10 participants selected from facilitators and training providers in the field of non-formal adult education providers). The analysis from the desk and field research showed poor results in terms of elements directly related to non-formal adult education offers (shortage of trainings for educators, shortage of structured courses exclusively based on open resources, scarce or often missing reference to DigCompEdu etc.) and incredible amount of open resources relevant for the Open-AE project. More detailed explanation of the findings are available in the Analysis report.

Based on the result of the research, and in particular the training needs and area of interest of trainers a preliminary syllabus was drafted to serve as a training scheme to the course curriculum. The following crucial elements for designing the syllabus modules and the linked learning objectives were identified:

  1. Necessity of a reference to the theoretical and political framework of FOSS technologies and resources to cope with the general lack of awareness;
  2. Reference to DigCompEdu to support a standardized European framework for trainers upskilling,
  3. Design of the modules with a direct link to the area of competences trainers believe to be crucial for their job;
  4. Design of the learning outcomes taking into account the available resources on the field.

Research and analysis enabled setting up a consistent and qualified pedagogical and didactic framework for the development of the Curriculum and Open-AE Toolkit. and design the piloting phase of the project. Check the Open-AE Curriculum here and the list of modules that are included in the Open-AE Course here.

Leonor Afonso from Foundation Ynternet.org presented the Curriculum and Toolkit (watch her presentations here). In the introduction she emphasized that the project partners developed the Curriculum and Toolkit with the learner and learning process in the centre. This was translated to the Open-AE Toolkit which is built in a way that people can contribute to it and can also be responsible for their own learning process. Open-AE Toolkit is a compilation of 18 training scenarios. These scenarios aim to guide trainers and learners during the training period in both the face-to-face classes and online exercises. Together with open educational resources they form an Open-AE Academy platform. The scenarios are available in 6 languages (English, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish). The Open-AE Academy is complemented by SlideWiki where learning materials (presentations or other) are stored and documented online. SlideWiki is an open-source and open-access platform that employs crowdsourcing methods to support the authoring, sharing, reusing and remixing of open courseware. With the selection of the platforms used for hosting the Toolkit, Open-AE project implements the one of the main principles which is to give learners the power to decide what they want to learn and how.

Esther Subias from Collectic presented the results of Open-AE piloting in Belgium, Italy, Spain and Switzerland (watch her presentation here). The piloting should have been implemented from March to July 2020 through a blended training course, but this was impossible due to COVID-19 pandemic, therefore partners had to transfer all training activities online. Training activities were implemented through various channels and platforms project partners used to establish a support system for learners, create national learning communities and provide access to learning materials and training activities (webinars, video conversations, etc.). Project partners agreed to pilot all of the scenarios. To achieve that divided the scenarios among themselves to make sure all were tested. Participants that participated in the piloting were adult trainers, e-facilitators and also some teachers and IT experts with very different experiences in adult learning (from 3 to 22 years). The length of the piloting course was at least 60 hours. Despite the COVID-19 situation the completion rate of the piloting course among participants was 50%. Every participant that finished the training received a personalized certificate that reflects the content of the training. Difficulties and weaknesses project we detected were: (1) The transformation from blended to online course with very little time for this transformation and (2) Group activities were not as successful as planned due to the experience not being the same in online setting. The feedback from the participants also helped project partners to identify the strengths of the Open-AE training course which are: (1) Well constructed training materials that are relevant to the trainees, (2) Training helped participants to acquire greater understanding of the open source framework and FLOSS culture, (3) Participants didn’t just learn about new tools to develop digital competences but also about communication tools that can be used in online teaching, (4) Creating space and moments for community building was appreciated and proved as a correct strategy. Overall assessment of the piloting is that it was successful as it provides complementary knowledge that advances competences of adult educators in the field of digital skills learning and introduces them to the world of open source technologies and FLOSS culture which enables them to deliver high quality training in non-formal adult education sector. The organisation of the training content and activity provided a great opportunity to create or strengthen an active community around the topic of FLOSS and was also assessed as a fun activity.

Project partners invited trainers and trainees from Belgium, Italy and Switzerland to share their piloting experience with the participants of the final conference. Testimonials were presented by:

  • Chiara Borsini (trainer) -> watch her testimony here
  • Kate Jackson (trainee) -> watch her testimony here
  • Brahim Jerhoum Haissoune (trainee) -> watch his testimony here

Last to speak was Borut Cink from ALL DIGITAL who presented Guidelines for transferability and up scaling of Open-AE project results (watch his presentation here). The document targets policy makers and educators in the field of non-formal adult education and presents the reasoning for mainstreaming and up scaling of open technologies and FLOSS culture to non-formal adult education. Guidelines extrapolated from partners experiences and expertise in the field topped by project results and lessons learned during the project implementation.

Guidelines for transferability and up scaling of the Open-AE project results

This document summarizes the findings from the piloting experiences at national levels gained by the implementation of the Open-AE: Promote open source technologies in non-formal adult education project methodology. The aim is to provide guidelines and policy recommendations to facilitate transfer and upscaling of the Open-AE model for enhancing digital skills of adults through non-formal education by using open source technologies.

Guidelines for transferability and up scalling

The recommendations are based on the project’s impact and address:
(a) educators and trainers in non-formal adult education
(b) stakeholders of non-formal educational systems for adults, primarily policy makers and education providers.

The results of each piloting experience at national level, as well as the policy recommendations and guidelines, aim to contribute to the development of digital skills of adults and promotion of open source software in Europe.

INVITATION TO THE OPEN-AE FINAL CONFERENCE

Digital skills and competences are increasingly pegged to proprietary software solutions. While Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) technologies are meant to be open and are freely accessible, most FLOSS users already have some competences in licensing and ownership when making the decision to use FLOSS. New users with low skills are often intimidated or insecure with their own capacities to use open source technologies, and thus may choose to use proprietary options because some brands are more associated with skills.

The OPEN-AE project aims to bridge this gap and promote practices and tools to make open culture and free software more accessible for new users. OPEN-AE wants to support European digital competence centres in becoming innovative trainings hubs, capable of catching up with the latest developments in digital economy and teaching digital skills in an accessible way to their specific target groups.

The OPEN-AE project project developed and tested:

  • A curriculum training scheme on open source technologies addressed to educators working in non-formal adult education, mapped on the DigCompEdu Framework.
  • An online toolkit for educators in five languages (EN, NL, FR, IT, ES) by adapting open educational resources already available. It serves as guidance for adult education strategies, tools and approaches for developing digital skills training.
  • A modular blended course of 60 hours in open source technologies and pilot it with 40 educators from four countries to improve their knowledge of open digital learning technology, tools, platforms and using them.
  • Additionally, project partners produced guidelines for transferability and upscaling of project results and recommendations for non-formal education providers and policy makers.

The project and experiences of partners, trainers and learners will be presented at an online conference on Tuesday 20 October 2020 from 15:00 – 18:00 by the Consortium. In addition, invited guest speakers will address the project’s themes from different angles.

Registration for the event is mandatory. REGISTER HERE!

PROGRAMME

Renato Sabbadini, CEO, ALL DIGITAL

15:00-15:10 | Welcome

15:10-16:30 | Panel debate: The use of free and libre (FLOSS) technologies in non-formal adult education

Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) technologies are becoming increasingly integrated in various sectors and operations. While OPEN-AE project focused on developing tools to integrate FLOSS technology and culture in the non-formal adult education sector, there are many other areas where it is being utilized. The panel debate will offer an insight to transferability and good practice examples of FLOSS utilisation and present latest policy developments in the field.

Speakers:

  • Véronique Guisen, CABAN DIBAC, Digital Public Space, Director of the “Saint-Gilles Web Workshops”,
  • Francesc Rambla, Centre de Telecomunicacions i Tecnologies de la Informació (CTTI), Consultant
  • Frédéric Colignon, Popular Digital University, Brussels Linux User Group (BxLUG) and member of ABELLI
  • Luca Pagliaricci, OPEN AE project, Centro Studi Citta de Foligno, Project Manager and Consultant

Moderator: Leonor Afonso (Ynternet.org)

16:30-16:45 | Coffee Break 

16:45-17:40 | Presentation of the OPEN-AE project results, partners’ experiences and future perspective

Trainees who participated in the OPEN-AE piloting will, together with representatives of the project’s partner organisations (Florian Ruymen – MAKS vzw, Esther Subias – Colectic, Borut Cink – ALL DIGITAL and Thanasis Priftis – Foundation Ynternet.org present project results (OPEN-AE Toolkit and Online platform), piloting experiences from Belgium, Italy, Spain and Switzerland and future perspectives for the developed methodology and tools.

17:40 – 17:45 | Closing of the event

Registration for the event is mandatory. REGISTER HERE!

Softcatalà – showcasing how to contribute and adapt FLOSS at the regional level – Community is the key

Softcatalà is a Catalan non-profit whose main objective is to encourage the use of Catalan in digital environment (computer software, the Internet and new technologies) and they focus on FLOSS technologies. It has been operating for more than two decades. Thanks to Xarxanet.org (Xarxanet.org is an online portal that serves as collaborative and volunteer network of Catalonia and operates in Catalan language) we were able to learn more about the organisation and their work.

In this interview, Toni Hermoso, Joan Montané and some other colleagues explain the tools they use and how they organize their community of volunteers.

What social and volunteer capacity does Softcatalà have?

It is hard to say. At Softcatalà everyone is a volunteer. The core group of the association is represented by 25-30 people. Then, in the different translation or development projects, other people also participate (we would like even more people to join us) and they collaborate with different levels of involvement. An exceptional example, around 5,000 people took part in the Common Voice project (Common Voice is a project of Mozilla that is building a free database of speech recognition software).

What projects are you currently working on?

You can check all the projects on our website. The main translation projects, which we can consider more active, are: Mozilla Firefox, LibreOffice, VLC, GNOME, Gimp, Inkscape, WordPress and Telegram. Other language projects encompass spelling and grammar checker (Hunspell and LanguageTool), translator (Apertium), thesaurus, syllable separator, time converter, numbers in letters etc. We also generate resources for translators: style guides, translation memories, ISO standards of languages, territories and currencies.

The recent projects that we are promoting are the creation of a free corpus of Common Voice voice recordings and a free neural translation engine between English and Catalan.

How do you organize yourself digitally?

We use private mailing list for important things and announcements, but for day to day we use Telegram groups. For the projects, we have been withdrawing from the mailing lists. Currently we use quite a few Telegram groups. We have a group for the general public, thematic groups for projects and two for private ones (SC stuff and off-topics / tavern)

What tools do you use for translations?

If the project has a web translation portal, we adapt to it and use it. It is usually Transifex, Crowdin, Mozilla Pontoon, Pootle or Weblate. If the project does not have a translation portal, we add it to our Transifex to translate it comfortably.

There are members who prefer to work locally, with specific applications such as poEdit or even text editors such as Vim. We also generate quality reports for all translations, using LanguageTool and pology, which allow us to continuously improve the quality of different projects.

Do you work with GitHub? What do you use it for?

It is the place where we publish in an open and accessible way for everyone the associated code of practically all the projects that we maintain: proofreader, Softcatalà website, time converter, neural translator, translation memories, numbers in letters, Catalanitzador … The platform allows the collaboration of different people in the same code (both by Softcatalà regulars, and potentially also by third parties).

A few months ago we are also starting to work with an internal Gitlab instance (a platform similar to Github, but with an open source version that allows it to be installed on the same server), to manage the configuration of the different services, which we are progressively migrating to software containers powered by Docker.

Aside from development, is GitHub useful for a regular entity or organization?

GitHub features allow you to use it as a wiki space and as a public discussion forum. We know at least one entity that does this: Liberapay. Thanks to its incident recording functionality it is also possible to use it for project management, for example through “kanban” type panels (as popularized by Trello).

Interview was originally published on Xarxanet.org. Translation was provided by Esther Subias from Colectic.

Have you heard of the Social Issues platform?

Socialissues.tech aggregates issues from Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE, way of producing, distributing and consuming people’s service, based on cooperation and the common good.) projects. The tool searches for issues in Git-based version control systems (so far Gitlab and Github, free software version-control systems for tracking changes in source code during software development. ) label with socialissues.tech.

By doing it, the platform takes advantage of the powerful communities that exist around Free Software (FLOSS) to enrich the SSE ecosystem by creating a bridge between the tech and social worlds, making these projects gain importance and visibility thus facilitating entry to new contributors.

Using this platform, the projects move forward and have more contributors; new synergies between projects are promoted and the importances of welcoming FLOSS projects is highlighted.

Single contributors can find issues with a direct impact on society and can bring their tech know-how and provide solutions to the SSE entities.

Projects can use the space to showcase their projects to people who, by other means, would not get to know their initiatives. They can also open their project’s code to new contributors and get more stuff done, thanks to external contributions.

Some SSE projects at Catalonia have allied to help each other evolve and improve our ecosystem. They have now shown interest in leading this initiative collectives such as Coopdevs, Adabits, Dabne, Col·lectivaT and LliureTic.  Definitely, Colectic is also more than interested in joining this initiative. And you?

Technologies for social transformation … are they all good?

In a context of data capitalism, where our entire digital life is facilitated, monitored and audited by 5 major technology companies worldwide (what we call GAFAM: Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft), considering the free and open alternatives is a priority. Many social transformation initiatives don’t do it, most of times they don’t do it because the lack of time or the lack of knowledge.

Colectic wants help these initiatives. For that, it is developing “Passa’t al FLOOS” (Go FLOSS) project, which will support migrations from GAFAM to FLOSS on a regional level.

What is FLOSS?

FLOSS stands for technological solutions Free / Libre and Open Source Software: free or open source software projects. There are plenty of interoperable initiatives and sources, and most of them have been tested by the community and have been validated by millions of users.

How to Go FLOSS?

The social and solidarity economy entities of Catalonia can take the big step (not so big, if mesured by the effort, but really big if taking into consideration the social benefits) and join the Colectic’s project.

Colectic is working with XES (the social and solidary network) to produce a document with the diagnosis of the current situation, regarding the use of GAFAM and FLOSS resources. What are the needs of the entities of the social economy? What are the obstacles they encounter? What are the most appropriate strategies to migrate to FLOSS? And, in parallel, they are helping and leading the change to open and free software.

Do it: migrate, now

The change to ethical solutions can only be done one way: by doing it. Migrate, and do so thanks to adequate support and advice. And who better to advise and accompany than an entity that uses FLOSS as a tool? Colectic wants not only to help social entities in Catalonia migrate to FLOSS, but also wants to provide capacitation and training to the people who work and are partners in these entities so that the transformation is real, it is a success story.

Explain it!

Check that Colectic’s project is not just about some specific cases and that they are committed to dissemination and multiplication mechanisms. Stay tuned on their website!

FLOSS vs GAFAM? Are you still thinking about it? Do it, migrate, now!

“Passa’t al FLOSS” is an initiative of Colectic implemented in Catalonia with the collaboration of the City Council of Barcelona and Barcelona Activa.

Open-AE and Colectic offers scholarships to improve the teaching and digital skills of professionals

For improving the teaching and digital skills of professional people in Punt TIC centres and other areas of formal and non-formal competence under the framework of the Open AE project, Colectic offers a modular course to help people dynamic people and digital trainers to develop free customized training based on open source software and open educational resources.

Open AE ‘ and Colectic want to offer an opportunity to participate in the previous training during which the subject will be tested and the contents will be adjusted.

For select the training content, an investigation has been carried out with the objective of establishing the necessary competences so that the professionals with the profile of digital trainers can continue doing the work they do in better conditions. One of the elements of the investigation has been the ‘focus group’ held on March 29, where people involved in the ICT Point Network participated.

It will be held in Barcelona , from 13 to 17 May with a full-time duration. People living in more than 100 km from Barcelona will receive a scholarship of € 710 for diets, accommodation and travel (limited places).

At the end of the project, the curriculum will be available in an open and free way so that anyone can use it throughout Europe, developing if necessary their own version, the one that best suits the needs of their group.

To register, you can send an email to open-ae(a)colectic.coop

Open AE is a European project that aims to promote free software in the field of non-formal adult education through three main challenges.

  • Promote access and learning through open educational resources .
  • Promote open source technologies in the non-formal education sector to support advanced education and education professionals and adult learners.
  • Go to trainers that work in the non-formal education sector to strengthen digital skills and skills .

Colectic asks for the collaboration of e-facilitators for a European project

They will have to participate in a ‘focus group’ that aims to discover what training needs digital trainers and facilitators have. The call is part of the European project Open AE, in which the entity participates, and which seeks to promote free software in the field of non-formal adult education.

The focus group aims to build a resume to work learning digital skills using open technologies and free . The curriculum and tools that will be developed will be aimed at trainers and facilitators  and will be completely free.

In order to make a good diagnosis of the skills needed for professionals with the profile of trainer and digital facilitator to continue doing the work they do with better conditions, Colectic asks facilitators of the Red Punt ICT participate in a ‘focus group’. Those interested in doing so must fill out this online form by March 29th. Colectic will contact them to specify the date, time and place for the face-to-face meeting. In return, they will be offered free training (to all those who collaborate)

Open AE  is a European project that aims to promote free software in the field of non-formal adult education through three main challenges.

  • Promote access and learning through open educational resources .
  • Promote open source technologies in the non-formal education sector to support the advanced training of adult education professionals and students.
  • Aimed at trainers working in the non-formal education sector to reinforce digital skills and competences .

Do you want to be trained in “Open-AE” technological sovereignty?

With the aim of creating awareness and deepening the use of technological tools based on software and open source educational resources, we offer digital facilitators and trainers online training on technological sovereignty through the CampusLab de Punt TIC within the framework of the Open-AE project.

Technology is not just a tool. It reproduces power relations in design and development decision-making, while at the same time building its own imaginaries and transforming reality in a profound way. We have been told that the direction in which this change is heading is already marked, but it is not true. Only the public can redirect it.

Aiming to empower and help people facilitators and trainers digital in the use of digital tools open source , we offer a free training intensive for 60 hours

There are many contrasting quality open source (FLOSS ) tools that exist today. With this training, you will learn to take advantage of the freedoms granted to us by free software and prepare material for the activities of your point. We will study some of the most popular in different fields.

The course will be held through the CampusLAB training platform of Punt TIC and will be available from March 30 to June 30, 2020. Participants will receive an accreditation from the Punt TIC as they have completed this training action. You can register here

Program

  1. The DigCompEdu framework for a shared and open education
  2. The emergence of copyleft and FLOSS licenses
  3. E-Learning and FLOSS
  4. Online entrepreneurship with FLOSS tools
  5. Wikidata
  6. How to create a Fablab

Open-AE is a European project that aims to promote free software in the field of non-formal adult education through three main challenges.

  • Promote access and learning through open educational resources.
  • Promote open source technologies in the non-formal education sector to support the advanced training of adult education professionals and students.
  • Aimed at trainers working in the non-formal education sector to reinforce digital skills and competences.

Collectic and Open-AE project

1. Short introduction about Colectic

Colectic (formerly known as El Teb) is a non-profit cooperative that works for the inclusion, autonomy and empowerment of people and communities in the social, labour and technological fields. We understand and use technology as a tool for participation and social transformation. We work to promote universal access to ICT, by training and accompanying groups, social organizations and organizations from the Social and Solidarity Economy.

2. What is the background of Colectic in open and free technologies? 

We believe that the technology is a just a tool -a very good one- to promote autonomy and help people to be empowered; that’s why we work to promote universal access to ICT by providing training opportunities and accompanying social groups and organizations within the use of the technological services, tools and sources, and to be able to develop their own potencial.

We work into the social and solidarity economy (the opposite to the private and governed by capitalist logics one) and, as a consequence, we’re committed to encourage citizenships to be creative and not just “technology consumers”, to be capable of manage the sources they need to find answers to their own needs and motivations. We promote FLOSS, open software and hardware, because we believe that technology must be a common good, guaranteed and non exclusiva in the knowledge society.

In this sense, Colectic offers and favors learning spaces in groups, in the community, and in the exploration of this type of technologies (such as our digital laboratory RavalFab -where people learn to learn how to do digital manufacturing or our Omnia Room -a computers room that we dedicate to digital literacy). We not only do it in our territory, the Raval neighborhood of the city of Barcelona, but we also do an important job advising, training and providing technical assistance to telecentre networks (digital training centers), and especially to the profiles of the decision makers of the local and regional administrations and to digital facilitators and trainers.

3. Can you highlight any projects or initiatives your organisation has done in open culture or free software? How do you see your organisation contributing to the open movement? 

Besides offering learning spaces and consulting, advise and assessment, we have performed different migrations of computer’s operating system (from private networks of computers to open software network of computers), websites, productivity programs, etc. We have a long trajectory of accompaniment in the migration to free program to social entities too.

We also work on the advocacy level, as we promote the Floss culture by writting different articles in a web page dedicated to social entities and volunteers  (see http://xarxanet.org/etiquetes/general/sobirania-tecnologica)

Colectic also co-organize the TecnoFESC (a fair) an space where you can find the main entities, cooperatives and companies that work in the technological world from a point of view of solidarity economy.  Through TecnoFESC you can learn to promote open, free and neutral telecommunications, sustainable management and revaluation of computer equipment and public procurement responsible for electronic equipment to improve working conditions in producing countries. You will also find providers of technological services of the social and solidarity economy and drivers of technological procommunication, and will include the strategic use of telecommunications for the development of social justice. If you’re at Barcelona from 25 to 27 October 2019, you will be very welcome.

4. What challenges with integrating free software and open source in the training of low-skills adults came up in your research? 

Colectic’s focus group participants are people who are specially sensitized in relation to the use of open technologies and open resources, and they considered that they are part of a group of privileged people who, through individual and self-directed learning strategies, have accessed a set of relevant knowledge in this environment. They promote and use this type of resources intensively.

The participants are aware that, to this day, the Catalan telecentre network (formed by more than 400 centers, more than half of them based on the exclusive use of the free and open software) uses free software for training. However, they are skeptical about the adherence of their colleagues and, especially, of the people in charge (management staff of the centers and telecentre networks project management staff) of the training centers.

In their opinion, companies, citizens and administration are very reluctant to adopt this type of open software and open educational resources.

It is necessary to generate a good curriculum based on open technologies and resources and generate strategies to keep it updated on a permanent basis, to avoid that the curriculum becomes obsolete with the passage of time.

On the other hand, they consider it is necessary the curriculum to be complete (include resources for all areas of competences) and that it must be accompanied by a guide of recommendations for its adoption. Especially institutions and governments should find it easy to implement.

What do you hope to achieve with the Open-AE project? 

We hope we will find an easy path to help people, collectives and governments to use and promote FLOSS. Building an international community will help, for sure.