Guidelines and recommendations 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 and policy recommendations

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.