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 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 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.


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!


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.


  • 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 (

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 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 ( 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 Translation was provided by Esther Subias from Colectic.


The first week of the free online training course on the FLOSS culture and open source tools organized by the Association Centro Studi Città di Foligno (CSF) as part of the European project Open-AE, funded by the European Erasmus programme, has just ended successfully. The project aims to promote access and learning through the use of open educational resources (OER). The aim is to promote Open Source technologies in the non-formal education sector to strengthen the training and professional skills of adult educators and learners.

 Among the activities foreseen by Open-AE, the implementation of a training course addressed to adult educators aimed at improving their skills and knowledge of technological tools and digital learning platforms is one of the key results.

CSF, Italian partner of the project, in order to face the difficulties related to the Covid-19 health emergency, has designed a course entirely online (Moodle Course and Webinars) to introduce and deepen innovative practices and the latest available technologies useful for adult education. The online course, lasting a total of two months, is addressed to adult professionals interested in deepening their knowledge and tools necessary to promote free and open education and training. The distance learning course organized by CSF has registered a strong interest throughout the Italian territory. To date, 192 people have enrolled in the course, coming from several national adult education centres (CPIA), Umbrian DigiPass and representatives of municipalities and around 100 are regularly attending live the webinars. The students have also the opportunity to watch the recorded video lessons thus allowing great flexibility.

 The training programme focuses on 7 modules that will accompany participants in exploring open source culture and free and open education and training.  After an introduction to the Open-AE Project and the Floss culture, participants will have the opportunity to test Scratch, an open-source programming language. On May 6th the Module focused on digital storytelling as a tool for strengthening adult skills will start.It will then move on to the management of online activities, through social media and WordPress, open source software designed for everyone, which emphasizes accessibility, performance, security, ease of use. May 26th, instead, will be the starting date of the Data Privacy Culture Module, which will offer subscribers an overview of the framework of the reference legislation on privacy. In June we will then move on to explore the open educational resources aimed at promoting the develop of a spirit of entrepreneurship. The latest online meetings will focus on the use of new Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies for adult education.

In these difficult days, the open and common education promoted by Open-AE seems to be the best response for the future innovation of the educational sector.

Webinar on Open Street maps

To celebrate ALL DIGITAL week the Open-Ae consortium held a webinar introducing a participatory activity that people can do to be engaged in a open-source movement.

Open Street maps was founded by Steve Coast in the UK in 2004. The basis for inspiration of Open Streets was the Wikipedia and concern about how prominent proprietary map data was growing around the world.  Now more than two million people are registered on open street maps. Some of the benefits of the map are how user driven they are. If something is missing on open street maps you can easily add it yourself, and the change is there instantly. OpenStreetMap emphasizes local knowledge. Open Street Maps works faster than google maps for example as the data added to open street maps does not need to be verified by a third party.

Cyclists and hikers enjoy using open street maps as the community sourced maps means public bike lanes, and hiking trails are more easily found. Areas of functional public interest like rest areas or free camp grounds which may not be commercial can be easily added to the map.

Of particular importance to the Open AE course is the use of Open data. Open data means you are free to use it for any purpose as long credit is made.

The webinar aimed to provide a quick introduction to open street maps. It showed how you can make edits in open streets maps, how you can actively map neighbourhoods or city ares using the aerial photography mode. Of particular importance are the user diaries. In the user diaries users can ask questions and see if items on the map are correct. Or they can also leave a note to another user letting them know that a new road may develop, or trail and when that is ready another user can add it. It is also possible to do this for public transportation routes.

Due to the covid-19 crisis some diary notes were left to try and use Open-Street Maps to provide support for local communities. There were notes encouraging people to update the contact information and location of essential services like schools so parents can maintain better contact with schools during the crisis.

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)

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 .

Learning about Free and Open Source Software culture with Open Street Maps

To celebrate ALL DIGITAL week, the Open-AE consortium will host a online webinar on Open street maps. The webinar will give participants a chance to learn about free and open source software culture and practical ways which everyone can participate in free and open source software culture particularly by using open street maps.

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. It was created in 2004 inspired by wikipedia which crowdsources data which is made available under the Open Database License. There are around 2 million registered users of open street maps who collect data using manual survey, GPS devices and aerial photography.

The short one hour webinar will give a short introduction to open street maps and will teach users about:

  • How to see issues on Open street maps?
  • How to resolve issues on open street maps?
  • How to add your organisation or digital competence centre to Open Street Maps?

The webinar will take place on the 24th of March at 6pm. Sign up for the webinar on this link.


Why GPL is great for business? Customer are happier with fair options that avoid lock-ins.

The Free and Open Source Developers meeting in Brussels at the ULB Solbosch campus. It is a non-commercial, volunteer-organized European event centered on free and open-source software development. It is aimed at developers and anyone interested in the free and open-source software movement. It aims to enable developers to meet and to promote the awareness and use of free and open-source software.  FOSDEM is held annually, usually during the first weekend of February, at the Université Libre de Bruxelles Solbosch campus. It is a very large event which brings together over 8000 people in presence and tens of thousands more online. Open-AE was there was even managed to present their intiative at a Lightning talk. Prior to the FOSDEM event there is also a pre-FOSDEM event.

However outside of the Open-ae project presentation there were many great events and talk organised.

A lightning talk prior to the Open-AE presentation was on Linux desktops in Finnish schools. All students in Finland who complete their matriculation exams which are now delivered online must use Debian software and buy linux compatible hardware to take their final examination. While the martriculation exam software is still proprietary is does require free and open-source software to run.

Another interesting talk was on how GNU General Public License(GPL) a free, copyleft license is good for business. The talk by Frank Karlitschek gave an overview of the four freedoms, and how businesses can earn money while respecting these freedoms. The methods involved selling certificates and trademark use, selling services (like wordpress), selling merchandise, being funded through a foundation, voluntary donation, crowdsourcing, advertisements and delayed open source (where paying customers get the latest version). Karlitschek argued the best format for GPL as a business model was under support subscriptions which are provided by companies like red hat and nextcloud.

Pre-FOSDEM event organised by Open Forum Europe

The day before the biggest developers meeting in Europe, Open Forum Europe organises a pre-FOSDEM event.

The event gave an overview of how open source is being positioned in Europe. Welcoming remakrs from Pearse O’Donohue from DG CNECT gave a lot of an overview of policy. The new commission has two central priorities, the green new deal and the digital transformation, open source sotware and hardware overlap into both of these priorities and should be supported. He invited partners to the Next Generation Internet .  The NGI initiative respects the values of privacy, participation and human diversity.

Other presentation went on evaluating the growth of open-source In absolute numbers and as a market share. How Open source UK is developing a free and open source platform for health services.

Some interesting points from the various research presentations on open source. What was clear to one researcher was that open source is a very good way of developing skills and collaboration. In terms of training and education there is a lot that can be gained from participants in open source projects.

Interesting elements of discussion came up with regards to transparency legislation on open source had an overwhelming consensus from participants when it came to safety legislation. Panel speakers mentioned recently how there should have been more transparency and openness in the aerospace and automotive sector. With one noting, while he is not a fan of copyleft, but when it comes to automotive and aerospace safety it is a necessity. This necessity will get more interesting when AI gets in the mix. Currently the premise of safety regulation in automotive and aerospace is that code is deterministic, when errors in safety happen you can determine how it happens by tracing the code.