The members of the International Learning Partnership 'Stepping Stones into the Digital World' from Denmark, Germany, Finland, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Sweden came together to their fourth meeting in Aizkraukle, Latvia. Besides becoming acquainted with the activities for digital inclusion in Latvia, the exchange of the previous experiences in teaching digital literacy in the partner countries was in the focus from November, 1. - 4. After a warm welcome in the capital city Riga the international partners were introduces to the programme of the following days in the premises of the museum in the district of Aizkraukle.
Friday started with a sightseeing tour to different institutions which provide for computer and internet access and are running diverse courses to gain computer skills. These offers are used quite a lot and with pleasure in Latvia due to the fact that the population in the partly sparsely inhabited districts of the country often do not have a PC or access to the Internet at home due to an unsufficient network infrastructure or financial reasons.
The well equipped PC workstations in the visited facilities and the cosy arranged departments for children in the libraries were remarkable to the group. Internet access is available for free – admittedly limited toone hour to manage the crush of people, especially of young users. the visit to the library the Stepping Stones group followed a guided tour through the castle ruin of the ancient Hanseatic city Koknese and afterwards a traditional herb tee was served out of a kettle above open fire in wind and rain.
The visit ofto the library of Jekabpils showed at a glance that the computers and Internet access are used by all generations. Some young people sat together in front of a monitor, aside sat a student occupied with an academic text and at the next PC-station an elderly lady enjoyed an online game. For visual impaired people the library provides a zoom software to magnify the screen content.
A presentation in the Adult Education Centre of Jekabpils showed that the employees are already familiar with other European Education Partnerships and with support for lifelong learning. The main target group of their courses are teachers and pedagogues – they can obtain basic knowledge or theme oriented lessons.
During the Saturday working session in the Adult Education Centre in Aizkraukle the partners focussed on how to transfer the results of the already realised measures and courses for computer and internet literacy in the several countries to the other members and on how the partners could mutual benefit from their experiences. Especially the objectives of their activities, the requirements of their target groups, their training curricula, the learning materials and the evaluation procedures were discussed. The ‘Stiftung Digitale Chancen’ presented the concept of their training scheme for job search online for youth social workers and the successful combination of curriculum, training material and evaluation procedures.
In the evening the participants were invited to give their creativity full scope in small pottery, silk painting and glass painting courses. At the final evening event traditional Latvian dances and music in the cultural centre of Aizkraukle topped off the meeting's programme and inspired the members of the group to share various European song treasuries.
The next meeting of the Learning Partnership will take place in Porto, Portugal from June, 5. – 8.
Available on the website since December 06, 2007