In October 2006 (19 till 22) the project partners held their 1st meeting Alingsas, Sweden.
Recipes from Alingsas
For international exchanging experiences in teaching digital literacy, delegates from Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Germany met in Alingsås in Southern Sweden from 19 to 22 October 2006. The participants are members of a so-called learning partnership funded by the European Commission in the framework of the Sokrates-Grundtvig programme.
Grundtvig was the founder of the folks hichschools in Denmark; his ideas strongly influenced adult education in the Scandinavian countries. One of the tasks of the learning partnership is therefore to visit institutions of adult education including libraries, adult education centres as well as cultural centres and learning centres. Most of the members of the learning partnership are working in such institutions or offer training courses for adult educators similar to those the Digital Opportunities Foundation offers in Germany.
In Alingsås, the group visited the so-called Utbildningshus, an institution which is open for all inhabitants of the city. The house is very well equipped; it offers courses for different target groups. Its special feature is that the learning centre only organises the courses and advises the learners; it does not employ its own teachers. For example, the local government holds Swedish courses for migrants there. By means of video conference technology, students can actively take part in the lectures and seminars of large Swedish universities in the learning centre; they neither have to register nor to pay a fee. All learning offers are free for the participants, only for the use of computer and Internet workplaces a fee of about 15 Euros per year has to be paid. For this you get a chip card which allows you to go into the Utbildningshus even late in the evening. Thus a very open learning atmosphere is generated, although the learning people have to exercise a high degree of self-organisation.
The learning partners visited another institution in the village on Orust, a small island in the archipelago of Southern Sweden. Here, the learning centre is integrated in the local library. On a Friday morning, a young mother of three children attended a lecture of Swedish literature and discussed with her co-students at the university of Falun via a video conference. Only for the final examinations of the term she has to go to the university. For many people who live on the islands this is the only way to get an academic education.
In the course of three days, the members of the learning partnership met for several work sessions in order to discuss the differences of the educational systems of the countries involved and to exchange their views on the ways of teaching digital literacy to different target groups. Especially in the Scandinavian countries, informal learning offers can be found much more frequently than, e.g., in Germany or in Southern and Eastern Europe. Therefore also the starting event of the learning partners' meeting was informal: on Thursday evening, the chef of the local gourmet restaurant opened his kitchen for an extraordinary Swedish cooking course and let the guests in on the secrets of cooking seafood. Just like cooking a good meal, also a successful learning partnership needs a good recipe to make future cooperation grow out of this exchange of experiences; the foundation was laid in Alingsås.
Under the heading "Stepping Stones into the Digital World" the members of the learning partnership will develop common concepts for teaching digital lietracy to adults in the next two years. In spite of higher user numbers in the Scandinavian countries, also here there is a great need of appropriate courses, and the employees of the institutions which provide Internet access to the public are often not prepared for this task. The Finnish partners who could not travel to Sweden because of an airline strike, invited for a meeting in Tampere in February 2007. There the members of the learning partnership will be informed on Finnish initiatives to enhance digital literacy which are mostly funded by the government although the user rates exceed 75% of the population.
In summer 2007, the learning partnership will be guests in Berlin in order to get an impression of the German Internet access and learning places and to learn to know the training campaigns of the Digital Opportunities Foundation for the employees of these institutions.
You may finde here the German version
of this article.
Information about Alingsås Library, Sweden