From late October to early December 2019, a series of 14 training sessions were concluded in ‘Ideas Box’ open educational space in the Zisa cultural center in Palermo. This training cycle has been the first of several others to come under the flag of the E-Design project. Participants with different backgrounds completed successfully this digital education program which resulted in their professional and personal development.

One of the E-Design project’s aim is to improve societal structures for reaching out to underprivileged groups by offering easily accessible digital education. The target groups – which are mostly refugees, migrants and local adults – could get in contact with other people from their community to further promote social inclusion. The project also intends to address the challenge of the fast-changing labour market, by enabling future employees to acquire some absolutely necessary (digital) skills.

The E-Design ICT-Training Hotspot session structure follows a set of non-formal practical educational methodologies combined with only a small and absolutely necessary amount of classical, theoretical lectures.  The sessions involved a lot of activities and the idea was to make all participants think critically and creatively, to push them to the direction of ‘learning by doing’ to realize their potentials in the field making them believe that any obstacles and challenges could be overcome with the a correct attitude and without the fear of mistakes. Making mistakes was an essential part of the learning process and participants were encouraged to try many different approaches of which many will inevitably turn out to be a dead-end, however, after assessing the situation and making the right conclusion they should ultimately succeed – even if not in achieving the exact objectives but in learning to learn and proceed independently and in understanding how design is an ever-going process.  Having these methodologies in the forefront of the course facilitated personal development and equipped all participants with new interpersonal competences.  

In the first half of the training course a variety of topics were touched upon and practiced such as Arduino coding, Block-coding, Web-development, Web-design and Internet of Things (IoT) while in the second half participants had the opportunity to work on their personal projects  – in pairs or alone – based on the knowledge they have acquired throughout the course. The freshly developed hard- and soft-skills allowed them to innovatively develop an idea and then to create a gadget which could be used in daily-life to help with any sort of problems. The projects were all interesting and creative with varying success rates, one group created an anti-burglar alarm system using coding and sensors, while another team developed a hydroponic vase regulated by an Arduino circuit for water and air supply, and yet another a manually controlled robot.

The ITC Training Hotspot does not have the intention to train programmers as a result, but rather to provide learners with an insight to this profession and to potentially make them interested in further education the field. The real expected result, however, has always been to increase the chances of these disadvantaged adults on the labor market in this digitalized world.

 

For anyone who did not participate in the group but who would like to know more or read the materials, the project has developed a platform to which anyone can subscribe, simply ask for access. Furthermore, there will be several other ICT-related courses being implemented in the upcoming 2 years, both in schools and within the community. For more information please write to vidjaya.thelen@danilodolci.org or keep an eye on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/edesigneuproject/  and website: www.e-designproject.eu.

 

E-DESIGN – European Digital Education for Social Inclusion and Global Neighbourhood is a three-year project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme, Key Action 3 – Social Inclusion and Common Value. The purpose of the project is to contribute to promoting social inclusion and combating social inequalities among disadvantaged groups, especially migrants and refugees, through strengthening their digital competences in order to enhance their labor market opportunities and social participation according to the objectives of the European Pillar of Social Rights and ET 2020.

 

The 6 European institutions involved in the E-DESIGN are as follow: