For many people the last few months have been challenging. The global health crisis we have been experiencing uncovered many shortcomings of both, our health care systems and our societies as a whole. However, tough periods also foster creative and innovative solutions. Partly transferring education, business and social activities to the online space has allowed many groups of people to find some normality in midst of the chaos and has had a strongly positive and regenerative effect on our environment.
At the same time, in doing so, we have left out those groups of people who often are already in danger of social exclusion; individuals who do not have the necessary digital skills, devices or tools to benefit from the diverse online offers born during this pandemic. Among these the DISC target groups, e.g. migrants and digitally excluded young people, but also other groups, such as the elderly, oftentimes lacking the necessary resources to benefit from the rich online offers. Thus, the DISC project aims to promote digital literacy of diverse groups of individuals, while fostering dialogue and intercultural understanding.
The DISC best practices?
In this regard, both of the project’s best practices are highly valuable: The Multisensory Space, developed by project leader LAUREA University of Applied Sciences, provides a safe space, in which people feel comfortable to open up, get in touch with each other and exchange ideas and stories. Thus, it supports intercultural exchange and understanding, the first step in growing informed and educated new generations of young people, thus also countering racism. The multisensorial learning process fosters deeper understanding, as the provided information is not only heard and seen, but can also be touched, felt and smelled. The second best practice, the self-assessment tool with connected learning platform, supports users in evaluating their digital and social skills, while at the same time providing an online space with containing learning materials, in order to increase those skills, which participants lack. It further provides information on the local context of the participating countries, enabling users to discover social tools and become active citizens engaged in local initiatives.
In the last few months, the DISC partnership has been working to adapt the self-assessment tool and learning platform to the local contexts of each partner country, collecting learning materials and translating all the information available. After the summer break, partners will go on with the piloting of the Multisensory Space in the different partner countries, fostering dialogue and intercultural understanding. Furthermore, the self-assessment tool and the connected multilingual learning platform will be tested with young people, in order to guarantee its user-friendliness and value to these target groups.