Expanding the Pedagogy of the Digital

Digitalization is an important topic of European policy. Adult Education has a crucial role to play in accompanying the transformation.

By Nils-Eyk Zimmermann (DIGIT-AL project)

The impact of the current policy developments in the field of digital transformation on European level cannot be underestimated. The Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act will determine what platforms are (still) allowed to do and how the rules of the game of digital capitalism will work. The Circular Economy Action Plan suggests a right to repair. With the way rules for Artificial Intelligence are developed and implemented a market for data-sensitive and democratic innovation is emerging, a European way of dealing with AI or a European-dressed American way. How Europe defines and enforces the Next Generation Internet influences how free, decentralized, competitive, accessible the Internet and digital single market in Europe and if not beyond our continent will be.

These examples show that dealing with digitalization is about more than addressing media literacy: It is always also about active participation in the digital transformation and helping to shape its “broad lines.”

Many, among them also educators, say that it’s all too complex, too technical or too economical. But, one can counter them, isn’t the focus wrong? For instance, we also understand that car companies are not allowed to install fraud software, although we don’t know exactly what programming language the on-board computer was programmed in. Would that have really helped us to draw consequences from the Diesel scandal?

About Digitalization: Conditions, Assumptions, Impact

In this sense, civic adult education can reflect on the technology’s economic, social, cultural, and technology policy conditions, assumptions and impact: Learning about Digitalization. How do certain concepts of digitalization work and act? What alternatives are there? Who benefits from which variant and how?

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Proactivity, civil engagement, entrepreneurship – for a common pedagogy.

By Nils-Eyk Zimmermann/EntreComp 360

Proactivity and innovation are crucial for the further development of resilient democratic societies. Civil engagement and participation are important elements of active citizenship, a basic condition for an innovative and democratic Europe.

Thus, the Council of Europe’s Charta on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education is putting this active component of civic education at core, aiming to help learners “to play an active part in democratic life”.

Also in the labor context new and sometimes disruptive developments require active responses. We have witnessed various crises in Europe that have particularly affected the youth. As an overall development, digital transformation s challenging workers and enterprises, civil cosiety and citizens. Young citizens need to find ways into the labor market, as employees and maybe also as entrepreneurs.

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European youth work should not perish! Reverse the cut in funding for digital activities in the Erasmus+ Youth in Action programme

DARE network is sharing the position published by five German organisations. Support digital and hybrid quality education! We are asking concretely for:

No digital cut!
Anchor adequate fundings in the new programme.

Erasmus+ is the most successful mobility program of the European Union. It has proven to make an essential contribution to the unity of the European Union, primarily through the Erasmus+ YOUTH IN ACTION program. It unfolds great potentials in promoting democracy, strengthening civil society and youth work (cf. RAY Interim Evaluation).

The Erasmus+ Youth in Action program has inspired innovation in youth work across Europe over the past 30 years. It is at risk, losing its role.

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Competences for Democratic Culture and non-formal Education

DARE and Zentrum Polis have been coordinating an experiential two years test of the Council of Europes Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture in various settings of cooperation between formal and non-formal education.

DARE BLUE LINES: Competences for Democratic Culture
in the Non-Formal Educational Sector

Patricia Hladschik, Claudia Lenz, Georg Pirker (Ed.)
With articles of Ole Jantschek, Laura Meijer, Simon Oesterle, Hanna Lorenzen, Thimo Nieselt and contributions from Paola Carega, Nils-Eyk Zimmermann, Ramón Martínez.
91 pages, DARE Blue Lines 2020

How can the RFCDC interplay with other competence frameworks? How can a competence based approach contribute to build a bridge between the inherent field logics of formal and non-formal education? Where are practical benefits and limitations? An extensive field study and practice test allowed to draw findings for the field of cooperation between different sectors of learning, for using the RFCDC as a tool to support peer-learning, and as a reflection instrument for the design and conduction of non-formal learning processes, of educational practice and to support educators in EDC/HRE reflecting about their role and position in learning and educating, for, through and and about democracy.

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Smart City – Smart Teaching – Our Reader Series about Digital Transformation

Our series “Smart City – Smart Teaching” explores digital transformation as a topic in education in all ages and under a lifelong learning perspective. The focus is set on learning for democratic citizenship and the necessary digital transformation competencies. They are published under a Creative Commons License CC BY SA 4.0 within the project DIGIT-AL – Digital Transformation in Adult Learning for Acvtive Citizenship.


Download the PDFs:
At DIGIT-AL project’s website: https://dttools.eu

Work under Transformation

N. Zimmermann (ed.), 52 p.

Platformisation of the European economy, automatisation, additive factoring and the (global) redefinition of value chains and collaboration processes are digital drivers of industrial transformation. Obviously, these developments also have an impact on concrete working conditions, although the differences among countries and also sectors are remarkable. Working spaces have also become more technologically enhanced. One result of digitalisation and rationalisation is job polarisation, an increase of high-profile and low-profile jobs while those in the middle vanish. On the other hand, platforms are creating a new kind of working environment. In particular this brochure also highlights how education policies and training strategies might respond to these challenges. It ends with scenarios in regard to (un)employment and labour and with the idea of a universal basic income, which has received increasing support thanks to discussions about digital transformation.

Media & Journalism

V. Vivona, N. Caranti (ed.), 44 p.

Digitalisation has changed journalism in the last two decades. The digital revolution has created a high-choice media environment, and one of the consequences has been (paradoxically?) news avoidance. Another appearance in recent years has been so-called “fake news” or “disinformation” which we discuss under the topic “information disorder”, which has a wider meaning.

Next, we examine new information models as possible ways out, including investigative journalism, explanatory reporting, solutions journalism, constructive journalism, and data journalism. Finally, we focus on media literacy as an educational response to cope with the new media environment.

The Digital Self

N. Zimmermann (ed.), 60 p.

The question of how digitalisation instigates changes to our body, our social identity and our self-image is becoming apparent. This chapter describes the conditions and aspects constituting a digital identity. One important aspect is the machine-human relationship and its underlying constructive conditions. Another is the identificatory aspect of digital technology ““ the tension between privacy and identifiability (and for whom), and also we need to explore mechanisms of exclusion and inclusion. Therefore, digital transformation has an impact on the ideas of privacy and autonomy and how they might be achieved in the digital social reality, especially under the conditions that big data and datafication create. The second part tackles the question of how the exposure to and embeddedness in digital interaction affects the abilities and attitudes of us as individuals.


S. Valdmaa, M. A. Udikas (ed.), 48 p.

The digital transition in regard to governments has made all societies focus on security, democracy and data protection issues. In some countries, digitalisation has moved more quickly and is more wide-spread than in others. However, digitalisation has become an unstoppable process, and it is most useful to analyse all kinds of threats and risks and evaluate already existing experiences and achievements in e-government. Estonia is considered to be one of the pioneers and pathfinders in the digital transition of public services and infrastructure, as it was one of the first to start developing e-governance with wide digital possibilities. We introduce, how Estonia has established its e-society and changed also the understanding of people as (digital) citizens with access to tools and platforms that have become essential to participate in society. In consequence, everybody today needs digital citizenship skills to fully participate in the social life of their communities.

The Internet, Big Data & Platforms

N. Zimmermann (ed.), 68 p.

The current digital transformation is rooted in earlier digitalisation in different parts of society. In particular, the emergence of the non-centralised internet, globalisation, networked technology, technical advancement, new ways of networked collaboration and the vision of ubiquitous computing have abetted the transformation toward the dominant topics in discourse around digital transformation today. Topics like the platform economy, big data and artificial intelligence. But the Internet has also helped other ideas break through, in particular, new open and non-centralised models of creation, communication and collaboration. As a global infrastructure, there is also an environmental impact associated with the physical network of cables, satellites, data centres, and antennas. In this publication, we introduce some of these fundamental topics.

Education & Learning

R. Martinez, D. Kolarova, G. Pirker (ed.), 88 p.

Digital transformation has an impact on learning in all ages and situations and is influencing the education and training sector. Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education can play a specific role in this transformation and this focus might also affect what kind of digital competencies education is aiming to facilitate. Certainly the education sector itself is a space where digital instruments are more and more included. Therefore the brochure is asking what characterizes digital didactics and digital learning describe, especially in relation and complementary to “analogue” learning spaces. It ends with an outlook to the new practices in the field of recognition of learning – open badges and micro-credentialing.

Activism & Participation

E Rapetti, R. Caldas (ed.), 52 p.

Social movements’ transform (digitally) and also the idea and ways of active participation. The authors underline the relevance of both online and offline forms of participation in a world where (hack)tivists and movements play an increasingly major role in local communities and in the global processes.

From the tech universe to social feminist organizations, they highlight movements that have mapped out an important path in empowering citizens and brought citizens’ voices into the public. The brochure concludes with some reflection about how participation will change in the future and about the necessary competences for participation of citizens under the conditions of the (digital) transformation age.

Arts & Culture

G. Pirker (ed.), 72 p.

Digital Transformation impacts the field of arts and culture, but how do artists understand and explore digitalisation? The brochure explores how artists and art research are discussing the transformative process and to what initiatives and new dimensions of culture it could lead.

On example of various practices it investigates the arts undergoing a change far beyond the field of production and “œconsumption”, exposing us to new philosophical frontiers of our understanding of nature and culture. Furthermore, it explores deeper what kind of questions and approaches arts and culture could offer also for civic education.

The project is supported in the framework of the Erasmus+ program of the European Commission (Strategic Partnership in the field of Adult Education). Project Number: 2019-1-DE02-KA204-006421

More about DIGIT-AL:

Discussion in the Lifelong Learning Week 2020: Digital transformations in Education for Democratic Citizenship: Challenging digital competence

December 2nd, 2020, 3pm

MEP Victor Negrescu (S&D, Romania)
MEP Rasmus Andresen (Greens/EFA, Germany)
Nils-Eyk Zimmermann (DARE Network Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe)
Moderator: Oonagh Aitken, LLLPlatform Steering Committee

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DIGIT-AL Toolbox online

The new website for the DIGIT-AL project is online and presenting the Reader Series “Smart City – Smart Teaching”. It explores digital transformation as a topic in education in all ages and under a lifelong learning perspective. Our focus is set on learning for democratic citizenship and the necessary digital transformation competencies. They are published under a Creative Commons License CC BY SA 4.0.

  • Easy introductions into selected aspects of digitalisation
  • For educators and teachers in different contexts of formal and non-formal education

Get an impression about digital transformation and the content here: https://dttools.eu

OK, Zoomer: New DARE Online Workshops Series for Citizenship Education with ifa Institute

In the framework of the CrossCulture program of the German ifa institute (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) DARE is offering a workshop series to selected key topics of Education for Democratic Citizenship/Human Rights Education. The goal of the CrossCulture Programme is to strengthen lasting civil society networks between Germany and countries across the globe. The programme was launched in 2005 and now counts over 750 alumni to its ever-growing network.ipants are representing a diversity of countries and perspectives on digital transformation.

The workshops are scheduled always for 90 minutes and are taking place at Oct 6, 2020 (Digital Transformation and Digital Rights), Oct 13, 2020 (Racism, Inequality and Fundamental Rights), Oct 29, 2020 (Game Based Learning for Democracy), and Nov 13, 2020 (Remembrance Work and Historical Political Education).

Limited places for DARE members are available. If you are interested, please contact office@dare-network.eu.

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