Dear Vulnerable groups working group members!

We are looking forward to meeting you in Belgrade at the Vulnerable groups workshop which will take place on 24th September during the first day of TE Annual Conference.

We have prepared for you some interesting topics for discussion and to make the most of the 2 hours workshop, we would like to invite you to take a look at the brief information on the workshop:

WORKSHOP TITLE:

ICT for Social  Inclusion

WHO IS IT FOR?

The workshop is aimed at organisations that support digital inclusion of the members of vulnerable groups. The workshop will propose an interactive discussion with the objective to define the roles and activities within telecentres, learning centres, and libraries which may facilitate different forms of digital engagement in order to overcome different areas of exclusion among vulnerable groups.

MAIN THEMES/TAGS

While some views hold that information and communication technologies improve access to global markets and create conditions that enhance economic growth, others point to a growing digital divide. ICTs are argued to further entrench inequalities and to potentially lead to social exclusion.

Technological change permeates most areas of society and many different aspects of our lives. The increasing utilisation of ICTs across all sectors of society has led many to conceive of many European countries as Information Societies. While it is difficult to imagine that anyone in a modern leading economy is not affected by new ICTs, not everyone is equally well served. Many individuals and households, for example, do not use the Internet. Does this matter? What difference does it make?

Research on the links between the diffusion of ICTs and social and economic development has been undertaken for decades. Many studies have shown consistently that individuals who have access to ICTs, from the telephone to the Internet, tend to have more schooling, higher incomes, and higher status occupations than do those who do not have access. This holds true within nations as well as cross-nationally.

Technological forms of exclusion are a reality for significant segments of the population, and that, for some people, they reinforce and deepen existing disadvantages. Technology is so tightly woven into the fabric of society today that ICT deprivation can rightly be considered alongside, and strongly linked to, more traditional twentieth century social deprivations, such as low income, unemployment, poor education, ill health and social isolation. To consider ICT deprivation as somehow less important underestimates the pace, depth and scale of technological change, and overlooks the way that different disadvantages can combine to deepen exclusion.

OBJECTIVE/S

The main objectives of the workshop are:

  • Collecting feedback from organisations delivering IT training programmes to members of vulnerable groups regarding their experiences and good practices
  • Exploring the implications of exclusion from the information society on economic, cultural, social, and personal status and vice versa
  • Achieve a common understanding and position on the role of ICT in overcoming social exclusion
  • Reach a joint decision regarding the minimum and optimum level of digital engagement among members of vulnerable groups needed for full inclusion into society

 

SPEAKERS AND WHAT THEY WILL TALK ABOUT:

  1. Christy McAleese, Citizens Advice, will present Digital Money Coaches, community volunteers who work with Citizens Advice clients to improve their digital skills and, by doing so, build their financially capability through using online and mobile banking; price comparison sites; energy switching sites and accessing local and national government services such as welfare benefits
  2. Jean Deydier, will talk about how providing members of vulnerable groups 1) with a fair and sustainable access to the internet, through  providing smart phones, computers, prepaid cards at a very low cost, 2) providing workshops for enhancing digital skills and 3) overcoming their fear of the digital environment, fosters their trust and self-esteem
  3. Ivan Stojilović, International Aid Network, will present the overview of an analysis of existence, nature and causality of links between social and digital engagement.

MAIN QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:

  1. Can ICTs help disadvantaged individuals improve their position in society?
  2. Or conversely, does exclusion from the information society hinder social mobility?
  3. Are the links between digital and social disengagement really significant?
  4. Characterise this relation – what are the key social factors that contribute to the digital engagement?
  5. Consider the implications for social policy – do the links between social and digital disadvantage matter?
  6. What are disadvantaged groups missing out on in the information society? What can be done to improve the situation?

Official hashtags: #TEAC15 and #TEACvulne

 

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