Open innovations in digital competence centres – discussions at the Summit 2017

Parallel group discussions with experts was the largest parallel session ever held at our summits, with 8 topics at once run twice, so each delegate could attend 2 topics of their interest:

Please see the overview of the discussions below

Co-creation, co-generation of content and knowledge

IMG_9813During the session, Fernando Vilariño, the associate director of the Computer Vision Cetre and associate professor of the University Autònoma de Barcelona, presented a very concrete but complex project: the Living Labs. The objective of the initiative is to boost the revitalization of underused spaces at public libraries and to create conditions for projects that are initiated by the community.

The main idea of the Living Lab is to transform the service of libraries and use the potentials of the community to empower its members. The initiators of the initial Living Lab that exists in the area of Barcelona are the municipality, the Computer Vision Center of the Open University of Barcelona and a community association. The living lab takes place in the local library and gives users the space to develop training and workshops for the community. For example, in the community in Barcelona, there are experts in 3D printers and robots, so they empowered the other citizens to freely explore their potential and gain confidence on the practical use of these devices, just offering guidance when needed and trying to raise awareness and motivation under a “learning by doing” philosophy.

Co-creation and co-generation is based on self-driven activities of the people from the neighborhood participating in a spontaneous process, which develops itself because of the interests and motivation of the people involved, without a specific pathway or objective. The topics and the results of the Living Lab are unexpected and uncontrolled. That is not a disadvantage, since the idea is to create the condition for the project to develop itself, just considering some limits but fostering creativity and freedom and sharing knowledge and best practices.

IMG_1451_crSome results of the Living Lab in Barcelona: participants took ownership of the initiative, applying for specific training and developing their own dynamics and doing their own researches. New members were integrated through the word of mouth, creating an interactive community around technologies in public spaces. The project can be scaled in the rest of the libraries of the library network in Catalunya with the same scheme: no expectations, no objectives, just support and motivation when required. Giving the chance to fail in order to learn.

Living Lab is relevant for ALL DIGITAL members because it means capitalisation on different expertise and integration of the following target groups by methods of co-creation: librarians, visitors of libraries, training participants, refugees, professionals and multipliers, senior citizens, young people. The participants identified the following organisations as possible actors to be involved in the creation of Living Labs: municipalities, researchers, NGOs, public administrations, universities. In the discussion after the presentation, the participants of the workshop were curious about the fact that the content of the living labs is not pre-determined but totally open and depending on the competences of the community. It must not even necessarily have something to do with technologies.


Given this total flexibility, an important for the success of living labs is that someone is involved in the project from the beginning till the end. Someone (a person or an institution) with a very specific profile who believes in technology as an element that has to be discovered by each citizen on their own, having the possibility to try and fail, with the support of an expert”. This is a possible role for ALL DIGITAL members: to be the organization able to create the conditions and offer the support to let the users discover by themselves how to adapt technologies to their own needs.

Coding for Inclusion             

IMG_9848The session “Coding for Inclusion” with the expert Carme Badia Verdeny, e-facilitator at Telecentre Tremp, was moderated by Veronique De Leener, Director of Maks vzw. At the beginning Carme gave an introduction of the topic from the perspective of her work as an e-facilitator in a telecenter in a small city in Catalonia. Some learning centers (telecentres, digital training centers, etc.) are using coding as a strategy to promote socio-economic inclusion and to awaken technological vocations. Whether teaching how to code as a main subject or through challenges and contests, facilitators work with young people to help them acquire competencies related to programming and, in a transversal way, other skills related to employability: planning, structure, spatial vision, logic, design, communication, entrepreneurship, etc. These strategies are highly effective in environments with high social risk and with young groups: rural areas or environments with the presence of young immigrants or with difficulties in integrating into a formal study format or in the labor market. interactive session coding_1052

Carme also presented the following projects in which she is involved as e-facilitator:

  • CODEMOB “Teaching coding and mobile devices in telecentres” project developed two training courses on coding and effective use of mobile devices for e-Facilitators. End-users are mainly young, unemployed people
  • The Hour of Code, a global movement by Computer Science Education Week and reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries through a one-hour introduction to computer science and computer programming.
  • Technovation Challenge offers girls around the world the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to become tech entrepreneurs and leaders. Girls ages 10 to 18 learn to identify a problem in their community and create a mobile app solution to address that problem, and then learn how to communicate these ideas and translate them into a fully launched business.


After the expert’s presentation, the moderator, Veronique De Leener started the discussion asking the participants to quickly introduce themselves and answer the question “Why coding for inclusion is relevant for digital competence centres? All participants actively contributed in the discussion and the creation of the manual thinking Map (see picture above). They gave some examples of use of coding to promote inclusion with different targets groups and finally discussed about what ALL DIGITAL can do to support their members in the promotion of their activities.

Open Culture and Innovation

IMG_9833The Open Culture and Innovation workshop, facilitated by Besjana Hysa from Albanian Institute of Science, was aimed at discussing the new EU legislation on copyright reform, an initiative for strengthening the European digital single market. Copyright legislation helps to prevent unauthorized exploitation of intellectual products, which is becoming an increasingly important issue in the digital world. However, many share concerns about the new EU legislation, which was described by invited expert  Federica Fulghesu, engagement coordinator at Mozilla Foundation. She highlighted 3 problematic articles:

  • Article 11, which may prevent sharing information and links freely online, as the editors of news will be charged. Many believe this will reduce the diversity of news.
  • Article 13, aimed at filtering and monitoring online content that may lead to endangering creative industries, co-working places, media centres; all who use digital platforms for sharing data.
  • Article 3, limiting free use of text and data mining, the ability to elaborate a great amount of data. Critics say that small research actors won’t have enough financial resources to access data; open source data and materials will be in danger.

IMG_1011Participants agreed that while the new EU legislation may not affect their work directly, it is important to inform the public about this legislation and its possible implications. Digital learning centers have an important role to encourage people sharing ideas, finding alternative solutions, and to provide access to independent and free data and information. Awareness raising and education on copyrights, creative commons, licenses, open source is very important, and it might be a scope for Get Online Week.

Digital Manufacturing Tools

IMG_9828Digital manufacturing is all about the Maker movement. It has emerged as a result of evolution or influence of open software and open hardware philosophy. The Maker movement is based on the Do It Yourself (DIY) method, and it is changing the paradigm in education, design, manufacture, industry and use of technology in social inclusion and participation. Everybody can change their own environment, making things to improve and trying to resolve any problem they can imagine, working together with other people face to face or online in digital social communities.

Expert Jorgina Martinez Vernis, director of Digital manufacturing athenaeum of Barcelona City Council, gave an introduction about the Fabrication Athenaeums of Barcelona, a network of public rooms in connection with the philosophy promoted by the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) FabLabs Network. It evolves the concept of digital manufacturing, innovation and co-creation empowering local residents as drivers of projects foreseeing its application in the district in which they are located.

IMG_1524_crThe Fabrication Athenaeums are public and open-to-community rooms that integrate different daily activities of the district providing solutions to common problems and boosting opportunities regarding the challenges for the future of self-sufficiency.
Social innovation or civic innovation is priority to solve the most imperative problems of the local district communities. Therefore, solutions should come from the perspective of the ones who live the neighbourhood, letting them to evolve the point, once the model is accepted through technology training. Taking the advantage of the experience gained by working in an open network, it creates new opportunities to solve problems. On the other hand, its core purposes are social inclusion and overcoming technological fracture. The strategy is reinforced by strong communication and continuous relationship-building activities between different communities.  More information (in Spanish):


After this overview, the group introduced themselves and discussed about digital manufacturing tools and the relation to Digital Competence Centres (DCC).

  • Digital Manufacturing is hot, new and buzzing.
  • Wonderful lab in Barcelona, everyone would like one of those Athenaeums close to their DCC. It’s about innovation, creativity, participation, sustainability, social return and social capital.
  • Discussion about who should provide this (government – like in Barcelona)
  • Importance of connection between DCC, community, fablabs, companies, government and other local stakeholders.


Ubiquitous, Mobile and IoT technologies in support of STEM Education: a new business opportunity

Experts: Achilles Kameas, Computer Technology Institute and Press “Diophantus”; Monica Divitini, NTNU; Moderator: Iva Walterova, ALL DIGITAL


The session was based on the currently running H2020 UMI-Sci-Ed project. The experts first provided introduction to the UMI (Ubiquitous technologies, mobile technologies and Internet of Things) technologies.

Ubiquitous technologies are all around us, thanks to them services are in place but invisible. Mobile technologies enable us to use ubiquitous services “on the move”. Thanks to Internet of Things technology and thus services are present in everyday objects.  These are technologies of the near future and have major potential in education, especially in teaching STEM disciplines. They are also technologies that will be present in many aspects of our personal and professional lives.

In UMI has many advantages in education, it can be fun and engaging, it fits multi-disciplinary projects, triggers different competences and skills and motivates differently oriented people, even those that would otherwise not be interested in technology. Furthermore, kids can build their interactive objects and get naturally excited about STEM and technology.


The experts then introduced the UMI Platform and the Communities of Practice (CoPs) being formed there as a part of the initiative. The CoPs bring together various relevant stakeholders, namely teachers, policy makers, career counsellors, educators, trainers, industry representatives and many more. The platform – open to all interested – also features a number of learning scenarios that others can use or can add their own.

An example of a very simple learning scenario provided during the session was an “IoT Tiles Workshop”. The Tiles, or cards, provide an introduction to how IoT works. This workshop has a number of advantages, for example, in that no previous knowledge is required from students and low threshold entry point is required for educators. It takes about 4-5 hours and students are led to multi-disciplinary solutions in that time. Later they may also be led to creating a prototype. The whole workshop is designed to involve and bring out different skills and competencies in students, as well as involve students with different initial interests. Furthermore, feedback and results are quick and tangible and the activity is fun and engaging.

IMG_9844Disadvantages and difficulties may include connecting this activity with specific career options, fitting teaching scenarios to right target groups, integrating basic digital skills and focusing too much on technology, problems with creating ownership of the solution in students, so that they would be excited to take the next step. This may also create issues in moving from the fun design part to real solution developing new skills. Further hurdle may be represented in a lack of accreditation system for this kind of activity.

Why is this relevant for members?

  • Thanks to this approach, digital competence centres can attract further target groups (e.g. girls)
  • Kids, that digital competence centres work with, can be better prepared for more activities connected with technology in their formal education
  • The approach is interesting for younger ages
  • This can also be relevant for further target groups, such as the unemployed

What is the role of digital competence centres?

  • Connecting different stakeholders
  • Building bridges
  • Connecting formal and informal education
  • Putting pressure on formal education to integrating more technological skills
  • Taking the role of schools in promoting technology and STEM education

Further ideas/suggestions from the participants after the end of the workshop

  • It is clear that, in order to work with UMI for STEM, most trainers will require further education.
  • Parents could be encouraged to become trainers.