Digital Journeys at ALL DIGITAL Summit 2018

On 18-19 October 2018, 180 delegates from 120 organisations in 30 different countries across Europe attended the 11th ALL DIGITAL Summit 2018 titled ‘DIGITAL JOURNEY: FROM INCLUSION TO EMPOWERMENT’. The event was organized at Hotel Bloom in Brussels by ALL DIGITAL with the local partner Maks vzw and it was supported by Google. The summit proposed and debated ideas and solutions that address the challenges of supporting citizens with their digital journeys in an ever-changing social and technology landscape.


ALL DIGITAL Summit 2018 was co-organised by two projects and hosted their final events: BRIGHTS “Boosting Global Citizenship Education using digital storytelling” and HURISTO: Human Rights Storytelling.

180 representatives from various non-profit organisations, libraries and digital competence centre networks, as well as policy makers, government bodies and private companies attended the summit. During the 1.5 interactive days participants joined the plenary and interactive sessions to explore the role of digital skills to improve media literacy, integration of migrants and refuges, human rights protection, as well as global citizenship education and addressing societal issues in a smart and inclusive way.

Day 1

The Summit was opened by welcome speeches from ALL DIGITAL CEO Laurentiu Bunescu and Chair of the Board Mara Jakobsone, who welcomed participants to the 11th annual event of our community and mentioned some of the main achievements of our joint digital journey as a network. See welcome by LB and welcome by MJ.

Valeri Rajkovcevic, Equal Opportunities Advisor to the State Secretary of the Brussels-Capital Region, addressed delegates by underlining the main commitments of the Region in terms of digitalization. “Digital technology is a tool for the smart city, but there can be no progress without social and digital inclusion of the citizens”, concluded she, confirming that people should be at the centre of any smart city strategy. See the video

The scene for the event was set by the opening plenary session, which followed the “journey” from inclusion through media literacy and empowerment to excellence.

IMG_0864_antoanetaFirst, Antoaneta Angelova-Krasteva, Director for Innovation, International Cooperation and Sport at DG EAC, European Commission presented the European landscape mentioning some of the most important EU policy initiatives in the education field such as the European Digital Competence Framework, the EU Code Week and the Digital Education Action Plan (DEAP) with 11 actions grouped under 3 priorities:  1. Making better use of digital technologies 2. Developing digital competences and 3. Data analysis and foresight. Antoaneta highlighted a topic particularly dear to her – support girls and women to develop their digital and entrepreneurship skills (Action 8). This action will be implemented by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), which envisages series of workshops on digital education and entrepreneurship for primary and secondary school students. She agreed that there is still a lot to be done to ensure full participation of all Europeans in the digital economy and society, and that all stakeholders should work together on this challenging task. Education has a key role to play in equipping people with the necessary skills, and even though the DEAP focuses on formal education, the work of the digital competence centres taking place out of the school walls, is vital to make sure that everyone is included. See the video

JoeJoe Lambert, founder of the StoryCenter – the first centre for Digital Storytelling in the US, talked about digital inclusion as the first step on the journey. He focused on digital storytelling methodology, which combines personal narratives with digital tools, as a very effective and proven low-threshold method for digital and social inclusion. It fosters self-awareness and confidence, community building and active participation. “Digital Storytelling is a great way to make 21st century multimedia authors, to make literate and critical thinkers in the use of media and communication technologies, but what it really is about is listening and giving people a voice. In a way, this makes it a cousin to therapeutic intervention, because it helps people to reconstruct their life.”

After 25 years of working with low-literate people from various disadvantaged backgrounds, StoryCentre has developed a DYI listening station, which allows people to easily record interviews and scripts, and edit videos with one tool. “Digital storytelling is not just about giving people a skill, but also a way forward in their lives”, concluded Joe.

Check the presentation by Joe Lambert and see the video

FernandoThe “journey” was continued with getting more confident with digital skills as shown by Fernando Trujillo Saez, senior lecturer at the University of Granada, content creator at Conecta13, a spin-off which develops MOOCs. He spoke about digital and media literacy and full participation in the digital world. He questioned the assumption that digital literacy is the end in itself and claimed that it is not only about technology, but about with whom and what we do with technology. Media literacy is a means to an end. And the end is active citizenship. “Computers and technology are not learned in a transmission process. They are infused in our lives as tea is infused in water.” Technologies and social practices are interlinked. Every person is surrounded by learning assets – things that we learn by solving daily tasks and interacting in our community. Using these assets is key to lifelong learning, and our digital journey is inevitable a lifelong one.
See the presentation by Fernando Trujillo and watch the video

MarcMarc Durando, Executive Director of European Schoolnet, the network of ministries of education, emphasized the importance of STEM skills and using technology to address societal issues. He mapper some major tech-related societal challenges: 80% of technologies that will be used in 10 years have not even been invented yet, 50% of today’s jobs will disappear in 25 years, 9 out of 10 jobs requires digital skills. Against this context, 43% of Europeans lack basic digital skills. He suggested that if we want to be prepared for these challenges, pedagogies need to change, new assessment methods must be introduced, curricula should foster more creativity and less factual content. “We have to connect schools to their wider communities and develop new flexible learning spaces. The European Commission should support this through programmes such as Erasmus+ and H2020”, suggested Marc as key elements to foster innovation. He concluded that educators should be supported to re-discover the joy of teaching, which, on the other hand, will increase the desire of students to learn.

See the presentation by Marc Durando and watch the video

Panel Discussion: How can digital storytelling boost social inclusion?

With lots of food for thought, participants then dived deeper into the digital storytelling waters during the Panel Discussion: How can digital storytelling boost social inclusion?

Moderated by Jan Debognies and recognizing a big opportunity in the intersection of story and technology, the panel discussion explored the role that digital technology can play in elevating the practice of storytelling to improve the well-being of people around the world in various contexts – for students, migrants, low-literate adults, patients.

veroniqueThe panel was inspired by a keynote by Veronique de Leener, director of MAKS vzw. As an educator with more than 20 years of experience with disadvantaged learners, youngsters and adults alike, Veronique exposed some of the flaws of today’s education systems, namely its inability to foster “out-of-the-box” talents. Then she discussed how, on the other hand, with learner-centred approaches such as digital storytelling, we can achieve more inclusive education and avoid early school leaving and marginalization. For Veronique, the ingredients of the “empowering soup” of any education or training programme are listening to the learner, using attractive tools such as digital technologies, and treating all learners as equals. And this is what digital storytelling does. See the presentation

After Veronique’s inspiring intervention, panellists discussed the role of digital storytelling and digital technologies at large in empowering vulnerable people.


The four speakers came from different contexts and backgrounds – Hana Galogaza worked with secondary school students and young people in the BRIGHTS project; Pip Hardy and Tony Sumner do digital storytelling in hospitals all around the UK giving patients and staff a voice, while Ilias Rafail uses digital storytelling with refugees and asylum seekers in Greece. MEP Emilian Pavel joined the discussion with the practitioners and reflected on the relevance of their work for the policy level and how policy can support such initiatives.

Some panellists have just started using digital storytelling methodology, while others had many years of experience. All agreed that what makes digital storytelling such a successful methodology applicable to different target groups and contexts, and especially to disadvantaged learners, is the fact that it touches on people’s emotions, brings them closer to each other and gives them a voice. Some people come to digital storytelling workshops to tell their story, others to learn how to use technology. There is something useful for everyone. MEP Pavel agreed that giving people a voice and promoting their messages and stories is essential, and the European Parliament is open to collaborate on this. From the point of view of digital storytelling practitioners, policy-makers can help support digital storytelling workshops by recognising the results and the impact, which is usually qualitative and difficult to quantify.

Group Discussions and How-to Workshops

Plenaries were followed by two interactive break-out sessions – group discussions and how-to workshops.

In parallel group discussions, summit participants explored one of the five topics – certain “stops” in the digital journey. The topic of each “stop” was presented briefly by moderators and then participants discussed their experience and came up with concrete actions to help more people reach this stop on their digital journey. The five different “stops” were:

By clicking on the links above, you will find the overview of each session.

The following How-to workshops were designed to give delegates a practical understanding of how to carry out a specific activity. The trainers shared their experience to help delegates understand the pitfalls, practicalities, tips and tricks and lessons learned. Workshop leaders produced simple ‘guides’ to their subjects, and via links below you can learn both about the workshops themselves and check the how-to guides and materials

  1. How to coach youngsters to share their opinions on Global Citizenship issues through digital stories – Jasper Pollet, MAKS. About the workshop and How-to Guide
  2. How to create a mini MOOCBill Vassiliadis, DAISSy Research Group of Hellenic Open University
  3. How to introduce human rights issues and enhance digital skills of low-skilled adults, using digital storytellingEric Gijssen, Bakhta Benzaza, MAKS
  4. How to promote STEM education and training with mobile and Internet of Things technologies – Achilles Kameas and Theodor Panagiotakopoulos, DAISSy Research Group of Hellenic Open University. About the workshop and How-to Guide
  5. How to inspire learners with digital cultureIsabel Crespo, Europeana Foundation

On the evening of 18 October, the ALL DIGITAL Awards 2018 Ceremony celebrated the finalists and winners of the annual contest run by ALL DIGITAL to recognize achievements of individuals and organisations supporting people on their digital journeys across Europe.  Meet the finalists and learn more about the ceremony

Awards finalists

Day 2

On the second day delegates were addressed in plenary by Director of the UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels and UNESCO Representative to the European Institutions Paolo Fontani and Communications and Public Affairs Manager at Google Catherine Williams.

PaoloPaolo Fontani tackled global citizenship education from a truly global perspective, “We need to face global challenges with global attitudes”. He pointed that while in Europe 43% of citizens lack basic digital skills, in other parts if the world, e.g. Sudan, Zimbabwe or Egypt, the percentage of people who can copy and paste files or use basic formulas in a spreadsheet is 2%-5%. Therefore, we still need to invest intensively in digital literacy all over the world. “We need to reconsider our attitude towards education. When you go to schools, when you talk to parents, teachers and kids, you see that they have very different perspectives. Most parents’ main concern is their children’s achievements in school. But we also need to teach them to live and work together,” he concluded.

CatherineCatherine Williams raised the issue of young people’s digital skills, “We always presume that young people know how to interact with technology, because they have been born with it, but I don’t think that’s true. Young people are also born surrounded by busy streets, but it doesn’t mean they know how to cross the road. They need to learn skills in order to navigate the online world. At Google we work to enable all people to benefit from technology, and that’s a challenge when not everybody has the skills to make use of it,” said Catherine. She then went on to introduce some of Google’s resources for citizens in general, but also for teachers and educators in particular. One of these resources is a tool which enables virtual expeditions to anywhere in the world with simple tools. Catherine emphasized the need to work in partnership with all actors – educational experts such as teachers, but also parents and children themselves. She also mentioned another initiative, the Young Digital Leaders, developed by, the philanthropic arm of Google, to reach out to young people from socially and economically disadvantaged background. Watch the video

Panel Discussion “Global citizenship education and media literacy and the role of digital technologies in teaching it”

The following Panel Discussion was moderated by Altheo Valentini, Centro Studi Foligno. Continuing the topics raised in previous sessions, panelists discussed about education and lifelong learning and how to prepare (young) people to live and share their own perspective in a globalised society. Global Citizenship Education (GCE) has been developed in and outside Europe to address this need and to help citizens understand and discuss the complex issues deriving from the new ways of interacting, thinking and acting through digital technologies. It fosters knowledge, awareness, critical thinking and participation.

The panel discussed soft and technical skills young people need to become global citizens – offline and online. E.g., they need to be taught how to stand up against online injustice. They likely have the skills to do this offline but need to learn how to do so also online. Panelists discussed how to equip teachers with the skills necessary to work on these topics with today’s youth (something that the BRIGHTS project does through its MOOC).

Sara Cella, project coordinator at Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi (USGM) recommended focusing teacher training on soft skills. She underlined that peer-support is key and invited everyone interested in global citizenship education to exchange experience and learn from others by joining the GCE community.

Graziano Tullio, coordinator of the Media Literacy Task Force at the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe mentioned several educational and awareness-raising programmes, such as the Global Education Week, which The North-South Centre has organized for 20 years to promote global citizenship education and media literacy.

Catherine Williams pointed to the Be Internet Citizen resources for teachers and trainers, which contain very practical guidelines and activities on media literacy, online disinformation and responsible online behaviour. Google is planning on expanding the programme and training even more teachers and trainers, including in Eastern European countries.

Paolo Celot, Secretary General of EAVI, the European Association of Viewers Interests, revealed that EAVI is working on a new paradigm on media literacy, which focused more on the critical and creative aspects. Media literacy should be tackled in all its complexity, and for this to happen, all partners from different sectors – formal and non-formal education, companies, public institutions, citizens, should work together.

Watch the videos of the panel discussion: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Q&A

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Project Lightning Talks

Finally, during the Project Lightning Talks we offered delegates the opportunity to learn about projects from members. This was not (only) about brilliant project results, but mainly about the learning that each presenter had gained from delivering their project. The session was moderated by Ekaterina Clifford from ALL DIGITAL. All presenters had five minutes to explain their projects followed by five minutes of answering audience questions.

The following projects were presented:

  • Makers for Inclusion. Martina Mayrhofer, Colectic, Spain
  • Smart Women. Matthew Borg, Malta Communications Authority, Malta
  • LesBonsClicks: Helping the helpers. Cecilia Creuzet, WeTechCare, France
  • Promoters of Computational Thinkers. Laura Grinevičiūtė, Lithuania
  • DS4Y – Digital Skills for Youth. Virginia Pareja, Esplai Foundation, Spain
  • Lie Detectors. Adeline Brion, Lie Detectors, Belgium
  • Digitalities. Driving Inclusive Digital Transformation. Antonio Román-Casas, AUPEX, Spain
    Learn more about the projects
Project marketplace

During the whole duration of the event, participants had the opportunity to present their projects and initiatives at the marketplace held in the “Out of the Box” area of Hotel Bloom. Any registered participant could apply to have their stand, and many used that opportunity – over 30 organisations showcased their activities in various ways – from brochures display and roll-up stands to video presentations, robots demonstrations and arcade game. During all the breaks, summit participants could discover new ideas, shared expertise and exchanged ideas.

One of the ‘stands’ was devoted to the “Students taking their future in their hands through entrepreneurial learning” – special I-LINC session on students entrepreneurial learning, conducted by Czech teacher Kornelia Lohynova. In her presentation, Kornelia underlined  the idea that entrepreneurship is when you act upon opportunities and ideas and transform them into the value for others. This enlarges the notion of entrepreneurial skills from pure economic value to bigger societal values.

What’s next? 

As delegates left for their real journeys home, they reflected  on all the ideas how to empower their own communities and better support individuals in their digital journeys. See in the video what our speakers think should be done and we invite you to share YOUR ideas on our community networking platform unite-it

To learn more:

Watch the Summit video: