What is the main purpose of the project/initiative?
“A full half of the Portuguese population lack basic digital skills and 20% have never used the internet. The digital gap is disenfranchising the most vulnerable which is putting the values of democracy and social solidarity to the test”, says Helder Touças from Lisbon City Council. “To address the digital and participation gap, Lisbon City Council created and charter the Digital Skills Passport, which is a city-wide initiative towards empowerment, democracy and digital inclusion that seeks to demystify the use of technology. Digital Skills Passport is helping citizens to take advantage of technology in a meaningful and engaging way. It also strengthens cross-generational solidarity and social inclusion by promoting collaboration and providing a safe and supportive learning environment.”
How does the project foster digitalisation and democracy?
“We organise gamified Digital Skills workshops that are open and free to everyone. Participants are challenged to explore the democratic, critical thinking and creative potential of the internet and earn digital badges, which are online micro-credentials based on the Open Badges standard.
Earned badges become available on the Digital Skills Passport, an innovative competences framework based on DigComp, further allowing skills to be shared across the web, on social networks or included in a CV.
The program first started in Marvila, an underprivileged neighbourhood of Lisbon, in collaboration with local NGO’s, the local parish and the local public library. Since then, nearly 2500 badges have already been issued, 60 percent of which to female participants. 1000 citizens have actively engaged offline and online, accessed relevant digital services and safely shared their own views and beliefs.”
What is the best practice learnt from this project?
“Digital Skills Passport is gamified, experiential, self-explorable, cross-generational and co-designed tool. It took inspiration from Paulo Freire and participatory methods, to create ‘Digital Challenges’ that support people to fully exercise their citizenship by leveraging everyday technology and that value learners’ own skills and experiences.
Digital challenges include collaboration-friendly activities such as ‘Guess Who?’ Skype games, Whatsapp Treasure Hunts, ‘Don’t just play it, program it!’ intergenerational Game-a-thons, and citizenship focused activities, such as ‘Digital advocate’.
In ‘Digital advocate’, learners use digital tools to map their expectations and interests. They elect a local, global, social or political issue and to collectively execute micro-actions, that may include a campaign blog, handouts, soundbites, video short-stories and actionable posters.”
Text: EAEA / Digital Skills Passport. Photos: Digital Skills Passport