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  • Writer's pictureVioleta Trkulja

Information Literacy & Civil Society - On the Importance of Digital Skills for Social Participation

Under the title "Information Literacy and Civil Society - Teaching Concepts and Evaluation in Times of Information Disorder", this year's IDESA-Conference took place on 18 and 19 November 2022 at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Sarajevo.

Opening of the IDESA-Conference by Mario Hibert (University of Sarajevo), Thomas Mandl (University of Hildesheim) und Sead Turčalo (Dean University Sarajevo) (l.t.r.)

For the past three years, the conference has been hosted alternately by the University of Hildesheim and the University of Sarajevo. With its highly relevant theme, this year's conference offered different perspectives on the role of civil society in promoting information literacy. The conference was attended by students, academics and civil society representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.


The participants discussed various aspects of media, information and digital literacy, taking into account the current global crises and the ever-evolving opaque algorithms and complex information systems. Within this context, challenges for education, science and civil society were discussed and interdisciplinary perspectives on learning processes and teaching practices were presented.


Grenzenlos Digital e. V. contributed to the conference with a presentation on the importance of digital competences for social participation. First, Dr. Violeta Trkulja focused her presentation on the ever-widening digital divide, which manifests itself, among other things, in an increasingly widespread lack of digital skills. To bridge this gap, digital inclusion needs to be promoted, which comprises all activities "necessary to ensure equal access to and use of information and communication technologies for participation in social and economic life" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_inclusion).


One of the key drivers for digital inclusion is increasing digital literacy. In order to take action to promote digital competences, there needs to be a shared understanding of what exactly constitutes digital literacy and how the success of tools to promote it can be measured. Dr. Violeta Trkulja discussed different frameworks that allow not only to define digital literacy more precisely, but also to assess people's skills. She emphasised that the promotion of digital competences is less about teaching specific application skills, but about a fundamental and comprehensive understanding of the digital world. Conveying such an understanding with its various concepts is often a challenge in practice.


One of the key drivers for digital inclusion is increasing digital literacy. In order to take action to promote digital competences, there needs to be a shared understanding of what exactly constitutes digital literacy and how the success of tools to promote it can be measured. Dr. Violeta Trkulja discussed different frameworks that allow not only to define digital literacy more precisely, but also to assess people's skills. She emphasised that the promotion of digital competences is less about teaching specific application skills, but about a fundamental and comprehensive understanding of the digital world. Conveying such an understanding with its various concepts is often a challenge in practice.


At the end of the talk, Dr, Trkulja presented the project Intro, which Grenzenlos Digital e.V. is currently working on. Here, we teach basic digital skills in a digital environment to people with a refugee biography and migration background.



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