DISC – Digital Skills for Integration and Active Citizenship
'Digital Skills for Integration and Active Citizenship', or DISC, is a 3-year project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union that aims to improve the digital skills of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers and promote active and engaged citizenship. The project, which kicked off in 2019 and finished mid-2022, was implemented in 5 countries in Europe.
The programme is coordinated by the Finnish Laurea University of Applied Sciences, with the support of Cesie from Italy, the Spanish Incoma, UC Leuven - Limburg in Belgium, and the Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security at the University of Maribor in Slovenia.
Main aims and objectives
Fostering digital skills, active citizenship and social inclusion among those groups of society that are lagging behind are some of the objectives of the 'Digital Skills for Integration and Active Citizenship' project. DISC also aims to upskill people from migrant and refugee backgrounds in basic digital skills and promote the increased use of digital tools for daily and social life by a growing community. Another goal is to strengthen the role and influence of higher education institutions and schools and open up to all members of the community.
The project developed materials that focused around inclusivity and flexible digital tools for teachers, namely:
- The DISC Project Self-Assessment Tool: an online self-assessment tool that identifies strong and weak areas in one's digital skills and charts areas for potential growth and improvement. The tool is free of charge and takes between 5 and 7 minutes to complete.
- The Multisensory Space Handbook, a toolkit following a specific methodology for those teachers, facilitators, social workers, students and volunteers who would like to use
multisensory elements in their work and activities.
- Additional learning, training and instructional design material for students, teachers, and wider staff.
Why is this a good practice?
The DISC project was successful in setting up a network for information, knowledge, and good practice exchange on local, regional and European level that promotes collaboration and integration-first design. The project's international dimension further facilitated collaboration between stakeholders of the initiative: activities took place in the 5 partnering countries - Finland, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Slovenia.
Many societal groups were taken into consideration, including but not limited to: students and young people with migratory background and digitally-excluded people in general, youth workers, representatives of local, regional and national levels of government, committees and agencies working with socially-excluded people, immigrants and refugees, cooperation networks and social partners.
Successful aspects of the programme were different across participating countries, offering a good base for further research and work. For example, the project scored especially high in terms of sustainability in Finland, with many of the project's activities being integrated within higher education programmes. In Italy, the programme succeeded in upskilling a significant ratio of women from migrant background with at least basic digital skills. Acquired skills ranged in complexity: from learning how to print or use a computer for the first time, to expressing oneself through digital means, staying safe online, and becoming a confident user of the whole Microsoft Office Package).