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    Anna Tsiboukli

    Please share with us your stories in the time of COVID-19. How do you cope with everyday hassles and demands? What are the benefits you see using digital devices? What are your main concerns and hope for the future?

    Jef De Backker

    We as Digidak hold activities both for adults as for youths. In both fields we had a massive impact due to COVID.
    For adults we normally hold courses and technical support sessions targeted at people with little to no digital skills.
    These people largely do not have the skills and materials to participate in the online events we organised.

    In our youths department we experienced problems because most activities were cancelled due to COVID. We developed an online alternative for some activities. These worked fine, but did not always reach our normal audience of disenfranchised youths.

    Concerns/hopes for the future?

    We hope that decisionmakers will realize there is more need than ever to invest in e-inclusion. Our concern is that investments in this field will be shortlived and not structural.

    Anna Tsiboukli

    Thank you for sharing this experience with us. It is very important- we want to include all these in a green paper to inform policy makers about the need to create more opportunities for digital inclusion of all.

    Chelsea Lazaridou

    Our organization 50plus Hellas is a Greek NGO for/ from adults over 50. The covid-19 pandemic has been a real challenge, not only for the implementation of our activities (IT lessons, Erasmus+ projects, lectures, festivals, etc.) but mainly for our target group: older adults in our country are isolated more than ever before, and are experiencing feelings of extreme loneliness and depression.

    While digitalization offers wonderful opportunities for communication, information, shopping, access to services, and so on, seniors cannot benefit from them, as they don’t have the necessary IT skills. Why? Mainly because they are “invisible”, and the State or society does not recognize their needs and rights.

    Our goal is to develop and advocate for more IT educational opportunities suitable for older adults, applicable in the present covid-19 framework.

    Anna Tsiboukli

    Thank you Chelsea for sharing this with us. Isolation, loneliness and depression are major issues right now and IT skills could help them to keep in touch with loved ones or take part in all of your very interesting activities. It is a shame they are ‘invisible’. I am glad to hear that you intend to advocate for more IT educational opportunities suitable for older adults. Let me know how we could help and please share with us your stories or good practices.If you have other european partners that work on the same direction please ask them to join our dialogue. It is important to raise awareness in this area as well as in many others.

    Miana Carneiro

    As a parent I would like to say a word of appreciation for the immense effort schools did to adapt abruptly to the online school, continuing to support and provide classes to our children.
    However, a few of the challenges I encountered as a parent and as a professional were:
    – Guaranteeing all children to the opportunity of accessing online school, which for younger children in need of more support (from parents who are working at the same time and/or mono-parental families) and families with lower income and less access to the internet and digital tools was even more challenging.
    – Adapting suitable methods of teaching and learning and providing training to our teachers. Teaching a group of 25 students in a classroom is completely different from a setting where the child is sitting at home in front of the computer. The type of teaching and learning must be adapted to that reality.
    – Creating suitable learning materials and contents for online education (different from the ones that are suiting the reality of a classroom).
    – Guaranteeing online safety for all children who are spending more time online, across the different online platforms and social media.

    Anna Tsiboukli

    Thank you Miana for sharing these valuable experiences with us. I had similar experiences in Greece. It is first of all important to ensure that all children have access to ICT based learning and to train teachers and trainers on how to apply the new tools to their daily teaching. A lot of work needs to be done in that area. Let’s hope we are in the beginning of developing a new understanding around these issues.

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