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Politics short info-en

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  • 1. “Learning about Politics - Information on the completed European projectby Pekka Kämäräinen, Institut Technik & Bildung (ITB), University of BremenIntroductionAt the end of October 2011 the European cooperation project “learning about Politics” hascompleted its work. This article provides insights into the main results and into the work ofthe German partner organisation.1. Aims and main results of the projectThe overall aim of POLITICS from the beginning was to enable, through the use of Web 2.0technologies for participative learning. The target groups have been school pupils andapprentices as well as young and adult learners in less institutionalised contexts.Primarily the POLITICS has been a digital storytelling project, which adds creativity intoeveryday learning. Its objectives have been to: 1. Create POLITICS platform, which enables access to selected Web2 tools. Portal will provide partners finding tools, repository for available contents, different set of "community building" tools. See the platform http://learningaboutpolitics.eu/ 2. Support learners in writing digital stories based on a pre-given draft ("Straight into Politics" by Mihkel Pilv) or with alternative trans-national contents. See the section “Digital stories”: http://learningaboutpolitics.eu/story2. 3. Support the story-telling with the help of partners’ own contents presented by their blogs (in English and in the national language. See e.g. the German POLITICS blog: http://learningaboutpolitics.eu/germansite. 4. Create tutorials that provide support for using web resources: http://learningaboutpolitics.eu/handbooks/ 5. Create a POLITICS community and network of interested learning institutions so they will use POLITICS year after year during certain periods of time in the year. Also open POLITICS to informal learning communities: http://learningaboutpolitics.eu/pac-map/Below, the next sections give firstly a picture of the approach of the German partnerorganisation ITB (Institut Technik & Bildung, University of Bremen). Then, the main results ofthe German project activities are described. The final section discussed the sustainability ofthe results and the perspectives for follow-up activities in Germany.2. The POLITICS project and the ITB approachITB is an interdisciplinary research institute of the University of Bremen with a focus onresearch in vocational education and training (VET), workplace learning and on socialshaping of work and technology. This also includes studies on the role of web resources andof Web 2.0 technologies in vocational learning contexts and in workplace-based learningenvironments.In this context ITB has explored the possibility to promote such learning opportunities in thesubject ‘Politics’ in vocational education and training (VET). So far this subject area has beendominated by factual knowledge on legislation (knowledge on public elections and decision-making procedures) and regulations (implications of laws and regulations on occupationalwork, labour market, labour protection, social security).In this respect ITB has tried to link the project activities firstly with campaigns that promoteparticipation of young people (e.g. Juniorvoting and the school competition „Democraticaction“). Secondly ITB has tried to link the development of the Politics platform with relevantthemes for learning about politics in vocational schools. 1
  • 2. 3. The main results of the project activities in GermanyDuring the funding period (2009-2011) the German project activities have led to the followingmain results and achievements:a) Preparation of a resource base on Learning about German politics 2010-2011This resource base consists of ca. 100 blog postings that are available in two languages andcover the following learning pathways:• Pathway One: Superwahljahr 2011• Pathway Two: Protest movements• Pathway Three: Revolutions in Arab countries• Pathway Four: Internet communities• Pathway Five: Integration of migrants• Pathway Six: Climate change• Pathway Seven: Young people’s participationb) Development of a spin-off story for trans-national storytellingSome members of the German project team participated in transnational group work thatproduced joint digital stories. One of these is the “Stories of migrants” that brings intodiscussion problems and experiences of migrants in different contexts (e.g. the arrival ofrefugees in Lampedusa, the shaping of community initiatives in Berlin and the languagelearning in multi-lingual families in Brussels).4. Perspectives for follow-up activitiesDuring the work of the Politics project it became clear that development of new web platformand addressing vocational and adult learners with ‘real life issues’ is a major challenge. Inthis context the major hurdle was to get multipliers, facilitators and teamers to support suchprocesses. In this respect the cooperation talks with the sustainability plan have broadenedthe scope of follow-up activities by linking up with parallel projects that have worked withsimilar projects.Therefore, the follow-up measures of ITB will focus on three working perspectives:1. Cooperation with the project “PB21”: In the year 2010 the National Agency for Political Education (Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung - BPB) and a training centre of the German trade unions launched a project for promoting Web 2.0 in political education (http://pb21.de). This project focused on training multipliers for using Web 2.0 technologies and digital storytelling in political education. In the next phase the experiences of this project (and parallel projects) will be evaluated.2. Cooperation with the Web 2.0 projects of the Europa-Haus Marienberg: The Europa-Haus Marienberg is one of the leading providers of learning in politics for youth organisations, schools and adult education. In particular its ThinkEurope communities and its forthcoming projects on e-participation provide a prospect for utilising the learning resources of the Politics German site.3. Support for Praktikum of students with focus on the subject politics: In the vocational teacher education programmes of the University of Bremen the students have to go through Praktika in vocational subjects and in their additional subjects (e.g. Politics). For these Praktika ITB will work further with Digital storytelling and with the resources of the Politics platform. In this context the participative learning models of trade unions (e.g. their awareness-raising campaigns for apprentices) will be analysed from the perspective of developing politics teaching in vocational schools. 2