Digitalization is an important topic of European policy. Adult Education has a crucial role to play in accompanying the transformation.
The impact of the current policy developments in the field of digital transformation on European level cannot be underestimated. The Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act will determine what platforms are (still) allowed to do and how the rules of the game of digital capitalism will work. The Circular Economy Action Plan suggests a right to repair. With the way rules for Artificial Intelligence are developed and implemented a market for data-sensitive and democratic innovation is emerging, a European way of dealing with AI or a European-dressed American way. How Europe defines and enforces the Next Generation Internet influences how free, decentralized, competitive, accessible the Internet and digital single market in Europe and if not beyond our continent will be.
These examples show that dealing with digitalization is about more than addressing media literacy: It is always also about active participation in the digital transformation and helping to shape its “broad lines.”
Many, among them also educators, say that it’s all too complex, too technical or too economical. But, one can counter them, isn’t the focus wrong? For instance, we also understand that car companies are not allowed to install fraud software, although we don’t know exactly what programming language the on-board computer was programmed in. Would that have really helped us to draw consequences from the Diesel scandal?
About Digitalization: Conditions, Assumptions, Impact
In this sense, civic adult education can reflect on the technology’s economic, social, cultural, and technology policy conditions, assumptions and impact: Learning about Digitalization. How do certain concepts of digitalization work and act? What alternatives are there? Who benefits from which variant and how?
In the DIGIT-AL project, we came to the conclusion that it would be better to separate the several approaches to digitalization somewhat:
- Learning for digitalization: co-determining the digital transformation in society.
- Learning about digitalization: social, cultural, economic impact of digitalisation in society.
- Learning through digitalization: digital learning (spaces), digital tools and services.