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Train the trainer workshop on the DigEm methodology in Vilnius (Lithuania) on 29-30 of April 2011

DigEm train the trainer workshop was implemented once again successfully in the framework of European program DigEm: Digital Empowerment, which is being coordinated by DIMITRA ITD. The train the trainer workshop took place in the Training Centre of the Ministry of Finance in Vilnius-Lithuania, on 29 and 30 of April 2011 and organized by the Lithuanian partner Social and Economic Center (SEDC).
In this workshop participated as trainers two persons from SEDC (Rugile Butkeviciute και Kamile   Butkeviciute), one person from DIGITALES (Outti Vellacott) and one person from DIMITRA ITD (Nikos Mandrekas). The twelve (12) trainees came mainly from Lithuania and were selected because of their access to target groups of the program, namely those with no/few formal qualifications, socially excluded groups, older learners, women over 45, minority ethnic groups in order to motivate them to increase their employability.
The objectives of the DigEm train the trainer workshop was to familiarize trainees with the idea of utilizing digital stories for the development of digital and social skills of end users from vulnerable social groups, to develop narrative and writing scenario skills, to be trained on software that is used in DigEm workshops and to experience practically the procedures which will be asked to manage as trainers of end users in the future.
The trainees, through the successful guidance of the four trainers, acquainted with the methodology, techniques, tools and educational material included in the methodological guide that has already been developed from the project implementation until now. The used approach is experiential. That means that trainees experienced the DigEm method rather than passively watching a presentation. Utilizing creative techniques used by the Mass Media, such as the creation of stories-scenarios focused on experiential experiences, theater, photography, music, video clip and narration production, each of the trainees created by a two-minute digital story, which will be posted on the official website of the project (www.digem.eu). The abovementioned methodology will be able to be used from different target groups and at the same time in a wide range of educational programs depending on the control handling of the tools by the trainer. 
DigEm is an innovative digital empowering project that uses a creative approach to teaching ICT skills and provides an effective entry route for learners disengaged with the learning process, or not confident with new technologies. DigEm develops communication skills by using creative tools/media techniques, focused on people's own lives, through story-telling, photography, music, video and narrative. The project is being coordinated by DIMITRA ITD with the participation of partner organization from eight European Countries: England, Spain, Poland, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Cyprus and Greece.
 
For further information, please contact with DIMITRA I.T.D, Ms. Vaso Anastasopoulou, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,  tel.: 0030 2410554026, www.dimitra.gr

Digital story workshop in the Hostel of Unaccompanied Underage Asylum Seekers in Oraiokastro of Thessaloniki (Greece)

Digital story’s workshop for end users was implemented from 12th until 14th of July 2011 in the Hostel of Unaccompanied Underage Asylum Seekers in Oraiokastro of Thessaloniki, in the framework of European project DigEm that is coordinated by DIMITRA ITD and participate partner organizations from England, Spain, Poland, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Cyprus and Greece.  
This workshop had 18 hours duration and implemented by trainer Aggeliki-Eleni Bizouni, IT expert Konstantinos Koutsonicolas, and post-graduate student Penny Couloglou who participated voluntarily. Initially in the workshop participated six (6) underage boys from Afghanistan, between 16 and 18 years old, but finally only four (4) of them created digital stories.  It is worth mentioned that members of this specific target group is very difficult to commit to attend all the stages of the workshop because their main objective for staying legally in Greece is to find a job, even casual. This was the reason why the two of the six trainees didn’t complete all the stages of the DigEm workshop.
The working language in the workshop was Greek and a multicultural mediator helped both trainers and trainees when someone had problem with specific terms. Trainees had very little knowledge how to use a computer. They were mainly self-taught users through short time period using the digital equipment of the Hostel. The digital equipment of the Hostel for the implementation of the DigEm workshop wasn’t ideal. But that fact allowed assessment of the adaptability and flexibility of the DigEm methodology to different educational environments and to target groups with different cultural background. 
The digital stories which created had personal and experiential characteristics and related either to childhood experiences in the country of origin or the personal story of the trainees on their adventurous odyssey from Afghanistan to Greece. Trainees utilized with imaginative way material found on the internet (copyright free), as they hadn’t personal pictures or other audio-visual material. They enjoined all the workshop’s stages, especially the procedure of scenario writing and film digital editing. At the end of the workshop they asked the trainers to repeat a similar workshop in order to try more difficult and demanding techniques and to advance their acquired digital skills. The four digital stories from the specific workshop will be available very soon on official website (www.digem.eu).

Second DigEm workshop in Ostrava (Czech Republic)

On 20th, 21st and 22nd of June 2011, implemented the second workshop of digital empowerment in Ostrava of Czech Republic, by the Czech partner ATHENA (Association for Education and Development of Women), in the framework of DigEm project which coordinated by DIMITRA ITD and participate organizations from England, Spain, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, Cyprus and Greece.
In this workshop participated seven (7) unemployed women (some of them suffer from long-term unemployment so they also encounter social exclusion) who following the DigEm method created digital stories based on issues of family life on leisure time activities. 
It is worth mention that the number of interested women to participate in this specific workshop was bigger than the final number of the participants. The choice of the final participants done based on the compatibility between the workshop schedule and the available time of the trainees. Because the trainees participated together in other educational activities of the ATHENA (thus they already knew each other and quickly created the necessary atmosphere of trust), and because they had already basic skills of computer use, this specific workshop had the opportunity to give greater emphasis on narrative skills development. 
The participants, under the successful guidance of the ATHENA’s trainers, came totally prepared keeping rich personal photographic material, so there wasn’t needed to seek additional material from the internet (although this was possible).   
In the final stage of the educational process that includes the presentation of personal digital stories (available on the official DigEm site, www.digem.eu), trainees showed completely satisfied with their work and the DigEm methodology and were enthusiastic in relation with their enhanced self-confidence.

Digem workshop for unemployed women in Ostrava (Czech Republic)

On 9th and 10th of April 2011, implemented the workshop of digital empowerment in Ostrava of Czech Republic, by the Czech partner ATHENA (Association for Education and Development of Women), in the framework of DigEm project which coordinated by DIMITRA ITD and participate organizations from England, Spain, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, Cyprus and Greece.
In this workshop participated eight (8) unemployed women (some of them suffer from long-term unemployment so they also encounter social exclusion) who were asked to create each a personal digital story about their life. The objective of this thematic (about their living experience) was to increase the self-confidence of unemployed women since through the process of personal narrative is possible to understand better the elements of social exclusion that threatens them and find ways to confront it.    
The trainees were already involved in different educational projects of ATHENA and other Czech partners of ATHENA, and they knew each other well. This fact helped in a quick and easy creation of atmosphere of trust between the group and because of that, there was more time for warm up games related to narrative skills development. The participants, under the successful guidance of the ATHENA’s trainers, came totally prepared keeping rich personal photographic material, so there wasn’t needed to seek additional material from the internet (although this was possible).   
The women were really satisfied with them and they were really surprised how easy it can be to create their own digital presentation/story. When in the end of the training the videos were played it positively influenced their self-confidence, because they found out what they were able to create a digital story (videos are available on official DigEm site, www.digem.eu). Many participants said they would continue to apply the method in their everyday life.   

DigEm Storytelling workshop in Santander-Spain, for people experiencing social exclusion

In Santander of Spain took place, from 19 until 27 of May 2011, a workshop for digital stories with the already developed methodology of DigEm project (in total 25 hours duration). To implement this action, the Spanish DigEm partner DOCUMENTA cooperated with the Municipal Authority of the City of Santander and the network EAPN-Cantabria (European Networking against Poverty and Social Exclusion).
This workshop was attended by nine (9) trainees and the thematic was situations of social exclusion and possibilities to overcome them. For the successful implementation of this workshop DOCUMENTA took into account one of the main objectives of the DigEm project, namely the dissemination of the program through NGOs for the widest possible spreading among vulnerable social groups and its connection with other activities aimed at social integration in regional level. This goal was achieved through the cooperation between DOCUMENTA and the network EAPN-Cantabria (European Network against Poverty and Social Exclusion).
Another element of successful implementation of the workshop was the first day that was dedicated to theoretical analysis of social exclusion and inclusion. This theoretical introduction lasted five and a half hours (5 ½) and was attended by 25 potential participants for the DigEm workshop. The eight (8) trainees came from these 25 people, while another person was involved by DOCUMENTA. 
The trainees showed great satisfaction and enthusiasm for DigEm method (which strengthened their social and digital skills) and created high quality videos within a very short time. On the last day of the workshop were presented the videos which prepared by the trainees, both to the nine trainees and to people who had attended the first day of the theoretical part of the workshop. These videos are available on the official website of the DigEm project (www.digem.eu) and also have English subtitles.
Trying to get as much dissemination as possible, DOCUMENTA invited Samuel Ruiz, the City Councilor of Employment, Youth and New Technologies to participate in the closing activity and to see some of the videos made by the people attending the training; who, together with Javier Farto as President of DOCUMENTA, gave them the certificates of attendance.

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