Di David Alberto Murolo, DiCultHer
In questa corsa al futuro, allo sviluppo dell’istruzione, alla ricerca, un’Europa realmente unita in base al principio di cooperazione, deve necessariamente dotarsi di analisi obiettive sulla realtà in trasformazione, supportando concretamente la transizione digitale degli Stati più arretrati attraverso politiche efficaci di innalzamento della qualità del sistema educativo e professionale. Bisogna altresì recuperare a livello politico-istituzionale quella dispersa visione geopolitica mediterranea quale area delicata e in costante tensione che ha e avrà un sempre più forte impatto sul il futuro dell’Europa. Non è pensabile “raggiungere gli ideali di pace, libertà e giustizia sociale”, finché i Paesi del Mediterraneo europeo continueranno a essere immaginati e utilizzati come una mera destinazione turistica pret-a-porter dal carattere fin troppo stereotipato che ne ha cristallizzato storia e civiltà. Piuttosto la realtà e la quotidianità di questi luoghi presentano ogni giorno e in ogni stagione situazioni complessità difficili per chi li vive, contesti che richiedono una lettura geopolitica con un angolo di visuale ad ampio raggio e interventi diretti al miglioramento del welfare con forme inclusive di cittadinanza attiva, partecipativa, ambientali e di istruzione. Quest’ultima, soprattutto se ispirata ai valori umanistici, è condizione fondamentale per avviare quelle opportunità di crescita e progresso nel formare giovani generazioni di professionisti abili nel rilanciare la vivacità sociale in tutti gli strati. L’Europa che, a passo veloce si dirige all’appuntamento dell’Agenda 2030, dovrebbe anche attraverso il digitale, riaccendere il fuoco sull’attitudine all’elevazione umana che da sempre induce l’uomo alla ricerca e alla crescita. Solamente condividendo idee e progetti, con un’azione pedagogica incentrata sul ruolo creativo, ideativo, filosofico, partecipativo e ri-generativo degli studenti e delle studentesse, con l’interscambio generazionale, si concretizzano l’attivazione e la promozione di pratiche didattiche innovative nonché la costruzione di nuove agorà che diffondano la conoscenza per cui la scuola dell’Europa Unita si fa unica nella propria identità. Solo a partire da una consapevole geopolitica euro-mediterranea l’Europa può rinnovare la sua visione di appartenenza nelle differenze accorciando le distanze tra cittadini. Il nuovo modello educativo europeo, per essere davvero efficace deve riprogettare, ridefinire e supportare ambienti cognitivi che debbono poter contenere sia la nostalgia per Itaca che la passione per il Nuovo, in cui la cultura e il patrimonio euro mediterraneo divengano il luogo delle relazioni. Deve sperimentare con i giovani e con diverse generazioni nuove strategie educative che si collochino in modo ibrido tra il fisico e il digitale, oltrepassando in un viaggio di ricerca le attuali Colonne d’Ercole e pongano le condizioni di avvio di una nuova forma di umanesimo, condizioni necessarie ad alimentare uniformemente i processi di innovazione “per esplorare, discutere e plasmare un futuro bello, sostenibile e inclusivo” come ci ricorda la mission del New European Bauhaus.
Several European methodological and strategic plans aimed at local communities have over time been aimed at outlining the principles of digital citizenship as well as the skills of the professionals delegated to education and training. The overall vision for the prosperity of the planet and the commitment undertaken by the 193 member countries of the United Nations, through the goal n. 4 of the 2030 Agenda, aimed already from 2015 to guarantee a fair and inclusive quality education through a broad action program.
Intentions relaunched and expanded in the EU area with the “New European Bauhaus”, in 2020, immediately after the first pandemic emergency, also to restore the ideal of a highly cohesive social fabric to European citizenship.
An ambitious, idealistic and futuristic project at the same time in which, in a fluid milieu, art, culture, science, technology, environmental sustainability come together to build a new way of living contemporaneity, in a mutual and constructive exchange between all citizens, businesses and institutions.
The will of peoples to act unanimously for the achievement of an integral social, inclusive and widespread well-being, guided by an ethical and democratic technology, however, is currently clashing with a disharmonious reality in digital development, highlighting strong discrimination among countries.
Despite the programmatic and cultural activity proposed by the European Commission in identifying adequate strategies to overcome the technological gap between States and promote digital citizenship, the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) of 2021 – an index that monitors the level of digitization of respective European states – delivers a result of a Europe that is highly uneven in technological growth and digital competitiveness.
The reasons for this different speed of development towards the achievement of the objectives are different and complex, to be sought primarily between environmental factors and socio-economic conditions characterizing the individual territories.
It is no coincidence that in DESI the lowest positions are occupied by Mediterranean and Eastern European countries where there is a strong discrepancy in basic digital skills and the consequent lack of professionalism in ICT with low levels of internet accessibility, especially in the relationship between urban and rural areas.
By encouraging extensive and functional digital education, we see that if on the one hand the United Europe is working hard on the planning of a digital ecosphere, inclusive and accessible to all its territory, on the other hand there is an absolute need for a capillarization of the interventions in the single most disadvantaged states indicated by the DESI report .
Together with the technological and logistical support, which implements a network of efficient infrastructures in the provision of digital services, even in less industrialized and developed territories, a new educational standard is urgently needed, new training strategies for the digital emancipation of all citizens and the enhancement of those territories. This would favor the development of the economy, professional opportunities, leveling the regional differences. It is therefore essential to adopt a new cohesion policy aimed at a greater connection of citizens and enhancement of the territories, focused on real and effective needs, focusing on synergistic solutions capable of concretely promoting competitive processes starting from research and education.
While the possibilities for sharing ideas and social inclusion offered by digital technologies and connecting devices that improve everyday life are endless, it is also necessary to pay attention, even in technologically advanced countries, to the exclusion of large spaces of reality and social and cultural representation.
There is no doubt, however, that digital offers and will offer previously unthinkable opportunities starting from the health sector, scientific research, artistic development, energy, environmental, financial, intellectual property, thanks also to recent developments in Blockchain technology .
The massive but uneven digitization, begun with web 2.0, on the one hand has favored the participatory culture, thanks also to the birth and development of social media, but, on the other, it has produced “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” to the detriment of security and personal confidentiality. And all this happens while citizens are absolutely unaware of the value of their data disseminated and collected by the major web companies, which have made it the most profitable business in the history of the world. Furthermore, the new commercial strategies of geo-coding of places, the constant attractive design of homologating models of user experience for mobile connection devices and devices, with Artificial Intelligence applications combined with pervasive semantic manipulations by software companies, information and communication systems directly affect cognitive and transparency processes. Thus critical thinking and depth of thought are obscured while the constitution of collective and individual imaginary and spatio-temporal dynamics are altered by acting simultaneously on several social levels.
Therefore, the role of a truly inclusive education that is able to offer everyone – with special regard to the new generations and with the new generations – the experiential and digital skills for a correct, functional use of technology and, at the same time, the tools for a critical thinking on current reality, can no longer be postponed.
A multifaceted training, which explores knowledge but also consciousness, intimately connected among teachers, students and territories, planning new cognitive environments in which each discipline is diluted into the other. The liberated Prometheus can thus find an authentic unicum of knowledge in the ethical approach to the use of technology .
Until today, the intention of raising the quality standard of a European school has been disregarded, understood as a culturally vivid forge, made up of far-reaching exchanges and mergers that contradict the 1989 Delors Report where the European Union was strongly committed on various fronts. Among these also the economic and monetary integration of the member countries which had started the path of international reforms of training processes with the “Bologna Process”, up to the creation of the “European Higher Education Area”.
In such a race towards the future, towards the development of education, towards research, a Europe which is truly united on the basis of the principle of cooperation must necessarily equip itself with objective analyzes of the changing reality, concretely supporting the digital transition of the most backward states through effective policies. of raising the quality of the educational and professional system.
It is also necessary to recover at the political-institutional level that dispersed Mediterranean geopolitical vision as a delicate area in constant tension that has and will have an increasingly strong impact on the future of Europe. It is unthinkable to “reach the ideals of peace, freedom and social justice” (J.Delors, UNESCO report), as long as the countries of the European Mediterranean are being imagined and used as a merepret-a-porter tourist destination with an overly stereotyped, picturesque character that has crystallized their history and civilization, in folkloristic postcards for dream vacation spots with exceptional rooms with a view.
Rather, the reality and everyday life of these places produce – every day and throughout the year, complex situations for those who live there, contexts that require a geopolitical reading with a wide point of view and interventions aimed at improving welfare with inclusive – active, participatory, environmental and educational – forms of citizenship. Education, especially if inspired by humanistic values, is a fundamental condition for initiating those opportunities for growth and progress in forming young generations of professionals capable of relaunching social vivacity at all levels. Education must have both the means and the skills necessary to concretely educate at sharing the contemporaneity of a community otherwise destined to a long-term cultural regression difficult to heal, leading to serious consequences of democratic stability.
In reconnecting the school to reality, the priority is to act on the trainers’ skills as well as to free the educational system from study programs that are often obsolete and unable to handle, mix, and grow the “new knowledge”, a Digital “STHEAM” in which the letter “H for Humanities ” combines withscientific knowledge, art, philosophy, history, literature and technology. The digital world cannot and must not be reduced to a mere sequence of algorithms; because mathematics, physics and cryptography, without the deep breath of humanistic studies, hardly raise man’s research to a higher intention.
Europe, which is quickly heading for the 2030 date, in addition to the implementation of major policies to support and promote humanistic and scientific reading that can give back to all students the sense of the authentic beauty of civilizations, should also through the digital, rekindle the fire on the aptitude for human elevation that has always led man to research and growth. A Euro- Mediterranean condition that realizes common digital projects, almost completely missing today, applying an inter-generational logic that absolutely includes the elderly and young people in a mutual and fruitful exchange of experience by competence.
New cognitive environments must be able to contain both the nostalgia for Ithaca and the passion for the New, environments in which memory, experiences and identity combined with technical performances and multimedia practices, recover, re-elaborate and re-propose contents rich in meaning and expressions of identity. This will facilitate mutual understanding grafted on the social pillars of citizenship and active and responsible participation also useful to fight the gender discriminations. It is therefore essential to experiment and verify new educational theories and practices that are placed in a hybrid way between the physical and the digital, going beyond the Pillars of Hercules, reactivating that propensity for wonder, amazement, the journey of research and the challenge of one’s own limits that everyone accomplishes in the world and within himself.
In this fluctuating and pervasive digital proliferation, the challenge of our time in building a United Europe lies in finding a solid balance of human, ethical, cultural and intellectual value aspects through a technology aimed at including the whole citizenship, exploring new possibilities through young people, offered by new cultures to place them in every social level, including the third age. In fact, abandoning a large part of the community to theoretical misunderstanding and practical inability to digitize, delegating rural communities, the elderly and the disadvantaged classes to an ineluctable irrelevance and a sinking into social invisibility, is the most discriminatory, asocial and detestable that the civilization of our time can perpetrate on the weakest groups. Because real progress can only be treated when no one is left behind.
We are witnessing an evolution of the web and human-machine interaction processes increasingly adhering to human communication and the understanding of the required contents, with everyday life increasingly entrusted to artificial neural networks, so it is essential in the school environment to activate the role of the digital educator that competently knows how to lead the younger generations to an experiential and critical thinking on the current moment where physical reality overlaps the virtual one.
This new educating figure from time to time, in the flow of cyberspace overflowing with signs, texts, sounds and images, will be able to better manage the pervasiveness of information and the fascination stimulated by semi-technical digital devices that are often the cause of that ” digital dementia ” and “information blindness” which affects psychic development and shapes the collective imagination.
The new maestro – digital performer – together with the students will all have to go into the uncertain and unpredictable “multiverses” with ecological responsibility in order to produce, rework and reconvert the multiple signs and representations offered by the technology that shapes places and individuals, characterizing new geographies of significance of the reality.
The expertise of the digital educator must therefore be a powerful resource in contrasting the supremacy of technology over man, as the man, through new digital resources, must enter the highly changing reality and come into full contact with the different generations. An educational figure who explores new cognitive environments and who is able to read languages, attitudes, vocations, skills of contemporaneity and at the same time who is skilled in bridging the humanistic values and stimulates students to do, to plan, to build, giving them back their “full cultural ownership in producing digital contents and products”.
In this sense, as suggested by the mission of the DiCultHer platform, inspired by the principles of a dynamic and contemporary European school, it is necessary to act for and with the new generations of students so that everyone takes possession of an innovative know-how to share it with previous generations.
It is therefore necessary to affect the contemporaneity of a European school, which is thriving with ideas in motion, under the sign of a new environmental responsibility, perfectly conceptualized in La Carta di Pietrelcina – which associates the cultural heritage with the territory it belongs to and indicates, in its representations tangible, intangible and digital, the creativity of that territorial community. In the same way it is necessary to recover the guidelines of the “Manifesto Ventotene Digitale” which enhances the pedagogical action of doing together by placing Culture at the center of the “progetto Europa”, as a “common good ” and an instrument of social cohesion. We must know how to educate in technology and with technology, avoiding being dominated by it and bringing back, in a constant game of balance of opposing forces, the centrality and attention on what characterizes – on a humanistic and qualitative level – the creative and sensitive experience of the human being, declining the commodified, mystifying and individualistic condition in which digital development constantly subjects us.
Only by sharing ideas and projects, with a pedagogical action focused on the creative, ideational, philosophical, participatory and re -generative role of students and female students, with the generational exchange, can the activation and promotion of innovative teaching practices take place as well as the construction of new agora that spread the knowledge that the school of the United Europe becomes unique in its own identity. Only starting from a conscious Euro-Mediterranean geopolitics can Europe renew its vision of belonging in differences by shortening the distances between citizens. To be really effective, the new European educational model must redesign, redefine and support new cognitive environments in which Euro-Mediterranean culture and heritage become the place for relationships. It must experiment with young people and with different generations, new educational strategies that set the conditions for starting a new form of humanism, capable of uniformly feeding the innovation processes “to explore, discuss and shape a beautiful, sustainable and inclusive future ” as the mission of the New European Bauhaus reminds us.