SOCIAL INCLUSION IN A DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT
Z. Gródek-Szostak1, L. Ochoa Siguencia2
1Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Krakowie (POLAND)
2The Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education in Katowice (POLAND)
In a relatively short time, information and communication technology has spread worldwide not only in
business world like production and services but also in most social sectors and private life. In this regard,
for example, research has underlined the potential and effectiveness for social media, mobile phones,
and the Internet in general, to improve social inclusion and social participation practices for vulnerable
social groups that are often fooled by inaccurate or manipulative posts they see online, because they
were never taught how to fact-check, or how to discern “fake news”. The paper presents the primary
results of two ongoing exchange of good practices ERASMUS+ projects that intend to support inclusive
education and digital skills, improving the competences in digital social inclusion of social educators and
social volunteers. The two structured questionnaires passed to adults and youth people gives a better
analysis of the Internet preferences regarding searching for information, communication with the
environment and using Information and Communication Technology in the informal and non-formal
education. Therefore, what communication channels are selected and what are the preferences
associated with the use of mobile applications in the dynamically changing reality. The changes taking
place in 2019-2020 in the above areas will also be analysed. The research was carried out, in each
case, December 2019 -January 2020. To conduct the survey, the Google forms tool was used to create
an online questionnaire and then by providing a hyperlink to the target groups to conduct the online
survey. The results available through Google sheets have been transferred to Statistica 13 from
StatSoft, Inc. The questionnaire used closed single choice questions as well as hierarchy questions.
Data analysis methods (descriptive statistics) and quantitative techniques were used for data analysis.
To verify the hypothesis that the two qualitative characteristics of the population are independent χ2 test
was used comparing the frequency of observed frequencies from those expected.
Keywords: Adult education, Digital technologies, Inclusive education, Social inclusion.
In a relatively short time, information and communication technology (ICT) has spread worldwide not
only in business world [production – services] but also in most social sectors and private life. In this
regard, for example, research has underlined the potential and effectiveness for social media, mobile
phones, and the Internet in general, to improve social inclusion and social participation practices for
vulnerable social groups (Seniors with disabilities, Adults with cognitive disturbs, addicted, migrants,
immigrants, digital illiteracy) that are often fooled by inaccurate or manipulative posts they see online,
because they were never taught how to fact-check, or how to discern “Fake News” etc.).
Recently (2018 - 2019), Research and Innovation in Education Instytut [INBIE] and Saricam Halk Egitimi
Merkezi [SHEM] conducted a joint research on Refugees social inclusion and Digital literacy in Adults.
From their research emerged that, at the moment, there isn’t any defined portfolio of digital competences
for Digital social inclusion that addresses the specific needs of social educators and social volunteers.
As a consequence, it is urgent and critical to fill this gap. Indeed, the definition of this competence
portfolio is the essential premise to prepare educational programs for capacity building of social
educators and social volunteers.
Although there is a broad consensus among researchers and practitioners on the effectiveness of digital-
based social services, they have a marginal part in the current education programs for social educators
[1-5]. Accordingly, the principal objective of the Adult Social Inclusion in a Digital Environment [ASIDE]
project is the definition of a basic portfolio for digital social inclusion competences at European level
specifically designed for students in social educator study programs, employed/unemployed social
educators, and social volunteers.
Proceedings of INTED2020 Conference
2nd-4th March 2020, Valencia, Spain
The main addressed needs are:
• enhancing social inclusion improving professional competences of social educators and social
volunteers in a topical sector such as digital social inclusion and in the use of technology for social
• educators empowerment in the use of online educational processes.
The current literature shows that the new technologies can be relevant in social inclusion programs
since they reduce the mobility and give the opportunity of personalized inclusion paths. Nevertheless,
the use of new technologies requires specific and structured competences.
The ASIDE Strategic Partnership is motivated by the following main factors:
• Social inclusion, special education, social services, and social inclusion go beyond national
• social inclusion and professional use of new technologies are European goals that need a
• contribute to achieve a European objective: creating new operative curricula through the active
and responsible involvement of researchers and practitioners
Finally, the participation to a European project gives to partners the opportunity to share their experience
The paper presents the primary results of two ongoing exchange of good practices ERASMUS+ projects
that intend to support inclusive education and digital skills, improving the competences in digital social
inclusion of social educators and social volunteers. The two structured questionnaires passed to adults
and youth people gives a better analysis of the Internet preferences regarding searching for information,
communication with the environment and using Information and Communication Technology in the
informal and non-formal education.
The analysis was based on the use of Pbworks as a platform for Adult Social Inclusion in a Digital
Enviroment. Verification of results and opinions about the work with Pbworks was possible thanks to the
created for this purpose Internet questionnaire consisting of two parts: research and metrics, which
contained the questions about the gender and age of respondents [6,7,8]. The research part of
questionnaire consisted of 8 questions, which were expected to answer the question how respondents
rate the group work during class and in a collaborative way and the influence in social inclusion. The
whole research process consisted of several stages. Two test groups were formed. The whole study
lasted about 2 months. In December 2019, respondents participated in online courses and seminars,
while January 2020 was devoted to collecting results from the questionnaire survey. Total 58
questionnaires were filled out and they were the basis for the following data analysis.The study covered
a total of 58 people living in Silesia, including 30 women and 28 men. These people were divided into 2
- 20-44, which contained 38 persons ( including 20 women 18 men),
- 45-68 which contained 20 persons (including 10 women 10 men).
In the first question, respondents were asked to select the positive aspects of working in the group,
which is performed during the stationary classes. The following diagram shows the result.
Table 1. The positive aspects of working in the group during the stationary classes:
Work in smaller group facilitates the easier
conversation and discussion of the task
Fast exchange of sentences - brainstorming
The smaller project group favours engaging
everyone in the task
Possibility to use the help of the tutor
Lesser sense of failure than when we act
Common goal achievement, synergy effect
Motivation to act, mutual support of the
group members in the task
Source: Own elaboration.
As the positive side of group work in the class, the older group of respondents (44-68 years) indicated
that the smaller project group favours the involvement of each person in the task (100% answers), in
the age group of 32-44, this characteristic was indicated by 47.4% of respondents. Elderly people also
found as positive aspect the possibility of use the tutor help (60%) and the work in smaller group that
facilitates conversation and discussion of the task (50%) and thanks to common goal achievement
synergy the effect arises (50%) . The younger group of respondents in 63.1% ranked the first as the
positive aspect the work in smaller group, which facilitates easier conversation and discussion of the
The third question was aimed at verifying the effects of working with Pbworks and identifying the positive
aspects of its use.
Table 2. Positive aspects of group work with Pbworks
Ability to find additional information on the
Internet that will allow to better design of group
Support from other group members when
particular person improperly develops the
Easy to use program
No pressure from other group members, the
freedom to realize their own ideas
Possibility to convert the content on the fly,
add the comments, what should be changed
Source: Own elaboration.
As the positive aspects of working with Pbworks, all respondents in the 45-68 age group considered
time saving (100%) and possbility to streamline content, add comments as to the form and content
added by other members of the project group. It was also perceived by them as a positive side the
opportunity to search for additional information on the Internet in order to better develop the project.
People in the older age group have seen the positive aspects only in 3 areas of 6 mentioned. This shows
that implementation of Pbworks to work and education requires even more refinement and greater
involvement of the tutors in showing the benefits of using it. Analysing the answers of 32-44 age group,
they perceived the positives in each area. The most respondents indicated the opportunity to find
additional information on the Internet (60,5%).
Group work during classes among people 44-68 years old proved to be a high level of engagement, as
indicated 55% of respondents, while the average level of involvement indicates slightly less - 45% of
respondents. Also, high result was achieved in the age group of 32-44 years, where a high level of
engagement in group work in classes was indicated by up to 63.2% of the respondents, and the middle
- 31.6%. In both of groups, we can see clearly that those who work together try to make the largest
contribution to the work to achieve the intended goal and get a satisfactory result.
Table 3. Level of involvement during the group work in classes
Source: Own elaboration.
As for the effectiveness of group work, respondents in the 45-68 age group answered that it was more
effective at home with Pbworks, which is certainly a positive surprise. This shows that older people are
prone to use modern tools, are eager to learn new things, but also suggest that they prefer to work
rather alone at home, where they can focus more on their work. As for the comparative group aged 32-
44, the opinions are divided - 50% consider group work in the class as more effective and the other
50% think that work is more effective with the Pbwokrs program. Perhaps for younger people it does not
make a difference how they are supposed to work in groups.
The vast majority of respondents stated that using Pbworks social inclusion in a Digital Environment is
very good option. It is satisfactory that the older people see the chance to improve their education with
use of modern Internet tools, they are not afraid of changes in the universal teaching model, they are
ready for new challenges posed by the technological world [10,11].
The research shows that the older people are positive about implementation of Pbworks program to the
group work and they see the effectiveness of the project when they work with Pbworks. So far,
unfortunately, older people are afraid of information technology. For this reason, group coordinators
should in practical and theoretical ways improve older people's awareness of information technology,
use of Internet, and assure them that the modern Internet tools can bring many benefits for both the
user and the group as a whole.
The paper was financed from funds allocated to the Faculty of Management at the University of
Economics in Krakow as part of a research grant.
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