Community Education and organisations from the nonprofit sector all across Ireland gathered in the NDRC this week to launch the Technology Enhanced Community Education Network (TECEN).
The event was hosted by An Cosán’s Virtual Community College (VCC), a national community education social enterprise which brings basic, further and higher education through blended online learning to disadvantaged and underserved communities across Ireland. An Cosán’s VCC works in partnership with community groups and the Forum Day sought to bring them together to learn and explore how to harness the power of technology to grow, develop and innovate community education and development for the 21st Century.
The groups attending the launch, which took place at the innovative national social enterprise 2nd Annual Community Partners Forum, included Camara Education Ireland, Longford Women’s Link, Irish Association of Community Training Organisations (IACTO), Tiglin and the Limerick and Clare Education Training Board (ETB) among many others, which offer some of the most disadvantaged and underserved communities in Ireland alternative pathways to education and lives outside of poverty and disadvantage.
Speaking at the launch, Liz Waters, CEO of An Cosán said: “The Community Education and Development sector in Ireland is totally under-staffed and under-resourced. Funding for continuous professional development is non-existent. Within a national and European context, both the significance and lack of digital skills is continuously emphasised. For sustainable development and education, technology is a serious power to be utilised.”
“The Technology Enhanced Community Education Network will be a peer-led network of the community partners An Cosán’s VCC works with all across Ireland. It will support participants to use digital literacy, technology and social media strategically to create value for the sector and their own organisations. Workshops, webinars and virtual engagement will cover a myriad of digital media and digital literacy skills with an emphasis on gaining practical skills and tactical execution.”
Alan Gavagan, Supervisor with Tiglin who spoke at the Forum about Tiglin’s experience as a community partner with An Cosán VCC adds “Education and the use of technology has brought about opportunities to help empower our participants to progress towards gaining employment and a better life beyond addiction.”
An Cosán VCC intends to grow the TECEN Network as a support network for the community development and community education sector to build capacity in the sector to utilise the power of technology in their daily work. The aim is to develop a strong commitment to the network and deepen members understanding of the need and importance of a digital skills strategy for the sector, their organisations and their work.
Community organisations who would like to find out more about the TECEN Network can contact An Cosán VCC by getting in touch with Maria Flanagan, Community Partner Lead on 01 534 1847 on email [email protected].