Proposed European Thematic Network

CICE: Children's Identity and Citizenship in Europe
Social, Economic and Political Learning and Understanding within the European Context

Issue 7: June1998
The Newsletter of the Network


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SOCRATES awaited

Following our shortlisting last February, a full application for recognition and support from SOCRATES was submitted on March 30th.

We have heard from the DGXXII Office that a decision should be announced in late July. Networks who have been supported in the past suggest that we may not have a budget agreed by SOCRATES until next November!

Not all of those who originally expressed interest in the Network were able to join the final proposal. 84 Institutions and two Associations were finally included. All of these have managed to send in letters of agreement with the full proposal in time: many thanks for everyone's cooperation.

One institution may now have to drop out: we are waiting to hear if Politechnico de Setubal in Portugal will in fact be able to participate next year.

We eventually made a large bid, for 135,000 ecus (about 19% of our total requirements).

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Working Party Vacancies

There is a vacancy on the 0 - 6 age group working party. This group is to be chaired by Soren Hegstrup (Denmark): other members are from Finland, Luxembourg and Iceland. Is there a southern European member with expertise in this age range who would be interested in joining? Please contact Alistair Ross.

If Setubal cannot take part next year (see above), there will also be a gap on the 7 - 11 group working party (Chair: Panayota Papoulia-Tzelpli, Greece; members Belgium, Poland, Czech Republic). Any volunteers?

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Help Needed in Fundraising

The Network Project proposal submitted to SOCRATES asked for 135,000 ecu, but we need an additional 135,000 ecu for all our budgeted needs. At the moment, CICE Coordinator Alistair Ross (University of North London) is approaching a number of UK Charitable Trusts who have an interest in Citizenship, and a number of UK-based commercial enterprises who might be able to support us. It would be very helpful if members in other countries could make similar approaches.

Could you volunteer to track down and approach Charities or Commercial organisation and Industries who might be able to sponsor our work? If each member of the network could raise just 1500 ecu we would have sufficient! If you are willing to do this, I have a number of draft letters, circulars, budget summaries, etc. which I would be happy to send you. Alternatively, I will write myself (in English) to any names and addresses that you can suggest.

Please consider if you can help in this way.

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What do we do if SOCRATES says "no"?

There appears to be a great deal of support from our members with the idea of the Thematic Network. We shall know within a couple of months if we are to get recognition and financial support from the SOCRATES programme. If would be useful to consider at this point what we would want to do if we do not get SOCRATES recognition.

If we had attracted sufficient funds from Trusts and Commerce (see page 1), it would be quite possible for us to operate as a non-recognised Network. If we do not get enough money for our current plans, however, we shall need to consider what can be done.

These are points to think about in the next few weeks, because if we are going to attempt an "independent" network, we shall need to be prepared to establish mechanisms and budgets in the September-October period of this year. If you have any thoughts or ideas on this, please do write and let me know: I will post responses on the web-site, so that you can see who else has inspirational ideas on this question.

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Technical Support: British Telecom may help

Discussion have begun with British Telecom about possible technical and equipment support for the Network. CICE would like to be able to place the potential data-base of information, modules and courses in a well-supported technical environment, with access to various levels of information varying according to the status of the enquirer.

British Telecom's Network help might extend to the maintenance of a site on the world-wide -web, with password access to different 'levels' of information, and the ability for participating institutions to set up and control their own access levels.

Thus there might be an "open" level on the internet, where any person browsing the web, or with a specific interest, could see explanations of what we are trying to establish, the extent of our work, newsletter items, and perhaps some examples of material "deeper" in the site. They could leave messages for members, or enquire about joining the network at a later date, for example. But they would be unable to participate in our activities in an interactive manner, because they would not be members.

On the other hand, a full member institution would be given a password, that would allow them access to all the materials in the network, enabling them to directly contact other members, to deposit information, take part in discussion groups, interrogate data, and so on. We would perhaps have a number of different kinds of search engines, that could trawl our data sets for particular information, comparisons, contrasts, etc..

Members would also be able to grant access rights, through assigning specific passwords, to certain sections of the network. For example, students on particular courses might be given access to particular areas that contained information that they needed, this stopping them from getting lost in a mass of data. The member giving particular access to the student could insert specific material for their students as a front-end to the data that was accessible - perhaps as an introduction to what was to come, or as a set of instructions for a task, or with questions that could be addressed with material from the data.

British Telecom and currently considering how they might help us devise a package, and whether they would be able to donate their services to us to establish and run the network in this way.

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What the Network might be like in 2002: a vision

The Thematic Network that might develop from our work could be something like this diagram. There are a number of users of the network: some, such as the general public, and non-members, would only have limited access, to a "showcase" of what was available. Others - higher education teachers and researchers in the network - could have unlimited access. Students might normally have more limited areas open to them.

There would be a number of ways to find material in the network: the diagram suggests search engines and indexes of data, and - perhaps for students on courses - course outlines that guide the user towards certain materials, or along a particular learning path. Researchers might be able to use research tools to interrogate the data, both qualitative tools such as NUDIST, and quantitative tools such as SPSSX.

Many users will also be providers: the network should continually grow, as we add fresh data, new analyses, etc.. We will need to build in safeguards so that users acknowledge the work of the particular providers whose data they use.

Users and providers will correspond through the network. The network should be supporting electronic discussion groups, research networks and networks of course designers and providers.

What will be inside the network? The box suggests that we include data - regularly updated with fresh material - qualitative data, such as interviews with children and young people (all ages, some longitudinal, some not, over long periods of time eventually, all countries ...); quantitative data (surveys, etc.); material gathered from national curricula, reports of practices, etc.. Bibliographies could be built up. We should also include analyses of data, articles, discussion papers, etc., that refer to, or draw on, the other data.

Properly cross-referenced, this should be a vast, dynamic and highly interactive learning and research tool.

A fuller version of this paper is availiable here from June 12 1998.

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Membership: Final details

This map allows you to connect to every country with members in the CICE network. Simply click on the area of the map about which you want to see more details.

The above message should be repeated in French, German, Italian, Spanish - and any other language you offer to help with!

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Clicking below for more about the Thematic Network proposal:

making comments ...joining the TNP ... our our proposal ... our members ... our organisations

Alistair Ross page 11