The SLIDE project: who are we and what do we do?

The Erasmus+ project SLIDE ‘Service-Learning as a pedagogy to promote Inclusion, Diversity and Digital Empowerment’ (1/01/22-31/12/24) aims to intertwine the Service-Learning (SL) pedagogy with Digital Empowerment (DE) to promote Inclusion (I) and diversity. The project brings together students and academics from a wide range of European HEI’s to draw on existing practices, share knowledge and develop best practices in and with the community where all become teaching resources, problem solvers, and partners.

SLIDE aims to intertwine the service-learning pedagogy with digital empowerment to promote inclusion and diversity.

Who are we?

The SLIDE project is a collaboration between ten partners: six Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) and four national/regional Service-Learning networks in Europe. The SLIDE project is coordinated by the University Centre Saint Ignatius Antwerp (UCSIA) in Belgium.

Starting point

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus three acute needs of contemporary education:

  1. The need to digitally empower university teachers who rapidly have to transform from teaching professionals into designers of learning experiences and experts on emerging technologies;
  2. The need to close the gap between the self-perception and the actual digital competences of university students by equipping them with appropriate digital skills, and raising their awareness of digital inclusion of underprivileged and underrepresented groups;
  3. The need to combine the digital empowerment of teachers and students with the service-learning pedagogy, while establishing connections between higher education institutions and communities at risk, either in direct proximity or in rural/remote areas.

Our goals

Following these three needs, members of the European Association for Service-Learning in Higher Education joined hands in creating an Erasmus+ project proposal to investigate the possibilities for service-learning and digital empowerment for promoting inclusion and diversity. The overall goal of SL is to foster a sense of civic engagement and responsibility in students and to motivate them to bring about positive social change, while the goal of DE is to make an individual fit for the digital technology by placing that individual at the centre of education and drawing upon their personal experiences to engage them.

The objectives of the SLIDE project are:

  • To collectively understand and promote service-learning as a pedagogical approach that promotes inclusion, diversity, and digital empowerment;
  • To equip students with digital capabilities and skills necessary for the use of technology in creative, critical, competent, and inclusive ways through service-learning activities;
  • To increase the capacity and willingness of HEI teachers to manage a real shift towards digital education;
  • To facilitate the exchange, flow, dissemination and co-creation of knowledge on SL and DE in Europe.

The overall goal of SL is to foster a sense of civic engagement and responsibility in students, while the goal of DE is to make individuals fit to the digital technology, placing that individual at the centre of teaching.

Project results & outputs

The SLIDE project is targeted at HEI teachers, HEI students and community organizations. In order to reach these stakeholders, different outputs will be developed over the project timeline:

Project Result 1 – Service-Learning, Inclusion, Diversity and Digital Empowerment Manifesto

Call to action that describes the needs, opportunities and conditions for success of stakeholders for Service-Learning and Digital Empowerment

Project Result 2 – Digital Empowerment: Training program for HEI teachers, trainers and educational leaders

E-learning module for teachers to improve their digital readiness and capacity in their teaching

Project Result 3 – Online World Café

Online event for teachers to engage about Service-Learning and Digital Empowerment

Project Result 4 – Digital competence, fluency, intelligence and engagement of HEI students

E-learning module for students to enhance their digital and social competences

Project Result 5 – Social Hackathon

Online event where students collaborate with the community to enhance their understanding of digital gaps, diversity and inclusion

Project Result 6 – Virtual European Hub for Service-Learning and Digital Empowerment

Online space for exchanging & disseminating knowledge on Service-Learning and Digital Empowerment in Europe

Project Result 7 – Success & Failure in inclusion, diversity, and digital empowerment through service-learning

Policy report that explores opportunities and thresholds for interlinkage between Service-Learning and Digital Empowerment

The SLIDE website was created to inform stakeholders about the progress and outputs of the Erasmus+ project SLIDE. To report the impact and reach of the website to the EPOS, the Belgian National Agency that supervises projects funded by the European Commission, analytics from the website will be shared with them.