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Digital Human Rights in Dublin: Developing Learning Modules on Digital Rights

#HumanRightsDay Blog Series nº 4

Dublin, together with Brussels, Sofia and Tirana is one of the four European cities selected in March 2022 for an open call. The cities are piloting the Digital Rights Governance Project coordinated along with UN Habitat, the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights, Eurocities, and UCLG.

Dublin City Council is prototyping and developing a foundational educational module on digital rights, to promote the principles of ethics and privacy with regards to new and emerging technologies. 

From drones to 5G, to digital twins and connected lifebuoys, Dublin has a range of cutting-edge technology projects underway. Developed under the banner of the ‘Smart Dublin’ initiative the municipality works across research, industry, public sector and community groups to address city challenges through the adoption of new and emerging technologies. As the city drives forward digital transformation, it is becoming more necessary to build digital solutions that are trustworthy, open and transparent. In this endeavor, educating and upskilling the communities and public sector entities the city serves is crucial. 

Dublin is addressing this challenge through the development of a ‘capacity building’ foundation module on digital rights which will be delivered through its established Smart City education programme “Academy of the Near Future” (ANF). This education and skills programme established in 2020 is a collaboration between CONNECT at Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City Council and the Smart Docklands district testbed, and aims to bring a broader range of people (particularly local authority staff and schools) into the conversation about new technologies through interactive workshops, hands-on activities and online resources.

The workshops: scoping the challenge 

In order to scope Dublin’s challenge, in July 2022 we co-organised two hybrid workshops. The sessions focused on understanding the challenge of the city, mapping existing initiatives and stakeholders and identifying the main barriers and drivers. 

“Sometimes people don’t grasp the potential and hidden value of technology," said one workshop participant, "at the same time, public officials need to be upskilled and better informed, so to work better and show the real benefits of digital services and innovative solutions for the entire community”.

As a result of the workshops, four key deliverables were identified: 

  1. Scoping the Digital Rights Context 
  2. Developing a Learning Module Prototype 
  3. Developing Learning Materials about Digital Rights 
  4. Promoting Engagement and tailoring for target audiences

Prototyping Learning Modules on Digital Rights

The work with Dublin kicked off with the mapping of the digital rights context in the city and a desk research of the existing legal and regulatory frameworks and digitalisation strategies within the City Council.

With support from the project team and advisors, Dublin is currently developing the learning modules on digital rights for school kids in the transition year (15-16 years old) and for local authority staff. Moreover, the city is also working on a “train the trainer” methodology, to promote a peer-learning approach. 

To do so, Dublin is organizing working sessions to define learning modules prototypes, delineating the scope and structure of the learning modules, such as a digital rights syllabus,  modalities of delivery, timelines, audiences and evaluation parameters. In a later stage, these modules will be tailored and disseminated across targeted groups and various stakeholders. 

Read the overview of the project here.

Read the article on Tirana's pilot

Read the article on Brussels' pilot

Read the article on Sofia's pilot

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