RadioActive is an innovative education project that has developed and implemented a radical technology-enabled pedagogy to promote the inclusion, engagement and informal learning of excluded people, or those at-risk of exclusion, across Europe.
- 1 Objectives of the Intervention
- 2 Origins and rationale of this initiative
- 3 Target groups intended as beneficiaries of this initiative
- 4 Political and socio-economic factors that you believe have been important enablers for your initiative
- 5 Overall Programme design and the methods and tools used to reach the goals
- 6 Describe if the project ensured its sustainability
- 7 Resources used in the initiative
- 8 Did the intervention reach its objectives?
Objectives of the Intervention
RadioActive-Europe investigated and developed innovative technology-enabled methods to engage disadvantaged and excluded people, or those at-risk, in learning environments that offer them the opportunity to develop and enhance digital competencies and employability skills that are necessary and valued in the world of work. Thus, RadioActive directly addresses Action Area 2.6 of the Digital Agenda for Europe to overcome the "lack of user skills such as digital and media literacy, not only for employability but also for learning, creating, participating and being confident and discerning in the use of digital media." (COM/2010/0245 f/2)
Our project objectives and degree to which they have been addressed are given below:
- Undertake community audits in 10 implementation localities (in 5 countries) to establish local capacity, digital capabilities, learning needs, social concerns and key stakeholders (Target exceeded, with consultations performed with 13 Associate Partners active across the project, linked to 39 grass-roots organisations);
- Deliver a pan-European Internet Radio platform that will be maintained after the life of the project and be freely available to other users; (Target exceeded, all partner websites established and will be maintained until at least 31 Dec 2017 –
- 60,142 page views and 28,687 unique web-hits/listener visits) with a successful online community established and a range of social media including Twitter https://twitter.com/RadioActive101 and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RadioActive101);
- Fully involve hundreds (450-500) of target users in the design, management and implementation of the project and in key decisions throughout its lifespan - to increase individual empowerment, group autonomy and long-term sustainability of the project (Target exceeded with 534 participants involved in the project);
- Broker partnerships with the media industries, other local employers and learning organisations to ensure meaningful progression routes (Achieved with local authority, industry and media partnerships that have been developed, consolidated and expanded;); and;
- Exploit the outcomes of the project by developing accreditation processes, sustainable funding models and a comprehensive range of free support for other communities wanting to develop community radio as a tool for learning and community development (Achieved: an exploitation plan is being implemented, accreditation has been realised through a system of 39 electronic open badges (176 badges awarded in Year 2 of the project), additional funding has already been secured by 2 partners (UK and PT), various flexible funding models have been devised and are ‘live’, and all supporting materials are freely available from our European Support Hub).
Origins and rationale of this initiative
RadioActive is an innovative education project that has developed and implemented a radical technology-enabled pedagogy to promote the inclusion, engagement and informal learning of excluded people, or those at-risk of exclusion, across Europe. It does this through harnessing primarily internet radio and also social media, or, as our motto states:"RadioActive101: Learning through radio, learning for life!"
The project developed, implemented and is sustaining a pan-European Internet Radio platform, incorporating Web 2.0 ideas and features. This is linked to innovative community based pedagogies to address inclusion, employability and active citizenship in an original and exciting way, whilst recognising informal learning through electronic Open badges.
The consortium was led by the University of East London (UK), with other partners from Portugal (CIMJ), Germany (UKL), the UK (Pontydysgu), Romania (ODIP) and Malta (KIC). These partners have direct links and ongoing collaborations with 13 primary Associate Partner organisations and a network of 39 mostly grass-roots organisations that facilitate access to the RadioActive101 participants, or 'radio-activists' as we define them. So the Associate Partners perform and deliver RadioActive 'on the ground' and are the vehicle for the learning experiences required for their production. These represent a particularly diverse range of groups and this was deliberate to allow us to test and refine our model, and show that it potentially works with virtually all excluded groups, and across Europe.
We actively developed, implemented and ran five national RadioActive 'stations' (or hubs) that are accessible via the European Support Hub (ESH). Through making the radio shows the target groups (schools, vocational education, Higher Education, informal and adult education) are developing digital competencies and employability skills 'in vivo' that are transferable to the 21st Century workplace. These competencies and skills align with six of the EU Key Competencies for Lifelong Learning and we have developed a progression and accreditation model linking the key competencies to RadioActive activities and performances that are recognised through Open electronic 'badges'. These badges provide concrete recognition measures and represent proficiencies that are relevant to further education or employment in particular related to the knowledge and creative and digital industries.
Evaluation findings were obtained through conducting a phased evaluation incorporating a full in depth ‘prototype’ evaluation in the UK during year one, a similar evaluation in Portugal and a smaller one in Germany in year two, that were followed by a broader and larger international survey of radio-activists (subjects) towards the end of the project. All these showed particularly positive and interesting results, such as the delivery of additional impact and value beyond the informal learning of technical and employability skills. Additionally, we found improvements in confidence, self-esteem and general self-efficacy of individuals, plus additional improvements in groups and organisations. It appears that once our excluded groups developed the confidence and competence to perform activities they often thought were beyond them, they seem then empowered, to learn many other things and to develop a number of key competencies . At the European and national levels we have produced an extensive amount of dissemination activities to make the RadioActive Europe project public and well known, and also won two additional funding awards towards the end of the project. Other exploitation activities include embedding locally and internationally, with the latter being realised through the establishment of an international Foundation that will also support and advise about funding models to support further expansion at the European level.
Target groups intended as beneficiaries of this initiative
We have created a sustainable network of 39 organisations maintained through a European Support Hub and 13 Associate Partners.
The European Council recommendation on the validation of non-formal and informal learning (2012/C 398/01) obliges member states of the EU to put into place national arrangements for the validation of non-formal/ informal learning. We conducted a survey where key stakeholders were interviewed in the validation/ recognition process in each country, presented the 39 RadioActive digital badges to them, and determined their potential in facilitating recognition or validation processes. The analysis found that the badges have significant value in describing the competences acquired during the RadioActive project. As such, they also have significant value for employment purposes, where the employment requires the specific competences recognised by the badges. The badges awarding system ensures progression though 3 stages with 13 awards at bronze, silver and gold to improve levels of competencies through the production of shows of increasing sophistication and quality.
Here we describe how the partnerships with our 13 Associate Partners linked to the RadioActive partners, stating areas of focus and types of excluded groups involved.
UEL – UK - has worked with 169 young people (plus 29 support actors) in the UK at three community organisations across the capital London; Dragon Hall, The Squad and YOH, as well as cross-faculty work with Higher Education students (in Performing Arts and Psychology). This has ensured the groups we set out to benefit are fairly represented with re-balanced levels of participation (schools, vocational education, Higher Education, informal and adult education).
Dragon Hall is London’s most central open-access community space, offering a wide range of activities and services to local people. These include: Under 5s Drop In, play work, youth work, support for young people (YP) who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs), over 50s activities and a space to hire for local people/groups. DH works with YP who live in Lower Super Output Areas in both Camden & Westminster, areas which suffer from significant disadvantage and deprivation.
The Squad runs a Learning Disability Youth Club for young people aged 13-25 in Merton, and a qualified part-time Youth Work Manager. Delivery comes from the Youth Work Manager, a pool of 30 volunteers (including 5 learning disabled volunteers), professional tutors and young people.
YOH is a youth-led participatory and inclusive community organisation that delivers a range of community based developmental, educational and recreational activities for children and young people, particularly those that are marginalised, vulnerable and at-risk of social exclusion. Many of the service users are affiliated to local gangs which are rife and geographically confined.
Ponty – UK - a number of schools in Wales, (YGG Pont Siôn Norton, YGG Evan James, Ysgol Bro Pedr) have expressed interest in using materials available in the RadioActive Training Suite to assist with future school-radio projects.
CIMJ – Portugal worked with 3 youth centres from disadvantaged urban areas (Metas & Catapulta in Porto and Trampolim in Coimbra) in the first year of the project. In the second year, CIMJ increased the network to have more partners and also more end users. It added one more core group (also a part of the national initiative Programa Escolhas (The Choices Program) – EntrEscolhas, from Gondomar, in Great Porto) making 4 Associate Partners.
The main group (78 end users): young disenfranchised was composed also by additionally Adults (family, social workers, adults from community). 4 associated partners: Metas (23 end users), Catapulta (26 end users), Trampolim (10 end users), EntrEscolhas (19 end users).
Adding more value to the network we also made connections with universities (73 end users), targeting university students: 60 students in New University of Lisbon (made a final show), 10 in Lusophone University (made a final show and collaborated with the youth centers of Porto) and 3 in Coimbra University (participated in a show).
Metas: the participants live in a parish with enormous social and economic contrasts, from five star hotels and luxury habitation to social housing. This is the area of greatest contrast within Porto, regarding social and economic issues. So the sense of community is relevant, but they also like to go outside the place they live. The centre has been open for around 10 years and has become an outward focused, partner orientated organisation.
Catapulta: Although radio-activists here live in a very poor area and, in comparison with Metas, have fewer digital competences, they benefit from living in the traditional part of the city. The social workers (informal focus group, 24/5/2013) say that when young people don't feel able and confident to implement a task, they simply won't do it.
Trampolim: is located in a peripheral social housing area of around 2,000 people, with a large percentage of social income beneficiaries and a significant Roma community. There are several community centres in the adjacent neighbourhoods, whose activities may clearly benefit from RadioActive's presence.
EntrEscolhas: a youth centre in Gondomar, (Greater Porto Area) with 19 end users.
Universitaet Koblenz-Landau – Germany has an associated partnership with the Multi-Generation Centre in Neuwied (MGH-Neuwied) along with a second partnership with MGH-Koblenz since autumn of 2013. The established multi-generation centre programme is one national key action programme of the German Ministry of Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth http://www.mehrgenerationenhaeuser.de/aktionsprogramm This national action programme started in 2006 and aims to establish local multi-generation centres across the country and is now in its second roll-out period, with more than 500 institutions. The multi-generational centres offer a platform for meetings (Begegnungszentrum), service and support for families and support for the elderly to help address questions of health care.
MHG-Neuwied now hosts Deichstadtradio whilst MGH-Koblenz facilitates the group called Radio Ko'n'Rad alongside associated support activities and engagement. A special partnership exists between the public community TV station OK4 and the groups in Koblenz and Neuwied, through its provision of technical support for group activities.
ODIP – Romania - UNICEF Romania launched the School Attendance Campaign in 2010, to assist national and local authorities in getting an estimated 300,000-400,000 children back into the classroom and decreasing the number of future drop-out cases. Radioactive was a sub-component of the drop-out risk reduction intervention and was implemented in two communities from Bucharest and Buzau, both of which had a high number of students from social and economic disadvantage. It actively used existing data on students at risk and capitalises on the interventions and assistance programs carried out so far.
School no.64 Ferdinand, Bucharest. Total number of students enrolled is 480, of which 25% are from the Roma minority. In the previous year the drop-out rate was 5% in primary level and 7% in lower secondary level.
School Nicolae Titulescu, Buzau. The total number of students enrolled is 208, of which 40% are from the Roma minority. In the previous year the drop-out rate was 6% in primary level and 8% in lower secondary level. Around 10% of the total number of students are enrolled, but currently are not attending at all, the majority leaving without legal transfer documents.
KIC – Malta - through the partnership with INSITE we can communicate with another twenty-five organisations which deal with Higher Education and Secondary Education students. Initial shows were produced by Malta Medical Students Association. Through Radio Lehen il-Qala, a local radio station KIC opened communication channels with other local radio stations. The concept (and strategy) has been similar to what has been explained above.
We also established contacts with organisations including Swieqi Local Council, INSPIRE Foundation (and other groups supporting people with disability) who will not only help us run the project in their field but also reach out to other similar organisations.
At the end of the project period, we had expected each country to be involving 80-100 target users as content producers (some 450 to 500 target) and as we have now reached a total of 534 radio-activists, this has been achieved. We have enjoyed extensive media coverage throughout the project and on World Radio day (13 Feb 2015), RadioActive101 was the subject of a 3 minute feature on the national television channel in Portugal RTP TV http://pt.radioactive101.eu/2015/02/14/radioactive101-foi-noticia-no-dia-da-radio/
60,142 page views and 28,687 unique web-hits/listener visits
To date 176 badges have been awarded. Work across the project has been particularly effective in engaging young people and hard to reach groups (such as Learning Disabled Young People) and supporting them to develop competences. Over 70% of the respondents to the final evaluation online survey found RadioActive project activities to be innovative or highly innovative. Over 88% of young people claimed to have felt a positive impact in their creative skills and abilities. The outcomes of the survey clearly show that the highest impact is the positive effect on self-confidence and motivation (over 90%), alongside communication (over 85%). The lowest level of impact was in mathematical competences (35%).
The badges accreditation system http://radioactive101.eu/podcasts/radioactiveproject/ActivitiesForBadges_en.html has been developed to link RadioActive training and practices to the EU LLP Key Competencies, via a comprehensive competency grid that mapped onto the Mozilla backpack server. To date some 534 participants have developed, or begun developing these competences in areas including technical expertise, audio editing, music editing, planning and organisation, copyright fulfilment, record keeping, coordinating, promotion and self-reflection etc, with 176 badges issued across the project.
Political and socio-economic factors that you believe have been important enablers for your initiative
The target participants were those described as being excluded or at risk of societal exclusion. The partners identified a number of groups which met these criteria, including young people not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), children from areas of high deprivation, older people who have retired from working life, people with learning disabilities and Roma.
To promote the inclusion and improvements in well-being of these diverse disenfranchised groups the project implemented a new approach to conceptualising, designing and developing internet radio and social media features for informal learning within ‘lived communities’. It modified the key pedagogical ideas of Paulo Freire (1970) and his notion of transformational (or emancipatory) learning through lived experience. These ideas were articulated through a radical approach to Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL), where design is conceived as an ongoing socio-technical intervention within existing or developing digitally mediated and mixed-reality cultures. This approach arose out of a critique of recent approaches to designing social media for learning within ‘live’ practitioner contexts (Ravenscroft et al., 2012a, 2012b). More broadly, this approach was a direct attempt to promote ‘21st Century Learning for 21st Century Skills’ - the key theme of the European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, EC-TEL 2012 (Ravenscroft et al., 2012). This approach was achieved in every partner context through embedding the radio and content production within the existing practices of established organisations linked to the excluded or at-risk groups. Internet radio was used to catalyse, connect and communicate technology-mediated developmental practices within these organisations. This in turn promoted rich personal and organisational learning, change and development, and as evaluations have shown (Edmonds et al., 2013) increased well-being and positive social impact.
Overall Programme design and the methods and tools used to reach the goals
The Pedagogical approach and rationale: Radio as a radical educational intervention.
The target participants were those described as being excluded or at risk of societal exclusion. The partners identified a number of groups which met these criteria, including young people not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), children from areas of high deprivation, older people who have retired from working life, people with learning disabilities and Roma.
To promote the inclusion and improvements in well-being of these diverse disenfranchised groups the project implemented a new approach to conceptualising, designing and developing internet radio and social media features for informal learning within ‘lived communities’. It modified the key pedagogical ideas of Paulo Freire (1970) and his notion of transformational (or emancipatory) learning through lived experience. These ideas were articulated through a radical approach to Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL), where design is conceived as an ongoing socio-technical intervention within existing or developing digitally mediated and mixed-reality cultures. This approach arose out of a critique of recent approaches to designing social media for learning within ‘live’ practitioner contexts. More broadly, this approach was a direct attempt to promote ‘21st Century Learning for 21st Century Skills’ - the key theme of the European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, EC-TEL 2012. This approach was achieved in every partner context through embedding the radio and content production within the existing practices of established organisations linked to the excluded or at-risk groups. Internet radio was used to catalyse, connect and communicate technology-mediated developmental practices within these organisations. This in turn promoted rich personal and organisational learning, change and development, and as evaluations have shown (Edmonds et al., 2013) increased well-being and positive social impact.
Problematisation: Ongoing contextual and user needs analysis
To link the user contexts and the pedagogical approach to the socio-technical design of the RadioActive platforms, a problematisation phase was performed for all partner sites. Problematisation is a design technique that is particularly relevant to developing digitised technologies and social media practices linked to contextualised problems and opportunities (Ravenscroft et al., 2012a, 2012b). Problematise means to ‘conceptualise in order to change’. In order to promote greater social participation and inclusion, we first needed to systematically examine the problems, challenges, needs and opportunities within our user contexts. Arguably the most critical aspect of Problematisation involved initiating and/or developing a relationship and discourse with the user groups and their organisations, often using informal and ethnographically informed methods and approaches. These practices aligned with the Freirian (1970) dialogical model with actual pedagogical innovations linked to the development of digital competencies through internet radio and social media practices in the target contexts. This was also an essential stage in involving members of the target group in the co-design process from the very start of the project. This phase allowed the excluded groups to take ownership of the project by co-shaping the technologies and pedagogic approaches from day one.
Through incorporating a Problematisation phase (WP 2) the internet radio was used as a device to legitimise interests into social and cultural outputs. Thus, we focused on the cultural interests of user groups in each country as not only a basis for programming the radio output but also as a means of social involvement and citizenship whilst developing new skills and competencies. For example, making a ‘magazine’ style one hour radio show about local issues involved team working, collaborative learning, researching and interviewing, technical production and editing and polishing communication skills – that are evidenced through the 110 recorded shows and the evaluation that has been performed.
The outcome of the way in which the problematisation phase informed the practical setting up of the hubs and linked to training and accreditation is given below.
Implementing the RadioActive hubs: Setup, training, operations and accreditation
The training approach taken by the RadioActive project started with a basic training phase followed by providing an ongoing learning experience while producing RadioActive shows of increasing quality. This was scaffolded with virtual (human) support (via Skype) and online support through materials contained in the training sections of the European Support Hub http://training.radioactive101.eu/ Following a cascade model, those who were initially trained passed on their knowledge to others in their organisations. The RadioActive Partnership provided comprehensive support and training in the form of sound governance and editorial models (GEMs), training workshops, online tutorials and handbook, regular face-to-face, Skype and email interactions.
A strong indicator of the continuing success of the project approach is that the same standard technical set-up and training worked well across all the partner sites, as is evidenced by the broadcast output from each site and the 110 broadcasts in total. This demonstrated the flexibility and robustness of our model; reusability of the standard kit; and, the effectiveness of the training approach and ongoing facilitation.
In Year 2 we established a comprehensive model of recognition of the training and RadioActive practices by means of a system of Mozilla Open Badges similar to those described by Hamilton and Henderson (2013) (http://www.jisc.ac.uk/blog/so-what-are-open-badges-28-aug-2013), using the inbuilt features of the Moodle platform within the Hub for the collection of evidence for recognition and for the distribution of the badges http://radioactive101.eu/podcasts/radioactiveproject/ActivitiesForBadges_en.html
The scheme and methodology conformed with CEDEFOP’s Guidelines on the Validation of Non-Formal and Informal Learning and mapped well to 6 of 8 key competencies for Lifelong Learning; namely: Communication in mother tongue; Digital Competence; Learning to learn; Social and civic competencies; censure of initiative and entrepreneurship; and, Cultural awareness and expression. The badges accreditation system is also available also in German http://radioactive101.eu/podcasts/radioactiveproject/ActivitiesForBadges_de.html and Portuguese http://radioactive101.eu/podcasts/radioactiveproject/ActivitiesForBadges_pt.html and has been practically realised via a comprehensive competency grid linked through to the Mozilla backpack server. To date, 534 participants have developed, or begun developing these competences in areas including technical expertise, audio editing, music editing, planning/organisation, copyright, record keeping, coordinating, promotion and self-reflection, etc., with 176 badges having been issued in the project’s lifetime. Not all radio-activists received badges, as this scheme was an addition to the project proposal that was implemented during the last 6 months of the project. Thus far, we have shown it to be acceptable and workable, and therefore can be implemented fully going forward.
Central to providing ongoing online support for the training and recognition materials was the European Support Hub (ESH), which is the central coordinating technology and public face for the pan-European aspects of the project, described below.
There were several technical solutions in regular service and that are being maintained until 31 Dec 2017. Summarising we have: WordPress Multisite as a practical way of networking our collection of hubs; Podlove Podcast Publisher and Podlove Web Player as a Media distribution system to document the shows; Moodle as a Learning Management System to offer self-paced learning material for the radio-activists and internal collaboration spaces to prepare shows and exchange content (e.g. the Open badges) and ideas; Mahara as an ePortfolio-System in Use was used as a work-portfolio, learning diary and/or for self-presentation accounts by the radio activists; and, various social media tools such as our project specific Twitter (https://twitter.com/RadioActive101) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RadioActive101) accounts.
These also supplement national Soundcloud and YouTube Channels.
Our project specific Facebook and Twitter accounts (given above) were used to inform audiences, promote shows and provide live audience interaction, with the live radio broadcasts remaining the ‘core’ of our project.
Describe if the project ensured its sustainability
Future plans for RadioActive build on a platform of several main aspects, namely: Maintenance of the technical infrastructure for three years; ongoing support from the lead site, as the ‘anchor’ for further activity and development; the proposal of an international RadioActive Foundation; securing of additional funds to continue the activities (already achieved in UK and Portugal); and, applying the approach to new contexts, such as mental health, substance misuse and prison services. These activities all support our work to embed RadioActive locally and internationally, and are expanded upon below.
UEL has secured the services and backing of UKL for continued hosting of the radio hubs, websites and accreditation framework for the badges systems in Moodle until the end of 2017. We will be maintaining a blend of hosting and support and the optional availability of training and advice to complement the resources on offer from the European Support Hub. We anticipate the scoping of a marketing and distribution model for RadioActive Europe as a package that exploits the Web-based networks established around the development of National level Portals and a pan-European Support Hub. We are also reviewing prospects of franchising and subscription-based means of widening take-up and generation of income.
All core products that were identified for use in the hub are free, open-source or are being provided and supported at no charge by partner organisations. However, part of the project's aim is to identify ways in which new services might improve their quality and efficiency through the adoption of the project's innovative approach in ways that are commercially credible. The technical and pedagogical toolkit that we created allows for sustainability and expansion after the end of the project. Following the cascade-training model, the RadioActive model allowed learners of today to teach newcomers of tomorrow allowing for expansion of the project throughout 2015 and beyond.
Work has begun exploring the creation of a RadioActive International Foundation as a vehicle to formalise the partnership’s continuation and to embed the activities of Radioactive within the activities of the various organisations, and ensure the sustained existence of both the RadioActive brand, the consortium, and the network of radio hubs. At the moment, a deed for the foundation has been drafted, and is in the process of going through the legal and administrative departments of the various partners.
The key purpose of the foundation is to sustain ongoing activities in the local chapters, while recruiting new chapters to start radio stations. Whilst it would be impossible for any single organisation involved to set up a project of this type on their own, the level of support, guidance and tested structure on offer from RadioActive (through the website, the hub, available expertise, etc.) will mean that they will have the capacity and capability to continue the work from 2015 onwards. The success of the current cascade model of training and integration evidences this.
The sustainability of the RadioActive Model is evidenced by the continuation of radio broadcasting by individual groups and organisations even though the EC funding has ended. In Germany, Malta, Portugal and the UK, radio shows continue to be produced for immediate and future broadcast.
There is agreement in the Consortium that the results of the RadioActive project open up new perspectives for improving media literacy in various ways. Partners plan to exploit this according to their interests, for example by extending the RadioActive approach to work with other media, to utilise radio in supporting health care or in applying lessons learned to the training of learning facilitators in various contexts, such as prisons, and there are specific examples of this.
The lead site in the UK has an institutionally funded PhD (2014 to 2017) using the RadioActive hub as a basis for community action research to facilitate the creation of a substance misuse radio series with the users themselves, in collaboration with 2 local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), a residential drug rehabilitation service (ODAAT) and very large Local Authority network (Young Hackney). This will be evaluated in terms of its value as an intervention in substance misuse, from the perspective of those directly involved in producing the broadcast and related content (the ‘radio-activists’) and listeners or social media participants.
The partners in Portugal have been awarded funding and a distinguished prize by the FCT, the National Funding Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation. The prize acknowledges the work by the project team in Portugal and the funding won will support the shows until Dec 2015. This award will support the expansion of the project in Portugal in cooperation with the governmental program Escolhas (Choices) throughout 2015. CIMJ in Portugal now have staff and funding for all of 2015 to continue with the network. In fact CIMJ have agreed locally with the Portuguese national ‘Choices Program’ to continue with the radio station beyond 2015. There will be a sustainable implementation of the project and support for the Portuguese RadioActive hub, throughout 2015 and beyond.
Resources used in the initiative
RadioActive Europe: Promoting engagement, informal learning and employability of at risk and excluded people across Europe through internet radio and social media was funded by EC Lifelong Learning Programme, €390,000 Euros. All partners: Pontydysgu (Wales), University Koblenz-Landau (Germany), Media and Journalism Research Centre (Lisbon, Portugal), Observatory for Lifelong Learning Development (Bucharest, Romania), Knowledge Innovation Centre (Malta) contributed 25% in match funding but in reality there was some €559,000 Euros in actual costs and some the partners contributed more than originally budgeted. In addition there were 100s of hours of time contributed by volunteers and staff at associate partner organisations (eg. youth centres). It would be difficult to estimate the time but it would be at least 2,200 hours of broadcasting production time in all.
Did the intervention reach its objectives?
Yes. Significant outcomes of the project include; a transferable and reusable model for developing internet radio and social media support to address exclusion; a robust internet radio and social media presence (RadioActive Europe) incorporating five national stations (or hubs); an extensive and sustainable network of users and user organisations maintained through a European Support Hub (ESH); measured improvements in individual and community developments that address exclusion; considerable dissemination; and, a robust exploitation strategy and activities.
In addition to the established international and five national hubs containing content, such as 110 archived radio shows that have already been broadcast - we have also achieved a wide-ranging and insightful range of outcomes and results including conference and research presentations, dissemination workshops and media reports.
Our dissemination outcomes and results include: 24 conference and research papers/presentations; 2 Book Chapters, 13 dissemination workshops including Austria (Graz), England (London), Estonia (Tallinn), Germany (Berlin), Portugal (Lisbon), Scotland (Glasgow); 110 broadcast shows; 176 Badges awarded to radio-activists (that can be shared on social media via Mozilla Backpack) and 65,000 page views in total across the project (and 28,687 unique visits.
To complement the in-depth prototype and pilot evaluations conducted early in year two and get greater and broader input across the partnership towards the end of the project - our approach was simplified for the final evaluation, that used an online questionnaire (n=89). This method could easily include all partners. So the level of innovation, quality and impact on different aspects (beneficiary, organisation, community) was assessed plus other aspects such as experiences, levels of engagement, lessons learned and recommendations.
Key findings showed that over 70% of the respondents found RadioActive project activities to be innovative or highly innovative. Specific innovations that were recorded highest were the content of the shows (92.5%), Training (92.5%) and the Badges (90%, called ‘micro-digital certification system’ in the survey). The highest Quality was ascribed to the learning materials (86.8%), training workshops (84.2%), ‘know how’ transfer (77.6%) and communication among partners (72.4%).
A particularly important finding here is about the Badges, as although this scheme was introduced and approved towards the end of the project, they are clearly valued by respondents. Of the 176 badges that have been awarded so far, covering 14 skills, all are Bronze except for one Silver, and these cover mostly journalistic skills (96), then Planning and Organisation (13), with Responsible Broadcasting (12), Arranging Radio content (10), Creating Radio Content (10), Audio Editor (8) and Music Editor (8) also being awarded more than five times.
The highest level of impact was reported for the direct beneficiaries, our radio-activists (92.1%), followed by project staff (86.8%), the organisation (84.2%) and the community (76.3%). Of the aspects of this impact, the highest reported impact was on self-confidence and motivation (90.8%), followed by creative skills and abilities (88.2%) and then some specific employability and communication skills (both 85.5%). The lowest impact was on mathematical competencies (35%) and this supports the validity of responses, as this was the least emphasised aspect. Key areas of impact for the organisations were the participation level (92%), personal and professional development (84%) and quality awareness (81.3%).