Austrian Conference sees the completion of Grundtvig Media Addiction Project

Final Meeting

In May Keith and Nan, accompanied by four Rickter Company Associates attended the final conference for our Plan 2 Grundtvig Learning Partnership in Austria. This project has been about raising awareness of parents, teachers and professionals to the risks children face from computer gaming, social media and cyber-bullying.

The lead partner is the Foundation for Media and Online Addiction, Lunenburg, Germany who have developed LAN-Parties. This is a programme designed to work with parents and professionals to raise awareness of how children feel while using computer games and the risks involved in social media. They work through schools to reach their target groups of pupils, teachers and parents.

One of the other partners is the Romanian German Foundation, Timisoara, Romania. This is a vocational college working mainly with unemployed people to gain skills and qualifications in such things as heating engineering, plumbing, English Language etc.

Our partner hosts for this event were FAB in Linz who are the largest vocational college in Austria. They run a variety of courses and specialise in support for people with disabilities. The conference was held in their college and we were shown the workshops that employ disabled people and had a chance to observe their work. They have partnerships with Nestlé to supply packed goods and an Engineering Contract where they make machine parts. They also have a catering kitchen and run the college canteen, as well as a print office, cabinet makers, laundry, gardening and construction areas. These workshops can be used as a training base which up-skill people to move into open employment or the trainees, who are paid a living wage and can work there for as long as they wish.

The aim of the conference was to share our work with other professionals and political representatives. The event was well attended with representatives from all four countries, as well as many professionals from Linz. After being welcomed by our hosts there followed presentations and workshops.

Meral Akin-Hecke, Digital Champion Austria of the European Union spoke on “Competence instead of Fear” looking at why it is important to overcome the digital gap. Patricia Groib, Safer Surfing, Linz talked on, “Control versus Competence and Arnhild Zorr-Werner, Foundation Media and Online Addiction, Lunenburg, topic was “In the past everything was easier and nowadays does new media need new education?” There were also several workshops afterwards and an Information Zone where Rickter was represented. The conference was well received and successfully raised awareness of the subject matter for those attending. We are very grateful to our friends in Linz for organising this event and hosting it so wonderfully.

While in Linz our hosts took us to the Museum of the Future which is shaped like a ship and is situated right next to the River Danube. Here we saw the history of computing, work on cloning plants and animals, how plastics can be computer generated into working objects and the fantastic three dimensional space zone. A small yellow motorised train took us around Linz to give us a taste of the city and in the evening we attended a social dinner back at the museum in their Cubas Restaurant, which offered wonderful food and views of Linz.

Nan Wood
Director of Operations