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About Ecoistituto

Ecoistituto is a non-profit research institute created in 1989.
Ecoistituto’s activity focuses on sustainable development following a multidisciplinary approach finalized to promote effective and sustainable results and to enhance the livability of citizens.
Ecoistituto collaborates with higher education institutions, schools, and governmental institutions organizing conferences, courses, seminars, and workshops on sustainable development, social business, environmental education, and healthy behavior.
For the last 19 years, an annual international conference has been organized in collaboration with IPSAPA (Interregional Society for Participation in Agribusiness Landscape and Environmental Management) and the University of Udine about the themes of the “landscape mosaic”.
In 2005, Ecoistituto created the series of publications “Living in places”, devoted to the local cultures and 15 issues have been published.
In the past, Ecoistituto participated to the organization of the Rezekne Academy of Technology Conference SOCIETY, INTEGRATION, EDUCATION (May 2013).
Members of Ecoistituto are University professors (especially from Udine University), professionals, experts and researchers engaged in different scopes: ICT, education, economy, agribusiness, ecology, sociology, psychology, social anthropology, architecture, geography.
In particular, Ecoistituto is involved in local projects for young people and older persons.
Recently (2017), Ecoistituto realized the e-books
- “Introduction to social innovation”, Mimesis International
- “The evil side of the Web”, Mimesis International

Organization

Board

Gilberto Marzano
president (expert in computer science and social anthropology)

Anna Pellegrino
member (expert in communication and social education)

Simone Zorzi
member (expert in cognitive disturbances and social services)

Carlo Scaini
member (expert in addictions and social education)

Barbara Errico
member (expert in culture and art)

European projects

Ecoistituto participates in the following projects funded by European Union (Erasmus plus program):

DICCMEM: Development and Introduction of a Communication Competencies Model for Enhancing and Maintaining a Business Mentor Network


Project Summary            Paper


YDSI: Digital social innovation for young people...

YDSI is an Erasmus plus project Strategic Partnership (2017-2019)

The YDSI project aims at empowering young people (especially students in social sciences and volunteers) in digital social innovation thinking and practices at a European level professionalizing them in a lifelong learning European perspective.
The general objective of the YDSI project is the definition of a basic educational framework for youth online social innovation education at a European level integrating the expertise of partners engaged in different topical social educational practices such as peer learning, participatory learning, social learning, and collaborative learning.
The specific objectives are:
• to exchange best practices between organizations active in social innovation focusing on methodologies, conditions and best-practices of social innovation thinking
• to increase competencies of young people on digital social innovation providing them with advice and guidance on how to design and developing social innovation ideas and proposals exploiting EU funding and opportunities available on the Web
• to create a comprehensive list of good practices on the topics of digital social innovation and social entrepreneurship
• to create a network of organizations active in digital social innovation and promoting their collaboration with social enterprises
Addressed needs
The YDSI project addresses the following needs:
• professionalization of young people in a topical sector such as digital social innovation thinking and social entrepreneurship
• their empowerment in the use of online educational processes
Addressed target group
The project’s target group are students, and young people engaged in social volunteer activities or employed in social services institutions/organizations.
Transnational motivation
The YDSI Strategic Partnership is motivated by the following main factors:
- social education, social services, and social innovation go beyond national borders
- social digital innovation and professional use of the new technologies are European goals that need a transnational approach
- our project wants to contribute to achieving a European objective: improving the active involvement of young people in the development of high-quality non-formal and informal educational programs at a European level
- participation to this European project will provide partners with the opportunity for sharing investigations conducted separately as well as for confronting ideas, practices, and methods of digital social innovation; thanks to this project, they will create a network and increase their capacity to operate at a transnational level.

DSI: Digital social innovation: new educational competences for social inclusion..

DSI is an Erasmus plus project Strategic Partnership led by Ecoistituto (2018-2020)

The principal objective of the DSI project is the definition of a basic portfolio for digital social innovation competences at European level specifically designed for students in social educator study programs, employed/unemployed social educators, and social volunteers.
All partners already developed educational programs addressed to social educators and used digital resources in their educational activity with vulnerable social groups.
Accordingly, partners will share their competences in digital-based educational programs such as competences for children with behavioral disabilities, online social coaching, social telerehabilitation of vulnerable social groups, etc., in order to implement the basic portfolio for digital social innovation competences.
On this purpose, they will select, analyze, and comment the best practices and methodologies about the use of digital technologies in designing, implementing, and running social innovation solutions. Social educators will be involved in all the project activities through meetings, seminars, and online discussions. A short term learning event will be organized involving educators and experts.
In synthesis, the project’s objectives are:
• to exchange good practices between organizations active in social education and social innovation
• to increase the competencies of social educators
• to define a basic portfolio of competences for social educators and social volunteers in digital social innovation practices at European level
• to create a comprehensive (and commented) list of topics and practices essential for digital social innovation initiatives/activities
• to create a network active in digital social innovation
The main addressed needs are:
• enhancing social inclusion improving professional competences of social educators and social volunteers in a topical sector such as digital social innovation and in the use of technology for social rehabilitation practices;
• educators empowerment in the use of online educational processes.
We underline that, nowadays, the empowerment in the use of online educational processes is crucial. The current literature shows that the new technologies can be relevant in social rehabilitation programs since they reduce the mobility and give the opportunity of personalized rehabilitative paths. Nevertheless, the use of new technologies requires specific and structured competences.
Target groups
Social educators, more precisely social educator students and social educators engaged in volunteer activities or employed in social services institutions/organizations, are our main target group.
Our project also involves other target groups:
- Vulnerable social groups
- Social services
- Educational institutions

ESEC: Exstending Social Educators Competences (2018-2020)

ESEC is an Erasmus plus project Strategic Partnership led by Janusz Korczak Pedagogical University in Warsaw, Poland (2018-2020) (2018-2020)


Despite the numerous examples and variety of parent training courses (see the multifarious social coaching offers), evidence-based guidelines for designing, implementing and running online parent training programmes for parents of children with behavioral disabilities are not available. Moreover, parent training techniques are not widely studied by students in social pedagogy and social worker study programs.
The ESEC project will provide social educators with the notions needed for designing and running parent training courses in an online environment. It will realize an innovative parent training programme for parents of children with behavioral disabilities in order to extend and develop the current competence and skills of both social educators and support teachers.
The ESEC project main expected results are:
- evidence-based guidelines for designing, implementing and running parent training programmes
- a 2.0 educational programme that tackles all issues, theoretical and practical, related to parent training and includes a training course for parents of children with behavioral disabilities
The training course is an application of the evidence-based guidelines since the ESEC project foresees that learners will use the guidelines to design, implement and run a parent training course for a specific group of parents (parents of children with behavioral disabilities), under the supervision of experts (special pedagogues, social pedagogues, psychologists, social anthropologists, and expert in social media).
The ESEC training approach focuses on teaching techniques, as well as on indirect and direct teaching strategies and on relational practices. Indirect teaching strategies are aimed to increase social responsiveness of parents. The learners’ preparation will consist of didactic and hands-on training in using the parent training techniques.
The ESEC consortium is formed of 5 partners will complementary expertise in teaching and learning. It includes 2 HE institutions, 1 foundation, and 2 NGOs.

ELISE: Eliminating Social Exclusion (2019-2021)


Often, parents of children with special needs choose not to venture anywhere. They frequently avoid travels since they are unaware of how to get the accommodations they need during the journey. On the other hand, companies that offer travel services, especially micro-companies, don’t know the needs of families with children with special needs.
The principal objective of the EliSE project is supporting parents of children with behavioral disturbs realizing an educational parent-training module for “fair traveling” in European countries and an educational toolkit.
Accordingly, the primary target group of this project is represented by social educators that will be trained on how to train parents of children with behavioral disturbs (parent-training).
For this purpose, our project aims at improving the competence of educators in the field of special education as well as to teach them on the use of parent-training techniques.
The other target groups involved in the EliSE project are the families of children with special needs, parents' associations, social services, NGOs involved in special need education, and companies that deliver travel services.
Target groups’ representatives are involved in the project’s activities through training activities, meetings, seminars, and online discussions. One short-term learning event will be organized involving selected persons from the target groups (social educators and parents) and experts.
The Consortium is formed of six partners from six different countries, Latvia, Italy, Poland, Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey.
The EliSE project will provide partners with the opportunity to share investigations conducted separately in the field of special need education as well as to confront ideas, practices, and methods in the sector of social integration. Thanks to this project, they will increase their capacity to operate at a transnational level.
This project foresees four IOs:
1. IO1: Model representing the various aspects which characterize travels of families with children affected by behavioral disturbs (months 1-6)
2. IO2: Online collaborative learning infrastructure (months 3-11)
3. IO3: Blended learning module for educators: “Supporting families with children affected by behavioral disturbs”
• Design of the module (months 6-8)
• Implementation of the module (months 7-11)
• Pilots (month 12-18)
4. IO4: Toolkit for Fair Traveling and Policy recommendations (months 17-24)
The project's impact includes:
• more active participation in society (social educators, parents, children, and stakeholders);
• improved competences, linked to professional profiles (social educators);
• better understanding of practices in education and training (educational institutions);
• more strategic and integrated use of ICTs and open educational resources (OER) in education and training (for educators, parents, and educational institutions);
• reinforced interaction between practice, research, and policy (educators, Parents’ Associations,
Policymakers, Travel services companies).
Finally, our project can contribute to support migration of families with children with special needs offering them information on childcare inclusive settlements and guidance.

DICCMEM: Development and Introduction of a Communication Competencies Model for Enhancing and Maintaining a Business Mentor Network (2019-2021)


Rezekne Academy of Technologies (RTA) in cooperation with partners plan to implement an applied research project: Development and Introduction of a Communication competencies Model for
Enhancing and Maintaining a Business Mentor Network. The expected results of the project focus on achieving the objectives of Priority 7 of the Smart Specialization Strategy (Latvia) or RIS3: identification of the existing resources of territories and their specialization, proposing prospective economic development opportunities and directions, int. al. leading and prospective business directions in the municipal territories. According to the NACE Rev. 2 classification of economic activities, it corresponds to Section J: Information and communication.
The aim of the project is to examine barriers to communication competencies between mentors and mentees and propose solutions how to enhance and maintain the business mentor network by means of communication technologies. The project is interdisciplinary because, according to the OECD classification, it directly relates to such fields of science as economics, entrepreneurship, communication as well as information technology. The project involves the following research studies: a technical and economic feasibility study and an industry research study.
Project activities: Technical and economic feasibility study on the communication competencies model for the business mentor network; Theoretical literature studies, an examination and comparison of mentor work specifics in Latvia and abroad; Interviews with business mentor network participants (mentors and mentees); Interviews, questionnaire with experts; Mobility, experience exchange with foreign countries; Development of a smart communication competencies model for the business mentor network; Development of an effective communication and collaboration methodology for the business mentor network; A pilot group of mentors and mentees for assessing the effective communication methodology; Creating mentoring handbook; Publishing original scientific articles in journals or conference proceedings included in Web of Science or SCOPUS (or other) databases Development of a joint monograph; Development of network between partners. In order that a mentor can act, communication is necessary, which is key to successful entrepreneurship. Regardless of whether communication is internal or external, horizontal or vertical, all the forms of communication in the entrepreneurial environment help to increase efficiency and improve organizational performance. The key purpose of communication is to ensure that a message is comprehended in a way it was initially intended in order to reach the audience. That is why communication could be both verbal and visual – it is a continuous process, during which interaction occurs among the communicator, the channel, the message and the communicates. An essential element in communication is the communicative effect or response, which indicates whether the message has reached the audience and whether the communication objective is going to be achieved.
The target group represents several fields: Research and academic environment: scientists, students, academic personnel in social sciences, as well employees engaged in research;
Entrepreneur environment: entrepreneurs from all countries, who wish to participate in business mentor network activities as mentors and mentees; enterprise stakeholders – employees, customers, business partners; entrepreneurs as users of the communication methodology for the business mentor network; Society: the society as a whole, as entrepreneurship in a region affects every resident through creating new jobs, improving the economic situation in the region, which increases the purchasing power of residents, amounts of taxes paid to the local and national governments.
Methodology and division of work will be symmetrical, where similar activities for development of intellectual output is going to be implemented in parallel in the participating countries. More in detail, the expected impact on the participant organizations is: more than 20 staff persons will be involved in the project; employing research staff; improving competence in communication field; enhancing international relationships; further collaboration in research.
Project will apply competence-based approach and assess their quality, impact and relevance. This can contribute to higher quality of education and training and support permeability between the different education and training pathways.
The expected results of the project would therefore be effective solutions to developing the business mentor network in all countries:performed study on a communication competencies model; designed a smart communication competencies model and a methodology; developed mentoring handbook; original scientific articles published in journals or conference proceedings.

SMM4WIN: Social media marketing skills for fostering the inclusion and employability of young people with disabilities


The " SMM4WIN - Social media marketing skills for fostering the inclusion and employability of young people with disabilities" paims help young people with disabilities get new skills in social media marketing as a tool for professional work, self-realization and communication, promotion of their own personal brand and career development, through an advanced educational initiative based on: Peer training in order to motivate young people in learning tasks; Advanced structured laboratory activities; A smart learning environment.
The proposal is aimed to achieve of the specific objectives:
• Foster the social and economic inclusion and employability of young people with disabilities, self-employability in Social and Business Services
• Equip young people with disabilities with knowledge and relevant skills in n social networks marketing relevant for their social and professional lives and enhance their civic skills. This is realize through researching, creating and teaching the developed course, creation of e-learning materials package and placement it on open resource for the general public.
• Promoting inclusiveness in social and economic life, demonstrating the achievements of people with disabilities, in order to improve public perception, overcoming the stereotypes associated with the positions and opportunities of a person with a disability in the labor market.
Project Target Groups
• People with disabilities from the NEETs category who require social adumting, motivation for learning and professional orientation (18-35 y.old)
• Young people with disabilities who need SMM skills to promote their personal brand / professional growth / career building (18-35 y.old)
• Young people with disabilities who want to work in the field of SMM (18-35 y.old)
• Representatives of NGOs and Social Services who help people with disabilities and responsible for SMM organizations.(without age restrictions)
- Young expert in SMM and Young social educators and social workers unemployed or employed who are interested to be a tutor/researcher in this project.
SMM4WIN aims at realizing an innovative and transnational training program on social networks marketing supported by a 'smart learning environment'. Our training activities will be interactive and intensive (both face-to-face and virtual). They will be carried out with the contribution of young social educators and social workers as well as with the involvement of representatives of social enterprises, public social services, and social service users. We will realize transnational youth SMM4WIN laboratory activities as a concrete example of the use of a “smart learning environment”. SMM for WIN:
• Work (SMM skills for employability of young people with disabilities)
• Inclusion (in public life)
• Novate (actual skills in the digital field).
The SMM4WIN project will produce the following concrete results:
1. Report on Research “Young people with disabilities in social media” (IO1).
2. Smart learning environment and Youth DSI SMM Community platform (IO2).
3. SMM Training program: implementation, running, and reporting (IO3).
4. Recommendations for policy makers and handbook for SMM (IO4).
The project Consortium is formed of 4 partners from Poland, Italy, Latvia, and Ukraine. It involves higher education institutions and NGOs.

ASL: Adult self-learning: supporting learning autonomy in a technology-mediated environment (2029-2021)


Recently (2016), the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that the majority of new work opportunities in the last decade had been generated in the informal and digitally-based economy.
Accordingly, the ASL project supports the setting up of, and access to, upskilling pathways through an advanced educational initiative based on:
- An online collaborative environment designed to motivate adult people in learning tasks
- Structured learning activities following the Pattern-Based Learning approach
The ASL project will also extend the learning opportunities for individual low-skilled or low-qualified adults. We will develop innovative digital social education practices through the realization of an intelligent and proactive learning environment that analyze the learners' activities.
The concrete aims of the project are:
1. To teach learners to acquire new skills and competences using learning innovative practices and digital technologies;
2. To develop a functioning collaborative learning environment to help them identify skills gaps and needs and to collaborate locally and independently for joint capacity-building.
The ASL project addresses the following primary needs:
• To provide new competences to adult learners using digital resources;
• To stimulate/motivate adults in acquiring competences that can improve their career and employability;
• To promote self-learning;
• To empower people growing their skills in using digital collaborative technologies;
• To integrate educational practices such as peer learning, online participatory learning, digital social learning, etc.
• To provide people with advice and guidance on how to learn using digital resources.
Adults who need to improve their competences to continue to work are the primary target group. This class, usually, corresponds to people 50-55 years old and includes people who are low-qualified and low-skilled.
The Consortium is formed of six partners from Turkey, Italy, Latvia, Poland, and Greece. They have great competences in adult learning, which are complementary, and are experts in European projects.

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Research..

Ecoistituto is conducting research in the following fields:
- Vernacular architecture (Coordinator: prof. Francesco Chinellato, Udine University)
- Friuli Venezia Giulia tradition
- Digital social innovation (Coordinator: Gilberto Marzano)
- Social inclusion of people with Autism Spectrum disorder (Carlo Scaini)
- Cyberbullying (Coordinator: Gilberto Marzano)
- Programs for (Coordinator: cognitive disabilities)
Learn more

Publications

  • Mentoring handbook (2021)
  • Quaderni dell’Ecoistituto (15 issues)
  • 2017. Il lato maligno del web, Mimesis international
  • 2017. The evil side of the web, Mimesis international
  • 2017. Introduction to social innovation, Mimesis international
  • Marzano, G., & Lizut, J. (Eds.). (2019). Cyberbullying and the critical importance of educational resources for prevention and intervention. IGI Global.
  • Marzano, G., Lizut, J., & Ochoa, L. (2019, May). DIGITAL SOCIAL INNOVATION: A PRELIMINARY PORTFOLIO OF COMPETENCIES FOR SCHOOL SOCIAL WORKERS. In Proceedings of the International Scientific Conference. Volume II (Vol. 320, p. 329).Marzano, G. (2020). Topical issues on cyberbullying prevention. International Journal of Interactive Communication Systems and Technologies (IJICST), 10(1), 31-50.
  • Marzano, G. (2020, May). DIGITAL SOCIAL INNOVATION AND LABOR MARKET TRANSFORMATIONS. In Proceedings of the International Scientific Conference. Volume IV (Vol. 301, p. 308).
  • Zorzi, S., & Marzano, G. (2020, May). PARENT-TRAINING TO SUPPORT PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS. In Proceedings of the International Scientific Conference. Volume IV (Vol. 177, p. 186).
  • Marzano, G., & Zorzi, S. (2020, May). COMMUNICATION SKILLS FOR MENTORS IN SOCIAL BUSINESS. In Proceedings of the International Scientific Conference. Volume V (Vol. 213, p. 220).