Soledad Magnone tells us how her masters from Edinburgh has helped develop a career dedicated to closing the digital divide.
Science and Technology in Society
|Year of graduation
At the moment
I'm thrilled to be co-creating projects with people from around the world towards a better digital future for all. I'm experimenting with spaces to facilitate synergies between tech companies, governments, educators, civil society organisations, creative agencies and youth, and learning something new everyday!
Your time at the University
I had the privilege to do my MSc in STIS through a Chevening Scholarship from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and ANII Uruguay (2015/2016). Previously, I had begun my career in the digital education sector as a researcher for a Uruguayan government edtech programme, Plan Ceibal. In 2009 Ceibal managed to swiftly close digital divides in access between households of high and low-income by providing laptops and internet to all public school students and teachers. Fulfilling an MSc STIS at Edinburgh was a fantastic opportunity to develop my expertise in digital education in order to support Ceibal's work in upcoming challenges after its great achievements in digital access.
At Edinburgh I had excellent mentorship and connected with its international community. I studied the dilemmas around children’s rights online and the politics of digital education. At that time in Europe debates on whether digital access improved students' performance and social development were not around as they were in Uruguay. Discussions delved mainly into the challenges of the digital era in relation to human rights, especially in terms of privacy, safety and human dignity. The General Data Protection Regulation was being discussed in the European Union and reports were showing that one third of individuals online were under the age of 18. In this regard, conversations particularly hinged upon implementing strategies that could help comprehensively engage with the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and implementing pathways to balance protection and participation.
After completing my studies I was able to travel through the Highlands and Islands and volunteered in festivals and community activities. This allowed me to connect with the diverse Scottish culture, enjoying its food, music and landscape. My memories are filled with mountain booties, hikes, ceilidhs, gin, whisky, seafood and conversations with people from different walks of life!
Your experiences since leaving the University
After my MSc, I have persistently endeavoured to inform policies and practices in the fields of digital education and children’s rights online. Back in Uruguay, I led the first national survey on children’s online behaviour and risks for which I articulated the local Global Kids Online network of government institutions, UNICEF and universities. To further deepen my understanding in digital education, I pursued an MA in Education Policies for Global Development (GLOBED - Erasmus + Universities Autonomous of Barcelona, Oslo and Malta).
During my MA GLOBED, I analysed Europe as a region with a relevant focus on and international influence on children’s rights and protection online. I also worked at European Schoolnet assisting in the coordination of regional and distributed programmes on these topics. Finally, I dedicated my dissertation to analysing the Council of Europe’s multi-stakeholder and human rights approach of its Digital Citizenship Education project. As a result of this experience, I supported Uruguay’s Information Society and Knowledge e-Government Agency (AGESIC) in the creation of a digital citizenship group coordinating strategies amongst government, academic and civil society organisations.
By the end of 2020, I launched the JAAKLAC initiative to broaden the participation of Latin America and the Caribbean in the creation of a fairer digital future for all. This dream is materialised through projects in critical digital education, research and activism based on human rights, centred on youth and children. Its main projects so far are Digital Causes, Glocal Mesh LAC, Latinx Data Detox, Children Data Protection: Let’s Do It Together, and ESI Digital. These have covered topics such as understanding the internet, relations between digital policies and human rights, online privacy, opportunities of community networks, digital comprehensive sexuality education, digital security and youth participation.
Study can often be an individual process, try finding ways to do it together, especially with people from different regions! A good way to do this is through various practical activities, for example internships, volunteering, organising projects with fellow students, social events or trips. Find experiences that are not strictly related to the field of your programme that can open your mind and help you understand different world views.