We are excited to welcome you to our new Digital Inclusion group! We at NTEN have been working on digital inclusion issues for quite some time, and are happy to launch this space to discuss all things digital inclusion related. Whether you are a digital inclusion newbie or an expert, we want to make this a supportive, productive, and informative space to share information, ask questions, and exchange ideas.
If you are really passionate about this topic and would like to be this group's organizer, please let me know!
In the meanwhile, I'd love to get things started by doing a round of introductions. You can share any introduction you want, but here are some suggestions:
I'll share my answers to kick things off:
Jumping in (better late than never!) with my intro post. Hope others do too! I'm looking forward to learning more about everyone's work and how it intersects with digital inclusion issues.
I'm originally from Massachusetts and moved to Portland (via Maine) 10 years ago. I left my wonderful team at Portland State University in March 2016 when I got the opportunity to help manage NTEN's Digital Inclusion Fellowship.
I'm hoping to learn more about how nonprofits see digital inclusion and digital literacy relates to their work. For some nonprofits, such as adult education organizations and public libraries, it's easy to see to the need and respond with programming. I'd love to learn about how other nonprofits, outside of education, see and respond to needs around digital access and skills.
To shrink to the size of a little green army man and ride on the backs of city pigeons.
Acquiring the skills and confidence to use technology can have profoundly positive effects on individuals' lives.
Kathy Flint, Evanston, IL (Chicago-ish)
Nice to meet you all. I've been an NTEN lurker for several months now. I'm a software engineer by training and a nonprofit executive by necessity. My professional life is built around providing technology (open source software, in particular) to the nonprofit and grassroots social justice community.
Superpower: I'm sitting here thinking about this way too long... I would like to be able to see the ripple effects of every small act of justice that most of us do many times a day, like in some cool inforgraphic.
I would like us (me first in line) to understand the supply-chain and environmental complexities of digital inclusion so that we can set the right goals.
Thanks for introducing yourself! I'm curious to learn more about what you mean about supply chain and environmental complexities. If you come across any good articles, please share!
Ok, "supply chain and environmental complexities" is a doozy of a phrase :)
Just one example of what I'm trying to say:
On the one hand we hear about initiatives, sometimes underwritten by major hardware vendors, to get laptops for every school child: Bing for Schools Offers Classrooms Free Microsoft Surface Tablets
On the other had, there is a well-documented environmental disaster underway with respect to electronic waste. China: The electronic wastebasket of the world
More laptops can only add to environmental degradation unless there is a thoughtful approach to that digital inclusion goal that is informed by a deep understanding of the hardware supply chain and the ultimate environmental and economic outcomes of our choices.
In other words, speaking *very generally* and without passing judgement on any particular initiative or organization: Helping one population at the (inadvertant) expense of another would be a tragic outcome and something I am interested in avoiding. I am also interested in avoiding initiatives that entrench corporate interests while not *actually* benefiting, over time, the populations that are the intended beneficiaries.
Happy to hear reflections on this from folks who are far more invested and knowledgeable of the digital inclusion space than I am!
I understand your point much better now. It's an interesting perspective on the digital inclusion issue. Stepping back for just a moment I can see that in our rush to make the opportunities of technology available to everyone many of us haven't taken the time to consider the environmental impact of the associated hardware. I'm guessing that there are some really smart people thinking about the environmental impact of our device churn, I'll have to check out those links and poke around to learn more.
Thanks for sharing this! And I hope you'll circle back with any future thoughts or connections you make.
Let me make clear that I'm not bringing any indictment or criticism on the digital inclusion community! Just thinking...
With you being in Portland, I wonder if you are acquainted with Free Geek, also located in Portland. They are deep into the digital waste issues and doing really practical work to address it. I bet leadership there could point you to some really informative resources.
Best, and chat later,
Here are my responses:
Thanks for jumping in and introducing yourself in this group! We were able to meet briefly at NTC last year (my first). Hope to see you in DC!
I'd love to talk with you more about innovative digital inclusion programs. We're fortunate enough to have a role in a large variety through our Digital Inclusion Fellowship. I completely agree with your point about the breadth and depth of thinking we need to do around digital inclusion. Two recent items that speak to this: LINCS discussion of technology skills, literacy, problem solving, and the OECD's PS-TRE assessment; blog post from Douglas White at the Carnegie UK Trust.
Look forward to chatting more,
Happy to have fold this valuable resource & the treasured Members...
Humble, willing and eager student towards learning best practices/methods to better Serve our Community & Youth.
Welcome to the group! Sounds like you are already doing some digital inclusion work with your community and youth in particular. Are there any best practices/methods that you've already identified that could be helpful to the other folks in this group?
Thanks and welcome!
I'm so pleased to see this NTEN community. For the last couple of months I've been participating (as a trainer) in a web literacy training pilot at the library. We're using content and curriculum from Mozilla and leading a cohort of library staff through classes on privacy, coding, and web mechanics. (Here's more info on the pilot from Mozilla.) The idea is to educate our staff so they understand more and can pass that knowledge and curiosity on to fellow staff members as well as patrons. I think this article on the "invisible digital divide" in libraries is pretty spot on.
Where you're from/where you are currently?
I was born in Portland, Oregon, moved out to a rural farm for several years, then up to San Juan Island in Washington state before returning to Portland where I've been ever since. I work at Multnomah County Library, which is a library system with 19 branches and many outreach programs.
What are you hoping to learn and how do you hope to use this group?
I'd like to learn how people are improving their work through digital inclusion/literacy, and how people are challenged but persevering. I'd also like to hear how you explain the importance of digital inclusion to people who are new to the concept.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
To look at a building, know the history, and see what it looked like in the past.
If you wanted everyone to know ONE thing about digital inclusion, what would that one thing be?
More people are struggling than you may realize. And who's struggling and what they're challenged by may be different than you'd expect.
Looking forward to learning and sharing with all of you!
Liza, great to see you in this group, thanks for joining!
The digital literacy pilot you're participating in sounds really interesting, and a great model for train the trainer initiatives that are cropping up everywhere. Is there any centralized place where the participating orgs/libraries are collecting their learning and experiences so it may be shared with others? I'd be eager to hear how the pilot progresses and what the takeaways are.
In terms of how to talk about/explain digital inclusion, I think there are many experienced voices in this group that could start giving you some ideas. For me, it greatly depends on who I'm talking to - depending on whether it's a potential participant, a funder, a trainer, etc., I frame the topic in different ways. One piece that can act as the backbone of those explanations is the typical 3-legged stool analogy; digital inclusion is made up of access, devices, and skills. And as to explaining the importance of it, I think drawing on people's personal experiences really helps. Asking folks: when is the last time you applied for a job in person? How did you find the address of this library; did you use Google Maps? Have you ever tried typing up a resume on your smartphone? I think many people take the role of technology and internet in our lives for granted, so making individuals stop and thinking about what it would be like to not have that access/skill is a first step in helping them recognize its importance. I'd be curious what other ideas people have for communicating the importance of digital inclusion!
Looking forward to learning from you and your work!
Thanks for the warm welcome, Leana!
We're using Mozilla Discourse for sharing experiences between libraries, but it hasn't been the most active place. (I'm guilty of not engaging in the forum, too.) I've only taught one of my classes so far, but I'm planning to share ideas and suggestions on the forums after I've taught another class or two since my co-trainer and I may be adjusting some of the activities.
I really like the "3-legged stool analogy" and I'm not sure if I'd heard it before... Thank you for sharing that concept and the talking points! Most of my work involves engaging volunteers and (usually) using technology to make processes and communication easier. The more I learn about digital literacy/inclusion, the more thoughtful I try to be with how my organization uses tech with volunteers. Always more to learn!
Hi! I'm Jayne Cravens, and I live in Portland, Oregon (I'm originally from Kentucky).Digital Inclusion is something I've been an advocate for since the 1990s, when I first learned at just how much the Internet was locking out people with disabilities and people using assistive technologies to navigate what we then called cyberspace. Quite honestly, I never expected, all these years later, to still be beating the drum on this issue. I can't believe I'm still fighting for this kind of inclusion to be a part of discussions about the digital divide - I have experienced resistance not only from organizations regarding making their web sites and online tools fully accessible, but also from people that talk about digital inclusion - they often want to limit discussions to making broadband more widespread and improving access to up-to-date devices to various groups.If I could have any superpower, it would be being able to read while riding in a car. Yes, I consider that a super power. My life would be transformed more by this than being able to fly.