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Digital ignorance in powerful circles September 24, 2008

Posted by Stuart Parker in goverment, Informal learning, social media.
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The Government’s response to tackling the digital divide has them coming up with a new scheme offering “vouchers” to low-income families enabling them to get online at home. This scheme is costing £300 million. Providing these vouchers will not address the problem, let alone overcome it. We’ve said it before and we’ll keep on saying it until somebody with ears in the appropriate places, gets the message.

It’s not about the access….

The ongoing evolution of the Internet..and it will be all about the Internet, means that people who are still to use the technology or have limited experience, are being left behind at an unacceptable rate. There are some small movements to address the real issues here but it’s all too slow and lacking in volume to make a difference.

I chatted with Nick Booth last night about the situation and we drew similar conclusions about what should actually be happening with that money. It should be providing training, guidance, communication, advice etc delivered by the people with the right skills and attitude and in a manner that recognises that the way we learn will need to change to make the most of what the internet is becoming. These “digital mentors” can be the answer to an as yet fully realised situation.

Our project is in the throws of equipping these mentors with the kind of knowledge and skills that will benefit those excluded from the digital community. Hopefully before too long, those who make the decisions will be aware of what’s actually going on and who knows, maybe do something about it.

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Notes from OCN meeting Friday 11th July 08 July 15, 2008

Posted by Stuart Parker in Informal learning, Meeting, NBSE, social media.
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I met with Sue Barton at OCN in Stoke last Friday to discuss the project and how OCN fits into the whole set up. Again, the project got the thumbs up from Sue and we found ourselves agreeing on many things specifically around the whole Adult Education / IT / Learning areas. Initially, I was keen to explore the potential of new courses / units based on our Web2.0 platform but found myself having a “a-ha!” moment when Sue suggested utilising the existing portfolio. Having looked at the unit requirements and outcomes I am more than confident that we can use their framework to deliver recognised and relevant qualifications. I am still keen to explore the development of a new course(s) but at this stage of the project, I think the OCN route seems feasible.

First thoughts are that the project aims to deliver the NOCN Entry Level Award for Progression (Entry 3). This qualification has a certain flexibility in it’s delivery options and can easily map the projects aims / issues such as engagement, worklessness and confidence. “These quals develop the skills and knowledge that will enable people to progress to further / higher education or employment” (OCN). Without going into too much detail, each participant would undertake a series of sessions totalling approx 30 hours. In these sessions, they would cover areas such as personal learning programmes, job seach skills, interview techniques, internet & email usage (There are many existing units to choose from and as a project, we need to decide which will be most suitable) but with our project twist of everything delivered using social media / web2.0 applications, including all the evidencing and reporting plus anything else we can think to chuck in to the mix.

So while we have that task to work through, we also need the project to become a registered OCN centre. So apart from the usual form filling stuff, this is actually taking us somewhat down the route of a real structure for the project..marvelous! These things obviously don’t happen for free, but we built in the centre recognition costs into our project startup bid through UNLTD, which we’re still awaiting news on.

The future web by the guy who invented it…. July 9, 2008

Posted by Stuart Parker in Informal learning, NBSE, social media.
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An audio interview via BBC with Sir Tim Berners-Lee who pretty much invented the World Wide Web. He talks about the ‘semantic web’ which in simple terms is kinda like all the information and data available online being available in one language, so it can be shared by everyone. Some of today’s online stuff is starting to hint at this progression and our project by default will keep track of these developments. It’s these developments that our project will use as a platform to deliver on.

Bridging the digital divide is about strengthening human networks not internet access. June 11, 2008

Posted by Stuart Parker in Informal learning, NBSE, Social Enterprise, social media.
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Another extremely relevant debate sparked by Nick Booth (Podnosh) this time addressing the issues of the digital divide. This is a subject which is at the very heart of what I believe the NBSE project will look to address. I agree with most of what is being said in that the focus should be on the communities not the technology but I do have some fears that the wrong people will be rushing to throw their weight behind any potential progress.

Hands up whose blog helps them learn? The Charity Commission thinks you’re wrong. June 10, 2008

Posted by Stuart Parker in Informal learning, NBSE, social media.
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Nick Booth AKA Podnosh gets some debate going on a recent Charity Commissions report.

Informal Adult Learning consultation May 28, 2008

Posted by Stuart Parker in Informal learning, Social Enterprise.
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The Dept. for Innovation, Universities & Skills (DIUS) are currently running a consultation regarding the way forward for informal adult learning. It’s been running from January so we’re a tad late on this but the consultation is open until June 12th so at least there’s time to have a look at the proposals and responses etc from the likes of NIACE.

Just a quick aside, no more posts from me now until after June 7th. The proposed NBSE meet is planned for the following week so we’ll pick things up again about then.

Wordcamp UK (Birmingham) May 21, 2008

Posted by Stuart Parker in chat with us, Informal learning, Meeting, NBSE, Social Enterprise, social media.
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WordCamp UK is an informal gathering of WordPress bloggers, podcasters, designers and developers. There is to be an event in July based in Birmingham. As NBSE recognises that blogging has a somewhat prominenet place in our plans / project, we thought it would be a good platform for us and anybody else to discuss our aims and objectives within a specific blogging context. We have requested a slot at the event and will post more information as and when we have it.

As an aside, the wordcamp UK blog has been set up and run by one of the NBSE group members, Mark Steadman.

Informal learning in 10 minutes May 20, 2008

Posted by Stuart Parker in Informal learning, NBSE, social media.
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Via Steve Mackenzie