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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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5 comments

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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