As digital split and digital literacy have entered into deliberations by policy makers – the term Digital Inclusion is still rather new. Importantly, “digital inclusion” has been articulated specifically to address opportunity, access, awareness, and skill. Discussion around the digital split tends to spotlight on the access accessible to individuals, Digital Inclusion is about the need of the community as a whole. In short, digital inclusion is a framework for evaluating and considering access to opportunities in a digital age.
The ubiquity of the Internet cause challenges and chance for individuals and communities alike. These challenges and opportunities have not been evenly distributed. Digital knowledge has opened new domains and leaving some populations remote from the vast digital world. Users are now content creators as much as they are content consumers.
Achievement in the increasingly digitized world requires an inclusive approach to fostering inclusion. Digital Inclusion brings together computer hardware, internet access, information technologies, and digital literacy in method that promote achievement for communities and individuals trying to navigate. Computer hardware and in particular laptops donations are essential steps in providing digital access to those most socially and digitally excluded.
Digital inclusion has three broad facets: access, adoption, and application. These facts show the final goal of create digitally inclusive society.
Access: Ease of use, affordability, design for inclusion, and open access.
Adoption: Relevance, digital literacy, and consumer safety.
Application: Economic and workforce development, education, health care, public security and urgent situation services, civic appointment, and social associates.
In order to get these goals, libraries promote Digital Inclusion, in four significant ways:
By providing that free access to public access technologies in their communities.
By providing access to a variety of digital happy to their community.
By providing digital literacy services that assist individuals navigate, understand, evaluate, and create digital content by a variety of information and communications technologies.
By providing programs and services about key society need areas such as health and wellness, education, employment and workforce development, and civic appointment.
The Digital Inclusion research documents cover the extent to which libraries have met the challenges posed by digital technology. As libraries have completed, much to adapt to both the vast technological and social changes ushered in by the Internet above the past two decades, much more work remains for the future.
Libraries are becoming key societal platform for Digital Inclusion – one that is critical in surmounting the gap in digital equity and literacy while at the same time moving communities forward (see our Digital Inclusion issue brief for more details, including data from the Digital Inclusion Survey).
According to a report “Falling through the Net” over the pond among U.S. households and individuals the data, obtained from Bureau of the Census showed that digital inclusion is rapidly increasing and that households with Internet access soared. However, groups that have traditionally been ”digitally excluded” a digital divide remains–people with disabilities are half as likely to have access to the Internet as those without disabilities; the gap between the national average Internet access rate and rates and those over the age of 50 are the least likely to be Internet users; two-parent households are nearly twice as likely to have Internet access as single-parent households; and rural areas are lagging behind urban areas in broadband penetration.
Here is a summary of another Digital inclusion report from Australia;
Some remote areas of Australia lack an affordable and accessible telecommunications service. Further, lack of access to affordable hardware, software and support is also an inhibitor to participation. Digital Inclusion aims to provide access to information technology for all residents, including appropriate computer hardware, software and user support. Digital Inclusion Initiatives are needed so that people who use computers are more employable and likelier to find jobs that pay above the minimum wage. They can use networks to communicate with others in useful ways and to draw on knowledge. Communities need support to develop the familiarity with the digital economy that will attract business opportunities and investment. It delivers quality community facilities through the installation of cabling or wireless mesh networks in high rise and broad acre public housing estates, and explores opportunities for public-private partnerships to enable residents in public housing to access information technology. A community development model allows resident involvement in the development of social enterprises through training, support, systems development and enterprise management. Relevant Content Like no other medium in our communications history, the internet allows ideas and voices to be shared from community to community and citizen to citizen, with no controlling authority to determine the content or dictating how information is transmitted. All people have the right to contribute to their community in the real-world sense, and the same right should apply online as well. Digital inclusion studies explore how communities can take their content needs into their own hands and develop the information and services that meet the diversity of their local needs, through the establishment of community intranets and appropriate communication systems, and refinement in the delivery of information in languages other than English. Lifelong Learning Encouragement of the use of information technology and development of skills can also be achieved through the establishment of targeted programs delivering education and skills development activities to disadvantaged groups. Because change is the only constant of the information society, it is imperative that people develop the lifelong learning skills to adapt to what amounts to a moving target. The required skills are not just technical or scientific, but include the ability to solve problems, multitask and work well in teams. It develops, coordinates and provides training for residents, to suit their immediate learning needs and help them develop skills to be used in their working and social lives.
The issue of lack of access to digital technology is most strongly felt in communities of concentrated socioeconomic disadvantage, like public housing estates, where there is a high proportion of:
New settlers and people from non-English speaking backgrounds;
People with physical or sensory disabilities;
People with drug and/or alcohol dependency;
Sole parent families;
People with mental illness;
Vulnerable older people and the aged;
Unemployed and/or underemployed people.
The Digital Inclusion Initiatives are needed as action programs that aim to implement a whole-of-community approach to community building and economic development, using new technologies as tools to provide equal access for all residents in disadvantaged communities.
Adopting a direct-action strategy to address issues of affordable access to information technology, economic development of disadvantaged communities, increasing user IT skills, the creation of web-based content that is relevant, and the inspiration of local communities to lifelong learning.
Rather than focusing on individuals in need, whole-of-community solutions are needed to enhance social cohesion and have a mass impact, such as the internet wiring of some public housing estates.
The Digital Inclusion Initiative aims to mobilise government, corporate and philanthropic resources in the form of infrastructure, cash and in kind support to deliver projects in communities.
Affordable Access Many people do not have access to the tools that are essential to full participation in the information age. The elderly, financially disadvantaged, people with disabilities and residents
The Digital Inclusion Initiatives aims to implement a whole-of-community approach to community building and economic development, using new technologies as tools to provide equal access for all residents in disadvantaged communities.
Direct-action strategy is needed to address issues of affordable access to information technology, economic development of disadvantaged communities, increasing user IT skills, the creation of web-based content that is relevant, and the inspiration of local communities to lifelong learning.
Rather than focusing on individuals in need, it concentrates on whole-of-community solutions to enhance social cohesion and have a mass impact
The Digital Inclusion need to mobilise government, corporate firms and charity resources in the form of infrastructure, cash and in kind support to deliver projects in communities.
this is another example how laptop donation projects make a lot of sense,
Digital Inclusion is a program which strives to reduce the technology gap that exists in low-income communities. Providing basic computer refurbishment training to youth, low cost to no cost technical support and affordable technology are all really good examples of sustainable social enterprise supporting residents and local communities.
I am passionate about Social Enterprise and Digital Inclusion so going to try and contribute to this blog as often as possible…
I am delighted to hear that the Digital Inclusion has had a pretty profound effect on many of peoples lives. Many people were very keen across the region to come on board some collaborative projects for the region, beyond the boundaries local community.
However the problem digital and social exclusion for the disadvantaged groups still remains and in some groups it is growing concern.
We all recognise that too many people were suffering from the combined effect of problems such as poverty, unemployment, poor housing, ill health and discrimination – a vicious cycle that was cutting them off from the things that most people take for granted. We also recognised that this waste of human potential was bad for society as a whole. The test of our success is how we support the most disadvantaged people in our society. That means helping people at key stages of their life when they are most at risk and most vulnerable. The transition to adulthood is one of these key stages.
The transition to adulthood is becoming more complex, longer and more risky. It is a time when young people enter a new and exciting world with new rights – and responsibilities. It is also the time when they take decisions that will affect the rest of their lives.
The transition to adulthood is more difficult if you also have to deal with one or more of the following issues: poor housing; homelessness; substance misuse; mental health issues; poor health; poor education or long-term unemployment.
Some young people suffer disproportionately from different types of disadvantage. These include homelessness, worklessness, lack of training or education and poor health.
Transitions is about improving lives series. Many reports address it in more detail particular issues, such as the needs of particular groups, including older people and people who move frequently and the need for social and Digital Inclusion.
The gap between the experiences of disadvantaged groups, such as young adults with complex needs, and the general population, is not a new challenge. But narrowing has been the subject of many strategies to tackle poverty and social exclusion and Digital exclusion and at the heart of reforms to make public services more responsive to the needs of the individual.
However, people facing severe or multiple disadvantages are less likely to benefit from policies. In some cases they tend not to use services as much as others do, and sometimes when they do they are less likely to gain from them.
– people with low literacy, language and numeracy skills;
– disabled people and people with long term health conditions;
– some ethnic minority groups;
– young adults with complex needs;
– excluded older people; and
– some groups that move frequently.
It is no coincidence that the life chances of these groups – measured by socio-economic indicators such as income, employment rates, housing quality and qualifications achieved – are on average relatively poor. Put simply, this means that public services are often least successful for those who need them most. The overall objective would be make digital inclusion more effective for disadvantaged people, in order to improve their life chances.
A projects like laptop donations for disadvataged people can help explore how information and
communication technologies (ICT) can help to address the needs of disadvantaged
groups can maximise the use of ICT in support of those who face multiple
or entrenched problems, and to address inequalities arising between people who
are able to make use of ICT and those who are not.
Excluded older people and digital exclusion. Key issues for the project are early support and preventative services, rather than crisis interventions when action could be too late; greater control and choice for older people to avoid untimely dependency; and joining up services, from benefits to housing to health.
Young Adults with Complex need reports also informed the common challenged relevant for young adults as they make the transition to adulthood. The term ‘complex needs’ describes those who
face particularly severe disadvantage. In many cases, this will mean that they have
interlocking problems where the total represents more than the sum of the parts. It can
also be used to describe the depth of particular problems, as well as the breadth of
problems people may face. This can make people particularly vulnerable and present
a challenge to effective service delivery. Young people accounted for nearly one in 10 of all those accepted as homeless. Young people are the subject of great public interest and debate, often framed relatively negatively in terms of the effect on society of a minority of young people. Young people who have experienced institutional care are significantly more at risk of
social exclusion than other young people; they are much more likely to leave school
without qualifications. The disadvantages above can be compounded by additional factors which result in young people being more vulnerable, more at risk of social exclusion and more likely
to require intensive and accessible support. Not having a computer and lack of online access to the internet limits young people’s ability to access most services in today’s digital world.
Both physical and learning disabilities can compound the social exclusion faced by a young adult and can make the transition to adulthood stressful and difficult. Support organisations may not communicate effectively or provide a holistic approach, and they may not involve the young person, their family or carers enough in planning for the future. As with other services, services for young people with disabilities may be provided on the basis of age rather than need.
Report ‘Improving the life chances of disabled people’ found that: ‘Young people with the most significant impairments tend to experience a delayed transition at 19, on leaving special school. They and their families can experience difficulty co-ordinating the numerous services with which they come into contact. This process becomes more intrusive and complex as the young person approaches adulthood, when changes in entitlement result from change in age and not need, and there are multiple, separate, but overlapping assessment pathways. ‘There are often delays in getting adult services set-up and provision is likely to be age-inappropriate. They may end up in segregated, sometimes costly residential provision, due to the lack of alternative opportunities.’