One-on-One Training Works When Other Instruction Doesn’t

Seniors and those with disabilities often learn best via one-to-one training
Seniors and those with disabilities often learn best via one-to-one training

Some senior citizens, new immigrants, those with disabilities, and others have taken computer training in past without success. Those individuals tend to be more technophobic and many believe that they cannot learn because the are “too old” or for other reasons. One NGO using the Senior Connects model has experienced a 90% “graduation rate” with this type of populations group – but it involved teaching these individuals on a one-to-one basis so that the lessons covering the materials in the training manual could progress at a pace that was comfortable for the “student.” Because Senior Connects pairs high school students to teach senior citizens, the student volunteers are able to identify the value proposition (e.g., email friends and family, researching health issues, and instant access to news and weather) for each individual that they are instructing. This, together with the social aspect of the “senior citizen students” telling others that it wasn’t as hard as they thought encourages others to give digital literacy training a second chance.

Users’ Value Propositions Creates Digital Literacy Context

Learning how to use a computer is necessary to find a high paying job
Learning how to use a computer is necessary to find a high paying job

Digital Literacy is a process. It includes identifying a prospective user’s value proposition and overcoming barriers, concerns, and misconceptions about accessing the Internet, teaching computer and Internet skills, educating the user about Internet safety, providing those applications and websites that make use of the Internet relevant to the user, technical support, and of course, broadband connectivity. Some NGOs reinforce a new users’ value proposition during each training session, allowing the last 10 minutes of each hour training session to discuss what is important to the new user and thereby reinforcing the importance of broadband, digital literacy, and the Internet.

NGOs use Digital Literacy to Create a Cycle of Philanthropy

Children learn about philanthropy when NGOs explain their mission and engage the youth
Children learn about philanthropy when NGOs explain their mission and engage the youth

Many NGOs teach philanthropy by example – and children, when offered an explanation, embraced the concept of “giving back to others” at an early age.  The Digital Generation seems to take to technology more readily than other generations, and the mastery of technology will be increasingly important to this generation’s ability to compete and enjoy the richness that will be increasingly most accessible via broadband and the Internet.  Also, children that are the beneficiaries of computer labs and computer training often become the next generations’ teachers and philanthropists.

Digital Connects Launches Alpha 1.0

Digital Connects Launches Alpha V1.0 on September 3, 2010

A work in process

At the request of ISP associations, broadband providers, NGOs, businesses, and governments, Net Literacy was asked to create a digital literacy “best practices” website. Construction of the website began on August 25th, testing began on August 27th, and the Alpha v1.0 of this site was launched on September 3, 2010. Additional website functionality is in the process of being added. More than a dozen partners/contributors/supporters from three continents have already provided over 350 “best practice submissions.” We will be adding them once we complete the basic functionality of this site. There is no cost to use or submit best practices on this site – and we appreciate the international community’s support, suggestions, and comments.

Digital Literacy will officially launch on October 21st in celebration of our Afterschool Alliance Lights On campaign.  More about this program that promotes government support for afterschool programs that help working families, keep students safe, and increase students success can be found by clicking on this link.

Please send all comments to [email protected] and thank you for increasing broadband adoption, digital inclusion, and digital literacy!

NGOs Increase the Digital Literacy of the Disabled

NGOs Help those with Disabilities Cross the Digital Divide
NGOs Help those with Disabilities Cross the Digital Divide

Visual impairment, hearing loss, mobility impaired, and a host of other disabilities result in population groups with disabilities having lower broadband adoption when compared to the universe of potential users. NGOs use a variety of tactics to help those with disabilities. Specialized equipment is difficult to procure but innovative NGOs are able to work with caregivers to identify alternative solutions. Training manuals with larger print, one-on-one training with those that are hearing impaired, and installing computer labs inside independent living facilities for the mobility impaired are a few of the many ways NGOs innovate novel ways to help increase digital literacy.

NGO Volunteers Gains as Much as They Give

Volunteers Gain as Much as They Give
Volunteers Gain as Much as They Give

Some NGOs empower student volunteers to help teach digital literacy. Those individuals learn job skills, and life skills while serving their community. As stated by one volunteer, “I volunteered to help teach others – but I found that I learned more than those that I taught.”

The Digital Divide and the Intergenerational Divide

Digital Divide and the Intergenerational Divide
Digital Divide and the Intergenerational Divide

Digital inclusion NGOs use many approaches to reach out to the members of their communities. Sometimes student volunteers teach inside independent living facilities, some schools adopt senior centers, and some schools invite senior citizens into their school to be taught by students after school. Through this program, as the digital divide is being crossed by seniors, the intergenerational divide is being crossed by student-volunteers.

Internet Safety Training is a Critical Aspect of Digital Literacy

Student volunteers teaching children how to use the Internet safely
Student volunteers teaching children how to use the Internet safely

Some non-adopters do not choose to become digitally literate because they are concerned about their safety on the Internet. Cyber-bullying, Net predators, viruses, scams and fraud – there are as many dangers online as there are in the “real world.” But knowledge is power and those NGOs that include Internet safety training as a required component of their digital literacy program are providing those they serve the complete product.

Some NGOs Also Provide Technical Support

Some NGOs provide technical support for their constituents
Some NGOs provide technical support for their constituents

Increasing sustainable broadband adoption starts with identifying an individual’s broadband value proposition and then requires a computer, broadband, computer training, Internet training, and Internet safety training. Follow up technical and customer support helps increase new users’ comfortableness and expedites the learning experience. Technical and customer support ensures that new broadband users receive ongoing assistance when it’s most important – during the first six months after users receive their first computer.

Computers are Staged After Refurbishing

Computers staged after refurbishing
Computers staged after refurbishing

Computer refurbishing is made more difficult for many NGOs because they are not sufficiently funded to have the storage facilities they require for efficient operations. But when NGOs partner with government, businesses, and other NGOs, real synergy can be created. Since digital literacy is becoming increasingly important to government and businesses that seek to facilitate a competitive and highly trained labor force, they have a vested interest in maximizing digital literacy.