Summer 2011 Summary

Net Literacy had a busy and exciting summer:

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Financial Connects programs, over a five week period, engaged core city 42 students to create 91 financial literacy videos that correlated with the Department of Education’s Financial Literacy Standards.

Net Literacy taught 100 core city students how to create a business plan and 21st Century learning skills as 16 teams of students competed to most effectively engage a distinguished group of judges including executives from foundations, school, the nonprofit, and for-profit sectors.

Computer Connects programs taught 14 primarily homeless students financial literacy, group dynamics, and computer repurposing skills – 350 computers were completed and will be donated to schools, the parents of students on free lunch programs without a computer at home, libraries, and other nonprofits throughout Indiana so that they can build or expand public computer labs to increase access to broadband.

Net Literacy Receives the 21st Century Achievement Award
Net Literacy Receives the 21st Century Achievement Award

Net Literacy was named the 21st Century Achievement Winner by Computerworld Magazine. Companies were nominated from 31 countries and 264 companies were named “Laurels” and invited to a black tie dinner in Washington DC. 55 finalist in 11 categories were announced, and Net Literacy won the Digital Inclusion category by providing “the IT solution that most contributed to increasing digital inclusion” – the “best practices” website. Other category winners included IBM, the City of Boston, Allstate Insurance, and the US Army.

During the last 30 days, Net Literacy website had 20,000 unique visitors

In August, Net Literacy delivered 223 computers to eight United Ways in eight counties benefiting 38 public libraries, youth centers, senior centers, community centers, and other nonprofits.

A Indiana Department of Education – Net Literacy partnership enabled Net Literacy to donate 750 computers to 14 schools throughout the state this summer.

For more information, email Daniel Kent at [email protected]

Cyber Cafe Association of India Brings Internet to the People

Editor’s Choice “Best Practice” for Digital Literacy

How does an enterprising association empower the people of an enterprising country with the power of the Internet?  The Cyber Cafe Association of India (CCAOI) brings the world class infrastructure that entrepreneurs and citizens require to the masses – and is helping to facilitate the significant economic growth that India is enjoying.  Part of the CCAOI’s success is because they work closely with the Government, Regulators, Policy Makers, and mjaor Industry Chambers.

Digital Literacy is enabler and a catalyst for change in India.  The impact of this association is significant – providing Internet access through it’s 180,000 cyber cafes and 75,000 Public Internet Access Providers.

This initiative is helping to bridge the digital divide for millions of Indians in a cost-effective manner, enabling users to access the Internet for information, communications, and entertainment.  Digital Literacy’s editors agree that CCAOI affiliated cafes have redefined the positioning for cyber cafes, essentially as service provision stores, and has awarded CCAOI as a Digital Literacy’s Editor’s Choice


For additional information, click on the website image above or visit:

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.