City of Carmel Proclaims “Net Literacy Week”

Mayor Jim Brainard has proclaimed March 18th to March 24th as “Net Literacy Week” in Carmel, Indiana.

Net Literacy was founded by middle school students attending Carmel Middle School in 2003, and beginning in 2005, students at Carmel High School have repurposed computers after school for more than ten years. On May 18th, Carmel High School’s Net Literacy chapter was recognized by Mayor Brainard and the City of Carmel for repurposing and donating over 5,000 computers. These computers donations have been distributed to community centers, senior centers, public libraries, schools, and K12 families in Carmel and throughout Indiana.

Also, Carmel High School students have assisted hundreds of Carmel residents at senior centers and independent living facilities by teaching them computer, internet, and device skills.  Carmel Clay Schools elementary and middle school students have also helped increased internet safety awareness through in school presentations and by staring in safety PSAs that were scripted by Net Literacy student volunteers and carried on television throughout central Indiana.

Receiving the proclamation were Ethan Welp and Evan Kenyon, two Carmel High School students and Net Literacy volunteers. Also recognized was Carmel Clay Schools teacher Stacie Fowler, who sponsors the Net Literacy club at Carmel High School.

For more information, please contact danielkent (at)





IPS School Board Honors Net Literacy During January 2017 School Board Meeting

January 26, 2017

The IPS School Board honored Net Literacy with a certificate of special recognition for donating 17,000 computers to IPS schools and IPS K-12 families. Also, Net Literacy was recognized for engaging thousands of IPS students as volunteers after school and employing hundreds of IPS students during its annual summer internship programs. For more information, contact danielkent(at)

Best Told in Pictures: Net Literacy Student Volunteers Help Senior Citizens Learn to Use Social Media and Their Devices

March 10, 2017

A team of student volunteers visiting an independent living facility to help answer senior’s questions about using their devices and social media as part of the Senior Connects program. It’s best told in pictures. For additional information, email danielkent(at)

CoderDojo is an Irish NGO that takes care of setting up the clubs and organizing free meeting to teach young people how to program


CoderDojo Italy, following the international guidelines of CoderDojo, aims mainly to bring the boys to develop their digital skills.The program, in fact, it helps you to use independently and consciously technology. The children, with the help of the softwareopen source , realize their programs, video games, presentations, animations, and share them online with the entire community.

Results achieved
Learning to program not only offers access to professions increasingly required, but is a way of approaching actively technology, it helps to develop logical and computational thinking and provides new tools for personal expression. It also helps to hone some skills (think creatively, reason schematically, collaborate with others), fundamental for students, no matter what will be their field of study or their occupation.


Generally involve two phases lasting about an hour each, with the moment of exchange and sociability of the snack break.

In the first part, one of the mentors at all illustrates the creation of a project through a tutorial, that kids are free to follow or not, possibly adapting it to their preferences and their capabilities. For example, if the tutorial is to create a video game where a shark has to eat fish, kids can choose alternate characters, such as a monkey that has to reach the bananas, thus maintaining the dynamics of the game.

After the break, everyone is invited to create their own project, experimenting in a context in which any new information assumes a spendable immediate, as in the case of the variables introduced to store the score in a video game.

With increasing experience of the participants, the guided always leaves more space for the realization of individual and group projects, exploring new languages more and more complex as HTML and Python, or approaching through electronic platforms such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

Methods of implementation

CoderDojo uses mainly Scratch, a visual programming environment, free and open-source , very simple and intuitive, designed to allow a first approach to programming by anyone.

In Scratch, the instructions are represented by graphic elements that can be composed to create animated stories, video games, art and simulations. Projects can be shared with the Scratch online community through a social platform where you can exchange comments, create galleries, access and modify other projects, making it the remix .

Scratch is now used by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, mainly between 7 and 18 years, and is the most appropriate tool and spread to take their first steps in programming.

The adults involved in the workshops are facilitators of the learning process. This is accomplished through a very informal interpersonal relationship, the absence of feedback, continuous encouragement to improve, the stimulus to collaboration and sharing. At each meeting involving several mentors, basically one of every four children, who in this way can also be followed closely and addressed individually to learn, respecting their own pace.


CoderDojo caters for the time and above all, to children and teenagers from 7 to 14 years.

They were made of the pilot experiences with children aged 5 and 6 years and also directed a workshop for teachers in which the tools, methods and paths were the same used in classic laboratories.


Since this is an open and free are not available reliable data on the number of beneficiaries reached and results in measurable terms.

Since February 2013 to today, they were born in the country more than 30 clubs, both in cities and in small towns. Some datarelated to only 50% of Italians dojo, indicate that the meetings were over 100 and have recorded more than 3000 participants. Upon submission of this platform, they are springing up elsewhere.

Digital literacy – Best practices from the contest organised by Digital Italy Agency


Digital literacy – Best practices from the contest organised by Digital Italy Agency

The award winning initiatives were selected on the basis of their consistency with the objectives of the Italian National Programme for Culture, Education and Digital Skills and of their sustainability, scalability, size, verifiability, actual or potential impact, user-friendliness, openness.  Below are the 10 winning good practices in digital literacy and inclusion: check them out (IT only).

Digital literacy is the topic of the ongoing discussion on ICT4Society Café: join the debate and let us know about your experience and good practices!

The Benton Foundation’s Digital Inclusion and Meaningful Broadband Adoption Initiatives by Colin Rhinesmith, Ph.D.



Digital Inclusion and Meaningful Broadband Adoption Initiatives

This report presents findings from a national study of digital inclusion organizations that help low-income individuals and families adopt high-speed Internet service. The study looked at eight digital inclusion organizations across the United States that are working at the important intersection between making high speed Internet available and strengthening digital skills—two essential and interrelated components of digital inclusion, which is focused on increasing digital access, skills, and relevant content.

The four digital inclusion activities highlighted in this report were reported as being necessary for helping low-income individuals and families adopt broadband in ways that were most appropriate to their personal needs and contexts:

1 Providing low-cost broadband: Cost continues to be a major barrier to broadband adoption. Successful interventions will need to address “ability to pay” rather than “willingness to pay.” While all low-income individuals and families who participated in this study understood the value of broadband connectivity, most explained that cost remained the most significant barrier to adoption. Successful digital inclusion efforts should recognize the role that persistent poverty plays in shaping people’s abilities to access and use computers and the Internet. The findings suggest that more research is needed to understand budgeting issues and other concerns related to people’s experiences living in poverty.

2 Connecting digital literacy training with relevant content and services: Many digital inclusion organizations have developed innovative digital literacy training strategies to assist those who do not feel the Internet is relevant to them as well as those who already understand the importance of the Internet to their everyday lives. Many organizations also provide mobile digital literacy training in which they go outside their physical walls to reach people in places that are convenient to them.

3 Making low-cost computers available: Low-cost or free computers are often just as important as having access to low-cost or free Internet options, particularly for people in low-income communities. Digital inclusion organizations have embraced this reality by refurbishing older computers and making them available to low-income people for free or at a reduced cost. Some digital inclusion organizations also provide ongoing technical support to residents who need the social and technical assistance to keep their computers up and running—and connected online—over time.

4 Operating public access computing centers: Many digital inclusion organizations also maintain public access computing facilities that allow residents to access technology in places in which they feel comfortable and supported. These spaces also complement the digital literacy classes that are often offered in the same location. Low-income individuals and families value public access computing centers because they are often in convenient locations and have helpful staff that provide them with one-on-one support with computers and broadband Internet access.

The goal of this report is to help policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels, as well as researchers, practitioners, and other key stakeholders, gain a deeper understanding of how digital inclusion organizations and their community partners can be successful in their efforts to promote meaningful broadband adoption. In addition to the activities highlighted above, this research also notes:

• The importance of citywide and regional initiatives: All of the organizations identified the importance of citywide and regional digital inclusion initiatives and indicated the strength in coming together with other community partners and collaborators to support digital inclusion activities and share best practices. However, funding remains an issue to support these broader digital inclusion coalitions.

• Concerns about program sustainability: No one or mix of commercial providers delivers the full suite of access, computing, and training that non-adopters need to take advantage of the content and services broadband has to offer. Moreover, most organizations that participated in this study expressed a concern that funding for organizations is limited. More funding and support are needed for all organizations in this study that are connecting low-income residents to low-cost Internet, digital literacy training, low-cost computers, and public access computing.

• The need for outcomes-based evaluation: Most of the digital inclusion organizations that participated in this study did not have outcomes-based evaluation frameworks. However, all recognized the importance of having them. One of the surprising findings from the study was the need for outcomes-based evaluation frameworks at both the organizational and citywide/regional levels. This remains a need in many of the organizations studied.

• Digital inclusion and broader policy goals: This report also joins other researchers who have argued that digital inclusion needs to be connected to broader policy issues in order to show the impacts of digital inclusion and meaningful broadband adoption initiatives.

Rhinesmith, Colin. “Digital Inclusion and Meaningful Broadband Adoption Initiatives.” Evanston, IL: Benton Foundation, January 2016.



Digital Badges and Certificates – do they have value in your “Do It Yourself” Learning Ledger?


The Woman’s Learning Studio

Digital Badges and Certificates – do they have value in your DIY Learning Ledger?

Jane Hart, whom I follow, had some intriguing quotes from her favorite April blogs in her blog this week. One of them was by Ralph Thomas from the  EreMedia blog entitled When It Comes To Career, It’s Up To Every Employee To Stay Relevant. I clicked on the link and read the blog. In it Thomas chronicled the rise and demise of various companies, and their workers, who did not keep pace with changing moires and trends in their industries. Here is an excerpt:

The workplace of today is changing, and workers’ skill sets must keep pace with employers’ expectations. However, who determines that expectation if your livelihood is dependent on some employer to make the right strategic moves? They lose, and ultimately, you lose.

For this reason, every one of us must have a career strategy, and that strategy should be guided by your industry’s trajectory. You should be fine-tuned to the intricacies of your profession.

You have no choice. You have to self-develop to stay relevant. Always remember that YOUare in charge of your career  Never get sucked into the “company knows best” approach to your career.

Doris and I have been “preaching” the DIY lifelong learning philosophy in this blog since we began in 2013. Keeping up with your career industry, changing to a new career, or seeking volunteer opportunities all require updating existing skills, acquiring new skills, and exploring what skills are needed to succeed.

Last week’s blog, New World of Work, PKM, and Learning Ledger of the Future, introduced the digital Learning Ledger as a wave of the future that will capture and document all of  your learning in one place, open to employers, your learning networks, work teams, and others that might be interested. Although the digital Learning Ledger is still on the horizon, we can start collecting our learning experiences now to show what we know and are able to do.

Many digital learning opportunities (such as MOOCs from major universities, online courses, private learning companies such as, or Treehouse for learning how to code) offer certificates of completion and digital badges for specific tasks along the way. You may have seen these displayed on websites, LinkedIn profiles, blogs, or digital portfolios. They are becoming more prevalent.

What are Digital Certificates and Badges?

Brad Zomick identifies 5 classes of online credentials in Prove Your Skills: Test-Based Online Credentials from by Brad Zomick from 2013:

  1. College degrees: Online, blended, or on site BA, BS, MA, MS, PhD from an accredited college or university. These degrees still have the greatest value.
  2. Test-based credentials: earned by taking multiple project-based or multiple-choice tests in various skill areas.
  3. Online badges: individuals can demonstrate job skills, educational accomplishments, online course completion, specific tasks along the way, or just about anything else that a badge creator decides.  A ‘badge’ can mean almost anything.
  4. Completion certificates: Documentation of completing all the segments of a course. Like badges, completion certificates can mean anything from passing tests to viewing all the video components without documentation of learning.
  5. Online certificates: Earning an online certificate from an online college, a company or an industry-specific organization is typically much more  involved than the other credentials, and are often connected to specific job functions.

Zomick states: Among alternative credentials, online certificates currently command the highest value and are nearly comparable to a traditional degree.

He believes that alternative credentials are going to gain more prominence as time goes on. He says:

The future of education is free — free content, courses and textbooks. However, without a way for students to validate their knowledge and prove their skills, this is only one step (albeit a significant one) towards reforming higher education. Many are now beginning to attack the problem of accreditation — helping develop the next generation of certificates, badges and credentials that will allow self-learners to prove their knowledge in order to get employment and advance in their careers. The race is on to (slowly) replace the college degree as the primary way for companies to evaluate and validate talent.

Mozilla, the open source company that powers the internet browser Firefox among other initiatives, created a badge backpack in 2012 in concert with the MacArthur Foundation to house digital badges you acquire. Since they are an open source company (no proprietary copyright or use fee – their code and products are free), they believe in open source badges. Their wiki describes open source badges this way:

A digital badge is an online representation of a skill you’ve earned. Open Badges take that concept one step further, and allows you to verify your skills, interests and achievements through credible organizations and attaches that information to the badge image file, hard-coding the metadata for future access and review. Because the system is based on an open standard, earners can combine multiple badges from different issuers to tell the complete story of their achievements — both online and off. Badges can be displayed wherever earners want them on the web, and share them for employment, education or lifelong learning.

Their backpack houses your badges in one place ( a beginning ledger). Here is the infographic of their open badge and backpack concept:

The Open Badge and Backpack from Mozilla:

These badges have set criteria associated with them, so each badge has requirements for being awarded. The requirements or skills associated with the badge are visible. In other words, each badge gives you the information of what was achieved and accomplished to be awarded. Unlike the casual badges that can mean anything, these badges have gained some traction and are now awarded in conjunction with IMS Global Learning Consortium that uses them for credentialing, learning management systems such as Canvas, and the MOOC company edX. The badges are now under the auspices of edX (a MOOC conglomerate of Harvard, MIT, and Stanford among others) and Concentric Sky, and the open badging system is now called Badgr.


Does Displaying Digital Certificates and Badges Matter?

In a follow up article on, What’s It Worth? Certificates, Badges and Online Portfolios, Brad Zomick has this to say about the impact and usefulness of displaying digital certificates and badges:

A certificate of completion doesn’t mean very much. It’s a bit like when you got a trophy in 3rd grade soccer simply for showing up. Many online course providers dole them out to students who have simply sat through the entire video, including learning libraries like There is also a “badge of completion”, which is nearly identical except that a badge is a bit more digital.

…there is anecdotal evidence to support that a certificate alone is not enough to land you a job.

The perceived value of certificates of completion and badges will vary in value from employer to employer. Employers who have actually taken online courses and even learned their trade via an online learning platforms will have a better appreciation for the time you spent and the badges you earned. The majority of traditional employers, however, will not be intimately familiar … and will look upon these badges and certificates with skepticism.

Badges awarded by Badgr have more validity as they are associated with edX’s prestigious universities and have criteria associated with them. Displaying certificates and badges on your LinkedIn profile or other professional profile next to the corresponding job or project description adds validity to all badges and certificates. It does not hurt to display them, but putting them in context with your work elevates their importance.

Zomick suggests using an ePortfolio of your work with badges and certificates embedded in the appropriate places next to your work. Actual examples of what you have done with the skills you have acquired to do the work have the most validity to employers. Sounds like a Learning Ledger, doesn’t it?

Have you acquired digital credentials? Do you display them on your professional sites? What has your experience been with displaying them?

Resources used for this blog:

Wikipedia: Open Badges:

Skilled Up: Prove Your Skills: Test-based Online Credentials

Skilled Up: What’s It Worth? Certificates, Badges, and Online Portfolios

Mozilla Wiki: Open Source Badges

EreMedia: When It Comes To Career, It’s Up To Every Employee To Stay Relevant

Featured image of badges and certificates from the talented artists at Pixabay

Mozilla Backpack infographic from the Mozilla wiki

To learn more about the author, click on the link: Lisa 


Spam can include bogus offers that could cost you time and money. The USA’s Federal Trade Commission challenges teens to a digital literacy “game” of SPAM SLAM SCAM!


Three rounds. Three strikes. Make it through this game, and it’s clear — you’re on to spam scams and not likely to get slammed by the next one.

Unwanted commercial email – also known as “spam” – can be annoying. Worse, it can include bogus offers that could cost you time and money. Take steps to limit the amount of spam you get, and treat spam offers the same way you would treat an uninvited telemarketing sales call. Don’t believe promises from strangers. Learn to recognize the most common online scams.

How Can I Reduce the Amount of Spam I Get?

Use an email filter.

Check your email account to see if it provides a tool to filter out potential spam or to channel spam into a bulk email folder. You might want to consider these options when you’re choosing which Internet Service Provider (ISP) or email service to use.

Limit your exposure.

You might decide to use two email addresses — one for personal messages and one for shopping, newsletters, chat rooms, coupons and other services. You also might consider using a disposable email address service that forwards messages to your permanent account. If one of the disposable addresses begins to receive spam, you can shut it off without affecting your permanent address.

Also, try not to display your email address in public. That includes on blog posts, in chat rooms, on social networking sites, or in online membership directories. Spammers use the web to harvest email addresses.

Check privacy policies and uncheck boxes.

Check the privacy policy before you submit your email address to a website. See if it allows the company to sell your email to others. You might decide not to submit your email address to websites that won’t protect it.

When submitting your email address to a website, look for pre-checked boxes that sign you up for email updates from the company and its partners. Some websites allow you to opt out of receiving these mass emails.

Choose a unique email address.

Your choice of email addresses may affect the amount of spam you receive. Spammers send out millions of messages to probable name combinations at large ISPs and email services, hoping to find a valid address. Thus, a common name such as jdoe may get more spam than a more unique name like j26d0e34. Of course, there is a downside – it’s harder to remember an unusual email address.

How Can I Help Reduce Spam for Everyone?

Hackers and spammers troll the internet looking for computers that aren’t protected by up-to-date security software. When they find unprotected computers, they try to install hidden software – called malware – that allows them to control the computers remotely.

Many thousands of these computers linked together make up a “botnet ,“ a network used by spammers to send millions of emails at once. Millions of home computers are part of botnets. In fact, most spam is sent this way.

Don’t let spammers use your computer.

You can help reduce the chances that your computer will become part of a botnet:

  • Use good computer security practices and disconnect from the internet when you’re away from your computer. Hackers can’t get to your computer when it’s not connected to the internet.
  • Be cautious about opening any attachments or downloading files from emails you receive. Don’t open an email attachment — even if it looks like it’s from a friend or coworker — unless you are expecting it or you know what it is. If you send an email with an attached file, include a message explaining what it is.
  • Download free software only from sites you know and trust. It can be appealing to download free software – like games, file-sharing programs, and customized toolbars. But remember that free software programs may contain malware.

Detect and get rid of malware.

It can be difficult to tell if a spammer has installed malware on your computer, but there are some warning signs:

  • Your friends may tell you about weird email messages they’ve received from you.
  • Your computer may operate more slowly or sluggishly.
  • You may find email messages in your sent folder that you didn’t send.

If your computer has been hacked or infected by a virus, disconnect from the internet right away. Then take steps to remove malware.

Report Spam (if in the United States)

Forward unwanted or deceptive messages to:

  • the Federal Trade Commission at [email protected]. Be sure to include the complete spam email.
  • your email provider. At the top of the message, state that you’re complaining about being spammed. Some email services have buttons that allow you to mark messages as junk mail or report them spam.
  • the sender’s email provider, if you can tell who it is. Most web mail providers and ISPs want to cut off spammers who abuse their system. Again, make sure to include the entire spam email and say that you’re complaining about spam.

If you try to unsubscribe from an email list and your request is not honored, file a complaint with the FTC

In the UK, Digital Champions are at the center of One Digital and are delivering sustainable digital skills to people right across society.

The Digital Champion Network

The Digital Champions Network (DCN) is a unique and comprehensive online platform that provides Digital Champion training and a support community for people who go through that training.

Shared with housing providers, local authorities and other regional and national organisations it is successfully turning hundreds of volunteers into Digital Champions who can provide effective digital skills support.

With courses, resources and forums specifically designed to develop the critical skills needed for a successful Digital Champion, the DCN is a unique and low-cost way to help people to get and stay online.The Digital Champions Network (DCN) is a supported online solution to create, train and support Digital Champions in your community.  Click on the image below to view the info-graphic.



What are Basic Digital Skills?

Basic Digital Skills have been defined by digital skills charity Go ON UK in consultation with a range of expert organisations. Basic Digital Skills empower the individual to use digital technologies to: manage information; communicate; transact; problem solve, and, create.

Why is it important to have Basic Digital Skills?

Today’s world is a digital world and those without the skills to participate in it are disadvantaged. Over 12 million people (around 1 in 5 UK adults) don’t have basic digital skills (Go ON) and as a result they have less opportunity to realise the individual, social, economic and health related benefits that having digital skills provides.

It has been estimated that the annual social value of every individual getting online for the first time is £1,064 (BT Valuing Digital Inclusion, 2014).  The ability for individuals to use digital also results in them:

  • Having more confidence.
  • Making financial savings online.
  • Feeling less bored.
  • Having more opportunities to pursue hobbies.
  • Developing new job-seeking skills.
  • Reducing their social isolation.

What is a Digital Champion?

Digital Champions are people, such as staff, volunteers, friends and family members, who already interact with those who need better digital skills. Digital Champions are not technical wizards but have passion and confidence with using digital technology and a willingness to help others.

What difference can a Digital Champion make to helping people online?

When there is an existing relationship between a potential Digital Champion and an end beneficiary, there is an opportunity to add digital skills support into it. That digital skills support – whether it is signposting, advice or hands on tuition – is much more impactful because it is relevant and personalised for that engaged individual. Digital Champions can also provide accessible and regular support, giving that long term help that many internet beginners need.

This One Digital infographic shows exactly how Digital Champions can make a difference.

How are the Digital Champions being trained and supported?

At the heart of One Digital, is Digital Unite’s Digital Champions Network, an e-learning platform and support network. It provides courses, resources and Mentor support to hone and develop personal skills and the essential teaching techniques. It is also the central area where data about Champion and end learner activities is collated. Digital Champions also receive Mozilla Open Badges, the emerging online approach to professional verification, for every course they complete. Open Badges are shareable and transferable and Digital Champions can use them on CVs and on LinkedIn as a recognition of the skills and aptitudes they have gained via the Network

Getting in touch:

  • If you would like to know more about the One Digital programme and its partners please contact Emma Weston, One Digital Programme Director and Chief Executive of Digital Unite at [email protected].
  • If you are interested in becoming a Digital Champion please email [email protected] or call 0800 228 9272.
  • For all media enquiries about One Digital please contact Katharine Teed, Communications Manager at Digital Unite [email protected] / 0800 228 9272.