Sunday, April 09, 2017

What I Learned About Digital Inclusion at the 2017 Nonprofit Technology Conference

I attended the Nonprofit Technology Conference two weeks ago. Most of the sessions I attended were about digital inclusion, which will help me improve NTEN's Digital Inclusion Online Community that I organize.

NTEN’s Digital Inclusion Toolkit: Resource Sprint

This session was to brainstorm ideas to add to NTEN's Digital Inclusion Toolkit.  We divided up into 6 groups, one for each topic. After 10 minutes, we switched to another group.

Topics were:
  1.  Participant Outreach & Engagement, Engaging Volunteers and Staff
  2.  Partnerships
  3.  Classroom Management and Development
  4.  Curriculum and Tools
  5.  Connecting to the Digital Inclusion Community and Staying Informed
  6.  Devices and Access
Here is what was discussed in my groups:
  • There are many digital literacy resources available so there is no need to create from scratch.
  • Focus on activities that are already successful and bring in technology. One example was shared where there was a job fair and then computers were available to use.
  • A beginner class teaches how to use a mouse and Windows.
  • Customize training for what people need.
  • People don't have time to learn technology skills.
  • People don't see how the skills will help improve their lives.
  • Have incentives for people who attend classes.
  • Partnerships are important to find clients, spread the word, and to get devices.

Same Issues, Different Contexts: Digital Literacy in Schools, Libraries, and Housing

This session was a brainstorming session where barriers and solutions were shared.  

One barrier that I thought was interesting was that there is a lack of knowledge about digital inclusion is. People think everyone has access to technology and that digital inclusion issues end with just being connected. 

One solution I really liked was to have more storytelling. 

Connect: Digital Inclusion

This session was a smaller discussion about digital inclusion. Here are a few things that were discussed:

  • Making technology accessible for people with disabilities
  • Some staff at organizations are from low-income areas - how to train them to do their job
  • Older workers have done the same things for years and don't want to change with new technologies
  • Smaller organizations and businesses can't afford technology products and are falling behind

Tech within Reach—Best Practices for Including No-Tech and Low-Tech Communities into our Work

This was probably my favorite session at NTC.  Some of the information shared in this session was about DC, which is local to me to it was very interesting.

  • Older Adults - make tech relevant for daily life
  • LinkedIn is a great tool for SEO
  • It's a success hearing "I want to use this again"
  • Make programs tech-based
  • 1 in 4 homes in DC lack broadband service
  • People aren't online because of relevance (34%), skills (32%),  cost (19%), and access (7%)
  • People aren't online are low-income residents who are seniors, returning citizens, or ESL residents

Byte Back is an organization in DC that provides technology training and career services. Here are some facts about them:
  • Job seekers are their target audience.
  • They find that young adults are literate with mobile, but they do not know how to use a desktop computer. They don't know how to type or use Microsoft Office.
  • Outreach includes word of mouth, bus & metros ads, Facebook ads, and partners.

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