10 approaches to digital inclusion

Tim Davies has produced an excellent analysis here of themes from the recent Digital Inclusion and Social Capital seminar at the RSA, that I mentioned the other day.

Tim identifies 10 approaches to digital inclusion:

  • Community Development can work both building up existing community development outreach, and looking to radical models that draw on the work of Paulo Friere. Community development approaches start from the concerns of communities, and bring in digital skills and approaches where these are relevant to help communities develop as they want to develop.
  • Grassroots media seeks to give people to tools and skills to tell their own stories through digital means. Unlocking local knowledge, empowering groups to campaign, and building networks between hyper-local reporters.
  • Basic skills approaches seek to deliver packages of tried and tested training in operating computers and the internet which recipients can then use to develop further engagement. A basic skills approach might cover things like using the mouse, using Windows, visiting a website and sending an e-mail.
  • Digital mentors work with individuals, groups or organisations to help identify technologies that can help them pursue their goals – and support them to learn to use these technologies.
  • Content ladders as a way of providing people with stepping stones from content they can immediately identify as worth engaging with, through to other forms of content that may help improve their lives. It involves the creation of compelling content, and ways
    for people to move from one level of engagement to another progressively.
  • Mediated access approaches accept that some people will always be ‘proxy’ users of digital technologies – and provides support to mediate between their needs for information, entertainment or political engagement and the technologies that can better meet those needs.
  • Building engagement into entertainment. If it’s tricky to encourage people to move from using technologies for entertainment, to using them for activities like civic engagement, then why not take the civic engagement into the entertainment space? Make the serious tasks technology is about more fun. Involve celebrity etc.
  • Investing in the excluded as the best returns will come when you target resources at those who are most digitally out-of-the-loop.
  • Investing in the connectors as the best returns will come when you build links between networks. Connecting networks will drive digital inclusion more than putting funds directly to the most excluded.

Tim notes the action research planned by the RSA, and says keep following the Connected Communities and Digital Engagement blogs for news of this work as it progresses.

One comment

  • May 29, 2009 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    I guess this is kind of the opposite of the digital divide. But your tips are mostly for being included in the cyber-society, which is not the same.

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