2015 is proving to be an exciting time, with a flurry of announcements about new programs to foster digital inclusion. Here’s a quick overview of three interesting initiatives that came across our desk this summer.
GOOGLE FIBER’S DIGITAL INCLUSION FELLOWSHIP
Google Fiber launched the Digital Inclusion Fellowship in May in partnership with the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN). The fellowship pairs 16 people with local community organizations in Google Fiber’s eight metro areas — Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Kansas City, Nashville, Provo, Raleigh-Durham, and Salt Lake City — where they’ll spend a year building a digital inclusion program from the ground up.
Google Fiber is providing approximately $1 million to support salaries and benefits for fellows, and stipends to organizations so they have the resources to launch their new programs.
In July, the fellows traveled to Google’s Mountain View campus to receive specialized training on how to build effective digital inclusion programs. Community Technology Network’s Kami Griffiths delivered part of the training and shared CTN’s best practices and experience with the fellows.
AT&T’S DIGITAL YOU
Digital You is a new AT&T program that offers tools, tips, apps, and community education events for people of all ages and levels of online experience to learn more about how to have a safe and secure online experience. Through Digital You, AT&T has collaborated with prominent national organizations like Common Sense and AARP to increase digital literacy and with others to assemble and promote expert online safety information in a number of formats.
The program helps teach beginners of all ages the basics of using a smartphone or tablet and keeping online information private and secure. It shows them how to activate accessibility features to support users with disabilities through training resources and tips sheets.
Digital You includes Digital Compass, a free interactive game developed by Common Sense to help teach 6th- through 9th-graders about the real-world impact of their online choices.
For more information, check out digitalyou.att.com. The site includes special sections for parents, youth, newcomers, users with disabilities, and Spanish speakers
DIGITAL INCLUSION LEADERSHIP AWARDS
Next Century Cities, a city-to-city collaborative dedicated to ensuring access to fast, affordable, and reliable broadband Internet, joined with the National League of Cities to announce a new Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards program, created in partnership with Google Fiber. These awards will celebrate city governments that are leading programs or empowering community-based organizations to tackle barriers to Internet adoption. Applications are due by September 23, 2015.
Next Century Cities offers some great resources to learn more about digital inclusion. Here are a few.
- Recommended actions for city governments (PDF)
- The state of the digital divide in the U.S. (infographic)
- Building Digital Communities: A Framework for Action (PDF)
- Connecting 21st Century Communities: A Policy Agenda for Broadband Stakeholders
The awards will be announced at the National League of Cities’ annual conference in November.