For the first time this year, Digitise the Nation will hit the road with a dedicated training truck to bring the internet to communities across the country. It's not that the internet isn't available in some places, it's more that some people just aren't included in the internet revolution yet.
Digitise the Nation is a terrific annual training initiative that was started three years ago by the Irish Internet Association to address just that. The idea behind the project is “digital inclusion”. Helping people to get online by demonstrating in a friendly and comfortable environment that the internet is pretty amazing and nothing to be afraid of.
The 2012 goal is to train 2,000 adults on how to access email, make internet calls, browse, find news and information, and by the end of each training session, hopefully participants will feel part of the internet, rather than apart from it. Or digitally included.
Digitise the Nation 2012 was launched in Dublin yesterday afternoon by Irish Internet Association boss Joan Mulvihill, and Pat Rabbitte, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Also helping to get the wheels rolling on the project (and the training truck!) were sponsors RaboDirect, Independent.ie, Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer and of course bonkers.ie!
So, how’s it going to work?
Well, thanks to the sponsors and a digital skills training grant from BenefIT3, Digitise the Nation training classes are free. The truck will travel to events around the country like the National Ploughing Championships, where classes will be available on a drop-in basis. But where the initiative really takes off is at a local level. Community leaders can contact the Digitise team and arrange for the truck to visit local sites across the nation and conduct training for community groups.
Training sessions are for adults who are new to the internet and will typically last for two hours. Classes are conducted in partnership with Computer Gym, who have been doing this type of work for a decade.
At bonkers.ie we’re delighted to be involved because the way we see it, Digitise the Nation is about bringing people together – in person and online. The internet is a wonderful resource and should be shared by young and old, because it really does offer something for everyone.
If you’re reading this, you already know that. But hopefully someday soon, someone who attended a Digitise the Nation class will be reading blogs too. Or video chatting to relatives on the other side of the world, or banking online, or getting their news, or getting a better deal. And that’s a big part of why we’re involved.
If you want to get involved, take the class or contact the Digitise the Nation Team - everything you need is at http://www.digitisethenation.ie/
Joan Mulvihill from the IIA, Pat Rabbitte and Mildred Sargent from the Templeogue Active Retirement Association who completed a Digitise the Nation course in 2011.