Call for Digital Inclusion at NetHui

NetHui 2014Over 60 people came together on 10 July at a digital inclusion meetup to share experiences and discuss ways for scaling up a variety of digital initiatives to respond to the huge challenges faced by many Auckland communities, especially those in South Auckland.  The meetup was organised by the 2020 Trust, with support from InternetNZ and chaired by 2020 Trustee, Michael Howden.

Seven “pop-up” speakers gave 4-minute summaries of digital inclusion initiatives that they were involved in as discussion starters.  Others then joined in to share their experiences and make suggestions about how to scale up for Auckland.

Some interesting facts and suggestions that emerged:

  • According to the 2013 Census, there were over 20,000 families with school-aged children who did not have access the computers and the internet in their homes and over 10,000 of these live in South Auckland.  Cara Sefuiva, Regional Computers in Homes Coordinator (Auckland)
  • Prisoners who stay in touch with their families while in prison are half as likely to re-offend when they are released, so how about providing all prisoners with a computer and phone connection in their cells to keep in contact with their families.  Steve Hall, SERCO
  • 10 regions with 54 schools, including 39,000 students, have expressed an interest in replicating the Manaiakalani model for helping low income families get access to digital learning devices.  Pat Snedden, Manaiakalani Trust
  • New Zealand is wasting $1.7B each year as a result of low digital literacy skills in the workforce.  The ICDL programme addresses this.  How about using ICDL to benchmark the digital literacy skills of all Auckland Council employees for a start.  Kay Fenton, Fenton Consulting
  • Lower Hutt and a few other cities now offer digital literacy training using the Stepping UP modules in their libraries on a business-as-usual basis. Could all 55 public libraries in Auckland do the same? Annette Beattie, Hutt City Libraries
  • Young people need to have opportunities to develop coding skills to make computers do what they want them to do, rather than be limited to other people’s software.  This is where New Zealand could secure a competitive edge.  Terrance Wallace, InZone
  • Wanganui uses the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) measures to benchmark themselves against digital city leaders throughout the world and have been ranked in the top 21 for the last two years.  Auckland could use the same criteria to measure progress – broadband connectivity, knowledge workforce, digital inclusion, innovation and marketing & advocacy.  Marianne Archibald, Wanganui District Council