Stockport Council digital exclusion training, a great idea?
If you who live in Stockport, Greater Manchester, then you will know Stockport Council has been gradually moving many its services online. They have a whole team of award winning people who are responsible for promoting and driving digital Stockport forward.
Good on Stockport some people may say; but, sometimes it’s not as simple as that. What happens if you know nothing about the internet and if you are one of these people, then that would suggest you possibly don’t have any form of internet connect at all not even a smartphone. This absence of skills and lack of internet connectivity will put many at a real disadvantage.
Don’t worry, you can always use the free computers available in the many Stockport libraries, so that okay, isn’t it? But there lies the problem of digital exclusion. A whole group of people who are excluded from using Stockport excellent online services, and any other internet service for that matter, simply because they don’t have the skills required to even log into a computer.
A possible oversight in the master plan you say, well yes. But, Stockport Council have a fix in the form of computer lessons to help those people who don’t have any IT skills at all; something known as Digital Exclusion lessons. These lesson, mostly aimed towards older people, are held in community centers, libraries and cyber cafes and are honed on showing how email works, how you can shop online and more importantly how to access the online service offered by Stockport Council.
Great, I hear you cry, that seems to have sorted that out. But what about digital inclusion to begin with. Stockport Council and other funding providers of the digital skills exclusion project should carefully consider the advantage of making sure children have the 21st century digital skills to begin with.
Stockport schools should lead the way.
Tithe Barn Primary School, based in Heaton Mersey, are a forward thinking school who understand the importance of teaching digital skills to children. They recently started to use the Google Cloud platform, a free system for education, and children a loving it. Children (and teachers) are starting to working in a totally different way, using I.T. that has been built for 21st century learners and more importantly offering children digital inclusion from a young age. Skills they can use in higher education, university and later on in employment.
Later this year, Tithe Barn plan on offering taster session and training on Google Cloud to other primary schools in Stockport. The aim is simple, to make sure children have digital inclusion to begin with and to put Stockport primary education on the digital map. It would be nice to think that some of the funding that has gone to digital exclusion could be diverted to digital inclusion, making sure Stockport schools take the lead and deliver the skills children need for the future.
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