Whether it be global tech businesses being grilled by the Public Accounts Committee; the launch of 4G networks or the adverts vying for pre-Christmas attention, digital technologies: computers, mobile phones, the internet, have been in the public eye quite a lot recently.
Bran Ferren (somewhat) famously said that technology is ‘stuff that doesn’t work yet’ – we don’t think of biros or belts as ‘technologies’ (that is purposefully designed and made tools), because they’re woven into everyday life and work as we’d expect. But how about ‘digital technologies’ – when will they stop being ‘technologies’ and start, simply, being the internet, apps or micro-processors? The answer, is when they become more trivial, when we recognise the implicit value in them and understand how they are constructed and work.
As part of its ongoing open consultation, Nominet Trust brought together a group of experts this past week to think about how technology might be used to realise new opportunities - and address the persistent challenges such as social isolation, access to adequate care and pensioner poverty – facing people in later life. We weren’t looking at how adding digital might make existing services more cost-effective or efficient; nor were we seeking specific solutions. Instead we were hoping to define some areas that would benefit from social innovation with technology.
The Open University’s Institute of Educational Technology recently released a fantastic report – “Innovating Pedagogy 2012” (pdf) (Creative Commons licenced too). The report offers 10 innovations with the potential to change education in the short to medium term. It starts with a two page executive summary – so if you don’t read anything else, take a look at that!
So last week Dan Sutch and I were lucky enough to be invited by the wonderful Giulio Quaggiotto and Denisa Papayova over at the UNDP in Bratislava to give a presentation on technology can support digital inclusion, and particuarly econimic inclusion, for young people. You can see our slides here
Addressing this question first means understanding the changing context of participation in employment. We drew on some research from our recent State of the Art Review on Employment and the Internet to give a sense underlying influences we should be aware of: more >
The Hay Festival is always a great calendar entry: wonderful setting, fascinating talks, and an interested, thoughtful audience ready to discuss key issues. The festival also provided the opportunity for us to launch Nominet Trust’s new £2m social investment programme to fund new ideas for using digital technology to improve young people’s economic and social participation.