Creating digital citizens
A new project to deliver innovative information technology learning to local residents in Surrey is aiming to create an army of ‘digital citizens’.
With our investment, Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership is launching a three-year project to enable approximately 1,000 local residents who have low qualifications, are out of work or are vulnerable in some way to benefit from the internet, social networking and computers in general. It is hoped the project will help to create ‘digital citizens’ with enhanced employability and life chances.
Building confidence and communities
The project aims to help individuals and groups to use online social media to create their own virtual communities. It will inspire people to engage in local decision-making and community activity, either directly or through the online communities to which they belong. For some, this may involve taking on the role of community champion, who will support and encourage other learners engaged in the project.
Running the project in a variety of community venues, which people already visit on a regular basis, will ensure they feel comfortable in their learning environment. Activity will centre on ‘champions with laptops’ working with groups of learners using both laptops and other devices.
Inspiring greater social action
Learners will gain the confidence and skills necessary to exploit technology – including the latest hand-held devices and smart phones – to improve their social inclusion and economic independence.
In particular, creating their own virtual online communities will help to promote stronger communication among individuals within already established communities, as well as the formation of new communities of shared need.
Each new digital citizen will not only benefit emotionally and economically, but will also be empowered to play a part in promoting social action through contributing to consultations, gaining new information and skills and joining in community activities. This is something that makes the project fit perfectly with the Big Society and Localism agendas.