More than 1000 families and 7000+ households in Palmerston North don't have computers with Internet access (stats.govt.nz, 2013). How does this impact on the children's learning, homework and future job prospects? Research shows that this digital divide has huge consequences so we formed a non-profit group called DIGITS (Bring Your Own Device To School) to help solve this problem.
DIGITS is a pilot project providing laptops, Internet access and training to low income families in Palmerston North. The project is designed to be self sustainable so it can be reproduced in any community and thereby increase the digital literacy and opportunities for all families in New Zealand.
The goals of our DIGITS pilot is to:
We believe there will be huge benefits from this project. Here's just a few that we've identified:
- Effectively engage with six to twelve kids, their teachers and families.
- Supply an appropriate, affordable and sustainable Internet enabled device to the kids.
Provide training to the kids and their families to "jump start" their digital literacy - they'll probably end up knowing more than most of us :-)
- Provide a manageable loan to the families ($3 - $5 per week for 2 years) so the kids will own their computer and have Internet access.
- To evaluate the pilot to learn from it so we can improve the service and offer it to more families in Palmerston North.
- To create processes that can be followed by other groups to provide the service to the whole of New Zealand.
- Greater engagement with the community through increased access to information and services on-line.
- Solve problems through finding solutions on-line.
- Improved engagement with the school and involvement in their child's education.
- Increased engagement with school work, outside of school.
- Increased confidence in numeracy and literacy.
- Use the internet as a way of fulfilling personal inquiries.
We've made great progress such as signed up our first school, we have support from Roslyn Reach, Computers in Homes (CIH), Digital Future Forums (DFF) and local businesses like Spinning Planet. We also have our funding strategy in place. However, we could use some help such as:
- Improved engagement with parents through email.
- Provide opportunities for students to engage with school work outside of school.
Launch EventOn August 8th we're holding our launch event which will be a charity auction to raise funds for DIGITS. We'll be inviting businesses and important local figures and auctioning off services and products to raise money. Are you a business that could supply something like a product or service to auction? If you do, we'd really appreciate it and we'd invite you to the event and thank you for your support.
EducatorsWe've completed our first draft of our lesson plans for the kids but we need volunteers to help them and their families through the lessons. Are you great with kids and patient? We'll show you how to teach the lessons and you don't have to be a computer genius, just familiar with things like Google search and maybe Gmail.
Is this a good idea worth sharing?If you like what we're doing please LIKE or SHARE this blog so your friends see it.