The National Year of Digital Inclusion has been launched by Go Digi to raise awareness of the importance of digital literacy and encourage people to participate in the digital world. The year is part of the Go Digi four-year digital literacy program, being delivered by Australia Post and Infoxchange, which aims to enhance digital inclusion in Australia.
“One in five Australians, around 4 million people¹, are not online, this means they’re not able to take advantage of the education, health and social benefits of being connected. Research has found the major barriers to digital engagement are skills and confidence,” David Spriggs, CEO of Infoxchange, said.
“The National Year of Digital Inclusion will drive a national conversation about digital literacy in Australia and will help us improve the digital skills of 300,000 people,” he said.
Throughout the year there will be Go Digi community Pop Up Festivals, conversation forums and face-to-face learning events in every state and territory.
The program aims to sign up 10,000 mentors to offer their support to their friends, family and work colleagues.
Based on a Go Digi national poll, almost 90 percent of Australians have been asked at some stage to assist others with online activities, but six in 10 have avoided helping those in need of online support.
“Around 50 per cent of people think they are not experienced enough or not a good teacher, but you don’t need to be a technology guru to help someone,” Mr Spriggs said.
“If we all help one person, before we know it everyone will have the skills they need to engage with the online world.”
For more information on the National Year of Digital Inclusion and how to get involved visit the Go Digi website www.godigi.org.au/NYDI or call 03 9418 7487 in Australia.
Tips for Mentors
You don’t have to be a technology guru to become a digital mentor. Think about who you could help in your network of friends, family and workmates. Perhaps you know someone who has already come to you asking for help, or know someone who might really benefit from learning new digital skills. If you use the internet in your daily life, you have the ability to help others.
Here are some tips to consider when helping someone build their digital skills and confidence.
Begin a conversation
Don’t wait for someone to ask you for help. Start a conversation with a colleague, friend or family member who you feel might be scared or worried about being online. Rather than jump in and start giving advice, listen to them first and help demystify any concerns by sharing your own stories or experiences.
Find out what their interests are, what they would like to learn to do online and which device they’d like to learn this from (such as a computer, mobile phone or tablet) and go from there. For example, they might be interested in sport and would like to know how to access and use relevant sporting apps on their mobile device.
Remember to start slow and regularly pause and ask if they have any questions. If they hesitate or seem unsure, go back and repeat the steps. Assure them that it’s okay to stop and ask at any point and there is no such thing as a silly question.
Also keep in mind that tasks that seem simple to you, such as using social media, may not be as easy for someone else. For example, creating an account involves setting up an email address, making sure it’s secure, accessing the email address inbox to verify your account, clicking a link and going to a new web page.
Write down steps
Encourage your friend, colleague or family member to take notes and write down each step or instruction as you do them. If they take notes they are likely to write it in a way they will understand and remember.
You don’t have to know all the answers
It’s okay not to know or have all the answers. You can always use Google or another search engine to look up something you’re unsure of. Another option is to do a search on YouTube. Thousands of people have created their own tutorials which cover an enormous range of topics and can be very useful and informative. You can also find some valuable resources on the Go Digi website: www.godigi.com.au/mentor.
Arrange follow up sessions
Mentoring can be a one-off meeting, but it is often more beneficial to meet for at least three
learning sessions to see how they’re tracking, go over what they learnt in the last session and see
how you can help build on it or further develop their digital skills and confidence.
Decide what days and times suit you both. Face-to-face meetings can be more effective, but you can also mentor someone over the phone. Think about how you might create a comfortable learning environment and try to make a positive welcome space.
1. Campbell, S, Mason, C. Griffith, C. et al. Broadband Impact and Challenges: realising the benefits from the digital economy Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation, CSIRO EP1312215