Call to support ICT literacy for Silver Surfers

In a recent report, “Learning for Living”, Help the Aged have noted that many older people feel left behind by the pace of change in technology and the lack of support needed to keep up-to-date.  This raises concerns that many will be left digitally exluded as more information and services move online.

The report states that:

“Government and policy-makers need to take action to provide older people with real opportunities to learn about the benefits of being online.”

There are eight recommendations:

“Government must invest in ICT literacy …”

“the silo structures of government must be broken down …”

“… campaign is needed to highlight the benefits of getting online”

“… make the most of the available resources … to deliver digital inclusion”

“… force accessibility up the agenda and … highlight the business benefits of ICT accessibility”

“… Government needs to review its digital strategy …”

“Government should continue funding ICT initiatives …”

“… BBC and other bodies should take proactive steps to guard against all learning content being moved online …”

Interestingly, the report notes that understanding technology is the second most popular course choice among older people at 59% (page 6).

Direct link to report (pdf 965k)

Other articles covering the “Learning for Living” report:

Silver Surfing needs boost (NICVA)

Help the Aged in Northern Ireland has launched a new report highlighting the importance of adult learning (CARDI)

International Media Literacy Research Forum conference

In May 2008 Ofcom hosted the inaugural meeting of the International Media Literacy Research Forum.  This forum aims “to provide a platform for professional researchers and practitioners from across the world to share knowledge and expertise in the field of media literacy research.”

Details of the forum and conference can be found here on their website.

Ofcom have also produced a number of youtube videos and podcasts (mp3) of the day which they have collated on this page of their website.

The video below is an introduction and background to the day by Robin Blake, Head of Media Literacy, Ofcom.

Ofcom have a collection of video clips on youtube which can be found here.

Start me up, and never stop

The Guardian’s Public magazine published an article in April entitled “Start me up, and never stop” referring to IT literacy and the need to promote it across all sectors and ages.  The article’s based on a roundtable discussion with representives from OCR, CBI, Connecting for Health, LSE, BT, Lifelong Learning UK, BBC, NIACE, Microsoft UK and others …

The title implies that what you need to know to remain digitally literate expands every day because technology moves so fast.  There’s also an acknowledgement of “digital denial” as some people reach a level of knowledge and become no longer interested in exploring it further.

The full article can be read here.  I’ve included a few quotes below:

“If we are not careful, the UK will become a country in digital denial: that’s why it is so important to promote IT literacy across all sectors and ages”

“…as technology advances, those who lack IT skills will be left further and further behind.”

“It was pointed out that 40% of people in the UK don’t feel they have the skills to do the jobs as well as they should … in Poland only 20% feel they lack the necessary skills.”

“The emphasis on targets and measurable outputs doesn’t help when you’re talking about lifelong learning and constant reskilling, which is necessary with IT, participants agreed.”

“Skills learnt doing one thing, such as playing around with photos at home, are easily transferred to the workplace and vice versa.”