Benefits of Super-fast broadband

Ofcom have published research into the benefits that next generation broadband could bring to older and disabled people to help promote independent living.

Examples include:

  • remote health monitoring and consultations
  • mentoring and befriending schemes
  • teleworking
  • life-long learning initiatives

Technology such as this should help promote independent living; health, learning, work and other social issues are mentioned frequently within the report: Next Generation Services for Older and Disabled People (pdf).

This technology will open the door to numerous beneficial applications and when realised fully in the years to come will change many people’s lives. However, it’s imperative that media and digital literacy awareness among the target group is maintained so they can benefit when it arrives.

Great resources can be found on the web such as this A- Z of computing by AgeUK; which is a good starter at any age. Hopefully, such resources will continue to evolve as technology advances and new devices and applications emerge.


Digital Participation programme is rescoped!

The Digital Participation programme led by Ofcom has been rescoped by the government as part of the public expenditure review. The limited funding that was available will be focused on supporting the activities of the campaign led by the UK Digital Champion, Martha Lane Fox.

Sadly this will have an impact on many funding applications to help people get online, but the hope is that everyone will continue their support through the Race Online 2012 campaign.

Ofcom have stated:

Ofcom hopes Digital Participation Consortium members will continue to build on the achievements of the Consortium by continuing to work together to help people get online and would encourage members to sign up as a Race Online 2012 partner or advocate. All future communications and partner work in this area will be taken forward by the Champion and her team with the support of Cabinet Office.
Source: Ofcom Media Literacy Bulletin Issue 34

Relevant links:

National Plan for Digital Participation

Many of us now take the web and the opportunities it offers for granted.  To a greater or lesser extent we all derive some benefit from being online.  However, for 12.5 million people in the UK this is not the case.

The Digital Britain report identified the need for digital participation for these people and the important role it will play in their lives and society as a whole.  It made specific mention of a National Plan for Digital Participation (Digital Britain Report, Executive Summary, point 20 [p12]).

This week the government addressed that need by launching the National Plan for Digital Participation which offers a strategic framework for achieving the shared vision of helping…

… everyone who wants to be online to get online, do more online and benefit from the advantages of being online.
National Plan for Digital Participation, point 15 [p8])

Contributing to this plan and vision is the Digital Participation Consortium which includes government, industry, education and public/voluntary sector; and led by Ofcom.  Like most approaches the key is raising awareness of the potential benefits that are available so people can decide for themselves.  This can only be achieved through the collaboration of all the stakeholders involved.

The National Plan for Digital Participation is well worth a read if you feel you can contribute to this vision.  It is divided into the following sections:

  • Shared Vision
  • Identifying and addressing needs
  • Priority Groups
  • Driving Digital Participation
  • Achieving greater impact
  • Establishing the baselines
  • Timetable for further action

Many organisations are mentioned in the plan including EGSA [p27].

The Minister for Digital Britain, Stephen Timms, sums it up well:

Being online is crucial for participation in the 21st Century society – the Internet unlocks a wealth of information and services, giving people more choice in life and access to a range of education, health and financial opportunities.

Ofcom’s Media Literacy Bulletin (Feb 2010)

Some highlights from the latest bulletin:

  • The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) launched its ‘Click Clever Click Safe’ campaign.  Remember the digital Code ‘Zip It, Block It, Flag It’.
  • Digital Unite launches site for grandparents
  • Hold an event for Adult Learners’ Week 2010 (15 to 21 May 2010)
  • New Quick Reads e-books launched (a particular favourite of mine)
  • YouTube launches ‘Safety Mode’


  • The ‘Bring IT On’ campaign provides greater clarity of the NI IT sector
  • Young People gain more experience of the IT industry at UU Magee campus
  • Microsoft and PSNI roll out online safety programme in primary schools

Diary Date:

  • National Digital Inclusion Conference: Digital Participation – 10 and 11 March
  • In Media We Trust? – 18 March

These are just a few highlights, read the full bulletin on the Ofcom website.

Media Literacy e-bulletin from Ofcom (Jan 2010)

Some highlights from the latest Ofcom ebulletin:

BBC unveils 2010 media literacy activity

The BBC have a strong showing in March with BBC Radio 2 running a media literacy campaign throughout the month and BBC2’s Working Lunch having a ‘digital inclusion week’.

Online Basics course for adults launched

New courses launched to help adults gain the skills and confidence to get online:

‘Get Digital’ campaign

Digital Unite and NIACE have announced a new digital inclusion programme, ‘Get Digital’.  The focus will be on digital literacy skills for older residents in sheltered housing.

Northern Ireland – Ofcom Media Literacy Workshop

Ofcom will hold a Media Literacy workshop entitled: ‘Digital Content: One man’s journey of exploration’ on Thursday 11 February.

National Digital Inclusion Conference: Digital Participation – 11 and 12 March

The conference will bring together digital inclusion players, providers, policy makers and practitioners to share best practice, make connections and practical pledges to make digital inclusion happen. The line-up of speakers looks really good with the following to confirm: Martha Lane Fox, Tim Berners Lee, Stephen Timms MP and the Obama administration.

Games Based Learning Conference – 29 and 30 March

This again looks like another very good confernce.  It’s aimed at those interested in the positive impact that video games, social media and augmented reality technology are having on learning.  Having seen a demo of serious game technology in relation to healthcare at a recent conference in the University of  Ulster I feel this presents an exciting advancement in learning and skills development.

The full January Media Literacy ebulletin can be accessed on the Ofcom website.

Shop safe online this Christmas

As part of Get Safe Online week, Ofcom has today published a video setting out steps consumers can take and things they should look out for when shopping online this Christmas.

If you know of other similar resources please feel free to share.

Ofcom’s Media Literacy e-bulletin – September

The September edition of Ofcom’s e-bulletin has just been published.

Selected features:

  • NIACE’s analysis of the Digital Britain Report
  • Futurelab call for ideas (for new ways of learning)
  • Media Literacy teacher training resources from the Media Education Association
  • Young people want advice about online privacy
  • Northern Ireland – WIMPS mobile launched (Where is My Public Servant)
  • European Media Literacy Conference – 21 to 24 October

The full e-bulletin can be accessed on the Ofcom website.

Also, Martha Lane Fox, Champion for Digital Inclusion, will be launching ‘Race Online for 2012’ week commencing 12 October.  This is a challenge to get disadvantaged people online in time f or the Olympics.  Follow her on twitter for the latest on this and other news.