Friday, October 30, 2015

Digital Inclusion or Occlusion?

Greetings from the National Library of Australia where I am attending the Canberra "Digital Inclusion Manifesto Workshop" by GoDigi. I am not entirely convinced of the need or aims of the GoDigi initiative. In 1994 the Australian Computer Society lobbied Australian governments for digital literacy initiatives ("Vision for a Networked Nation"), the response included provision of Internet access through libraries, schools and other community facilities. More recently a "Foundation to Year 10 Australian Curriculum: Technologies" was endorsed by all Australian State and Territory Ministers for Education for use in all Australian schools. In 2015 Internet access and literacy should be routine.

Where there are those who can't use the Internet, it is a failing in the education system and a matter for government policy, not a volunteer effort. Also those who can't afford the Internet may have other priorities, such as food, shelter and medicine. The experience of the OLPC project, which aimed to provide a low cost computer for education, but instead diverted scarce resources from higher educational priorities is a lesson that needs to be heeded.

Before looking to others to provide a more inclusive Internet, GoDigi need to do their homework. Their web page scores only 69 / 100 for speed on the Google Page Speed Insights and 0 / 100 (the lowest possible score) on the W3C mobileOK Checker.

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