We live in the digital age, where technology changes faster than we can keep up, we find that every passing year, there is better equipment coming out. To survive the digital age requires access to technology, skills to navigate, the motivation to consistently go online and use the system. However, our society is largely unequal, with and it is important to equalise or at least bridge the digital gap. It is with this realisation that iHub Research enabled by the Swedish Government (SIDA) through Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) developed a curriculum to bridge the digital divide. Our working objective is to have citizen who are able to fully utilise digital tools and increase their online participation.
First things first, what is digital literacy?
A set of skills a user needs to use digital technology, this includes media literacy (communication tools), computer literacy (networks and devices), information literacy (evaluation, use and creation of information).
Digital literacy does not replace traditional forms of literacy, instead, it builds upon the foundation of traditional forms of literacy to increase the skills we currently have and enable us to effectively navigate the systems. This entails various forms of literacies, computer literacy, network literacy, information literacy and media literacy. There are so many reasons why the gap is increasing, which calls for increased efforts from all sources to bridge the gap.
iHub’s starting point is this digital curriculum dubbed “Surviving the digital age starter pack”. So, how different is this curriculum from the rest?
- We are cognisant on our society’s needs, we understand that our literacy levels are unequal, therefore had to adapt the curriculum to the tools most Kenyans use, the mobile. 50% of internet connectivity is via the mobile.
- We mapped out the internet user journeys, we are aware that user journeys are slightly different, largely dependent on access, skill and motivation, but the transition patterns remain consistent. People usually start simple, with email or search engine, and then progress to increasingly more complex tasks, including e-commerce and eventually become content generators.
- We also define who a digital citizen is and what is required of them, including building, maintaining and protecting your a digital profile. The aim is to introduce mechanisms that promote safe and responsible ICT usage and reduce the digital divide.
- Lastly, be inclusive, we shed some light on barriers on the Internet sphere and how to ensure that all content is readily accessible by all. Kenya’s population has at least 10%, living with permanent disabilities, disabilitygoes beyond permanent impairment, it also involves people with temporal or progressive impairment, for instance, people with glasses, hearing aids. Unfortunately, this number is constantly increasing, hence the need for a more inclusive digital space. It is important to think through the medium of communication and how impacts everyone, to make the Internet space safer for all.
Training was carried out in three locations, Kisumu, Nairobi and Mombasa, with government representatives and citizen youth groups. In the subsequent weeks, we shall update you on the outcome of the training.