Norlane Digital Expo
On 31st October 2018 we held a digital expo at Norlane Community Centre. The expo was our first step in bridging the digital divide in our community and provided an opportunity for the community to engage with fun digital technologies and experiences. One of the great components of the expo was that students from St Thomas Aquinas undertook training with local library staff and delivered the expo on our behalf – creating exciting intergenerational learning.
ABS census data and the Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADI), shows that the Norlane community has some of the poorest rates of home internet access and digital access in the State. This “digital divide” exacerbates and adds another layer to the disadvantage experienced by our community members – in fact, low levels of income, education and employment are shown to sometimes determine digital exclusion.
Increasingly, engagement with digital technology is being understood as a human right, as a tool for social, financial, educational, workplace and civic engagement. Furthermore, government services and supports continuously require individuals to access and report through online services and apps.
Unless we are able to increase access to and knowledge (literacy) of digital devices and services this digital divide will continue to widen.
The Digital Expo aimed to foster greater confidence and cultivate community connectedness as well as highlight the ongoing needs of the community for support with digital access.
The project is built on the premise that our local community members should be able to make full use of digital technologies – to manage their health and wellbeing, access education and services, organise their finances.
We will also used the expo as a forum for gathering information from the community about their access and support needs.
Around 50 community members attended the event and had a wonderful time. The overwhelming reflection was that cost was the biggest barrier to people accessing the internet in their homes. We will continue to do work in this area to ensure that the digital divide in Norlane is addressed.