Digital inclusion in action in Wales
Ruth Mullinex blogged today at The Bevan Foundation about links between poverty and pupil underachievement.
Digital exclusion is an important factor in this. Essentially, poorer families are less likely to have a computer or internet access at home. There is much research to suggest that digital exclusion is correlated with pupil underachievement, and studies also show why this is not just a correlation but also a causal connection. When pupils were given access to the Internet at home they returned more homework, did it more willingly, and went beyond what was required. There was also an increased engagement of parents with their child’s education. For instance, it was easier for schools to share their assessment information of pupils with parents.
As well as the benefits to the child, the adults in the household benefit from digital inclusion as well. Being online means they are more likely to get jobs or progress in work. They save money on purchases, and feel less isolated.
Communities 2.0 is a digital inclusion project that encourages people to get online. As well as providing supported internet access through libraries and community centres, we are increasingly looking at ways of getting people online at home. Our current projects include work with housing associations, developing ways of rolling up ISP charges in people’s rent. We plan work with schools in Caerphilly getting parents become confident home Internet users, and helping them understand the subsidised packages that are available.