The Digital Learning Club held an information evening in Gorey Library for members of the public to ask questions and find out more about this new initiative for Gorey. With Gorey just announced as Ireland’s first Digital Town, and Internet Day 2018 taking place on October 25th with a number of events planned for Gorey, the launch of the Digital Learning Club could not come at a better time.
The idea for the Digital Learning Club is based on my ten years’ experience in teaching digital skills and technology to citizens and is about tackling the ‘digital divide’ in our communities. I know that many people are starting to feel left behind with the pace of change in technology. They are worried about security issues and staying safe online. They want to perform tasks like sending an email or checking the weather online. They want to stay in touch with family and learn how to use the apps that facilitate this. Sometimes they are fearful of technology and don’t know who to turn to for help. Family members are too busy or show them things too quickly. Sometimes they just need someone to show them step by step and refresh their knowledge.
The Digital Learning Club will encourage members to learn and share digital knowledge, enhance digital skills, and practice using digital devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops and personal computers in a friendly environment. This is where you get to ask the questions and learn at your own pace.
The Digital Learning Club sets out to be of value to participants so those present at the information evening were asked to fill out some details of their experience of digital devices and technology, and what they would like from the Club. I was delighted with the turnout and enthusiasm for the Club from members of the public. Discussion on the most frustrating parts of using digital devices and interacting with online services was already starting to take place between those present, proof that there really is a need for the Digital Learning Club in the community.
It was great to have the support of John O’Connor, CEO of the Hatch Lab in Gorey, who also spoke at the information evening about the benefit of the Digital Learning Club to the local community, especially to those who would not consider themselves a ‘digital native’: “The great thing about the Digital Learning Club is that it combines the learning and the sharing of digital knowledge. This sort of peer to peer learning and sharing is great for the community as everybody can contribute something. Accessing Google Drive, adding an attachment to an email or conversing via Skype are small but huge things, which being shown how to do can greatly improve someone’s enjoyment of life and feeling of engagement.”
I have plans to hold meetings of the Digital Learning Club in Gorey Library, and also at the Hatch Lab in Gorey, to tap into the skills of the individuals and businesses already based there. The Club will work a BYOD (‘Bring Your Own Device’) policy so participants can get the help and guidance they need with devices that are familiar to them.
I was also delighted to have Gerry Carberry, one of my ‘students’ from my class in digital skills for citizens in Gorey Library, speak about the benefit of getting involved in a local group to learn digital skills: “It’s like a community within a community. At the start, I didn’t even know what questions to ask but you learn bit by bit and can ask questions to find the answers to what you need to know, and learn at your own pace in a friendly, non-judgemental environment.”
Details of when the Digital Learning Club will meet are yet to be confirmed but members of the public who expressed interest in the Club will be notified individually. For more information follow the Digital Learning Club on Facebook and Twitter, email x or phone x.
Dare to share!
Founder of the Digital Learning Club