Bridging the digital divide requires more than just internet access — it also requires digital literacy and widespread adoption.
A handful of Philly organizations have planned special events to recognize the national Digital Inclusion Week running this year from Oct. 3 to 7. Digital Inclusion Week is organized by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, an organization that advocates for the advancement of digital equity. This year’s theme: “Turning Our Moment into Movement.”
For its part, Center City-HQ’d telecommunications giant Comcast shared information about cost-cutting resources including the Affordable Connectivity Program and Internet Essentials. Comcast also shared info about “digital navigators” who can assist Philadelphians with accessing the internet and digital services.
Beyond Literacy, an adult education nonprofit, plans to bring its new mobile literacy lab to recreation centers around Philadelphia for Digital Inclusion Week. According to CEO Kimmell Proctor, the organization is partnering with the Office of Families and Children to bring computer skills workshops to these rec centers. Digital navigators will be available in person to assist with any tech support needs the community has from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. On Wednesday, the mobile lab will be at Athletic Rec Center in Brewerytown, and on Thursday it will be at Kingsessing Rec Center in Southwest Philadelphia.
“Rec centers are meant to be community hubs for a host of activities including technology, but not all residents are aware of their resources,” Proctor told Technical.ly. “By bringing the mobile learning lab and our digital navigators to rec centers, we hope to get the word out about the available digital literacy services.”
The mobile lab will continue to visit rec centers throughout the fall. Beyond Literacy will also give away tote bags of school and tech supplies like USBs and earbuds for Digital Inclusion Week.
The conference’s theme this year is “This Is Our Moment: Moving the Needle On Digital Equity.” According to TLC Executive Director Kate Rivera, the theme’s similarity to the overall week’s is a coincidence, but it makes sense that they’re so similar.
“Everyone working in digital equity is so excited about the amount of momentum we’ve gained as a movement,” she said. “One of the reasons why TLC decided to hold an event for Digital Inclusion Week is to remind digital inclusion practitioners in Philadelphia about the fact that we are connected to this large and growing movement for digital equity across the entire country.”
Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. -30-