Future Digital Inclusion contract won by Tinder Foundation
Staff-owned mutual organisation and social-enterprise Tinder Foundation, which runs the national network of UK Online Centres helping people acquire digital skills, has won a major contract with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills for a "Future Digital Inclusion" programme. The programme is aimed at helping people in the hardest-to-reach communities in England develop online skills and access digital government services, supporting the government's Digital Inclusion Strategy. Tinder Foundation will support 200,000 people in 2014-15 to gain digital skills through UK online centres in their local communities. Hundreds of grassroots organisations will be directly grant funded, with thousands of others able to access online resources and network support. The project will specifically target people who are unemployed, on a low income or in low-skilled jobs, people with a disability or learning difficulty, people in rural areas and people who are socially excluded. Learners will be supported through Tinder Foundation's learning platform, Learn My Way, which currently supports more than 10,000 learners a month to gain web skills such as email and, job searching. The contract will support 2,000 people to progress on to achieve a City & Guilds certificate in Basic Online Skills, and more than 750 Digital Champion volunteers will be trained to support delivery in local communities.
Pictured: Tinder Foundation chief executive Helen Milner by Paul Clarke http://paulclarke.com
Tinder Foundation: www.tinderfoundation.org
Open Educational Resources given boost by Leicester City Council
A range of resources to help schools in Leicester and beyond get the most out of open licensing to share digital resources has been released by Leicester City Council. The resources include guidance for schools and school staff in understanding, finding, and creating Open Educational Resources (OER), learning materials (including presentations, revision guides, lesson plans) that have been released under an open licence, so that anyone can use, share and build on them for free. Creating OER allows schools to connect and collaborate with others through sharing work, the council says. At a time when schools increasingly work with, and rely on, digital and web based materials, understanding how copyright works, and making the most of available resources, is essential for staff and schools, it says. The council has also given permission to the 84 community and voluntary controlled schools across the city to create and OER. "Leicester City Council is the first local authority in the UK to provide its school employees with permission to openly license their resources", Dr Björn Haßler of the University of Cambridge, one of the authors of the new guidance, said in a statement. "This is a highly commendable and visionary step. We very much hope that this will inspire other councils and schools to look at how they can also support staff in sharing their work." The guidance forms part of the council's award winning digital literacy school staff development project, DigiLit Leicester.
Open Education for Schools: guidance and resources: http://schools.leicester.gov.uk/openeducation
Councils must boost web user experience, says Socitm
Local authorities must become more professional about improving their website user experience or citizens will simply desert them, according a new briefing from the Society of IT Management (Socitm). "The judgements of a group of amateur web authors, providing content as an add on to their main jobs, are no substitute for a full-time, centralised web team, whose members are professionally trained and have access to resources for user testing", the report finds. "The design of the online user experience: more to this than meets the eye" reports on poor results from user testing of social care pages of council websites commissioned over the summer by Socitm. This uncovered problems in attempts to undertake common online tasks stemming from poor content; content not found; internal search engines pointing to the wrong pages or even to the wrong site altogether; poor third party websites; poor databases; and overuse of images. These issues arise to a significant degree from content authors who have not been properly trained and a management process that relies on large numbers of people for whom content management is a part-time activity, the briefing says. However user experience specialists are now starting to be recruited by some local authority web teams, the report finds, as at West Sussex County Council, a case study included. The briefing is free to subscribers of Socitm's Insight research service.
Society of Information Technology Management: www.socitm.net