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Strategy 12: Increase Digital Literacy and Innovation Capacity

According to the Metro Nashville Public Schools’ BrightBytes survey produced in 2016, 16% of students are without a home computer, laptop or tablet while 10% are without home internet connectivity. The 2015 Metro Social Services Community Needs Evaluation estimated that 75,720 people in Davidson County did not have internet access. These Nashvillians, regardless of socioeconomic status, physical disability, language, race, gender, or any other characteristics that have been linked with unequal treatment, need assistance to enter the digital age.

This is further complicated by digital readiness, a person’s likelihood to succeed or struggle when they use technology to navigate their environment, solve problems and make decisions, and by the digital divide, which greatly affects underrepresented communities.

Strategic Actions

  1. Encourage collaboration throughout Nashville by connecting existing organizations serving the community to strengthen technology adoption and digital empowerment.
  2. Create solutions that will be sought and shared to enable people with disabilities, seniors and those who need some form of accommodation to more easily use a computer and access the Internet.
  3. Work with community partners to create and execute an asset and deficit mapping process of digital inclusion in the city. This may take the form of a survey, as is performed every three years in Austin, Texas.
  4. Develop a committee composed of Metro Nashville Public School tech leaders to help align in school and out of school tech trainings and opportunities for MNPS students and families.
  5. Create enhanced digital literacy programs that go beyond the basics to develop and support programs that enrich users’ experiences and enable people to move from novice to expert users, and for some to become digital innovators or professionals. Some cities are developing innovation hubs and citizen user testing groups (CUT) to build solutions to social problems in the city.
  6. Create and develop programs providing access to affordable, available and sufficient devices and technical support. This includes partnering with local businesses on WiFi access for learning, seeking mobile hotspot programs and/or affordable LTE, increasing assistive tech (to help those with different abilities) at community sites, and increasing support for device ownership programs.
  7. Develop trainings on the city’s web portals to empower Nashville residents with information about their communities.
  8. Create resources to be integrated into all programs to encourage people to use the Internet responsibly while protecting their digital privacy and security. Parents and other caregivers will be provided training and resources so that they can actively guide their children’s online activities and protect their children’s digital safety.

Case Study

Category: Increasing Access to Digital Tools

Breaking Barriers to Digital Inclusion

Tech Goes Home (TGH) is a Boston-based organization whose goal is to directly deal with common barriers to technology adoption – a device, connection to the internet, and training that makes technology relevant to the recipient. TGH also understands that lack of availability is not the only challenge that people from traditionally excluded groups face when it comes to the digital divide. Their multi-layered approach tackles challenges at the school, home and community levels to ensure that the digitally excluded in underrepresented communities not only have access to tools and skills they need, but that they also have the opportunity to thrive as part of a supportive ecosystem.

Learn: Tech Goes Home

Explore: The Digital Divide and Economic Benefits of Broadband Access