When I started working as a digital inclusion advocate in Kodiak I understood digital inclusion as a problem that could be solved by education. As my project has progressed I have learned that there are many aspects that attribute to the exclusion of people from participating in the digital world. Access to high speed Internet is a major problem that our villages on Kodiak are facing. I have focused much of my attention in my project to developing a sustainable plan to keep Kodiak connected to equitable access in the future. However, this will all be for naught if access is not accompanied with support. Addressing digital adoption and education as part of a holistic approach inclusion is imperative when thinking about developing sustainability in a digital inclusion initiative.
When I visit the villages over the next two weeks I will be assessing the existing media centers and possible locations for public access points. This information will be used to generate recommendations to implement in the economic development action plan. I see this as a clear path to success for digital adoption. Media centers can offer people a way to connect to tools that will be relevant for their lives, in their community. Tailoring the media center’s mission to local needs and relevant training opportunities will allow the education needs of our communities to be addressed.
Addressing digital inclusion as more than a lack of access and education has led me to recognize digital inclusion as a multifaceted approach to equity in the modern world. Digital adoption remains one of the most complex challenges to address due to its inherent variability from person to person. Methods of access to the Web are progressing extremely rapidly as new technologies develop and require cautions optimism when considering them as a solution. Digital education will always be a primary focus of any digital inclusion project. Imagination and flexibility are imperative for success as a digital inclusion advocate. Being open minded and thinking outside of the box has led me to better appreciate digital inclusion, its associated challenges and, how to address it in my community.