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  1. 1. 60 million people in the United States do not know how to use the Internet. TRAIL helps people discover the Internet. !1
  2. 2. What would it be like to not know how to use the Internet? The ability to open a browser, conduct a search, send an email or connect with an old friend on a social network are all too often taken for granted. Engaging in some of these online activities may not seem critical, but they are fundamental to one’s participation in the information economy. Online skills are not only necessary for seeking, applying for and getting today’s jobs, but also to take advantage of the growing educational, civic and healthcare advances spurred by broadband. TRAIL is an online education company dedicated to bringing people their first experience with the Internet. We partner with libraries, schools, social services offices, workforce development centers and other trusted public institutions to offer our courses and features online. TRAIL’s education modules, including JobScout and HealthScout, allow thousands of learners to become Internet savvy. With users in over 12 countries, TRAIL is on its way to becoming the “first stop” on the Internet. Statistics show stark demographic disparities in digital literacy. Senior citizens, Spanish speakers, adults with less than a high school education and those living in low-income households are the least likely adults to have Internet access. Ten percent fewer Hispanics and African-Americans use the Internet than whites. Fortunately, the digital divide is beginning to receive more national attention, through recent coverage in the New York Times and through news of Facebook’s collaborative effort to spur connectivity called A recent piece in PBS’s “Media Shift” rightly asserts that the popular concept of big data does not hold water given the fact that it excludes the 20 million Americans still offline. Only 6 in 10 Americans go online wirelessly with one of their own devices, so public institutions are serving a crucial need in providing access to the American public. Organizations are beginning to invest in digital literacy programming, and while best practices are emerging, digital literacy is often taught in an offline manner that does not allow for the effective use of data or the introduction of platforms from which users can manage their own learning. The relationship between the digital divide and broadband often leads to a conversation about how America stacks up to the rest of the world. The question posed is “Can we remain competitive?” How can we talk about remaining competitive when we fail to give people the tools to help us compete? Advances in broadband and device penetration must be accompanied by digital literacy initiatives aimed at bringing millions of Americans online. The question still remains: Do organizations have the resources and the tools to provide Internet literacy trainings to those who need it most? !! TRAIL: DISCOVER YOUR INTERNET !2
  3. 3. “We need a national focus to end the remaining digital divide so that the Internet can provide an economic boost to all Americans. The return of American ingenuity and the American spirit in the 21st Century will be directly connected to whether people are able to effectively use simple tools to send emails and submit online jobs applications. Let’s not rest on our laurels until all Americans have the ability to utilize the essential tools that are available on the Internet.” ! Christina Gagnier, The Online Learning Gap: Digital Literacy is Not Addressed Online learning has become a revolution, but one that has left many learners behind. Amazing learning experiences, provided through MOOC’s, allow Internet users to have transformative educational experiences. We asked ourselves: “Why is the same type of experience not available for someone new to the Web?” Democratizing education also means democratizing access to information for the first time. Our goal was to build a platform that was well-designed and easy-to-use. Chief Executive Officer Our lesson content is mapped to the State of California Basic Digital Literacy Skills Framework. TRAIL started as a project with the LINK AMERICAS Foundation and the California State Library, so we find our roots in the community’s need for Internet skills learning opportunities. The lessons use an interactive model, reinforcing lesson content with quizzes and simple games, so that our users retain the Internet skills they have learned. We further help our learners apply these skills by so they get some experience navigating an online platform. TRAIL: DISCOVER YOUR INTERNET!3
  4. 4. JobScout Take lessons. Earn badges. Find work. JobScout, an online platform designed to get people back to work, teaches necessary Internet skills and job-hunting techniques. JobScout uses social game design to engage users in self-paced, online activities that focus on Internet skills applied in a real life context. Users master these skills to apply online for jobs and use JobScout’s social network to collaborate with each other on and offline. Mapping our lessons to the Basic Digital Literacy Skills Framework developed by the State of California ensures that each individual user is provided with a comprehensive toolkit to approach the job market. JobScout boasts a custom resume builder and built-in job search function. Users earn badges for completing interactive lessons on everything from using Internet browsers to how to create social network profiles and use them to gain employment. The platform provides opportunities for users to immediately apply the skills they have learned. JobScout features the “One- Stop Job Shop,” a tool that allows users to manage their job application process right through our website. JobScout is currently provided in two languages, English and Spanish. JobScout is being used by libraries, school districts, workforce development centers and community organizations across the United States and is moving internationally. Users can access JobScout 24/7 online by visiting For our users who are on-the-go, the JobScout mobile applications for iOS and Android can be found in the iTunes and Google Play stores. JobScout is one of the platforms recognized as a pathway to tackle digital literacy and job training by the California Department of Technology’s Statewide Strategic Plan. TRAIL: DISCOVER YOUR INTERNET!4
  5. 5. The Importance of Data: Learning from first-time users Creating Data Where There Is None Organizations are increasingly becoming more data-driven to help those that they serve. While many online platforms provide tools and resources, few provide analytics to give meaningful data that can be leveraged to shape future efforts and meet reporting requirements. ! The larger issue in the digital literacy learning space is the lack of information about first-time Internet users. While organizations like the Pew Research Center study those who have yet to use the Internet, we know very little about what people do once they are on the Internet for the first time. TRAIL wanted to move beyond the observational and into hard data that could help us refine our platform offerings. Our COMPASS data analytics platform helps organizations measure site engagement, assess knowledge capture of crucial 21st century digital literacy lessons and directly connect this learning to real world applications. TRAIL uses this data to help organizations: • Refine and support offline program offerings; ! • Measure and communicate impact internally, to their broader community, and to funders; and ! • Improve individualized case management services regarding digital literacy training and job seeker services. ! For TRAIL’s JobScout platform, the COMPASS data analytics system allows customers to track the progress and usage of JobScouters within their organization, demonstrating the correlation between digital literacy education and meaningful real world application; how digital literacy spurs proactive engagement in the online job search process. TRAIL: DISCOVER YOUR INTERNET Not Making A!ssumptions The team at TRAIL quickly learned through its pilot phase in early 2012 that non-Internet users are a diverse group. While there are many Baby Boomers affected, you find Millennials, even college students, unable to perform basic tasks online. !5
  6. 6. National Recognition for TRAIL’s Success ! TRAIL has received state and national accolades for its revolutionary work with first-time Internet users. ! TRAIL was a finalist in the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Competition in 2012, selected as a competitor in TechCrunch Disrupt SF’s 2013 Startup Battlefield and was awarded “Daily life is increasingly moving online. Lack of access to the Internet and digital literacy skills is now impacting access to government services and daily activities many of us take for granted. Internet access is no longer a luxury. It is a gateway to information, services and participation in the economy. If we do not put emphasis on Internet access and digital literacy, we risk leaving 20% of our population behind.” Stephanie Margossian, Chief Operating Officer with CENIC’s Innovation in Networking Award for 2014. TRAIL’s CEO Christina Gagnier is one of Broadband for America’s Faces of Innovation. ! TRAIL’s partners include the LINK AMERICAS Foundation, California State Library, Pennsylvania State Library, EveryoneOn, SF Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the LA County Office of Education. A national strategy to combat digital i!lliteracy TRAIL’s commitment to widening Internet access and use extends to advocating for policy at the state and national level to ensure that digital literacy, and the 1 in 5 Americans it impacts, are a national priority. ! Through TRAIL’s It’sEasierThanYouThink campaign, TRAIL has created a series of materials and PSA’s to increase awareness of digital illiteracy. ! It’sEasierThanYouThink sets out to raise awareness about the issue of digital literacy, addressing the education factors that contribute to the digital divide and leading the call to action for the adoption of a national digital literacy policy. ! In the campaign’s PSAs, non- Internet users mistakenly act on the requests or suggestions from friends and family to interact with the Internet and social media. ! Campaign goals include: ! • Raising awareness with the public about the issue of digital literacy; ! • Urging the Obama Administration to adopt a national digital literacy policy; ! • Empowering non- Internet users with the tools they need to get online; and • Providing the online community with resources to take action on this important issue. ! TRAIL has taken a role in the net neutrality debate, advocating on behalf of new Internet users and those who have yet to gain access to the Internet. TRAIL submitted public comment to the FCC on the matter. ! “The Internet Personified” Most people take the Internet for granted. But what about people who don’t know how to use it? TRAIL: DISCOVER YOUR INTERNET!6
  7. 7. Partner. Collaborate. Support. ! Help TRAIL reach the next five billion Internet users. @discovertrail !7