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SCVO Tackling Digital Exclusion in Scotland

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Presentation given at SCVO event in Edinburgh on 22nd August, 2017 summarising the 'Rapid Review of Evidence for Basic Digital Skills' produced by UWS for SCVO https://digitalparticipation.scot/resources/reports

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SCVO Tackling Digital Exclusion in Scotland

  1. 1. DREAMING / BELIEVING / ACHIEVING A 21ST CENTURY UNIVERSITY Rapid Review of Evidence for Basic Digital Skills Professor David McGillivray School of Media, Culture & Society University of the West of Scotland August 22nd 2017
  2. 2. DREAMING / BELIEVING / ACHIEVING A 21ST CENTURY UNIVERSITY Background •  Commissioned to produce a summary of recent evidence and learning of basic digital skills development in the UK •  Conducted a ‘Rapid Review’ of academic and grey literature written from 2012-17 addressing four research questions: i.  What is the current extent of digital inclusion in the UK? ii.  What socio-demographic factors impact on digital inclusion and how might these barriers best be addressed? iii.  What interventions ‘work’ and which interventions ‘look promising’ in promoting digital inclusion? iv.  What are the primary social and economic benefits associated with digital inclusion and how are these best realised?
  3. 3. DREAMING / BELIEVING / ACHIEVING A 21ST CENTURY UNIVERSITY What is the current extent of digital inclusion in the UK? •  Indicators of progress towards digital uptake •  The ONS (2016) survey of internet access suggested that: –  82% of adults (aged 16+) access the internet on an almost daily basis, up from 78% in 2015 –  89% of GB households had internet access in 2016, an increase of 3% on the previous year’s survey –  71% of internet users now use their smartphones to access the web and 21% now connect through their TV –  75% of adults had used the web ‘on the go’ via mobile or other smart devices –  While almost all young adults – ages 16-24 – had accessed the web using a mobile device only 33% of the over 65s had done so
  4. 4. DREAMING / BELIEVING / ACHIEVING A 21ST CENTURY UNIVERSITY ICT has become an indispensable part of both the workplace and our own leisure activities’ (Hatlevik & Christopherson, 2013:240) •  Most popular online activities were sending and receiving email, finding out about goods and services •  But significant differences in age group preference: –  People in the 16-24 age group were most likely to engage in social, leisure and recreational activities online –  Ages 25-34 were most likely to use internet banking services and to read newspapers –  While 63% of adults engaged in social networking activities online only 51% of 55-64 years olds did so… and only 23% of the over 65s •  Geographical disparities also evident: –  Rural peripherality issues (access and mobile ownership/connection) Differentiated usage
  5. 5. DREAMING / BELIEVING / ACHIEVING A 21ST CENTURY UNIVERSITY What socio-demographic factors impact upon digital inclusion and how might these barriers best be addressed? •  Clear differences in internet use across social categories have been apparent since the mid 1990s (Bach et al, 2013:249) •  The high degree of correlation between digital inclusion/ exclusion and social inclusion/exclusion has also been recognised (Mervyn et al, 2014:12; White 2016) •  Those who remain unconnected increasingly likely to be vulnerable and socially isolated across social and economic indicators •  Research has shown that lacking basic digital skills and being offline costs an average of £744 annually (see doteveryone.org.uk).
  6. 6. DREAMING / BELIEVING / ACHIEVING A 21ST CENTURY UNIVERSITY •  CAB surveys (2013 & 2016) revealing, concluding that: –  Only slightly more than half the respondents (54%) had internet at home –  36% said they had never used the internet –  11% said they hardly ever did so –  72% said they would struggle to apply for a job or benefits online (Beattie-Smith, 2013) •  The surveys show precipitous decline on digital confidence with age •  The 2014 SHS showed that only 61% of those living in rented social housing have internet access, 60% of those with incomes of <£6k and 51% of those with incomes of £6-10k annually. What socio-demographic factors impact upon digital inclusion and how might these barriers best be addressed?
  7. 7. DREAMING / BELIEVING / ACHIEVING A 21ST CENTURY UNIVERSITY •  MacDonald & Clayton (2013) found that the move towards online service provision risked further disadvantaging people with disabilities already less likely to be digitally engaged. •  42% of disabled respondents had never used a mobile phone or computer to access the web •  Usage disparities can mask apparent improvements: –  In Netherlands, van Derusen & van Dijk (2014) found that those with lower levels of education and those with disabilities were spending more time online than those with higher education attainment or employed people –  However, those in the former groups were undertaking activities less likely to result in socio-economic benefit. •  This corresponds with other studies suggesting types of use differs across the socio-demographic spectrum •  Mobile solutions less successful for ‘smartphone by circumstance’ users What socio-demographic factors impact upon digital inclusion and how might these barriers best be addressed?
  8. 8. DREAMING / BELIEVING / ACHIEVING A 21ST CENTURY UNIVERSITY •  Although addressing the factors contributing to digital exclusion is complex, there are some clear pointers: –  Focussing on ‘use’ as a metric of digital engagement is not all that useful (especially see Helsper, 2012 & Helsper & Reisdorf, 2016) –  Instead it might be more insightful to look at ‘whether the nature of their use [of ICT] enhances their life’ (Helsper, 2012:13) –  It can’t be assumed that once ICT use has been begun it will be maintained unproblematically (Olphert & Damordan, 2013) •  More nuanced research is needed on how realms of digital and lived exclusion correspond (Helsper, 2012) •  Bach et al (2013) propose a ‘digital human capital approach’ which links the digital with local community and culture: –  Access and tools/skills to bring about change What socio-demographic factors impact upon digital inclusion and how might these barriers best be addressed?
  9. 9. DREAMING / BELIEVING / ACHIEVING A 21ST CENTURY UNIVERSITY What interventions ‘work’ and which interventions ‘look promising’ in promoting digital inclusion? •  The complex interaction of factors contributing to digital exclusion make the implementation of workable solutions particularly challenging for policy makers (Bach et al, 2013). •  The people with the least ICT competence are also the least likely to take advantage of training opportunities (Hogan, 2016). •  Any intervention must reflect the broader national context, changing non-user/ex-user profile and individual experience with the web to be successful (Helsper & Reisdorf, 2016). •  Assistance for the digitally excluded must take into account individual and community circumstances if it is to be effective. A ‘one size fits all’ approach is unlikely to work.
  10. 10. DREAMING / BELIEVING / ACHIEVING A 21ST CENTURY UNIVERSITY •  Doteveryone piloted a number of approaches to improving digital skills on a ‘test and learn’ basis.The approaches included: –  Digital zones: supported spaces for learning skills –  Deep dives: smaller, focussed groups addressing specific needs –  Community engagement: grassroots engagement to foster community ‘ownership’ •  They found that: –  Going ‘hyper local’ is the most effective way of engaging the ‘hard to reach’ –  People learn best from repeated, informal face-to-face & one-to-one support –  Understanding people’s motivation for learning something new is critical –  There is no magic formula! What interventions ‘work’ and which interventions ‘look promising’ in promoting digital inclusion?
  11. 11. DREAMING / BELIEVING / ACHIEVING A 21ST CENTURY UNIVERSITY •  In a similar vein, Piercy (2016) suggests 3 potential avenues for interventions to hard-to-access populations: 1.  Peer support: a wide variety of approaches but tutor/mentee relationship is common to all 2.  Home access: a potential response to clear evidence that home- based internet access improves skills and builds confidence. 3.  Shared practice: focusing on cross-organizational collaboration to foster informal environments for skills learning and exchange within specialist service settings •  SCVO has drawn on some of these approaches in its One Digital programme What interventions ‘work’ and which interventions ‘look promising’ in promoting digital inclusion?
  12. 12. DREAMING / BELIEVING / ACHIEVING A 21ST CENTURY UNIVERSITY •  Digital exclusion comes with a price tag! Digital inclusion enables people to search out the best deal. •  Employment and social opportunities are increasingly ‘digital by default’ •  Investment in ‘channel shifting’ from face-to-face towards digital comes with significant cost saving at the institutional level •  Clarity and accessibility of digital services is key; i.e. can benefits be claimed on a smartphone which is the platform that many – as a result of their circumstances - may be using to access the web •  Going digital brings numerous opportunities but a laissez faire approach to inclusion based on the assumption that ‘digital participation would eventually address social exclusion once technology access and basic technical skills were administered to residents and citizens’ (Mervyn et al, 2014:8) is a false one. What are the primary social and economic benefits associated with digital inclusion and how are these best realised?
  13. 13. DREAMING / BELIEVING / ACHIEVING A 21ST CENTURY UNIVERSITY Conclusions •  Promoting digital inclusion in hard-to-reach populations requires a multi-faceted approach •  Digital inclusion needs to be meaningful and consistent with users’ overall needs and motivations •  Digital participation requires digital capital •  Leadership and mentorship are important •  Greater understanding of the long-term impacts of digital inclusion is needed.
  14. 14. DREAMING / BELIEVING / ACHIEVING A 21ST CENTURY UNIVERSITY Thank you!

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