A Brave New, Digital World
Economic issues would be a concept unknown to all of us, if only we had a dime, every time our parents, grandpas and grandmas, aunts and uncles asked us to help them with doing “that damn thing on the internet”. Booking flying tickets, an appointment with the doctor, creating online profiles and passwords and of course, what we can safely call a game-changer, e-government services. Yes, all these procedures and actions might be simple for most of us, since they have become a part of our everyday lives, the way that we now do things.
But, for better or worse, the world does not turn around us, and these digital services can be very complex to a lot of people, even scare them off. And to be honest, this phenomenon is not only observed on elders, but also adults of any age and background.
e-government services as a concept, began in order to simply make people’s lives easier. How is that possible one might wonder, and the answer is fairly simple. Better time and money management. No more queues at public authority offices, waiting in line to book appointments, even voting has become a process people can carry out from the comfort of their homes. Running around from one office to the other, waiting for documentation to be issued and printed, all these god-forsaken procedures that would usually take many hours to be completed, can now be done in a matter of minutes.
With the digitalization of such procedures however, and the advantages that came with that, another phenomenon appeared; the lack of access to electronic devices that certain people face, or the lack of skills regarding the usage of such services, led to what we now call digital divide. The gap that is, created between the people who use e-government services and people who do not, which becomes even more visible if we are to closely look and compare the advantages that the utilization of these services bring in real life, or the lack of them. As mentioned, better time and money management, as well as improved and increased participation in everyday life activities and procedures.
A situation such as that, is certainly one to take action for, especially during the New Age of total digitalization of life. And if there is a reason behind the world still turning, is because of people trying to make it a better, more equal, and inclusive place to live in. So, with the above in mind, certain people gathered and developed a complete framework, a plan of action, regarding equality in the digital dimensions, and particularly, e-government services. Its name is DigEqual and it fights the fight for digital equality, e-services for all, and inclusion.
DigEqual, focuses on creating a bridge between adults who suffer from digital exclusion, and e-government services. It does not stay there, as it develops teacher-centered training programs, as well as educational web-apps to assist adults on building confidence regarding the usage of e-government services. The results to be produced through-out the project, are the following:
- Digital Training Program for adult educators
Development of the conceptual background and a methodology for adult educational centres and their educators, to support their work with low-skilled and low qualified adults. A framework developed to offer guidance to adult educators, on how to tackle the effects of the 2nd and 3rd levels of digital divide.
- Digital Educational courses
- A preparatory course on a context-based approach and e-government for adult educators, which aims at introducing them to a proficient use of online services and training procedures.
- A context-based course on e-government and digital skills targeting at low-skiled and low-qualified adults, which focuses on different contexts of e-government on adults lives.
- e-government services simulation interactive web-app.
A quest-based web app for adults, through which they will be able to reflect on how life with and without e-government services is, through everyday scenarios and contexts that are familiar to them. Users will be able to embrace the positives of e-government services usage and build confidence on its aspects.
Equality and inclusion are values worth giving our best selves for! Explore DigEqual and let’s make it happen!
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