I caught up with some very positive, practical people in the Digital Economy & Technology section of DFEEST the other day to look at their new program Forward IT. I was impressed both with the content of the programs that they have organised, and their recognition of libraries as key players in engaging the community in digital literacy.
Forward IT provides small, short and easy to use tutorials in a whole range of online topics from Facebook, Skype & email through to blogs, podcasts, booking travel & shopping online. The mini tutorials have some introductory information and many have short 3 minute "plain english" videos. In some areas there are step by step instructions to do things & if you follow them they actually work. I used the "upload to flickr" step by step instructions as I had not done this before.
One of the things I really love about the site is that you can jump right into the section that you're interested in without having to do a series of earlier sessions.
I also love that the team continues to add new content as new issues emerge & they have plans for more to come.
Why am I telling you about this? Well obviously libraries are at the heart of helping our communities maintain and expand their literacy skills. And today that means new literacy skills in getting and sharing information in an online world. Here we have a website that you can steer customers to so that they can explore their online options & learn how to do online stuff in a very easy to use format.
Also - what is really valuable to libraries is that the Forward IT team wants to support libraries to use their site. Library staff can register to become facilitators. If you do this you will have access to additional information which you can use to support your library customers.
The Forward IT team has worked with the staff at the Willunga Library as part of the NBN roll out. Their staff are keen to work with other libraries in a variety of ways. They have great publicity material that is available for you to use & they're prepared to meet with libraries to discuss how to spread the digital literacy message.
So I'd encourage all libraries to take a look at the site, get some publicity material and promote the site to your community, put a link on your website to the Forward IT site, talk to the team at Forward IT about opportunities & maximise this great resource.