I wanted to say a few words about today’s Digital Futures event by Shropshire Council writes Kate King of Lydbury English Centre.
I’m a bit of an odd ball really and attended with several of my hats on.
I’m a graduate who was raised in Shropshire, migrated for my degree in Manchester, lived in Birmingham and have now come home to work in my family business - a residential business English language school.
As such I have been a civil engineer, a freelancer in the area of community engagement and now (mainly) a trainer. As well as Federation School Governor, Parish Councillor and soon to be choir mistress!
The Digital Futures event was a genuinely high quality day that drew together speakers from all over the country.
Being in Shropshire a number of facets of my life collided beautifully! The key messages of today were the importance of openness between the public sector and communities.
Not so much 'Digital by Default' but 'Open by Default'. Also that digital media is A tool and not THE tool. 'Digital by Design' means we should first ask what networks communities already have, what is it that they need and, finally, if there a tool we can design that compliments these things not replaces them.
There was a lot of concern about the digital divide (people without any internet access) especially in rural communities. This is never more critical than with the introduction of the Universal Credit.
It was heartening to see that some of the leading thinkers and ‘do-ers’ have this very much in mind. But there are still huge problems to overcome and the clever digital people and the leaders are not pretending they have all the answers. They, and we the community, need the answers to come from the bottom up and for that we need more than just computers and internet.
So, what I would take away is – engage with your neighbour, talk to each other and tell the leaders what you need – from the bottom up.
Use newspapers, use your libraries, use your neighbours, friends and families. There are people listening and not just at the end of a computer.