28 April 2010
Chair - Dr Alison Powell - Oxford Internet Institute
Managing Director, UK Online Centres
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Graham Walker, Director of Policy for the Office of the Champion for Digital Inclusion.
Dr Leandro Carrera and Chris Gilson, LSE Public Policy Group
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The financial savings to government through getting more people online may be substantial at a time when cuts to public services will be at their most severe. In the modern era, technology is so enmeshed in the fabric of society that digital exclusion can be considered alongside and linked to other social deprivations, such as low income, unemployment, poor education, ill health and social isolation. It also has a reinforcing effect, because those who suffer specific social disadvantages are least likely to benefit from the very applications of technology that could help them tackle their disadvantage.
This seminar will begin with Helen Milner, Managing Director of UK Online Centres, who will draw on her vast experience running UK Online Centres to discuss the impact of e-learning tools and services in combating digital exclusion.
A representative from the Digital Inclusion Task Force will then discuss the Government's strategy to reducing the digital divide in the UK, particularly by getting online the 4 million people who are both digitally excluded and disadvantaged; such as long-term unemployed, the elderly, and isolated; and people on low-incomes.
Finally, the Dr Leandro Carrera from the LSE Public Policy Group research team will share initial findings from a piece of research carried out jointly with Oxford Internet Institute on behalf of the National Audit Office, entitled, 'Developing a Methodology for Costing the Impact of Digital Exclusion'. The research has recently been opened up for online consultation and is available at http://microsites.oii.ox.ac.uk/digital-exclusion/content/welcome.
Helen Milner is the Managing Director of UK online centres, responsible for ensuring the success and development of the UK online centres network. Helen has more than 20 years experience of working in the e-learning industry starting in 1985 in the private sector with The Times Network Systems, developing online education services for schools.
She has been at Ufi, the organisation behind learndirect and UK online centres, since 1999. The majority of this time was spent leading the operation of the learndirect learning network and learndirect advice services. She also led the ippr and University of Sunderland 'University for Industry' pilot, following the publication of the ippr report which first suggested the concept and which was implemented following the Labour victory in May 1997.
Dr Alison Powell completed a PhD in Communication Studies at Concordia University in 2008 and now holds a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Oxford Internet Institute. Her work focuses on the social and political implications of different forms of networked communication, including the Internet and mobile devices. In particular, she explores how innovations such as local networking projects influence policy discourses, and what these discussions imply for the governance and regulation of future communications systems. Her PhD thesis studied the outcomes of the community WiFi phenomenon in the United States and Canada.
Her current work concentrates on how grassroots technology projects and processes of 'peer production' transform the technical and policy structures of the Internet.