President Obama recently unveiled the national service initiative ConnectALL, which aims to provide low-income Americans with greater access to broadband — along with the training and tools required to utilize this access and become digitally literate.
I’m proud to announce that The White House has asked Make School to support their push towards digital literacy. As part of ConnectALL, our students will be building a tool to show underserved, low-income individuals how to leverage the Internet to gain skills, find jobs, connect with loved ones and more. I’m inspired to see our students use their time at Make School to help tackle the digital divide — one of the most important issues facing our country.
The Need for Digital Literacy
In today’s hyper-fast technological climate, digital literacy is a necessity as more and more jobs require the understanding and use of technology. An estimated 30% of households remain without access to broadband services at home, despite the fact that 98% of the American population live in areas that are connected.
This means that one third of our country does not have the knowledge or resources to address their basic online needs such as communicating with loved ones, finding a job or finding a home. The ConnectALL initiative is designed to address this gap, with a goal to increase access and ensure that 20 million more Americans can begin to enjoy the benefits of the Internet by 2020.
The White House plans to reach its goal by enlisting public and private organizations to: 1. Make broadband services more accessible and affordable 2. Boost digital literacy through training and education 3. Increase access to digital devices
Make School will lend its efforts and expertise towards the second pillar of the initiative, helping to guide new users of the Internet towards a basic understanding of its benefits and how to use it. The goal is to create an educational entry point to the Internet to be hosted in libraries and community centers around the nation. As we build this tool, we’ll work closely with local San Francisco organizations — like social services agency St. Anthony’s and the San Francisco Public Library — to better understand the needs of our users and design the best experience.
Our vision for Make School entails students gaining knowledge through creation and impact. We’re deeply honored to be a part of this national service initiative to tackle a crucial issue facing individuals far removed from the Silicon Valley bubble. We hope our tool — paired with ConnectALL’s commitment to delivering broadband and digital devices — can provide avenues for learning and access to opportunities that will enable upward mobility and strengthen the foundation of the American Dream.
Interested in learning more about ConnectALL? Read The White House Fact Sheet!
(Statistics taken from Exploring the Digital Nation: America’s Emerging Online Experience, NTIA, 2013).