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Monday, May 15 • 11:45 - 12:25
Bridging digital divides: Community partnerships & near to peer learning LIMITED

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For ICT tools to be most effective in promoting sustainable development, it is important for disadvantaged communities themselves to have the capacities to develop and modify ICT tools, and for the tool development process to be integrated into broader processes of community building and social change. One of the greatest challenges in achieving this is not just having access to technology, but in overcoming the subtle barriers that poor communities face in learning how to use and control digital technologies. These barriers are often underestimated. Even in OECD countries, a recent study found, on average 25% of adults has no or only limited experience with computers, and only 30% were proficient at problem solving in technology rich environments. Since 1998, the Everett Program for Technology and Social Change at the University of California Santa Cruz has addressed this challenge through creating a model of peer-to-peer and near-to-peer learning built on University-Community partnerships focused on social justice and environmental sustainability goals. The Everett Program uses social enterprise principles to train undergraduate students to create innovative projects in partnership with NGOs and community organizations locally and internationally. The majority of these students come from disadvantaged backgrounds themselves with little or no exposure to digital tool development. The program is rooted in peer learning processes, developed by students themselves and that require students to collaboratively learn from and with each other. These peer-to-peer learning processes are then integrated into project planning, development and implementation processes with community partners. Community partners have found this approach of young people leading peer-learning processes to be effective in demystifying technology and overcoming subtle barriers that interfere with the learning process. This presentation will share lessons learned from our work and promote discussion about effective ways of building ICT proficiency. https://youtu.be/Ic_SADEdcHs

avatar for Chris Benner

Chris Benner

Professor and Director, Everett Program for Technology and Social Change, University of California Santa Cruz
Dr. Chris Benner is the Dorothy E. Everett Chair in Global Information and Social Entrepreneurship, Director of the Everett Program for Technology and Social Change, and a Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research examines... Read More →
avatar for Yesenia Torres

Yesenia Torres

Executive Fellow, Everett Program
I believe in the intersection of social justice and information technology. My passion lies in blending the two in order to create comprehensive solutions for global problems like access to education. I'm currently building my technical skills in software engineering, programming... Read More →

Monday May 15, 2017 11:45 - 12:25 IST