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ThinkMind // International Journal On Advances in Internet Technology, volume 8, numbers 3 and 4, 2015 // View article inttech_v8_n34_2015_3


Digital Inclusion - The Vision, the Challenges and the Way Forward

Authors:
Leela Damodaran
Teresa Gilbertson
Wendy Olphert
Jatinder Sandhu
Mary Craig

Keywords: Digital society; digital inclusion; accessibility; participation.

Abstract:
Abstract—This paper considers the vision and aspiration of digital inclusion, and then examines the current reality. It looks beyond the rhetoric to provide an analysis of the status quo, a consideration of some facilitators and challenges to progress and some suggestions for moving forward with renewed energy and commitment. The far-reaching benefits of digital inclusion and the crucial role it plays in enabling full participation in our digital society are considered. At the heart of the vision of universal digital inclusion is the deceptively simple goal to ensure that everyone is able to access and experience the wide-ranging benefits and transformational opportunities and impacts it offers. The reality is a long way from the vision: inequality of access still exists despite many national campaigns and initiatives to reduce it. The benefits and beneficiaries of a digital society are not just the individual but all stakeholders in the wider society [1]. Research evidence has shown that the critical success factors for successful digital participation are (i) appropriate design and (ii) readily available and on-going ICT (Information and Communication Technology) support in the community. Challenges and proven solutions are presented. The proposition of community hubs in local venues to provide user-centred ICT support and learning for older and disabled people is presented. While the challenges to achieve digital inclusion are very considerable, the knowledge of how to achieve it and the technologies which enable it already exist. Harnessing of political will is necessary to make digital inclusion a reality rather than a vision. With the cooperation and commitment of all stakeholders actualisation of the vision of a digitally inclusive society, while challenging, can be achieved and will yield opportunities and rewards that eclipse the cost of implementation.

Pages: 78 to 92

Copyright: Copyright (c) to authors, 2015. Used with permission.

Publication date: December 30, 2015

Published in: journal

ISSN: 1942-2652

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