Digital Inclusion Resource Collection
The Washington State Library is pleased to provide this portal combining digital inclusion resources developed in Washington State as well as national project information about digital inclusion for libraries and the public. Resources are included that support elements identified by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) as necessary components to achieving the goal of digital inclusion.
What is Digital Inclusion?
From the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (website): Digital Inclusion refers to the activities necessary to ensure that all individuals and communities, including the most disadvantaged, have access to and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). This includes 5 elements:
- affordable, robust broadband internet service;
- internet-enabled devices that meet the needs of the user;
- access to digital literacy training;
- quality technical support; and
- applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency, participation and collaboration.
Digital Inclusion must evolve as technology advances. Digital Inclusion requires intentional strategies and investments to reduce and eliminate historical, institutional and structural barriers to access and use technology.
Affordable Internet Service & Devices
NDIA has compiled a list of current offers from ISPs that will help low-income households to acquire service at low or no cost. Most have eligibility limitations linked to income or program enrollment. The list also includes established, nationally available low-cost plans offered by nonprofit organizations. This detailed list was designed to be helpful for digital inclusion practitioners, community leaders, service providers, libraries, media, and others who may give guidance to clients and constituents. It is not designed for distribution to the general public. We encourage an individual looking for low-cost internet service and devices to use EveryoneOn to find specific offers in their zip code for which they might be eligible.
In addition, TechSoup offers low-cost refurbished devices for qualifying non-profits.
Washington State Library has created a Wifi Locations Page that holds a map of public library internet access points just outside the building or facility.
Many libraries offer some level of technical support as part of their 'Ask a librarian' services or general reference. Use WSL's Find a Library tool to find our Washington local public library, or search for 'library' using a map tool like Google Maps, MapQuest, or Apple Maps (iPhone). We are working to put together more focused technical support programs; information will be added here as the project progresses.
Digital Literacy Training
From the American Library Association’s (ALA) Digital Literacy Task Force (which is led by the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy); Digital Literacy is defined as:
… the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, understand, evaluate, create, and communicate digital information, an ability that requires both cognitive and technical skills.
A digitally literate person:
- possesses the variety of skills, cognitive and technical, required to find, understand, evaluate, create, and communicate digital information in a wide variety of formats;
- is able to use diverse technologies appropriately and effectively to search for and retrieve information, interpret search results, and judge the quality of the information retrieved;
- understands the relationships among technology, lifelong learning, personal privacy, and appropriate stewardship of information;
- uses these skills and the appropriate technologies to communicate and collaborate with peers, colleagues, family, and on occasion the general public;
- uses these skills to participate actively in civic society and contribute to a vibrant, informed, and engaged community.
You can find the full report on ALA's District Dispatch
Northstar Digital Literacy
Northstar Digital Literacy defines the basic skills needed to use a computer and the internet in daily life, employment, and higher education. Online, self-guided assessments measure mastery of basic skills in each of 14 areas. Test takers can receive certificates and/or digital badges when they pass Northstar assessments in a proctored environment at a Northstar testing location. When test takers are logged in to Northstar Online Learning with a Learner account, the Northstar assessment result page links to self-directed online learning practice for skills not yet mastered. Once test takers pass the Northstar assessments, which certify basic skills, they are qualified to pursue more advanced training like those offered by LinkedIn Learning and the Cisco Networking Academy described below, or industry-recognized certifications like those supported by the Washington State Library, described on our Learn, Practice, Certify page. Contact your local public library to request a Northstar Learner account, and ask about proctored exams. Learner accounts and exam proctoring are also available from the Washington State Library; please email your request to [email protected]. Please specify whether you're requesting a Northstar Learner account or information on Northstar Assessment proctoring, and include your home, school, or work zip code. Only available in English at this time. English; WSL-funded subscription free for Washingtonians, many resources free to all.
Northstar has also curated a variety of publicly available learning resources that may support additional practice with their standards. No Learner account is needed, and no certificates are awarded.
DigitalLearn is a resource created by the Public Library Association that offers short, online, self-paced courses and other learning tools to help make technology work for you. English and Spanish; free to all.
For almost 20 years, the Goodwill Community Foundation (GCF)'s GCFLearnFree.org program has helped millions around the world learn the essential skills they need to live and work in the 21st century. From Microsoft Office and email, to reading, math, and more—GCFLearnFree.org offers more than 200 topics, including more than 2,000 lessons, more than 1,000 videos, and more than 50 interactives and games. English, Spanish, and Portuguese; free to all.
Microsoft Digital Literacy
Microsoft Digital Literacy is a resource for anyone with basic reading skills who wants to learn the fundamentals of using digital technologies. Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese Simplified, English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal), Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese; free to all.
Microsoft Imagine Academy
Building on the skills covered in Microsoft's Digital Literacy courses, online learning resources from the Microsoft Imagine Academy are grouped into 4 learning pathways that lead to Microsoft certifications; these are productivity (Microsoft Office Specialist certification), data science, computer science, and IT infrastructure (Microsoft Technology Associate certification). English; other languages may be available upon request; WSL-funded subscription, free for Washingtonians.
The Microsoft LinkedIn Learning Program provides statewide access to LinkedIn Learning, with content from the popular online learning platform, Lynda.com, covering business, technology, and creative. LinkedIn Learning is accessible free of charge with a library card from any Washington public library (including the State Library), via the libraries' website. English, French, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish; WSL-funded subscription, free to Washingtonians.
Cisco Networking Academy
Through a partnership with Cisco, the Washington State Library provides access to online courses ranging from basic computing to programming and cybersecurity, through the Cisco Networking Academy. Earn digital badges and prepare for certification exams; some courses may be eligible for reduced-cost college credit. English; free to all.
EveryoneOn is powered by Connect2Compete. Connect2Compete aims to eliminate the digital divide by providing high speed, low-cost Internet and computers, and free digital literacy training to all Americans. Website available in English and Spanish.
PCs for People
PCs for People is a national nonprofit that promotes digital equity through device access, connectivity, and digital literacy and skills training. PCs for People serves individuals in need by providing affordable access to computers and the internet, as well as tech support and digital literacy training to empower people to use all the tools available to meet their goals for education, employment, and beyond. PCs for People also offers Tech Recycling for businesses.
For more information about the WSL's support of digital inclusion, please contact:
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Funded in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).