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Helping other people to use digital technology

If you are able to offer some time to help a disabled or older person get online or use digital technology, but may need support, use these resources to get started.


Digital Champions at a Social Media Surgery

Digital Champions at a Social Media Surgery

There are more than 5 million people over 65 in the UK who have never been online. For older people who didn't grow up with internet technology, the world wide web can sometimes be a daunting place or a place that they don't think they can join or will be relevant to them. This is far from true!

The internet can also bring tremendous benefits in terms of people using everyday online services like shopping, banking, paying bills but also many fun things like creating video, following a hobby or pastime and corresponding with friends via email or Skype video calls. 

If you are able to be a 'Digital Friend' and offer some time to help someone with a disability, an older person or just a friend in your community to get online or use digital technology, these resources will help you to get started.

Helping other people to use technology

Starter guidance for volunteering your time and technology skills to help older and disabled people make better use of technology and get online.

Getonline week: an annual national campaign by the Tinder Foundation.  Getonline week features events aiming to inspire more people to get online, get safe online and make better use of online services.

Spring Online: An annual national initiative from Digital Unite that aims to make it possible for thousands of people, often older people, to try out using computers and tablets and the internet, many for the first time.

Techy Tea Party: Mobile internet provider, EE, runs a nationwide event that will see Techy Tea Parties across over 500 EE stores to help and inspire thousands of people to give the internet a go.

Barclays Digital Eagles: A nationwide scheme in which trained 'digital eagles' help Barclays' customers to get the most out of using online services to save money. There is now a smartphone and tablet app which you can download and use to boost your own, or others digital skills. Successful completion of modules in the app is rewarded by earning Mozilla Open Badges. Download the app for Android here or for iOS here.

BT Internet Rangers:  A project which allows young people to share their digital and internet skills with older generations. 

Also on the BT Website are an extensive list of free downloadable resources to help someone get online and to find their way round some of the main websites, tools and good reasons for being on the web. There are downloadable resources about Skype, Getting a Job, Staying Safe On-line, Games, Shopping, Hobbies, Genealogy and much more. 

Digital Champions: This link will take you to the Learn My Way digital champion website, where you can sign up to become a digital champion, and help another person to get online. You will also receive ongoing support and guidance from the help line service.

If you or someone you know doesn't have English as their first language then the on-line training course and other resources from Learn My Way may be useful as a first step to get started before going further into their use of the web. 


Basic advice about working with disabled people

Starter guidance for beginning to help a wide range of people.

DIAL is a network of disability information services, providing advice and support on all disability-related enquiries. The network is supported by the charity Scope;

Disability etiquette: Download basic guidelines for working with disabled people, from leading equality training organisation Disability Dynamics;

NHS Choices: Introductory videos from NHS Choices with basic information on a range of disabilities;

Accessible and Inclusive events: A guide to delivering accessible and inclusive events, from pre-publicity to digital communications, from the UK government’s Office for Disability Issues;

The language of disability: guidance on terminology to use and avoid when working with disabled people, from the Office for Disability Issues;


What extra resources can I use?

How to find practical help, including equipment guides.

Communication Matters: a handy list of suppliers of communication aids with contact links and details, from the UK Chapter of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC);

Emptech: A superb independent online listings of technologies that are designed to help people with specific difficulties or disabilities work and study more effectively;

The Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative: Database with information about the accessibility features of a range of mobile phones and apps for iOS and Android, allowing users to find a phone or app with the relevant features for their needs;

Living Made Easy features impartial advice on alternative computer hardware from the Disabled Living Foundation, plus links to information on other assistive products;

99 Tips for the Use of Mobile Phones for Students With Disabilities: Clear, lively examples of how mobiles can be used as learning aids for students with a range of learning difficulties. From the University of Tokyo and SoftBank Mobile Corp. From 2009.

These resources were first curated by Go-On Gold, national campaign to raise awareness about the barriers faced by disabled people in accessing computers and the Internet, and to help remove those barriers. Since the project's closure, resources have transferred to Lasa.

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