'where everyone is included, so that no-one gets left behind'
This Kickstarter will provide young people in London with the chance to develop important digital, technical & technological skills, enabling them to Discover, Make & Create the Future.
And these opportunities will be available to all young people, not just a select few who have the money to pay for them, because they are absolutely FREE for everyone.
LonDIN, London's Digital Inclusion Network, is made up of groups and individuals, involved in community work, business, education or technology, who believe that every young person has the right to be included in the developments happening in the digital world. To achieve this the Network will provide young people in London with:
To achieve these goals the Network focuses on 6 core areas-
And the work is split into three types:
Discovery sessions are ‘taster’ activities where young people get a first glimpse of the wonderful developments currently happening within technology. These ‘hands on’ sessions aim to spark interest and enthusiasm, making young people stop & think about what is out there and what is possible.
Make programmes are deeper digital programmes of learning, where young people begin to develop digital skills and explore the potential of these technologies, why they are important and what they can do. As opposed to the one-off Discovery Sessions, Make programmes will be spread over 6 weeks.
Create refers to social action meetings at the weekend. Before the event young people will choose a social issue that is important to them and then work together to explore how technology can have a positive impact on it.
By supporting this Kickstarter, you are helping to pay the costs of the Discovery, Make & Create sessions. The more money that is raised will mean that more young people will benefit.
If you are reading this, then the chances are that you are someone who is aware of the latest things happening in the digital or tech worlds. However, there are also groups who don't get the same opportunities because of their age, gender, perceived ability, ethnicity, knowledge or cost.
We are calling the gap between these two the Digital Divide 2.0. As you can see, young people are telling us that they want to bridge that divide!
Why? Well we think that this 'Divide' isn’t fair. We believe that every young person deserves the same chances to learn about things like 3d printing or raspberry pi or wearables as anyone else.
Just because you can't afford to buy a 3d printer, or tech is seen as something 'for boys' or people think you don't have the ability doesn't mean you shouldn't get these opportunities.
As Tim Berners-Lee said at the London 2012 Opening Ceremony-
However our project isn’t simply about fairness. There are also some really practical reasons why this work is important.
For example, The Centre for London’s ‘This is for Everyone’ report (Sims, Wilson & Tyrell, 2015) states that young people in East London are not viewing employment in the tech sector as relevant to them, despite the fact that “Tech City companies are struggling to recruit enough people with the skills its digital companies need”, a shortage that the report goes on to argue “is now the most important factor holding the digital economy back”.
We believe that by providing young people with access to emerging technologies such as 3d Printing, Coding and Virtual Reality they will develop the necessary digital skills, alongside abilities like problem solving or working in a team, to be able to address this shortage and play their full role in the smart cities of the future.
Here are two examples, a video & a radio clip, showing the opportunities that the Network will offer young people.
But first a little bit from (another) James, who made the video-
Hi my name is James and I like coding and comics. I am 10 years old and I created this using Scratch. I drew everything and animated them using code blocks. LonDIN will help me to learn more about different types of coding like python, HTML and lots more, like meeting new friends and discovering.
The next example if taken from a radio show made by young learning disabled people for RadioActive 101, where they talk about their experiences of bullying. For each one of them, this was their first time doing anything like this. It is the perfect example of how the network will support young people to find their 'voice'.
For the young people involved in these two pieces of work, there is clear evidence of their digital, creative and technical skills, but these are the abilities that so many young people are not getting the chance to develop.
With your help, LonDIN will change that.
Below we list of some of the community and tech partners involved in the project. The idea is to deliver our Discovery, Make & Create programmes with each of these community partners between September 2015 & June 2016.
But hopefully part of this Kickstarter journey will be to discover new groups of young people who can benefit from this work. So, if you work with anyone who might be interested, please get in touch.
My name is James and as you can see, I am a Hardcore Kickstarter Backer (but please don’t tell my wife!). Discovering Kickstarter was a bit like going through C.S. Lewis’ wardrobe in The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe- it opened up an entirely new world, introducing me to mind-blowing things like 3d Printing, the 3doodler & Meta’s Spaceglasses, as well as a bunch of wonderfully creative, inventive people. It has been a truly transformational experience, one that has inspired me to now launch my own project.
For the last 14 years I have also been a youth worker, time I have spent helping young people to find their voice, develop passions & enthusiasms and realise their potential.
So, as a child of the Princess Leia Hologram and Star Trek’s Holodeck, I have been so lucky to link my work with young people to this discovery of new tech!
However this project isn’t really about me, rather it is about 3 groups of people: firstly young people; secondly the organisations who provide access to them and finally the technologists & educators who will bring these wonderful technologies to life for them.
The young people who you will be supporting through this Kickstarter come from right across London and from all sorts of different groups: learning disabled; autistic; in care; homeless; those with mental health issues; from a black or minority ethnic background; not in education, employment or training and young women.
As well as being amongst the most digitally excluded people in society, they are also wonderfully creative, inquisitive, challenging, thought provoking, inspiring and deserving of the very best opportunities that we can offer them.
The Community Partners have been hand picked because they are great at engaging young people and work with some of the most disadvantaged groups in the UK. Some of the partners include:
We are lucky to have a wide range of tech companies, digital leaders and educators to call upon for this Network, including top Kickstarter projects, hardware & software companies, educational institutions and leading technologists. Some of the organisations supporting our work include:
Here is an example of the support that these partners will provide-
The London Digital Inclusion Network is supported by King (the makers of Candy Crush), as part of their commitment to digital inclusion. King employees help in an officially supported volunteering capacity to provide technical expertise to the network.
I hope you can see that we have set up a Network with partners from different places, with different skills and from different fields of work, all of whom are passionate about producing a project that we can be proud of. I believe that this means we have the people in place to deliver amazing outcomes for London's amazing young people.
Furthermore, we have a good idea that the work will be a success, because there has already been a ‘proof of concept’ pilot project run by Dragon Hall Community Centre, showing:
- a) real interest from young people;
- b) that the Discovery, Make & Create programmes work;
- c) that there isn’t anything else like this.
Finally, this project will build upon (and hopefully go beyond) that work because we will now have all of you from the Kickstarter community to support & guide us.
Below is a timeline, chronicling key points in the journey to get to here and where we will go over the lifetime of the project-
Risks and challenges
The main risk is one that is faced by all Kickstarter projects, that if we don’t reach our goal then we will get no money. And this means that no young person will benefit from this work. So the question is, how do we minimise the risk of not being successful?
Experience of Kickstarter shows that successful projects promote their idea widely way before the campaign starts and unsuccessful ones focus on marketing only once they have gone live.
Hopefully by the time you read this we will have learnt that lesson, reducing this risk in the following ways:
- Reaching out to the Kickstarter projects that James has backed to see if they will support, either financially or through promoting to their networks;
- Launching the campaign during London Technology Week, when there is a huge focus on London’s tech sector;
- Presenting the campaign to as many events during London Technology Week as we can get to;
- Joining a bunch of Meetup groups to pitch the project to people;
- Having a range of community & tech partners who will promote the project for us;
- Getting as much press and media coverage as possible.
Hopefully this will generate the much needed momentum that you need to be a successful Kickstarter project.
Turning to the project itself, we are lucky to already have a ‘proof of concept’ on how to deliver this work. This pilot phase showed that young people want to access new technologies and benefit once they do. So we don’t have to create the tools & programmes because the template is already there.
The challenge will be to make it accessible for any young person and to develop as many programmes as we can.
The first of these is dealt with by having specialist organisations who will guide us on making the work fun and relevant for their groups. And the range of educators and technologists on board will make sure that we offer challenging, but engaging programmes in an increasing number of areas.
Finally, as anyone who has backed on Kickstarter before knows, there are two major failings of successful projects: failure to deliver on time and failure to communicate effectively.
In terms of delivery we are only offering rewards that we know we can deliver to a high standard and on time.
And with communication, there will be regular updates during the campaign showing you what we are doing and where we are at. Once we are (hopefully) successful, we will commit to weekly updates and responses to comments within 24 hours.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)