Thanks to everyone who joined the conversation on Digital Navigators today. We had a lot of expertise in the Zoom room; that led to some really good questions.
Thanks especially to Marc Johnson, Executive Director of (ECMECC) and Paolo Balboa, Programs and Data Manager for the National Digital Inclusion Alliance for getting us started. On a high level here are some of the topics that came up:
- Description of Digital Navigators in a wide range of situations – from school to seniors
- What we’re learned and shared based on escalated need in the pandemic
- Who are the digital navigators? Are they certified?
- How do we encourage BIPOC and people in communities that are not traditionally going for tech careers to get into digital navigation – especially if that’s a stepping stone to better jobs
- How do digital navigators work with folks with limited English skills
I’m going to paste the “chat” from the meeting below. I was going to clean up or organize the various links but I think people get a flavor of the meetings if I leave it asis. Remember we do lunch bunch meetings twice a month. Here are details on the next meetings:
- March 10 Blandin Broadband Lunch Bunch – Infrastructure
Benefits of publicly-owned broadband networks
- March 24 Blandin Broadband Lunch Bunch – Digital Use & Equity
Smart tactics for cities, suburbs and town (Get a sneak preview from local experts at Smart North)
From the chat
12:01:54 From Ry Marcattilio-McCracken to Everyone : Glad to join you folks–I’m eating lunch but listening!
12:06:32 From Jeffrey Plaman to Everyone : So nice to see so many familiar faces here!
12:08:45 From Scott Cole-Collectivity (he/him) to Everyone : indeed!
12:09:33 From Ann Treacy to Everyone : Joe Miller (he/him/his) | Digital Access Project Manager | Literacy Minnesota
12:11:37 From Joe Miller, Literacy MN to Everyone : literacymn.org/mdedigitalequityproject
12:11:51 From Joe Miller, Literacy MN to Everyone : https://www.literacymn.org/mdedigitalequityproject
12:12:57 From Ann Treacy to Everyone : Marc Johnson, Executive Director of (ECMECC), a telecommunications & technology cooperative of school in East Central MN. You can catch him talking about digital navigators with North Branch Area Public Schools, if you want a sneak preview.
Paolo Balboa is the Programs and Data Manager for the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, where he applies his background in adult literacy and data management to developing digital equity programs.
12:19:28 From Marc Johnson to Everyone : My email address is: email@example.com if there are any other questions anyone has after the session.
12:22:20 From Paolo Balboa to Everyone : https://www.digitalinclusion.org/digital-navigator-model/
12:24:57 From Bernadine Joselyn (she/her) to Everyone : I think that is different in rural, where connectivity is more of an issue
12:26:52 From Paolo Balboa to Everyone : Bernadine I think that’s absolutely correct
12:27:16 From Marc Johnson to Everyone : That is our experience in rural MN for sure
12:29:51 From Joe Miller, Literacy MN to Everyone : More information on the project that Theresa described: https://www.ramseycounty.us/residents/assistance-support/employment-assistance/techpaks
12:37:28 From Jeffrey Plaman to Everyone : Members of the communities being served might be an important ingredient. Someone trusted
12:39:36 From Joe Miller, Literacy MN to Everyone : Northstar Digital Literacy is a program of Literacy Minnesota
12:39:50 From Jeffrey Plaman to Everyone : Opportunity to develop badges recognizing skills attainment.
12:39:50 From Ann Treacy to Everyone : Nnorthstar link https://www.digitalliteracyassessment.org/
12:40:51 From Joe Miller, Literacy MN to Everyone : Northstar is available at each public library and careerforce center in Minnesota
12:41:48 From Jeffrey Plaman to Everyone : Tech support could be one path but I wonder also if Navigators might also move toward more “social work” type of jobs.
12:41:56 From Lee Her to Everyone : To Paolo or Marc, my questions are 1) what might a digital navigator program focused on limited-English proficient family communities with children in prek-12 look like? 2) What are key components that a program like this must have to ensure and maximize efficacy? 3) What is training like for digital navigators to ensure they can effectively provide support in languages other than English to convey relatively complex words/concepts like satellite, mobile hot spots, internet speed, etc. that don’t always translate well in different languages?
12:42:27 From Theresa Sladek to Everyone : I agree with that Jeff, digital navigators need to have a lot of the same listening, goal setting, resource finding skills
12:43:02 From Theresa Sladek to Everyone : If you have questions about Northstar, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
12:43:24 From Marc Johnson to Everyone : Lee, if we aren’t able to answer those all in this time, please email me and I will give you my two cents worth!
12:43:53 From Lee Her to Everyone : Great, thank you Marc!
12:44:09 From Paolo Balboa to Everyone : Lee, ditto what Marc said!
12:44:35 From Marc Johnson to Everyone : To support what Jeff says, we found the needs for our digital navigators were more around communication and coordination efforts than technical issues – though that was definitely part of the need too.
12:47:54 From Mary Magnuson (she/her) to Everyone : Lee, Project FINE in Winona is doing some digital navigators type work with immigrant and refuge families. https://www.projectfine.org/ I know they are doing site visits to client homes right now
12:49:39 From Lee Her to Everyone : Thank you, Anne!
12:49:55 From Jeffrey Plaman to Everyone : MDE’s Digital Inclusion page has some resources that might be of interest… more coming too including additional language versions of the video: Karen, Hmong, Oromo, Somali, Spanish and Neapli https://education.mn.gov/MDE/dse/tech/digital/
12:49:59 From Joe Miller, Literacy MN to Everyone : this is a written report from Project FINE in Winona: https://www.literacymn.org/sites/default/files/uploads/MDE%20docs/Project%20FINE%20-%20Digital%20Equity%20Community%20Report.docx.pdf
12:51:18 From Jeffrey Plaman to Everyone : Our video “Get Connected” makes an attempt at explaining some of the broadband basics. https://education.mn.gov/MDE/VideoNew/?group=Communications&id=PROD034605
12:53:25 From Joe Miller, Literacy MN to Everyone : thanks for sharing Jeff! Relationship-first matters
12:53:29 From Lee Her to Everyone : Thank you Marc and Jeff!
12:56:04 From Paolo Balboa to Everyone : +1 to communications and relationships to build trust and tech second. Lee directly to your question, in the Salt Lake City Public Library version of this project, they were intentional about partnering with community-based organizations that have staff who speak the language of their community members, and already have that trust. They also partnered with Catholic Charities who helps resettle refugees in SLC + had staff and relationships
12:56:06 From Lee Her to Everyone : I completely agree that finding the right people is critical but I’m anticipating a barrier for digital navigators that our school cultural liaisons, advocates, and interpreters have, which is that they’re struggling to convey general education concepts like virtual learning, early childhood education, language access rights in different languages. The idea was that they are the communication experts and even they struggle with industry jargon.
12:57:03 From Paolo Balboa to Everyone : So short answer, is not necessarily finding the right individuals, but the right organizations that are already working in this space
12:57:18 From Ann Treacy to Everyone : Blandin Broadband Lunch Bunch – Infrastructure
Benefits of publicly-owned broadband networks
Smart North – Smart towns around Minnesota
Blandin Broadband Lunch Bunch – Digital Use & Equity
12:57:32 From Ry Marcattilio-McCracken (ILSR) to Everyone : I’ve got to hop on another call. Thanks everyone for your work and the discussion. See you next time.
12:58:19 From Bernadine Joselyn (she/her) to Everyone : I have to leave for another meeting. thanks everyone for the conversation today!
12:58:55 From Lee Her to Everyone : Thank you for indulging me! This has been very helpful and reassuring.
13:00:14 From Glenn Miller to Everyone : this was my first, so just listening today. will come back again next time. Thanks for the last minute twitter invite Ann! I have to drop now. thanks
13:00:34 From Burke Murphy to Everyone : Thank you all – appreciate all you shared.
13:00:46 From Scott Cole-Collectivity (he/him) to Everyone : Great convo folks – thanks a ton!
13:00:48 From Paolo Balboa to Everyone : email@example.com
13:00:57 From Marc Johnson to Everyone : firstname.lastname@example.org