May 12 - Equity and Infrastructure: A Discussion on the State of Digital Inclusion in KC

National Digital Inclusion Week is an opportunity to raise awareness about digital inequities and nationwide efforts to close those gaps. Throughout the week, May 8-13, organizations will host events and awareness efforts around different themes of digital inclusion, ramping up to a virtual panel discussion on May 12 with some of the national leaders in digital inclusion.

The Kansas City Coalition for Digital Inclusion is moving their monthly meeting to May 12 to host Equity and Infrastructure: A Discussion on the State of Digital Inclusion in KC a local panel discussion around questions of digital equity in our city and to watch the national panel discussion together. Kansas City's local panel will have two parts. Panel one will be practitioners and individuals on the ground who can speak to the needs and gaps still present in our community and what to consider for future digital equity efforts. Panel two will be executives and policymakers responding to the themes of panel one and considering future digital equity efforts from a broader, big-picture perspective.

After the local panel discussion Google Fiber has graciously offered to sponsor lunch for attendees, and then everyone will tune in to watch the national panel discussion at noon.

The local panel discussion will be from 10-11:30, lunch break will be from 11:30-12:00, and the national panel will be from noon to 1:00. All events will take place in Helzberg Auditorium, on the 5th floor of the Kansas City Public Library's Central Branch. This event and lunch is free but please RSVP to ensure we can accommodate everyone!

Local KC panelists include
Ina Montgomery—Urban TEC
Kelvin Patterson—Housing Authority of Kansas City
Sheridin Jones – resident and volunteer of HAKC
Roosevelt Lyons—Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department
Brent Schondelmeyer—LINC
Rachel Merlo—Google Fiber

KCMO Digital Equity Plan

Coalition members Rick Usher and McClain Bryant presented a Digital Equity Plan to the City Council on Feb. 2. The City is currently accepting comments on the plan which is comprised of the following elements:

  1. Access to Affordable Broadband, Devices and Digital Literacy Training
  2. Internet Use for Education
  3. Internet Use to Promote Civic Responsibility
  4. Internet Use to Promote Employment
  5. Internet Use for Business and Job Creation
  6. Collaboration to Promote Digital Equity Priorities

You can read and comment on the six program elements on My Sidewalk.

Interview with John Horrigan of the Pew Research Center

The Public Libraries podcast recently posted on episode closely tied to our work on digital readiness:

"PLA Deputy Executive Director Larra Clark talks with John B. Horrigan of the Pew Research Center about his report, "Digital Readiness Gaps," which finds that just over half of American adults have low levels of readiness to use digital tools as they pursue lifelong learning."

Sprint's New 1MillionProject

Sprint recently announced that it was stepping up in a big way to provide connectivity and devices to a million low-income students who lack a home internet connection. Working with anchor institutions in cities across the country, they will provide free devices and a free 3GB data plan to eligible children. While most digital inclusion practitioners have expressed some concern about the data cap and the reliance on nonprofits to manage them program locally, there is near universal acknowledgement that this is a step in the right direction for our hometown provider.

Read the New York Times article here »

Read the Digital Inclusion Summit Report

The final report from the Digital Inclusion Summit in October will be presented at the Town Hall on January 16, 2015. This report serves to capture and organize the feedback, ideas and discussions that took place. It sets the stage for the development of a formal organization that is charged with solving the Digital Divide in Kansas City and establishes guiding principles and strategies.

Digital Inclusion Town Hall Meeting - January 16, 2015

Organizers of the 2014 Kansas City Digital Inclusion Summit — a first-of-its-kind event addressing troublesome gaps in residents’ access to computers and the Internet — return three months after that daylong gathering to deliver their official report.

The October summit examined trends, discussed challenges and opportunities, spotlighted current inclusion efforts, and shared best practices. Since then civic leaders and other individuals and organizations have been exploring ways to bridge Kansas City's digital divide by providing better Internet access and quality tech education.

The town hall meeting also features an announcement of a new digital inclusion coalition and presentation of an action plan.

Co-presented by the Kansas City Digital Inclusion Coalition.

RSVP for this event »