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Broadband access Broadband in WNC Digital Equity Digital Literacy GREAT Program Jeff Sural North Carolina

Nation’s First Office of Digital Equity and Literacy

Established by NC Governor Roy Cooper

Closing the digital divide in North Carolina can only happen with collaboration from:

  • Federal
  • State
  • Regional Councils of Governments
  • Counties
  • Cities
  • Communities

The WNC Broadband Project and the Digital Literacy Network are happy to hear this announcement from Governor Roy Cooper.

“The pandemic showed us more than ever the importance of digital equity in North Carolina,” said Gov. Cooper. “Creating the Office of Digital Equity and Literacy will enable us to accelerate the critical work of bringing all North Carolinians up to speed with the digital society so they can live more equitable, prosperous, educated and healthier lives.”

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper

NC Office of Digital Equity and Literacy

The office of Digital Equity and Literacy will execute Gov. Cooper’s plan to expand digital literacy offerings and partnerships across North Carolina, as well as lead the Digital Equity and Inclusion Collaborative and promote the NC Digital Inclusion Playbook for local municipalities.

Read More

Governor Cooper Establishes Nation’s First Office of Digital Equity and Literacy | NCDIT. Nc.gov. Published 2021. Accessed July 4, 2021. https://it.nc.gov/news/press-releases/2021/07/01/governor-cooper-establishes-nations-first-office-digital-equity-and-literacy

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Basics Computer Basics Digital Inclusion Digital Literacy North Carolina Teacher Standards

Digital Literacy

Digital Citizenship

Digital literacy has been defined in many different ways by many different people.

First, let’s put digital literacy in context starting with digital citizenship.

Digital Citizenship Defined

Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use, including broadband or high-speed internet.

Digital Citizenship Nine Elements

  1. Digital Access: full electronic participation in society
  2. Digital Commerce: electronic buying and selling of goods or services
  3. Digital Communication: electronic exchange of information.
  4. Digital Literacy: process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology.
  5. Digital Etiquette: electronic standards of conduct or procedure.
  6. Digital Law: electronic responsibility for actions and deeds
  7. Digital Rights & Responsibilities: those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world.
  8. Digital Health & Wellness: physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world.
  9. Digital Privacy & Security: electronic precautions to guarantee safety.

Definition of Digital Literacy

Digital literacy represents a person’s ability to perform tasks effectively in a digital environment

Source: Barbara R. Jones-Kavalier and Suzanne L. Flannigan, “Connecting the Digital Dots: Literacy of the 21st Century,” Educause Quarterly 29:2 (2006)

North Carolina Digital Literacy

Standards for Teachers

The chart below shows the relationship between North Carolina Evaluation Standards and the Information & Technology Education Standards (ITES) of:

  • Sources of Information
  • Information Text
  • Technology as a Tool
  • Research Process
  • Safety & Ethics
Interconnectedness of the NC Teacher Evaluation Process and the Information & Technology Standards

The Digital Literacy Network is a start for digital inclusion in Buncombe County and Western North Carolina thanks to the Land-Of-Sky Regional Council of Governments.

Supporting Posts

Digital Citizenship Archives – WNC Broadband Project. (2020). WNC Broadband Project. https://wncbroadband.org/blog/blog/category/digital-citizenship/

Learning Digital Skills – WNC Broadband Project. (2021, June 24). WNC Broadband Project. https://wncbroadband.org/blog/blog/2021/06/24/learning-digital-skills/

Defining Digital Literacy. (2021). Rt3nc.org. http://rt3nc.org/objects/modules/diglit/1-1-DefiningDigitalLiteracy.html

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Basics Broadband access Buncombe Computer Basics Devices Digital Inclusion Digital Literacy Education Event Hotspot Internet Library

Learning Digital Skills

Digital inclusion is happening in Western North Carolina. Recently the Land-of-Sky Regional Council of Governments and NC Work initiated a new program called ‘Digital Literacy Network’ or www.DigLit.net.

The Dig Lit Network supports older worker (60+) pathways to careers in Buncombe County with technology assistance in-person, via phone, video conference, or small ‘Special Interest Groups.’

Device Tech Support

The concept is to provide tech support for the older workforce in WNC. The technology support could be for mobile devices including:

  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Smartphone

Type of Mentoring

  • Computer hardware
  • Software and applications
  • Hotspots
  • Privacy and security
  • Productivity

Contact Dig Lit Today

To setup an appointment and if you are a Buncombe County resident, 60+ years-old:

Email

Help@DigLit.net

Call

828-365-8299

Special topics of digital literacy groups can also be scheduled for community centers, church, or other buildings with dependable broadband.

Buncombe County Library

Tech Support Walk-In Events

Bring your smartphone, laptop, or tablet and receive one-on-one assistance:

Friday, June 25th

West Asheville Library

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, June 26th

Pack Memorial Library

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

East Asheville Public Library

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

WNC Broadband Project

The Western North Carolina Broadband Leadership Team continues to advocate for future-proof broadband or true high-speed internet for you and your community for education, telehealth, employment, and other economic benefits and the Digital Literacy Network will help you connect to community resources to grow your digital skills.

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Buncombe Digital Literacy E-Learning Internet Internet Laptop WiFi

East Asheville Library

Print & Digital Resources with Broadband

The recently opened East Asheville Library is available for your print and online resources. Digital resources include:

Audio and video file transfer are large files; thus having high-speed internet or broadband is an advantage as seen with the FCC Speedtest App results below on a iPhone.

IPHONE FCC SPEEDTEST APP RUN AT THE EAST ASHEVILLE LIBRARY

The WNC Broadband Project Team is happy to digital tools available in Western North Carolina, including the newest Buncombe County Library.

Digital Literacy Network resources are also available to assist 60+ year old Buncombe County residents.

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Affordability Assurance Wireless Communication Computer Basics Digital Equity Digital Literacy Hotspot Internet Phone Service

Smartphone

Digital Literacy

An Assurance smartphone is free for qualified individuals it comes with 10 Gigs of of monthly internet data for a laptop hotspot.

Periodically the Assurance phone tent can be found in Asheville.

Assurance Wireless Phone Tent in front of the Department of Health & Human Services Building on Asheville’s Cox Avenue (across from the bus station)

If you qualify, Assurance Wireless periodically sets-up a tent in Asheville and provides a free smartphone for life’s needed communication from friends, family, employers, and more.

  • Phone calls
  • Text messages
  • Weather forecast checks
  • Web search
  • Video content
  • Laptop hotspot
  • Telehealth

Additionally, if you are 60+ years old and you are a Buncombe County resident… and have questions or need help in using an Android or Apple smartphone for employment or careers, please contact a member of the Digital Literacy Network for assistance.

A member of our tech team will setup an appointment in-person or virtually.

Assurance Wireless Phone

Learn More About Assurance Wireless Phone
https://www.assurancewireless.com

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Advocacy Affordability Broadband access Digital Equity Digital Literacy NC BIO North Carolina www.DigLit.net

Achieving Digital Equity Is Within Our Reach

Gov. Roy Cooper proposes investing $1.2 billion in federal American Rescue Plan funds in these key pillars necessary to close the digital gap:

  • Infrastructure and access
  • Affordability
  • Digital literacy. 

By investing in these key pillars, North Carolina can achieve digital equity for all.

The Digital Divide | Broadband Infrastructure Office. (2021). https://www.ncbroadband.gov/digital-divide

Digital Equity Resources

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Advocacy Amazon Apple iPhone Digital Citizenship Digital Literacy Digital Policy Facebook Google IoT Microsoft Tech Companies

Big Tech Silo Advocacy

GAMY Security Acronym

As a digital literacy instructor, I commonly get students that don’t understand the big-tech silos and the applications or apps that are associated with each of them, so I’ve authored a new acronym GAMY which could be expanded to GAAFMY:

  • Google (Alphabet)
  • Apple
  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • Microsoft
  • Yahoo / Verizon

The primary significance is that each big-tech silos needs a security-key to get into their silo. A security-key is a unique combination of an email, username, password, phone number, location, and possibly other multifactor authentications. If you are a Google Business listing, you would also receive a snail-mail post card sent to your physical address; which is yet another piece of security-key data.

Device Security

Each laptop, desktop, smartphone, tablet, IoT, smart TV, smart car or other computer device; individually requires device sign-in security. This device is yet another unique identifier to our profile. When individuals need to change a password, email, or device for an GAMY app; each device must be changed. Ouch!

BTS – Big Tech Silo

These security identifiers are data points held and managed by each big-tech silo (BTS). Is it safe to say, BTS know more about us than our own government? Our government most commonly knows us with only a combination of a name, address, email, phone, social security number.

BTS are the highly profitable growth superstars. Do they keep the best interest of all users when it comes to digital policy making?

Government vs BTS

As users, we really have little recourse to most BTS applications, but to accept their user license agreement or ULA. As individuals, we grant a lot of permission to the will of the BTS. So, who is our advocate of the software and hardware that uses broadband to transport digital information?

So if the Amazon superstar silo says they want new laws, who becomes the effective consumer advocate?

Perhaps we should hold the tech superstars to an even higher standard because of their power over our lives and their influence on policymakers and public perception.

Emily Stewart, writing for Vox’s Recode

WNC Broadband project is your advocate for high-speed internet to use these big tech services.

Who is your big tech silo advocate as a consumer? Especially when is comes to GAMY policy and procedures?

Is our advocate the United States government?

Can policy makers be influenced BTS, including big tech Amazon; without the best interest of the consumer?


.Amazon Wants a Lot of New Laws. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/03/technology/amazon-laws.html. Published 2021. Accessed June 6, 2021.

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Advocacy Broadband access Broadband funding Broadband in WNC Digital Inclusion Digital Literacy House Bill Municipalities NC General Assembly Senate Bill

2021 Broadband State Legislation

North Carolina Broadband 2021 Legislation

HB 79
Passed House 2/24/21

Requires the state board of education to maintain a digital learning dashboard updated annually by public school units and requires recommendations to the joint legislative education oversight committee based on information on student digital learning access during COVID-19.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

HB 196
Signed by governor 3/11/21, Chapter 3
SB 172

Makes modifications to COVID-19 relief legislation and provides additional appropriations for the expenditure of federal COVID-19 pandemic relief funds., includes student connectivity funds for complimentary internet service.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

HB 289
Passed House 4/1/21

Appropriates funds to the department of information technology for the preparation of statewide broadband maps and establishes the department as the sole source of broadband mapping for state agencies.

Funding and Mapping

HB 384

Fosters infrastructure for broadband expansion and resources in North Carolina by authorizing counties and cities to install and lease broadband infrastructure to increase adequate broadband services to attract investment in local economies, provide for educational and career opportunities, modernize farming technologies, and to provide for improved health care.

Infrastructure

HB 476

Enacts the North Carolina Broadband Consumer Protection Act to provide oversight of broadband service by the North Carolina utilities commission.

Consumer Relations and Governance

SB 517

Appropriates funds to the department of information technology for the preparation of statewide broadband maps and to establish the department as the sole source of broadband mapping for state agencies; relieves regulatory burdens to expedite broadband expansion; allows for use of existing easements for broadband expansion; expands distribution of state surplus computers and computer hardware for nonprofits; allows local government leasing of existing broadband infrastructure; expands funding for G.R.E.A.T. program broadband grants; and provides stopgap internet access for classroom access, health care access, and job creation.

Education and Schools, Funding, Infrastructure, Mapping and Rural and Underserved

SB 523

Establishes the North Carolina broadband assistance program to provide funds to eligible low-income families to help make broadband access more affordable.

Rural and Underserved

SB 547

Fosters infrastructure for broadband expansion and resources in North Carolina by authorizing counties and cities to build and lease facilities and equipment of broadband services to increase adequate broadband services in rural areas of the state where the need for broadband is great due to many factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

Municipal and Rural and Underserved

SB 642

Appropriates funds to the technology and data institute to operate a pilot program to expand high-speed internet access to students of low-income families in central North Carolina.

Funding, High Speed and Rural and Underserved

SB 689

Facilitates the expansion of broadband service in unserved areas of the state by ensuring timely and nondiscriminatory access to municipal and electric membership cooperative utility poles, ducts, and conduits at just and reasonable rates; authorizes counties to provide grants to high-speed internet access service providers and to build facilities and equipment of a broadband service and to levy taxes for those purposes; further defines the term “city utility pole”; prohibits certain fees for the collocation of small wireless facilities; and makes related changes.

Funding, High Speed, Infrastructure, Rural and Underserved and Taxes


Broadband 2021 Legislation. (2021). Ncsl.org. https://www.ncsl.org/research/telecommunications-and-information-technology/broadband-2021-legislation.aspx

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Asheville Basics Broadband access Buncombe Digital Literacy Free WiFi Hotspot Internet Library Low-income Access

Digital Options

Pack Library in Downtown Asheville

Located at 67 Haywood Street, the Pack Library and is the main branch in the Buncombe County Public Library System.

The first Pack Library was built and named for George Willis Pack in 1911.

This newer, 56,000-square foot facility was built in 1978 and renovated in 2012.

Digital Resources

It includes digital resources including:

  • Desktop Computer Access in the building
  • Popular resources
    • NC Live a statewide library cooperative, supporting 200+ public and academic libraries across North Carolina
    • NC Digital Library powered by OverDrive and Kindle software
    • Story Line and BiblioBoard hybrid software dedicated to keeping libraries at the forefront of their communities in an increasingly digital age. BiblioLabs offers patrons unlimited, multi-user access through BiblioBoard, the PatronsFirst® digital library, and provides tools that empower libraries to thrive as influential centers for creative community engagement.
    • Tax Help
  • WiFi for your own smartphone, tablet, or laptop
  • Online events by age and by type
  • Printing & Copying

What is your favorite digital resource at Buncombe County libraries; and why?


Libraries – Pack Memorial. Buncombecounty.org. https://www.buncombecounty.org/governing/depts/library/branch-locations/pack-memorial.aspx

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Computer Basics Digital Divide Digital Literacy GCF Global

Computer Skills for the Digital Divide

Resources for Job Seekers

With computers and software always being updated, use this resource skills-sheet to keep your computer skills current.