Digital Birmingham is a Birmingham City Council initiative and part of a city wide strategic partnership of more than 40 public, private and voluntary organisations
Nowhere can the benefits of IT for supporting learning and economic gain be seen working better than in Aston. Digital Birmingham, in a unique partnership with Aston Pride New Deal for Communities, pupils, parents, local authority, local university, e-learning foundation, Digital Birmingham, IT companies and Department for Children Schools and Families have achieved national recognition with the "Computers in the Home" Project which has contributed to real achievements in learning.
The third phase of the project is being delivered by Link2ICT, and the website address is as follows http://www.aston-pride.org.uk/.
Listen to what the parents have to say:
Studies have shown it has helped to close the attainment gap in Aston; it has been recognised for its contribution in the Ofsted reports of 2 Aston schools and in the Becta ICT Excellence Award to Prince Albert school. Furthermore it is being used as a showcase by schools minister Jim Knight where it provides a powerful demonstrator of how technology access has given opportunities to disadvantaged and deprived areas. It continues to act as an exemplar model for other areas of regeneration with other authorities looking to achieve the position that is already in place in Birmingham.
The groundbreaking 'Computers in the Home' initiative which has already enabled over 550 Aston families to benefit from a computer, wireless connectivity and support with this is set to rise to 700 families by the end of March 2008, is transforming Aston into a computer literate, internet capable and connected community. It is a powerful example of how collaboration between the IT industry, local authority, school and local community has extended IT to diverse communities and allowed parents and pupils to share educational content and information.
A special Aston Pride Wireless Network made connectivity widely accessible and affordable with safe internet provision through the Birmingham City Council's secure education network. This together with a small parental contribution managed through the Birmingham e-learning Foundation provided a sustainable solution for this community which has helped Aston bridge the digital divide and enabled children to take school home.
The effect of ICT on learning and the impact on the families and the whole community has been hugely powerful. What is clear is that both the children and families have benefited in terms of extended learning and increases in employment and economic opportunities. It has had a real impact on their lives with children that are motivated, confident and eager to learn and parents who are now actively involved in their children's learning.
Some of its greatest users have been the adults in the family. Many of the parents were using the computer for the first time as well as to enhance their business prospects and provide them with routes through to employment and skill development. Take for example one of the mum's involved in the project who had a young growing family to care for and needed work that would give her the flexibility to be home based. As part of the 'computers in the Home' project, using the computer at home she was able to find a job as an online translator with the International Language Translation Services and is now working for organisations all over the world logging on at times convenient to her.
This project has undoubtedly developed an extensive digital inclusion programme for the families and children in Aston at a scale never seen before across the City. It is this alliance of children, parents and schools that has helped to build a strong integrated community enhancing communication and wider benefits that are being realised.
Aston Pride 'Computers in the Home' project wins a National award
The true success and widely spread benefits of this project were recognised at a national level in January 2009. The Aston Pride 'Computers in the Home' project won a National eGovernment Award in the "Building a Fairer Society with eGovernment and ICT services" category.
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