Computers & Communities

Further to the presentation made by Keith Bohanna in relation to recent developments in Information Communication Technology (I.C.T.) in particular to the various social Network sites and how they are used.

This was a very interesting presentation and highlighted how fast the ICT world is moving.

Much of the discussion following this presentation concentrated on how we as a company could use initiatives such as face book etc to develop or present our own message.

Fair enough but I feel this is missing the main point, we need to be asking how can we harness the developments in ICT achieve long standing objective in particular
• The development of communities
• The preparation of individuals for possible employment opportunities.

Firstly In terms of developing communities in the broad sense social networks and generally ICT provide a cheap accessible mechanism for hosting content in relation to local communities or communities of interests, Should we not be looking at initiatives which would support the development of content specific to individual communities in a professional and interesting manner and in turn supporting this content to act as a catalyst for greater community integration.

Secondly In terms of preparing individuals for possible opportunities in emerging areas such in ICT we should be looking at developing comprehensive innovative ICT training programs targeted at unemployed in communities.
There are a number of factors in our favour here,
• Many of the poorest communities we work with have excellent broadband reach.
• There is very limited ICT training currently available in Kilkenny outside of the third level sector presently most training follows an ECDL / secretarial type emphasise and tends not to be innovative.
• ICT training is one of the few areas which is accessible to all with skills regardless of social class or academic rank. This means it is a excellent mechanism for the progression of significant numbers of unemployed individuals into employment or enterprise.
• There may also be gains from concentrating training in one area because of the Silicon Valley factor (I just made that up because I didn’t want to use the term cross fertilization but you know what I mean.).

Anyway this article is a bit longer than I intended and while I have outlined why we should have a greater ICT strategy, does anyone have any ideas how we would do this.

Tom McDonald.

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