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Monday, 7 December 2009

What about the ‘forgotten armies’ ?

Graphic: Logo for Social InclusionStudents at school or college may be a considerable group of learners, but in terms of numbers perhaps they become the minority and the very cause of the problem of the 'silo of academic thinking' in terms of e-Portfolios that I am desperately trying to overcome.

Starting with some pointers from a recent conference, I present a list of those who are presently missing out from the sort of inclusion and support an e-Portfolio can provide – our ‘forgotten armies’:

1. Adults aged 55+ - an increasingly larger group of people who do not want to be excluded from the world even if their mobility or communication skills are reduced.

2. People in rural areas – what with the increasing costs of transportation, the reduction in public services including Post Offices and shops, all are increasing the isolation of communities.

3. People in areas of multiple deprivation – again, people who are self-conscious are less likely to want to communicate with others or lift themselves out of their predicaments.

4. C2DEs (ie lower potential employability) – generally not e-confident, often school dropouts or neets and not aware of how to go about self improvement.

5. The disabled and those with learning difficulties – digital technologies are not always suitable and very often good resources are hard to find.

6. The unemployed and low-income households – not always lacking in digital technologies but often not aware of their full potential eg used for job-seeking or on-line learning.

7. People affected by mental ill-health – the need to communicate, instantly, but without the challenges of f2f meetings needs to be addressed.

8. Homeless/vulnerably housed adults – in an unsecure world the ability to log on in a library, internet cafe or job-centre can provide an excellent base from which to communicate with others.

9. Itinerant workers and services personnel – as seen in recent news items about soldiers in the field, the ability to communicate wherever one is can be a very comforting and reassuring facility.

10. 'Delegators' (ie those who pass on any ICT work to others) – there is a vast army of people who always delegate even simple tasks to others. This avoidance of digital technologies needs to be overcome through appropriate support.

11. Those detained in Prison (both staff and inmates) – The risk of the misuse of ICT facilities is recognised but hundreds of thousands of inmates are missing out on educational opportunities.

When I consider the vast range of those who are missing out from what others do every day and often several times a day, I feel like some lone evangelist shouting out in the wilderness, “Turn, your life around and find a new and better way of living!

This is just an extract from a 3-page article, 'e-Portfolios - getting to where others can’t reach?'

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