The key learning for me was twofold. Firstly the older people I met in Australia and Japan had the same eagerness and curiosity to learn about technology as those I’ve met in Northern Ireland.
And the key is to use technology to improve people’s well-being, whether that be staying in contact with family and friends, creating games that are fun, using it to access services or as I witnessed in Japan, creating the most incredible artwork from Microsoft Excel.
The second was the phenomenal amount of work being done by volunteers, whether they are digital champions, organisers, motivators, or tutors. Volunteers in the UK, Japan and Australia are leading the campaign to address digital exclusion. I saw wonderful examples of peer-to-peer learning and support and a real passion for encouraging those being left behind to have a go.
With this learning in mind and having spoken to key people, including Advice NI’s own digital champions, upon my return, I have developed the following recommendations.