I’m at a Digital Participation seminar at Birmingham City University today, looking at how we can measure digital participation and how digital tools can contribute to social inclusion
We had a great presentation from SIDE project at Dundee University which is looking at blogging for 55 plus and SKYPE for older people based at Dundee University. Particularly interesting is older people and students working together. They are looking at how older people use digital tech to better utilise public transport and to driver safer for longer (the latter they are assessing by using digital telemetry data from car engines).
Their creative work is focused on interactive music making with younger people – acclimatisation, introduction to sampling, creation, publishng remix online, peer commentary, virtual economy with tokens. Using creative practice to teach young people transferable skills.
Final work is about using digital media to in a purpose-built kitchen with sensors and WII remotes built into knives to monitor what people are doing. System understands their actions as part of a process and sends prompts to user to continue in their task (eg next step in making a cup of tea) if they forget, pause etc.
We then had presentations from OFCOM - who are getting very good at measuring at which people use the internet and for what, but have less information on the impact that all this usage is having. There is a huge emphasis coming from government on increasing access to the internet, so that government services can be moved online. Less thought is going into what they actually do once they get online (other than getting their benefits). The Arts Council presented their audience segmentation data, which looks at some of the groups that do or don’t attend and participate in the arts. In the afternoon we did some workshopping, and looked at differentiating attendance from participation. We do this with physical arts events, but are only starting to understand how to do this online. Social media should enable us to do all this, and to do some real longitudinal tracking of beneficiaries. But it isn’t quite happening yet.
Have a look at the #MDP10 for the twitter feed from the day, lots of good stuff including a fair bit more from me.
There’s some thinking about making a digital participation network, and BCU has a blog on their interactive work at