April 2018 Net Inclusion Conference Report

Net Inclusion – NDIA 2018

By: Katherine Lato, Maryanna Milton, Barry Glicklich

On April 17-19, we attended the 2018 Net Inclusion conference in Cleveland. The following notes are from the sessions/activities that PBDD attended, reflecting only a subset of the conference. Many of the slides from presentations are available at: https://netinclusion2018.sched.com/list/descriptions/ along with information about the speakers.

Thank you to The Cleveland Foundation for providing a lot of support for this conference and to all the sponsors. The food was wonderful, and the opportunities to socialize and network were most appreciated. NDIA staff, volunteers, and participants once again did a tremendous job of pulling together those engaged in digital inclusion into a community, and we thank them.

Our main takeaways from the conference:

  1. The internet today is like electricity was 100 years ago, in the process of rolling out and changing people’s lives and opportunities, but with some substantial differences. There are multiple classes of service that are evolving over time.
  2. It is inspiring to be around people who care about digital inclusion and are willing to work to ensure that everyone has good access to the internet. Sharing experiences and lessons learned is an invaluable opportunity.
  3. Libraries are a key participant in digital inclusion.
  4. People are accessing two different internets. If your internet is phone based, that is very different from broadband access to your home. The term ‘leaner’ means someone who doesn’t have home internet access and leans against a building with a mobile device to get wifi access.
  5. With self assessment, some students reported feeling less knowledgeable, reflecting that they learned how much they didn’t know.
  6. If you couldn’t attend the conference, or even if you did, you might want to go through the slides available and read about the people who attended.
  7. While the weather wasn’t very good, the food and welcoming people in Cleveland were marvelous.


Conference Welcome

For about one third of people, this was their first Net Inclusion conference. There was a callout to Digital Inclusion week online — #digitalequityis – May 7-11

The Benton Digital Equity Champion award went to Deb Socia of Next Century Cities. She talked about how the library helped her be the first in her family to learn a number of items, from what fork to use, to how to succeed in college. “The library is the great equalizer.”

The rest of this report is available in a google document.

This is our third year attending the NDIA conference, and we learn useful things and have a ton of resources to access when we return. We are looking forward to next year’s conference in Charlotte, NC. Details will be on the NDIA website.

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