Today, on the second annual Digital Media Literacy Day, the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte is partnering with Ashley Park Elementary School, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district, One Laptop Per Child, Mobile Beacon and EveryoneOn to provide digital access and support for parents and Ashley Park students.
Knight School students and faculty are spending the day at Ashley Park with parents to assess their technology needs. Mobile Beacon is donating 100 modems and is providing free in-home Internet access for the remainder of the school year to participating families. Knight Foundation, in support of Project LIFT, has already paired students with laptop computers designed by One Laptop Per Child.
In addition, the Knight School has created a Digital Media Literacy Index, the first tool of its kind, to measure Charlotte’s progress. The index provides a measure of digital media literacy competency across the city, but also by ZIP code, ethnicity, age, income, and education levels. It reveals areas of need and opportunity in our efforts to bridge the digital divide.
The Digital Media Literacy Index looks at the elements of this new literacy – which we break down as the ability to access, share, analyze, evaluate, create, reflect and act using digital media – and rates performance in each area. It can be adapted to score the digital literacy level of any person or group, from a local neighborhood organization to the entire state.
The community surrounding Ashley Park scored the lowest on the Knight School’s Charlotte Index. The neighborhood has the lowest Internet use, contains the highest percentage of adults without a high school degree, and has the highest percentage of households with an annual income less than $40,000. Helping people in Ashley Park learn to drive on the information superhighway and access public information is, we believe, just as important to their success in life as being able to drive a regular car or access public transportation.