What is a Digital Champion?
Digital Champions are staff and volunteers from nonprofit and public sector organizations who help people one-on-one to be online.
GEO Digital Champions participate in a 2-hour training session led by GEO Nova Scotia Digital Inclusion Facilitators and receive effective tools, tips, and techniques to support someone who needs help to use the Internet safely and confidently.
NOTE: GEO Nova Scotia Referral Partner organizations who participate in the GEO Connects program are asked to maintain at least one Digital Champion on staff to help support Participants.
Digital Champions help people one-on-one to do things online like:
- setting up their new devices
- using video calls
- accessing online learning opportunities
- explaining how to stay safe online
The aim is that, with support from Digital Champions, Participants will be able to use the internet safely and confidently.
All staff or volunteers who come into regular contact with service users can be Digital Champions – it’s a process of upskilling.
People with digital skills can better engage with the rest of the world, supporting better outcomes across other aspects of their lives, such as reducing social isolation, education and employment opportunities, and accessing helpful programs and services.
What skills and qualities does a Digital Champion need?
Digital Champions don’t need to be technology experts, they just need to be reasonably confident online. The most important qualities in a Digital Champion is their people skills:
· Friendly, approachable, and eager to help others learn new skills
· A good listener
· Abie to explain things in simple terms
· Understanding of people’s interests and motivations for learning
· Passionate about the positive impact digital can have on people’s lives
How much time does it take?
Support sessions with Participants might take place once or twice a week. They can be scheduled in advance or they might be spontaneous interactions. They are great when they can be in-person and they can also happen remotely.
30 minutes or less is usually enough time to make some progress without overwhelming someone. When someone is setting up a new device, this can take a bit longer.
All this will depend on who they are and what they need, and it also depends on how your organization usually delivers support.
The best approach is to embed digital skills in the core support you provide to your users. For example, if you’re helping someone manage their finances you could explore apps for budgeting or do price comparisons online to reduce the costs of household utilities.
A support relationship should last for up to 6 months if needed, but it can be much shorter if a Participant picks up all they need to know quickly.
What support is available?
We have a Digital Champion Hub on the GEO Nova Scotia website which will grow and evolve over time.
Digital Champions struggling with any aspect of supporting participants can contact the GEO Nova Scotia team at email@example.com, 902-536-1917 (leave a message)
Can it get any better?
Yes! GEO Digital Champions also receive a very stylish digital certificate upon completion of their training!