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Your chance to win a golden egg

April 5, 2012

""London’s hosting the biggest Easter Egg hunt in the world, with Fab-erge style eggs dotted around the city.

It’s inspired us to run a little egg hunt of our own – we’ve cooked up six super simple Easter themed questions for a champ to use to help their beginner practice their web skills.   All they have to do is sit with them and use a search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing to find the answers.  If you’re a champ or know someone who is, it’s a great way to spend time with someone over Easter, and you’ll both learn something too.

So… drumroll please… here are the questions:

  • Who made the first chocolate Easter egg and when was that?
  • Where does the Easter bunny come from?
  • What’s the most popular chocolate egg in the world?
  • How big was the largest Easter egg ever made?
  • How many Cadbury’s crème eggs are made each year and how many’s that per person?
  • How many eggs are on display for London’s Egg Hunt for Easter 2012?

Once you’re done, send the answers to us and a computer generated hat will pick a winning team to award with golden eggs (aka Lindt Gold Bunny Luxury eggs).

Happy hunting everyone!

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The e-Inclusion awards

March 26, 2012

""The e-Inclusion awards are back, and are now taking nominations until May 4th 2012.

Do you know someone who has benefited significantly from becoming e-included? Maybe you’re part of an organisation that has championed e-inclusion? Or maybe you have improved your own life through going digital, and want to tell your story? If any of those are familiar, then you could be in the running for the awards.

Established by the European Commission, the awards are taking place on the 21-22nd June, and are looking to discover and celebrate those individuals and organisations who are plugging the digital gap and helping people enjoy the benefits of the internet.

The awards will be split into two main categories this year. The ‘I am Part of IT’ award will focus on individuals who have been empowered by e-inclusion, and will give particular attention stories around employability, re-skilling and improvement in life situations.

The ‘Be Part of IT – Digital Inclusion Champions’ award will be taking entries from organisations (or individuals outside of organisations) who have promoted e-inclusion through relevant project.

As part of both awards there will be two separate sub categories; one for individuals and small businesses, and the other for large businesses.

There will be twelve finalists in each category invited to present their projects at the Digital Agenda Assembly Conference in Brussels, and the winners will also be announced at the conference.

So, if you’re an individual, business, government or NGO that has really gone the extra mile in fighting the battle against digital and social exclusion, then why not apply?

You’ve got until May 4th 2012 to put your case forward.

Good luck!

John Lewis Brent Cross digital champion sessions

March 23, 2012

John Lewis internet beginnersGoing to a John Lewis store on a Wednesday morning in March you would expect to find a number of different things. However what you may not be expecting is to see a group of retired retail workers learning how to navigate their way around the web.

But that is exactly what has been happening in John Lewis Brent Cross for the last eight weeks. Starting at end of January, the weekly event has brought together members of the Retail Trust who want to learn more about how the digital world works. They are teamed up with staff members, usually on a one-to-one basis, and then given tuition and guidance on all things digital.

Under the guidance of the digital champions at John Lewis, the enthusiastic bunches have been picking up a range of skills. Starting with the basics of just moving the mouse, they can now send and receive emails, do their internet banking and much, much more.

Amanda Timothy is Community Liaison Coordinator, and she has been astounded by the progress of the participants. She said: “Over the weeks people have gone from not knowing what they were doing really, to just coming in and doing what they want!

The sessions have ended now, but Amanda believes that more could be on the cards.

“If there is a demand then it will start it up again. Considering there are over 400 retired John Lewis partners, I think it’s very likely. We definitely want to!”

Julie, who at 65 years young is the baby of the group, has been using the sessions to keep in touch with friends and family in Ghana and Canada. She’s was also spotted perusing LivingSocial, and is keen to sign up to ‘have a Twitter’.

She said: “I worked at John Lewis for 34 years, and I’m so pleased they have put these sessions on. Being able to use email has helped me so much with sending cards – birthdays, Christmas’, and it costs nothing!”

Nina enjoying the session

Nina

Marjorie Breadmore is another who has made the most of the programme. Far from being confined to the basics, she checks football scores, buys products, and is by her own admission, slightly addicted to the games on the iPad.

She said: “I was looking around for a kids swimming ring for ages without finding one. Then we looked online and found one straight away.

“I would love to do more of the sessions, especially if they’re on the iPad!”

However the award for most creative use of the session goes to Nina Seymour (right), who has been using Google and Ancestry.com to track down her long lost brother. The search hasn’t yielded any results yet, but fortunately for Nina her other search, a Mahjong club in Barnet, was successful and she is now a member!

Chocolate, sex or your broadband connection?

March 21, 2012

""Which would you choose? Chocolate, sex or your broadband connection?

Luckily, it’s probably not a decision that you have to make, but for 25% of people, sex would receive its P45 rather than their broadband, compared with 65% willing to sacrifice alcohol, 76% chocolate and 78% coffee.

The results are only a few of the headline grabbing findings released this week by Boston Consulting Group as part of its latest research which examined the scale and speed of internet-driven economic growth, and its role in changing countries, cultures, and companies.

We now know that in 2010, the net contributed to 8.3% of the UK economy.  That’s a bigger share than any other G20 major country.  The ‘internet economy’ was also worth £121bn, or more than £2,000 per person, making the sector bigger than the healthcare, construction or education.

When it comes to retail, the UK carries out far more online than any other major economy, equating to 13.5% of all purchases through the net, and BCG expects this to rise to 23% by 2016.  Most interestingly, there was also a 12% growth in SME’s who used the internet for marketing, sales and content, in comparison to a 4% growth among those who didn’t.

As Martha says: “despite very challenging times, BCG’s latest report is a cheering example of the UK taking advantage of the huge opportunities afforded by a digital economy.

Savvy British shoppers are not only benefitting from increased choice and savings, but the growth of SME’s and the creation of thousands of new businesses and jobs shows that increasingly, not being online puts organisations at a disadvantage.

It may be predicted that our web economy will double by 2016, but there are still 8.2 million people and thousands of organisations still to benefit.  Britain is already a centre for technology, and it’s increasingly important that we seize the opportunity to make the UK the most digitally literate nation, with every person, and every organisation able to take advantage.”

She also added as a sideline: “although… I don’t know whether to be amazed or appalled that the UK would rather give up sex than the internet.”

So, back to the million dollar question – hand on heart, which would you choose?

Myfriends online week

March 19, 2012

""With 3.1million over-65’s going more than a week without seeing a friend or family member, loneliness is reaching epidemic levels in the UK, but encouraging more older people online is one of the simplest and cheapest tools we can equip them with, so they can rekindle old, or forge new friendships. 

All this week, Age UK’s myfriends online week campaign is inspiring older people to do just that – it’s not about technology, but inspiring them to discover the social side of the net.

For newly crowned joint Age UK Internet Champ Brenda, 82, the net was a real lifeline after her husband’s death, and not only helped her chat to loved ones, but rediscover a long-lost friend.  Her story is both totally unique and yet very typical, and she’s been kind enough to tell us all about it.  Read her inspirational story below, and if you #lovethenet, please tell Age UK why we should all help an older person online on:

Brenda with June Whitfield

Brenda with June Whitfield

June Whitfield and Tony Robinson already have, and here’s Brenda’s story:

“My husband passed away a couple of months after moving to Farnham Common.  Neither of my children live near me and I now lived about 20 miles from my friends so no one just ‘popped in for a coffee.’  My son bought me a computer for my – I think 75th – birthday, so I wouldn’t be lonely, and it has become such an important part of my life.  The first thing I do when I get up each morning is turn my alarm off and my computer on.

Now apart from emails I use Skype, Facebook and MSN.  Last year I couldn’t get up to Yorkshire for my granddaughter’s birthday but we went on to MSN using the webcam and she opened her presents and we talked, yet we were 200 miles apart. Fantastic!

Also, last year I rediscovered an American serviceman who had been billeted with my family during the war.  We had lost touch about 10 years ago, and I couldn’t believe it when his message came up on Facebook asking if I was that person.  Another fantastic result through the internet.

Although I am lucky and still able to lead a busy life, getting online has got to be the best thing that has happened to me, and I hope my enthusiasm will encourage other ‘oldies’ to have a go!”

Champ party in Liverpool

March 16, 2012
A spot of Samba dancing

A spot of Samba dancing

Demonstrating a heady mix of creativity and fresh thinking consistently shown throughout the last few months, what event could demand such an opener but Go ON it’s Liverpool?  And, as Martha said, “where else would you have a party that started with a Samba dance?”

Already since October, 20,000 extra people in Liverpool have got online, and Tuesday’s gathering celebrated the extraordinary passion and determination of all those who’ve helped make the campaign such a success.

Digital champ Pearl receiving her award

Digital champ Pearl receiving her award

Learning new skills can often seem scary, but while opportunities for more formal training have always been on offer at UK online centres and Libraries, digital champs have tapped local networks and used the knowledge of local people and places.  With a genuine passion to make things better, they’ve cropped up everywhere from taxis to car parks, police stations to pubs.  It’s clearly a winning combination and this is just the beginning.

With special awards to stand out champs and organisations, speeches from James Cordon, aka UK online centres’ Kevin McLean, Kevin Seller from Post Office, Councillors Gary Millar and Nick Small, and not forgetting Martha of course, the big announcement of the evening came from Big Lottery Fund’s Peter Wanless.  Part of its commitment to People Powered Change, BIG is investing in Liverpool with grants of £300 – £10,000 up for grabs to train champs and create community IT hubs.  The investment is a brilliant demonstration of the campaign’s success so far, and it’s just the beginning.

You gorra love Liverpool!

Technology 4 Good Awards 2012

March 15, 2012

Race Online 2012 is once again supporting the Technology4 Good Awards. Together with AbilityNet we are promoting the ‘Working Together Award 2012’ , which specifically acknowledges the effort of organisations supporting people in their efforts to get online.

Last year the award went to ICT solutions company XMA, and iansyst Ltd, an assistive technology company. Ian Litterick from iansyst Ltd describes in the above video how important the awards are.

Entry to the Working Together Award is open to organisations from any sector that can show how good communication and collaboration has delivered a positive impact on people’s lives through technology.

Here at Race Online 2012, we are getting behind the awards again because they are a perfect way of recognising the fantastic work being done across the county.

Following on from the success of last year’s inaugral Technology4 Good Awards, AbilityNet have teamed up with BT and other partners again to celebrate those charities and businesses who improve lives through the use of IT.

The awards are free to enter, and are open to any UK-based individual, charity, business or public body.

AbilityNet CEO Nigel Lewis, speaking at the launch of the T4G Awards 2012, describes them as ‘breaking the mould’. Take a look at his pitch, and others, from the top of the BT tower.

The 2011 awards were a huge success, and if you want to know what to expect from this years event, take a quick look at how things went last year.

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Technology 4 Good Awards 2012 - Nominate Now!

Above all it is an excellent opportunity to recognise those doing hugely important work in a number of different fields.

There is no limit on the amount of awards you can enter, and nominations are open until midnight on 18 May 2012. What are you waiting for?

For more information on the awards, and details on how to enter, check the Technology 4 Good Awards homepage.