Digital Inclusion Festival – Learning Digital Skills made fun and easy!
For many of us, ordering food, buying groceries or booking a ride online are common things we do everyday and often taken for granted. Yet there are some segments of our community who require some assistance, to be able to fully experience the same benefits brought about by technology.
As part of Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)’s Digital Readiness efforts to ensure that no one is left behind in the digital era, the inaugural Digital Inclusion Festival (DI Fest) was organised to bring everyone together to embrace technology. DI Fest pays special attention to community segments such as the low-income families, people with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens.
Singapore’s Biggest Digital Inclusion Carnival Yet!
The Lifelong Learning Institute was transformed into a three-day mega digital carnival from 26-28 July, with over thirteen thousand visitors keeping the place buzzing with non-stop excitement. From key activities like tech exhibits, hourly tutorials, hands-on workshops, to the more light-hearted music performances and interactive games, visitors were truly spoilt for choices. More than 450 volunteers from IMDA’s SG:D Friends programme also came forward to help out at the event. At the DI Fest, visitors got to experience a digital future, and learn the importance to be digitally ready.
“It is key that we do not leave anyone behind in this digital transition,” said Mr. S Iswaran, Minister for Communication and Information, at the opening speech “It falls upon all of us as a community to make sure that every Singaporean is able to enjoy the benefits brought about by technology, and to help everyone to be digitally-ready, especially our seniors and persons with disabilities.”
Minister S Iswaran delivering his opening address at the Digital Inclusion Symposium, organised by IMDA and Institute of Policy Studies (IPS).
Throngs of eager visitors packed the six exhibition zones, curious about the digital tools and tech toys on showcase. From tools that assist the physically challenged to apps that help with e-payments and government services, participants had an abundance of information at their disposal.
Companies, like Grab, set up booths to teach visitors how to use their app to enjoy greater conveniences in their lives
GovTech showed visitors how their Colourise technology could breathe new life into old black and white photos
‘Lifestyle’ booths helped to introduce apps such as Grab and Fave to new users, piquing their curiosity on how digital technology offers enjoyment and greater conveniences.
Seniors were encouraged to sign up for training courses to further their digital skills
The ‘Training’ zone booth set up by IMDA encouraged seniors to learn basic digital skills and sign up for related courses.
Participants attending the Hack-a-Toy workshop conducted by Engineering Good, that teaches participants to build low-cost assistive switches for children with disabilities.
Over at the ‘Touch & Play’ zone, participants were introduced to robotics and became engaged in virtual reality games. Minister S Iswaran also had a go at controlling a robot in a 3-v-3 soccer game.
Minister S Iswaran joined participants in playing mini-soccer game with remote controlled robots
The DI Fest exhibition hall also had several booths showcasing technology that benefits persons with disabilities (PWDs)
Enable IT Forum and Workshops
Infocomm and Assistive Technology (IT/AT) can transform the lives of persons with disabilities (PWDs). PWDs and caregivers echoed this sentiment at the forum.
Associate Professor Wong Meng Ee from the Nanyang Technological University shared his experience as a PWD who actively uses assistive technology. He advocated incorporating technology into the process of learning to help PWDs access a world of possibilities.
Associate Professor Wong Meng Ee shared how he uses assistive technology in his day to day life at the Enable IT Forum
Ms Manju Mohta, who works with special needs children at Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore, was also heartened by her experience at DI Fest. “I’m really touched by the inclusion efforts here. In our class, we had 3 PWDs, 2 senior citizens, a few professionals and children. There was no segregation and we were all learning together.”
Ms Manju Mohta learnt more about accessibility tools at the Microsoft Accessibility Tool workshop, held at DI Fest
Hourly Tech Tutorials for Seniors
Participants were both entertained and enlightened during the hourly Tech Tutorials
Participants were treated to hourly Tech Tutorials on useful apps. The Tutorials covered lifestyle apps such as Grab, payment apps like NETSPay, and government service apps such as MyCPF.
Local DJs and Getai celebrities also delighted the crowd with musical performances and tutorials. At the Cyber Health Hour, they shared cyber-wellness topics to remind the audience to remain vigilant, and provided them with tips on how to enjoy the Internet without falling prey to online threats.
Seniors visiting DI Fest learnt to unlock the capabilities of their smartphones at the Digital Clinics
Singapore’s first ever DI Fest would not be complete without IMDA’s signature Digital Clinic. Held in more than 60 locations island-wide since Nov 2017, these clinics have helped over six thousand seniors with their smartphone-related queries. With help from friendly volunteers who patiently guided one attendee at a time, our seniors can confidently flaunt their new digital skills to their children and grandchildren!
Hello Digital World!
People from all walks of life turned up at this event and were excited to enjoy the festivities. But there was no greater excitement than that felt by newcomers to the digital experience.
Mr Abdul Gafoor was eager to learn new digital skills at the DI Fest
81-year-old Mr Abdul Gafoor was one of the inquisitive first-time visitors at this digital inclusion event. Discovering the festival through newspapers, he came for the MyCPF tutorial armed with questions. Seated near the front of stage, he was assisted by a friendly volunteer. “I learnt so many things today, like how to use my handphone to access government services. Next time, I can use my handphone to get information. I need not spend time travelling and queueing.”
Tender Hearts, Helping Hands
This massive event would not be possible without the invaluable support from the SG:D Friends, a collective of volunteers from various government agencies and corporations across Singapore.
Click here to find out how you and your organisation can contribute.
A Tremendous Success!
On the final day, attendees from the Merdeka and Pioneer generations were treated to a sumptuous celebratory breakfast, organised by the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office to thank them for their contributions to nation building.
A member of the Merdeka Generation enjoying a sumptuous breakfast at DI Fest
If you are keen to participate in future events, check out our upcoming activities here and we hope to see you soon!