Thursday, August 04, 2005

Grants for bringing digital literacy out into the community

I'm beginning to see that a lot of energy is spent here in TALO, and everywhere else on getting teachers up to speed with technology. Any 30 - 60 year old in a possition of teaching over recent years has had quite a few opportunities open to them for gaining a digital literacy. But our younger ones are by and large missing out. Much of that professional development money is not reaching the high schools, leaving many teachers and young learners in the dark ages when it comes to access, skills and knowledge of ICTs. In the end its the kid's learning and our collective cultural development that looses out.

Unless young people are privelged enough to have a computer and broadband network connection in their home, a supportinve home environment, and a family member or friend who is digitally literate, they'll be leaving home and school with very limited experience in the read write Internet. Schools simply don't have the time or resources to offer the access that many kids need to develop a worthwhile digital literacy.

Everyone needs affordable and reliable connectivity, access to technology, digital literacy, space and opportunities to develop skills, appreciation, and their own digital identities these days. (Tertiary) Teachers have, and continue to get such opportunities, and many now enjoy the benefits of free and uninterrupted access to the network, a reliable and serviced desktop, and access to continuing professional development. But they are priveleged. Apart form public libraries and locked down school labs, many young people don't enjoy such reliable access and support. I certainly know more digitally disinterested and illiterate young people than I do older people, and its not necessarily only due to having no access, it has a lot to do with not having a supportive or interested local community too.

So I'm shifting focus. I want to try and win some money from various sources, and set up opportunities for young kids to catch up with their teachers.

So here's a list of private and public grants I've found thanks to Mathew Hutchen's initial help. I've gone through many to arrive at this list. If anyone wants to join me in this effort I'd appreciate the help. Here goes:

"to capitalise on the unique qualities of Sony and contribute to the advancement of the Australian community by assisting its youth and fostering their talents."

I'd like to bring money into the local youth initiatives up here in the mountains, and out around Lithgow to set up and show young people how to blog, moblog, podcast, and develop digital audio visuals... etc. What could I call it? building digital identities?...

Sony says:

"Institutions or individuals seeking support from the Sony Foundation Australia must provide a written proposal including the following:

· A brief outline or description of the proposed activity/beneficiaries of the grant (please note that the Foundation will only support projects / organisations that specifically benefit Australian youth - 25 years and under)
· Details of the organisation / project
· Listing of major supporters and current funding sources
· Operating budget of the organisation
· Details of how funds will be administered
· Goals to be achieved
· List of benefits provided to the Sony Foundation
· Registered charitable status details (please provide registered charity number and or confirmation of tax deductible gift status under Sub Division 30-B of the ITAA 1997)

Samsung Digitall Hope seeks to bridge digital divides in South East Asia - including Australia. Their site is pretty out of date, but they (did) have quite a bit of money for the mission. 1.65 US million actually!
I'd like to score a few Samsung D500 phones (on plans) for a bunch of young kids to get moblogging and creating/sharing/remixing audio for listening on the phones.
Samsung say: "The new umbrella theme for 2005 is "imagine a brighter tomorrow today." Aimed at enriching lives with technology, Samsung Digitall Hope extends accross seven Asian countries - Austrlia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Phillipines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam." [In Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia, disadvantaged youth will be the beneficiaries.]

The Regional Arts Fund
" an Australian Government initiative supporting the arts in regional and remote Australia through providing funding for artform (including cross-artform) projects, multi-media projects and, in exceptional circumstances, festivals. It is designed to support arts and cultural activities that are sustainable, have long term cultural, economic and social benefits, develop partnerships and cultural networks, provide skills development opportunities and contribute to the wellbeing of individuals and communities."

I'd like to introduce a few community art groups to blogging, audio blogging, and wikis. Skills in these areas of ICTs could simplify their news and announcements, enrich their online media developments and communications, and improve their collaborative writting efforts for grants etc. If this scope is too broad, then focus could be brought onto a particular group, such as the local live music scene up here in Katoomba. I think it would be valuable to start recording live music as it happens up here, and offer it up in promotional podcasts.

Regional Arts Funding is available to:
an organisation / agency / group; legally constituted and currently operational; be adequately insured under Workers' Compensation legislation or other applicable law, and public liability to the value of at least $10m. Be based in the regions as defined above... If you do not meet the above criteria, contact the Funding and Research Officer at RANSW to discuss your project.

Applications close Monday 15 August 2005 for projects commencing after 1 January 2006.

The Young Film Makers Fund is one I'm particularly interested in, though expect there would be quite a bit of competition.

"Grants of up to $30,000 are available to NSW residents aged eighteen to thirty-five for production or post-production costs. There is no restriction on format or type of film and the YFF has funded short dramas, documentaries, animation and experimental film projects."

Looking through the FAQ it seems that the YFF is flexible enough to accept almost any proposal including one to show young people how to make their own movies and distribute them on the Internet. I reckon a bit of digital story telling, moblogging, video making and distribution through Creative Commons and the Inernet Archive would go well... applications close on Monday 17 October 2005.

The Scanlon Foundation's grant applications are not taken until February 2006, with funding available in June that year. Their funding principles are:

  • We seek to fund projects which take a new approach to problems, support the evaluation of their trial, and if successful, their replication in other locations.
  • In seeking to maximise the value of our grants, we try to address the causes of problems, rather than treat the symptoms. Supporting social research is fundamental to this approach.
  • We want our grants to provide the opportunity for people from culturally diverse backgrounds to be empowered to participate more fully in society.
  • We try to fund programs that will continue to have an impact well beyond the period of our support. Will the grant be effective in bringing about structural change that will be significant (within its context) in ten years time?
  • We encourage applications from organisations that are working with others in their field. Our grants have greater impact when combined with support from other sources. These might include other trusts and foundations, government, business, and volunteers. We are very happy to be one of a number of supporters of a program.

I have saved a number of other funding opportunities with the tag "fundingsource" but will probably have to create more specific tags than that soon. But if anyone else is using and has links to funding opportunities along the lines I'm speaking of (bringing digital literacy out into the community), it'd be great if you added this tag to them or commented them in this blog. Apart from that, I think the TALO eGroup should start becoming more active in announcing alternative funding opportunities to each other.

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