Andrew Tomlinson, Executive Producer, Media Literacy, BBC Learning, blogs about The Give an Hour campaign.

If, like we're told, delegation is an art, then BBC Learning deserves the Turner Prize. Over the last three months we've persuaded hundreds of thousands of people to give an hour of their time to do a crucial job for us.

Until a few months ago, Learning funded face-to-face sessions in libraries, community centres and schools across the UK, to help internet beginners take their first steps online. First Click had made a big difference to the lives of at least ten thousand people by the time we handed the project over earlier this year.

But with more than eight million people still offline and millions more 'on-liners' struggling to make the most of the internet, we needed two new weapons in our armoury to help us get those numbers down: bigger and better partnerships -- and a mass recruitment campaign to create hundreds of thousands of 'digital champions'.

Most of us agree that that BBC should play to its strengths, using our amazing reach into the homes of the UK to entertain, inform and, particularly in the case of BBC Learning, to educate. So that's what we're concentrating on -- and we're doing it as part of 'Go ON UK', a charity formed in May with the intention of making the UK the world's most digitally literate nation.

To put it simply, each Go ON UK partner has a core job to do: for example Lloyds TSB will focus on helping people and businesses carry out financial transactions online; Age UK will concentrate on the online needs of elderly people and the Post Office will help people do more of their everyday tasks on the internet. The other founder partners are TalkTalk, Everything Everywhere and E.ON.

The BBC's role in Go ON UK is to create great content like films, web pages and online guides and to promote its messages across our output, so everyone gets to see them.

Digital Champions are the core of Go ON UK's attempt to get more of us online and to increase the digital literacy of the UK - and that's where the Give an Hour campaign comes in. The idea is a simple one: we invite people to identify someone whose online skills could do with an upgrade -- and ask them to spend an hour with them, helping them improve.

But with many non-internet users resisting the invitation to go online, and asking the question "what's in it for me?", we needed a convincing answer - and this year it's an obvious one: sport.

This summer, the BBC's coverage of London 2012 includes live online streaming of up to 24 simultaneous events; a constantly updated results service on the 2012 site... and the entire torch relay online. You can also find out about all the cultural events that are happening in your area as part of the 2012 Festival. The message is simple: if you improve your online skills, you'll get so much more out of this fantastic summer of sport.

All of this raises the question of why it's so important to get people using the internet in their daily lives. Well, the creative and economic benefits are immense, not to mention the difference it makes to our quality of life.

From booking holidays, to skyping members of our family, to applying for jobs, to buying a tax disc, to editing and uploading videos, the list goes on and on. It's the BBC's job, as part of our charter, to help deliver the benefits of the new technologies and services that are available from being online - and, of course, to promote education and learning across the board.

You may have seen the promotional trails on BBC One over the last couple of weeks, asking you to Give an Hour, but they're just the tip of the iceberg. there are simple guides to making the most of our summer of sport online, along with how-to films presented by our Give an Hour ambassadors, Chris Hollins and Fatima Whitbread. Chris and Fatima have been working tirelessly to get the Give an Hour message out there, on Twitter, Facebook, and local and national radio - and you may have seen some of the Give an Hour coverage on your regional 6.30 news programme.

So, go on: now you know what it's all about, Give an Hour and help someone you know make the most of our summer of sport online.

See Chris Hollins and Fatima Whitbread on Give an Hour:

Find out more about the campaign on the Give An Hour website.

The BBC offers a beginners guide to using the internet on the BBC Webwise website

Join the conversation about the programme by using the hashtag #givenanhour


Tagged with:


Be the first to comment.

All posts are reactively-moderated and must obey the house rules.

with your BBC iD, or Register to comment and rate comments

More Posts