Digital Navigators offer in-depth personalized help with online services

This blog is submitted by staff member Libby, El Rio Library.

Connect Arizona Digital Navigators have expanded their hours!

The navigators are now available by phone call, text message, and e-mail six days a week. Here’s what the new hours are:

            Monday-Friday: 9am – 8pm
            Saturday: 9am – 3pm

If you haven’t used their services before, you might be wondering: What is Connect Arizona? What can the Digital Navigators help Arizona residents with?

Connect Arizona is a free resource for digital skills training in the state of Arizona. The navigators provide one-on-one assistance to help residents get online, solve technical problems with internet-connected devices, and build digital skills. Their services are free, and they highly value ongoing tutoring sessions with their clients.

There is an ethos behind the work Connect Arizona does. If you’d like to learn more about this, keep reading!

The Digital Divide affects families, individuals, and communities in AZ and nationwide.

This ethos is shared nationwide by like-minded groups focused on bridging the digital divide that impacts 19 million households in America. In Arizona, 1.3 million people either don’t have access to internet, or the connection is so slow that it doesn’t meet standards of equitable access.

Connect Arizona uses the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) Model for Digital Navigators

Their primary initiative is Digital Inclusion, which is defined as below:

“Digital navigators are individuals who address the whole digital inclusion process — home connectivity, devices, and digital skills — with community members through repeated interactions.” – NDIA, The Digital Navigator Model

Navigators assist Arizona residents with access to and use of all the components of technology that make modern computing possible, commonly referred to as ICT (Information and Communication Technology.)
There are five elements to Digital Inclusion:

  • affordable, robust broadband internet service;
  • internet-enabled devices that meet the needs of the user;
  • access to digital literacy training;
  • quality technical support; and
  • applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency, participation and collaboration.

NDIA, The Digital Navigator Model

Digital Equity and Digital Literacy are necessary for Digital Inclusion

“Digital Equity is a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society… Digital Equity is necessary for civic and cultural participation, employment, lifelong learning, and access to essential services.” – NDIA, Digital Inclusion 101

Digital Literacy is “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.”   American Library Association Digital Task Force, Digital Literacy

Above all else, Connect Arizona Digital Navigators seek to empower individuals to navigate devices with the confidence to achieve their goals. Their services are free so that anyone can reach them to build digital skills, ask questions, and achieve their goals with their devices.

Connect Arizona is supported by the Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records, a division of the Secretary of State, with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.