KEYSPOT, along with the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, the Office of Innovation Technology, Indego, and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, has been selected by the Innovation Working Group to participate in Digital Skills and Bicycle Thrills: Health and Fitness through Technology. This program is a pilot that will increase the number of safe and healthy bike-riders on Philly streets in low-income neighborhoods, while simultaneously increasing participants’ digital literacy skills.
Beginning in Spring of 2016, this cohort-based, community education program will provide up to 30 Philly residents (18+) with free memberships to Indego, Philadelphia’s Bike Share program, for six months in exchange for completing an online bike safety certification program at select KEYSPOT computer labs near Indego locations. The free memberships are provided by the Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP), a JPB Foundation funded project designed to create socially replicable and equitable bike share models in low income communities. The program’s concept is based on the ideas that digital literacy skills are more readily adopted when they are embedded within content-based learning goals, and that learning is a social process that happens best in collaboration with others.
The certification program will run for one month, combining self-paced assignments with flexible due dates and high-interest weekly discussion topics generated by the facilitator or members of the program. The course will also include group bike-rides, from KEYSPOTs and led by BBSP Bicycle Coalition staff, to reinforce lessons in a supportive setting and build a community of users. Because data shows that Philadelphians often use a smartphone to access the internet, many of the course tools will be available in OIS or Android Apps, such as Map my Ride, myFitness Pal, and B-cycle (Indego Bike Share’s App).
“We’re really excited about launching Digital Skills and Bicycle Thrills. Each one of our partners brings unique expertise to the table, and together we’ll be able to help tackle some of Philadelphia’s biggest challenges: the digital divide, safe streets, and adult obesity. Because of Philadelphia’s extremely high poverty rate, an important component of Indego’s long-term sustainability program is providing access and increasing usage among low-income Philly residents; Computer Skills and Bicycle Thrills will do just that,” says Jennifer Kobrin, Associate Director of the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy and Project Lead for Computer Skills and Bicycle Thrills.
By participating in this program, a greater number of residents will gain digital fluency while integrating safe biking practices into their daily lives. Program graduates will then be in a position to become ambassadors for bike share to their friends and neighbors. More details of how to get involved will be released in the coming months.